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.
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