ICR: Pluto Mission Will Prove Earth Is Young

You know about the Oort cloud. It’s the proposed source of new comets. Creationists don’t like Oort cloud because without it as a source of new comets, the liquid and gas component of comets that regularly orbit the Sun will eventually evaporate and then they won’t be able to exhibit their distinctive tails. Yet we see them, so the solar system must be new — see AIG: Comets Prove the Universe Is Young.

What does this have to do with the New Horizons mission to Pluto? The creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — have it all figured out. Their latest article is New Horizons, Pluto, and the Age of the Solar System. It’s by Jake Hebert, described at the end as a “Research Associate” for ICR. They say he has a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas at Dallas. Jake says, with bold font added by us:

Today, more than nine years after its launch, the New Horizons spacecraft is scheduled to make its closest approach to the dwarf planet Pluto.

Yes, we know, and now ICR’s drooling audience knows too. What about the age of the solar system? Be patient, it’s coming. Jake tells us:

New Horizons also will explore — for the first time — how ice dwarf planets like Pluto and Kuiper Belt bodies have evolved over time.”

We haven’t discussed the Kuiper belt before. It’s like the asteroid belt, but much bigger. It’s beyond the orbit of Neptune, but not as far from the Sun as the Oort cloud, and it includes Pluto and other dwarf planets. Let’s read on:

But scientific data do not tell stories — people do — and this Pluto tale will result from people’s interpretation of the data. For this reason, it would be more accurate to state that secular scientists are hoping that data collected by New Horizons will enable them to tell a story about how the solar system came into existence. And although they do not say so explicitly (perhaps they don’t wish to offend the American taxpayers who provide NASA’s funding), there is little doubt they fully intend for this story to leave no room for a supernatural Creator.

We review a lot of creationist articles for this humble blog, but even in our experience, that is one wild paragraph. Jake continues:

But of course, such a claim is a tacit admission that they do not yet have in hand a plausible secular explanation for the solar system’s origin, notwithstanding a barrage of misleading claims in popular science television shows and magazines.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We can actually see planetary systems forming — for example, Discovery of multiple ring-like gaps in a protoplanetary disk. Here’s more from Jake:

The New Horizons spacecraft is intended to yield information about “Kuiper Belt bodies.” What are these, and why are they important to secular scientists? The answer involves comets.

No, it doesn’t. The Kuiper belt isn’t thought to be a source of very many comets. Moving along:

Comets are essentially “dirty snowballs” that orbit the sun. Secular scientists believe that comets are leftover materials from the solar system’s formation some 4.5 billion years ago. Because it is a “dirty snowball,” a comet loses some of its mass every time its orbit takes it close to the sun, not unlike an ice cream cone exposed to a heat lamp. Comets lose their mass so rapidly that no comets should exist at all today if the solar system really were billions of years old!

Unless there’s a source of new comets, such as the Oort cloud. Another excerpt:

This Kuiper Belt is thought to serve as a source for short-period comets — those that require less than 200 years to make a single orbit of the sun. The second of these supposed sources is the “Oort Cloud,” an enormous reservoir of comet nuclei thought to surround our solar system, but (conveniently) located too far away to be seen, even with our most powerful telescopes. The Oort Cloud is said to be a source for long-period comets — those having orbital periods greater than 200 years. One major problem with the Oort Cloud is that there is zero observational evidence that it even exists! The Oort Cloud is purely hypothetical.

All the creationists like to point that out. Of course, there’s a load of other evidence for the age of the Earth and the solar system, while none of the creationists’ beliefs are supported by observed evidence, but they don’t care. On with the article:

Does the Kuiper Belt exist? Instead of finding trillions of comet-sized bodies, astronomers instead discovered hundreds of much larger objects (such as Pluto and its moons) that exist beyond Neptune’s orbit at the outer edges of our solar system. But to replenish the solar system’s comets, a Kuiper belt would need to contain many more icy bodies than the mere hundreds which have so far been observed.

