One of our clandestine operatives — code name “Omega” — has sent us a hot tip, for which he will be amply rewarded from the overflowing coffers of Darwinite Hegemony. It’s a letter-to-the-editor that appears in the Journal & Courier of Lafayette, Indiana.
The letter is titled Evolutionary history is based on godless ideology, but to see it you need to scroll down to the fifth item at that link.
We don’t embarrass letter-writers by using their full names, unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures. Today’s writer is responsible for several letters-to-the-editor, but otherwise he doesn’t register at all on the internet, so we’ll use only his first name, which is Jim. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
How did stars and planets form?
Huh? His letter is supposed to be about evolution. Okay, let’s give Jim a chance, dear reader. He’ll get around to it. Then he says:
According to modern science it can be explained by a theory known as the solar nebula concept. According to the theory, large clouds of gas and dust collapsed to form the central star and the planets that orbit it, and thus everything should be orbiting and spinning in the same direction. But that is not what we actually see.
Oh? Tell us more, Jim:
Some galaxies, planets (Venus and Uranus) and many moons are spinning backwards (retrograde motion). Some moons even have a retrograde orbit around their planet. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune have moons orbiting in both directions.
Ignoring Jim’s mysterious mention of retrograde galaxies — whatever they are — we can look at the Wikipedia article on Retrograde and prograde motion. The solar system isn’t much of a problem — all the planets orbit the sun in the same prograde direction as the rotation of the sun. However, Venus and Uranus do rotate on their axes in an unusual way. Venus is virtually upside-down, and seems to rotate in the opposite direction as the other planets. Uranus has slightly more than a 90 degree tilt, and seems to rotate on its side. Explanations have been proposed to explain their rotation (maybe Uranus got whacked), but we’ll leave that for you, dear reader, to discuss in the comments.
Further, Wikipedia says: “There are some satellites [in the solar system] which orbit in the retrograde sense, but these are generally small and distant from their planets, except for Neptune’s satellite Triton, which is large and close. It is thought that these retrograde satellites, including Triton, are bodies which have been captured into orbit around their planets, having been formed elsewhere.” These are interesting, but not catastrophic problems for astronomers.
Also, a few of the recently observed extra-solar planets have a retrograde orbit around their stars. It’s currently thought that those planets formed in what were once clusters of stars, and the planets we observe may have formed around a different star and then got captured by the stars they now orbit. These are interesting problems, but no one is throwing away his telescope and giving up on astronomy.
What does any of this have to do with evolution? Nothing, so let’s skip most of Jim’s letter, because he doesn’t even mention evolution until the end:
Real science is based on data from experiments and observation and its laws can predict with certainty what will happen under various conditions. Evolutionary theory is based on a godless ideology and its laws conflict with what we actually observe in the universe.
Aaaargh!! We went through Jim’s whole letter, and that’s it? What’s he saying, that God is responsible for retrograde motion? Where is that in the bible? And what does Uranus have to do with evolution?
Well, this may not be a total loss. Maybe y’all can come up with some tasteful Uranus jokes.
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