Jason Lisle Drools Over Pluto

The creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — are once again posting about the New Horizons mission to Pluto. We wrote about their earlier post on this topic here: ICR: Pluto Mission Will Prove Earth Is Young.

This time their author is Jason Lisle. Regular readers of this humble blog know him best from the time he was at Answers in Genesis (AIG), ol’ Hambo’s online ministry, when we wrote several posts about Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper. He left AIG a couple of years ago to become director of whatever it is that they call research at ICR.

Jason’s essay today is New Horizons at Pluto. We’ll skip the mundane stuff, which you can read if you like, and give you only the creationist material. Here we go, with bold font added by us:

Congratulations to the New Horizons team on their remarkable achievement of sending a spacecraft to Pluto. The mission was a complete success, and we are enjoying high-resolution images of never-before-seen surface features of this distant little world. These pictures dazzle the mind and are already beginning to challenge secular thinking.

Aha — secular thinking is being challenged! Excited? Sure you are. Skipping a few paragraphs of routine information, we’re told:

A delightful discovery is that Pluto has far fewer impact craters than expected. This is a serious challenge to secular thinking because any surface in our solar system that is billions of years old ought to have experienced many, many impacts. Lack of heavy cratering implies that Pluto’s surface is relatively young. No surprise for biblical creationists.

We assume that the numerous other objects in the solar system which do have lots of impact craters are a surprise for creationists. Let’s read on:

There is substantial evidence of recent geologic activity on Pluto, which has obliterated many previous craters.

Uh … doesn’t that explain the “problem” of Pluto’s relative scarcity of craters? Not to a creationist! Jason continues:

This creates an additional problem for secularists. Pluto is far from the sun and small enough that it is difficult to imagine how it could maintain heat for billions of years. Radioactive elements like Uranium generate heat — but they are heavy elements. Because of its estimated lower density, Pluto must be made primarily of lighter elements.

Because it’s difficult for Jason to imagine why Pluto is geologically active, he naturally turns to Oogity Boogity for the answer. It’s the way they do things at ICR. Here’s more:

Charon [Pluto’s largest moon] itself is hard to explain from a secular point of view. It’s half the diameter, and one tenth the mass, of Pluto. A large moon forming so close to Pluto is contrary to secular models.

Another problem, which is yet another opportunity to invoke Oogity Boogity! This is great creation science! Here’s how Jason ends his exciting essay:

We eagerly await more discoveries from Pluto as the data continue to arrive, and we expect to see yet more examples of the Lord’s creativity.

As long as creationists focus only on Pluto, they’ll have something to talk about — until real scientists explain the anomalies. Then they’ll have to go back to talking about Noah’s Ark.

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

20 responses to “Jason Lisle Drools Over Pluto

  1. michaelfugate

    Believing in magic means nothing is ever a surprise.

  2. Of course, there is no wonder that God would create Pluto and Charon on day 4 (along with the Sun, Moon and other stars) with the appearance of being at least a few million years old so that it was not visible at all until the 20th century. Creationists have no need for wonder.

  3. In fact I emailed Lisle (hopefully) and various others earlier today as follows:
    “Pluto, and several opportunistic YEC ideologues.
    Here’s the latest example that I’ve seen:
    http://www.icr.org/article/8951

    “These pictures dazzle the mind and are already beginning to challenge secular thinking.”

    No Jason, they are beginning to challenge scientific thinking. That is, nothing that has been discovered at Pluto directly confirms or supports anything that is found or taught in the BIBLE (or you would have told us). Rather you and fellow YECs are grasping at straws – that some of what has been discovered at the Pluto system APPEARS to be in line with notions that have been put forward by certain YEC Christians like yourself (who simply cannot explain parsimoniously various other DIRECT observations of the natural world that have been made here on planet EARTH).”

  4. Charles Deetz ;)

    Just did some googling and found this interesting takedown of YEC using craters on the moon, posted by a OEC. When Did the Moon Get Craters? A Young Earth Problem

  5. The whole truth

    “A delightful discovery is that Pluto has far fewer impact craters than expected. This is a serious challenge to secular thinking because any surface in our solar system that is billions of years old ought to have experienced many, many impacts. Lack of heavy cratering implies that Pluto’s surface is relatively young. No surprise for biblical creationists.”

    SC made a great point in response to that, and here’s something else to consider: From a ‘God created everything in the universe in 6 days 6 thousand years ago and was then done creating’ point of view, why would there be any impact craters at all on any “surface” in the universe? Why would there be any asteroids, meteoroids, or comets flying around running into planets, moons, stars, or each other? Couldn’t the allegedly perfect, biblical ‘God’ do a tidier job of creating the universe and not leave any debris flying around?

  6. It is amusing how averse creationist Jason Lisle is to data. He is so quick to jump to conclusions when only about 2% of the Pluto data has been downlinked and of course scientists will be mulling over the data set for decades and maybe longer. That’s the scientific method, Jason. Scientists will look at the data, postulate theories, and then hammer back and forth until ideas about why Pluto is how it is become generally accepted. I doubt there will be much room for the “universe is 6000 years old hypothesis”, but Jason you write your paper and submit it anyway.

  7. Mike Elzinga

    Lisle “sports” a PhD in astrophysics; but his “physics” is about as grotesquely incompetent as I have ever seen. Over on Panda’s Thumb we recently looked at his “calculation” that claimed to prove that the Moon’s orbital recession is taking place too fast for the solar system to be old.

    His “calculation” involved using the dipole interaction between the Earth and Moon; and it was not only wrong, it was totally irrelevant to the process by which angular momentum from the Earth’s rotation is transferred to the angular momentum of the Moon’s orbit.