Calm down, Jake. The Kuiper Belt exists. So does the Oort cloud, as future observations with better instruments will reveal. But Jake isn’t done yet:

But if neither the Oort Cloud nor a Kuiper Belt of trillions of comet-sized masses exist, then secular scientists have no explanation for how comets could continue to exist in a 4.5 billion year-old solar system. But comets can exist in a solar system that is only about 6,000 years old, even without a Kuiper Belt or an Oort Cloud.

Uh huh. And if, in addition to that, Jake finds the remains of Noah’s Ark, along with the ever-elusive Precambrian rabbit, then maybe he’ll have something to talk about. And now we come to the end:

Secular scientists hope that new data will help them craft a story and explain the solar system apart from the Lord’s handiwork, but these efforts have a way of backfiring on them. One is reminded of [scripture reference]. Rather than weakening the case for creation, data collected by previous spacecraft have only strengthened the case that our solar system was designed and is much younger than the age of 4.5 billion years that secular scientists have assigned to it. [Footnotes to ICR articles.] Christians should not be surprised if data collected by the New Horizons spacecraft continues this trend.

So there you are. The mission to Pluto is a desperate attempt to disprove the youth of the solar system. And it will fail. Now you know.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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37 responses to “ICR: Pluto Mission Will Prove Earth Is Young

  1. Here I thought the mission to Pluto was to learn about Pluto. Silly me.

  2. Silly, silly Ed. Why would anyone want to learn for the sake of knowledge itself.
    Creation science = Trvth. Secular science = Conspiracy.

  3. I love how New Horizons, which takes hours to transmit data back to us at the speed of light, against the backgrop of stars we’ve measured at millions of light years away, somehow supports a young Earth.

  4. waldteufel

    Jake is evidence that having an advanced degree doesn’t inoculate one from being a moron.

  5. michaelfugate

    Perhaps this is the guy….

    Atmospheric electricity data from Mauna Loa Observatory: Additional support for a global electric circuit-weather connection?
    Hebert, Leo Jake, III. The University of Texas at Dallas, 2011.

    Abstract (summary)
    Evaluation of the quality of atmospheric electricity data measured at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) during the years 1960-61 and 1977-1984 is presented, as well as evidence that the global electric circuit is modulating winter cyclone vorticity in the northern high latitudes. Reasons that measured values of the MLO fair-weather ionosphere-to-surface current density J z yield the preferred proxy for daily average values of both the global ionospheric potential Vi and high latitude Jz are discussed, as is the use of linear regression analysis to reduce noise in the J z data resulting from the turbulent “Electrode effect.” After carefully selecting and reducing noise in the usable segments of the MLO Jz data, correlations of the 60-80° N 500 hPa vorticity area index (VAI) with the proxy for daily average values of high latitude (northern) winter Jz show a response of 36.3×105 km 2 per unit change in the high latitude Jz proxy, and an analysis-of-variance test shows this response to be inconsistent with the null hypothesis at better than the 99% significance level. Correlation results after separating the data according to level of solar activity are also presented, as well as a comparison of this response to the high latitude VAI response to moderate Forbush decreases. Unsuccessful attempts to use the MLO data to provide statistically significant independent confirmation of the “Burns effect,” the response of high latitude surface pressures to variations in the proxy for V i , are discussed, as are likely reasons the attempts were unsuccessful. However, results of correlations of 1960-61 and summer 1984 MLO Jz data with high latitude surface pressures are presented: 21 out of 24 of these correlations yielded positive regression coefficients for a lag of +2 days, suggestive of a high latitude pressure response to the global electric circuit, consistent with the “Burns effect.”

  6. Maybe New Horizons will photograph a frozen bunny rabbit at Pluto’s pole?

    ” Er …what’s up, Doc?”

  7. But if neither the Oort Cloud nor a Kuiper Belt of trillions of comet-sized masses exist, then secular scientists have no explanation for how comets could continue to exist in a 4.5 billion year-old solar system.

    And if Noah’s flood never happened and the Garden of Eden never existed and Jesus never lived, the Bible is BS from end to end.

    Creationists have to take all three on faith, since there is no evidence whatever for the first two and (whisper it softly) next to no direct, contemporary evidence for the third. But since they place faith over both reason and evidence, they don’t see a problem.

  8. Oh, for an edit button. . . . there area couple of minor errors in the preceding post.

    [*Voice from above*] All is well.

