More Earth-Like Planets Found

This isn’t about evolution, specifically, but it’s worth mentioning because it’s the kind of news that drives creationists crazy. PhysOrg reports: Kepler marks 1,000th exoplanet discovery, uncovers more small worlds in habitable zones.

You know what “Kepler” in that headline means. According to Wikipedia, “Kepler is a space observatory launched by NASA to discover Earth-like planets orbiting other stars. The spacecraft, named after the Renaissance astronomer Johannes Kepler, was launched on March 7, 2009.”

This is what PhysOrg says, with some bold font added by us for emphasis:

How many stars like our sun host planets like our Earth? NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope continuously monitored more than 150,000 stars beyond our solar system, and to date has offered scientists an assortment of more than 4,000 candidate planets for further study — the 1,000th of which was recently verified.

That’s a bit fuzzy, but those aren’t all Earth-like planets. Nevertheless, there are now 1,000 extra-solar planets that have been verified, out of potentially more than 4,000 that have been spotted. It wasn’t long ago that creationists were certain that our solar system was the only one in existence, and the Earth, having been uniquely created for us, was all alone in the universe. For example, look at this oldie-goldie from the 1970s from the Institute for Creation Research: The Stars of Heaven. It was written by Henry Morris himself, who said:

[T]he earth is unique in the solar system and, for all we know, the solar system is unique in the universe. So far as we can observe, there are not even any planets anywhere else, let alone a planet equipped to sustain biological life.

Those were the days! But they’re gone now. Those infernal scientists keep doing research! Here’s more from PhysOrg:

Three of the newly-validated planets are located in their distant suns’ habitable zone, the range of distances from the host star where liquid water might exist on the surface of an orbiting planet. Of the three, two are likely made of rock, like Earth.

That’s the real news — three more Earth-like planets have been found. Can you imagine what it’s like to be a creationist who is reading about this news? They still insist that Earth is a uniquely Privileged Planet. Let’s read on:

“Each result from the planet-hunting Kepler mission’s treasure trove of data takes us another step closer to answering the question of whether we are alone in the Universe,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “The Kepler team and its science community continue to produce impressive results with the data from this venerable explorer.”

PhysOrg also reports:

“With each new discovery of these small, possibly rocky worlds, our confidence strengthens in the determination of the true frequency of planets like Earth,” said co-author Doug Caldwell, SETI Institute Kepler scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, California. “The day is on the horizon when we’ll know how common temperate, rocky planets like Earth are.”

And with each new discovery, the creationists sink even further into the abyss of denial. Here’s one more excerpt:

Work is underway to translate these recent discoveries into estimates of how often rocky planets appear in the habitable zones of stars like our sun, a key step toward NASA’s goal of understanding our place in the universe.

To creationists, this is an outrage! They already understand our place in the universe, and it hasn’t changed since the days of the Babylonian Empire. It’s fun to think how miserable they must feel.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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7 responses to “More Earth-Like Planets Found

  1. And if and when we find evidence of intelligent extraterrestrial life, creationists will do this: (1) say the evidence was faked by Satan and his demons; then, to reach people not convinced by (1), (2) say it was faked by wicked atheistic scientists. For those who don’t buy (1) or (2), they’ll move on to (3) say it proves nothing because any alien life was created 6,000 years ago just like everything else; and for those not still not convinced, they’ll fall back on the old standby: (4) “Never mind the evidence; if it ain’t in the Bible, it just ain’t so, and we just have to have faith in God’s Word.”

  2. It likely won’t be in our lifetimes that we discover an alien civilisation as opposed to just a life-friendly planet, still less be able to have dialog with them on their origins. Until then creationists will glibly stick with Eric Lipps’ (3) above.

  3. What is more probable in the short term is that we will detect a chemical signature in the atmosphere of some exoplanet that is indicative of life.

    That would be a huge blow to Ham and other YECs. Life elsewhere, even in its simplest form, would mean that the earth is not the center of all creation, and those lights in the sky were not put there solely for our benefit. That Genesis occurred more than once would be a big deal, even though creationists like Ham might try to pass it off as not important.

    If we only found life’s indicators on one other planet, our sample size is so small and so limited by our technology that statistically, the universe would have to be teeming with life for us to detect one occurrence in our limited sample. In a universe teeming with life, intelligent life is almost certain to have evolved more than once. Probably more than once in our galaxy. This would be very difficult for YECs.

  4. My problem is that we have only one example of life, and only one example of intelligent life. We have no idea of the possibilities. Can there be a totally different form of complex chemistry, such that we have difficulty in calling it life? Or something which is complex as intelligence, which is so different that we don’t even know whether to call it intelligence?
    We have the example of people like us who have left behind their art, just a few tens of thousands of years ago, and we don’t know what they were doing with it. What are the chances of our understanding the productions of totally unrelated intelligences in a totally different world? What are the chances that we are seeing it right now, and not realizing it?

  5. Two examples of intelligent life: house cats. They enslaved us.

  6. Dave Luckett

    Ah, but those lights in the sky were so put there for our benefit. We measure night and day, months and seasons and years by them. That God, in his providence, made some to be the homes of other species, other life-forms, is only further evidence for his almighty power and wisdom!

  7. Now now SC. Lets not gloat too much. Even as an atheist, there are good lessons from the good old Christian Bible. Pride goeth before a fall. Lets feel bad for those poorly deluded people and help them see how those like Ham mislead them.