    The correct calculations actually confirm to extremely high precision what the physics tells us about our solar system; it is old.

    I have looked at every instance of Lisle’s “calculations” purporting to confirm his sectarian YEC beliefs; and in every case (no exceptions) his crap doesn’t even pass muster at the high school level. His stuff is pure crackpot physics. The guy is a nutcase.

  8. Charon [Pluto’s largest moon] itself is hard to explain from a secular point of view. It’s half the diameter, and one tenth the mass, of Pluto. A large moon forming so close to Pluto is contrary to secular models.

    Wotta maroon! Who says Charon “formed” near Pluto? Given the recent discovery that there appears to be a whole belt of roughly Pluto-sized objects in the outer reaches of the solar system, it’s far more likely that Pluto and Charon formed separately and only much later became gravitationally bound to each other.

    See? Not hard to explain at all! Disappointing to creationists, though.

  9. Liar Lisle lies again. Even the most “creationist friendly” reports about Pluto refer to the surface being “hundreds of millions of years old,” albeit younger than 4 billion years.

    Lisle lies to his fellow fundie fools by implying a “young” Pluto even though hundreds of millions of years blows up his YEC timetable of 6000 years.

    I’d have a difficult time sleeping if my morality was as bankrupt as Lisle’s. What a creep.

  10. Another possible explanation for Pluto’s “young”-appearing surface — the extreme tidal interactions of Charon on Pluto’s interior would keep Pluto pretty stirred up and heated by friction, resulting in water “volcanoes” spewing out fresh material to recoat the surface.

    That, and what I had mentioned earlier — Pluto is way out there in a poorly populated region of the Solar System, and thus is not subjected to frequent cratering events, at least when compared to the inner Solar System.

  11. “Sure you are.”
    Honesty forces me to admit that I had a strong “Huh?” moment, strong enough to say the H-word aloud while being entirely on my own.

    “it is difficult to imagine how it could maintain heat for billions of years.”
    Aha! I get it! During all those billions of years Lisle’s god contained that heat within Pluto! Eureka!
    Oh wait – that’s possibly not what he has in mind.

    “we expect to see yet more examples of the Lord’s creativity.”
    I’m proud to present mine, just above. Mr. Lisle no doubt will welcome this chance to practice cutting edge creation science. We here at SC’s blog are eagerly waiting for his results.

  12. Meanwhile actual investigators are dealing with actual questions about Pluto. This one seems to be written in a rush-to-publish effort to get something out there, but interesting nonetheless. Scientists Study Nitrogen Provision for Pluto’s Atmosphere

  13. *gently swats Lisle’s back legs with a lightly rolled up newspaper*

    No. No drooling on the planets. Back on your rug.

    *points to corner*

    I swear, when they aren’t raised right as pups, this can be SO hard.

  14. RSG, one reason why Jason Lisle is crowing is because Pluto and Charon are tidally locked there is no longer any tidal stretching to heat the interior. If you were on the Charon side of Pluto Charon would not appear to move in the sky, though its phase would change.

  15. @Troy: Good point — hadn’t thought of that. Still, we don’t know how long Charon has been a satellite of Pluto; and thus, we don’t know how long it’s been since they became tidally locked. In other words, Charon may still have been generating strong tidal forces until quite recently, thus accounting for Pluto’s youthful-appearing surface. Just a hypothesis. Not sure what kind of evidence we could look for to test it, but it’s a thought.

    The bigger issue, though, is Lisle’s attempt to use Pluto’s young-looking surface as evidence of Recent Creation. As mentioned by others above, this totally ignores the heavily-cratered surfaces of most of the other bodies in the Solar System. I guess Jason Lisle, PhD., YEC, LS/MFT didn’t think that through all the way.

  16. I suggest that his argument can be rescued from some of the obvious objections if we take it to be, not offering evidence for YEC, but an argument against the reliability of cratering as evidence for “deep time”. Cratering on Plato is inconsistent, so this would say, with billions of years, so cratering is not evidence of billions of years. This fits the standard pattern of creationism of not supporting their position, but merely attacking “secular” science.

    There are other obvious difficulties with this, of course.

  17. RSG-Yes obviously Jason Lisle is flat out wrong, all the more so since he accepts the science of determining old and new surfaces. The only way around that is to say an old surface like the Earth’s moon was made to look old by the Almighty.
    As you say, It is possible the Pluto system formed recently. I doubt it, I suspect it formed when Neptune moved to its current orbit from the inner solar system where it formed (scattering stuff as it moved along). This would put it at about 4 billion years ago. Of course I should take my own advice and wait for the Pluto data and for it to be properly analyzed.

  18. Lisle is not wrong, rather he’s a liar. He pulled the same “should be cold by now” argument with Jupiter years ago. With a PhD in astrophysics from a decent university he knows quite well the science and physics of the planets and stars. There’s no point in “arguing” with Lisle the Liar, except, perhaps, to point out what an amoral fool he is.

  19. Remember MNb’s Golden Rule, Docbill: creationists are lying until shown otherwise.

  20. Diogenes' Lamp

    Charon [Pluto’s largest moon] itself is hard to explain from a secular point of view. It’s half the diameter, and one tenth the mass, of Pluto. A large moon forming so close to Pluto is contrary to secular models

    Creationists have previously argued that a proof that Earth was created by God was the “fact” (back then) that the ratio of the size of our moon to our Earth was the largest such ratio in the solar system. Therefore God did it.

    Now we know that the ratio of the size of Charon to Pluto is much larger. No creationist admits this falsifies creationism. They say this too proves God did it. X proves God did it, and not-X proves God did it.