  9. Rather than weakening the case for creation, data collected by previous spacecraft have only strengthened the case that our solar system was designed and is much younger than the age of 4.5 billion years that secular scientists have assigned to it.

    I wonder if Jake could describe, even in principle, some data that would indicate to him that the solar system is in fact several billion years old.

  10. Jake at AIG says……”New Horizons also will explore — for the first time — how ice dwarf planets like Pluto and Kuiper Belt bodies have evolved over time.”
    Ohhhh nooooooo Jake,,,you used the “E” word. Egad. Retractions and type overs needed here.

  11. Dave Luckett

    Astronomers pester governments, private institutions and individuals for money to build better instruments. Hubble, Moana Kea, APEX, and now the James Webb. These cost heaps and heaps.

    It is a complete mystery why they do this, since they really don’t want to learn The Truth about Creation. Can anyone suggest what their real agenda is?

  12. Stephen Kennedy

    Dave, finding out the truth, to the extent it can be known, about the origins of the Cosmos requires discovering actual evidence and making real observations of the Cosmos with the most sophisticated technology we can muster. It will not be found in revelations in an ancient text of myths which is what the bible is.

    The truth about “Creation” as related by outfits like AIG and ICR is that they peddle pseudoscientific nonsense so that their slack jawed drooling followers will send in their dollars for things like Hambo’s ark park.

  13. I wonder what the ICR thinks of the fact that some of Clyde Tombaugh’s ashes are tucked away on the New Horizons spacecraft. Does that mean that he will be resurrected in two different places? Does he reach god before the rest of us? There must be some theological consequences to this…

    The ICR never seems to address the really interesting questions.

  14. Charles Deetz ;)

    “Much younger” … um, would that still possibly be some age older than 6,000?

  15. Charles Deetz ;)

    Because Jason Lisle has nothing but supposes to solve the distant starlight problem, the creationist’s biggest challenge. No science, just ‘maybe god did it this way’:

  16. “there is zero observational evidence that it even exists”
    There is exactly zero observational evidence for creators creating universes as well.

  17. @mnbo
    What would observational evidence for “creators creating universes” be like?
    How would a created universe differ from one that isn’t created, in regards to observational evidence?

  18. Something to ponder…if the universe is only 6000 years old and Pluto which takes around 250 (earth) years to orbit the sun, this would make the universe 24 Pluto years old. (And about 12 Eris years old)
    As for Dr. Herbert, he got his masters at Texas A&M, even buffoon President Dubya makes fun of A&M.

  19. Mike Elzinga

    The ICR and AiG seem to harbor some of the dumbest “physics PhDs” I have ever seen. Maybe this one at the ICR was hired by Lisle. It is hard to imagine how these guys can get such elementary stuff so wrong and keep a straight face about it.

    I has to be something mental.

  20. @TomS: no idea, but that’s not my problem. It’s the problem of ICR.

  21. YEC ‘Cowboy’ Bob Sorensen is pushing the ICR comet denialism on his facebook page.

  22. I remember back in the days when there was a “solar neutrino problem”. It was a genuine puzzle for physicists, how the count of neutrinos differed from the theory. I had a brief exchange with a YEC who offered that up as evidence that there was something wrong with the model of the Sun, and therefore, it fit YEC. He seemed to be offended when I dismissed that as “bizarre”. (I have the feeling that he was some VIP, and wasn’t used to a nobody calling his ideas bizarre.) (Of course, there has since been discovered a perfectly good theoretical explanation which has been well attested by several independent experiments, which has generated a field of intererest.)

  23. We have been told that Pluto has a very young surface!

    It is small, and cold, and it is too distant from Neptune for any significant tides.

  24. We have been told that Pluto has a very young surface!

    I have a gut feeling that Pluto in the near past (hundreds of millions of years ago) may have had a very bumpy ride through our solar system but the scientists got months of data to review and puzzle over in order to figure this out. This is so much more fun that just saying God did it!

  25. Stephen Kennedy

    I can hear Hambo and the other creationists now claiming that the surface of Pluto looks young, the planet must be young. Now when NASA says young they are saying it looks like the surface is about 100 million years old while Pluto itself is 4.5 billion years old.

    Since even100 million years is of course anathema to the YECs they will say that according to scripture it can not be that old. But they will also say since it does not appear to be 4.5 billion years old, it could just as easily be 6,000 years as 100 million and in fact scripture will require the 6,000 year age.

    The blathering of creationists will of course be ignored by real scientists who will analyze the data. Planetary scientists have recently begun to suspect that the history of the outer Solar System has been a lot more eventful than had been thought. The Nice model, developed by astronomers at the Nice Observatory in France have proposed that Neptune was originally the seventh planet and the current seventh planet whose name we do not speak was originally the 8th planet. It is hypothesized by the NIce group that interactions between Jupiter and Saturn forced Neptune out beyond the current 7th planet which had numerous consequences for smaller bodies like Pluto in the outer Solar System. The data from Pluto will probably be a major piece of evidence as to what happened.

  26. so much gap in the detail from both sides. What i want, is that if this solar system of ours is in fact old “read plus 6000 years, heck i will give you 100000” for someone to explain to me, by what means is any planet in our system still geologically active, that would be a neat trick indeed…..

  27. Wayne Robinson

    Charon displays multiple impact craters. Presumably from collisions from some of the ice balls in the Kuiper belt which YECists insist don’t exist.

    The reason why Pluto has much fewer impact craters, indicating that at least part of its surface is younger than 100 million years, is currently a 4 day old mystery, which I’m certain will be solved, or at least plausibly explained, in the next few years.

  28. winewithcats

    Unless one wishes to posit that the calculated trajectories of long-period comets, which necessarily take them far beyond the visible boundary of the Solar System for most of their orbits, are created at the first moment they are observed, and un-created once they recede from sight, then the mere existence of such comets is direct observational evidence for the existence of the Oort Cloud. Its exact nature may not be known with a high degree of certainty, but it most definitely contains a plethora of comets.

  29. @winewithcats
    In the world of evolution-denial, it is sufficient to cast doubt on any natural explanation, whether or not the phenomenon relates to evolution. Evolution-denial does not stoop to providing explanations.

  30. No craters on Pluto, no Kuiper Belt, no source for new comets, looks like ICR was correct all along.

  31. —Charon displays multiple impact craters.— NASA calls them “probably craters” from the one photo released. A close up may show differently.

    Where are the expected craters on Pluto??? You have no answer except some convoluted unknown, new-to-science geological activity on a planet 300 degrees below zero with no magnetic field, no tidal forces, with mountains of solid ice somehow this unknown geological force freaking erased all evidence with a “new surface”.

    Just another excuse. The idea of accepting evidence the Solar System is young is impossible for you. Occams Razor applies here!!! Anything to deny the Creator his glory.

  32. michaelfugate

    ICR correct? When has ICR ever done any science? Whatever was found on Pluto could have no effect on ICR’s beliefs. No craters on Pluto – the universe is young and guess what – craters on Pluto – the universe is still young.

  33. The whole truth

    You’re right, Jack, the Flying Spaghetti Monster should not be denied his glory. After all, his recent creation of Pluto is so obvious and praiseworthy.

  34. @Jack Lee: Does everyone working on New Horizons and the data it sends back “deny the Creator his glory?”

  35. @Mark Germano
    Why didn’t the New Horizons team just announce that the pictures show that Pluto was billions of years old? Would any creationist be able to figure out that it looks 100 million years old? If the NH team were interested in denying the Creator his glory, why make the announcements that they did?
    Come to think of it, I’d say that YEC, which makes a point of there being no explanation to it at all, takes up the job of denying any glory being manifested in creation.

  36. To me, it’s like cutting down the smallest tree in the woods, counting its rings, and declaring that the forest is only seven years old.

    It must be quite a burden defending one’s faith against nearly every scientific endeavor. And it’s the height of arrogance to assign that motive to everyone involved.

    I guess I just defined persecution complex.

  37. Another possibility for the lack of craters on Pluto besides young age of its surface: It’s not in the Inner Solar System, where it would be bombarded by many more objects falling in toward the Sun. Every other object of comparison we have had so far is in the Inner Solar System.