When we wrote The Sun Has Another Planet? last week, it didn’t occur to us to speculate about a possible creationist reaction. They’re not very keen on astronomy, because that topic isn’t discussed much in the bible. According to the first chapter of Genesis, King James version, of course:
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
The Earth was created earlier and it isn’t described as a planet. Planets are so unimportant that they’re not even mentioned during creation week, and there are only a couple of trivial references to them elsewhere in the bible. So we had no idea what — if anything — the creationists would say about this potential new discovery. But now we have a reaction from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. Their headline is Have Astronomers Found a New Ninth Planet in the Solar System?.
It was written by Danny Faulkner. Here’s AIG’s biographical information about him. They say he taught physics and astronomy until he joined AIG. His undergraduate degree is from Bob Jones University — an impressive credential indeed. Here are some excerpts from his post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Many people were disappointed a decade ago when the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto from its status as a planet by defining, for the first time, what a planet is. There were at least two reasons that Pluto was removed from the group of objects that we call planets.
But now many Pluto fans are sure to be encouraged by the January 20, 2016, announcement that two astronomers think that they have evidence that there is a ninth planet after all, a sort of replacement for Pluto.
We won’t bother discussing the reasons that Pluto was reclassified, but we have never understood why so many people were upset by its demotion to dwarf planet status. Anyway, Danny then tells us:
To understand this new ninth planet, we ought to review the discovery of planets in the outer solar system. There are five planets that appear as bright stars to the naked eye. In fact, all five are visible in the early morning sky in late January and early February 2016. These planets have been known since ancient times, which is why our names for them are those of gods in the ancient Roman pantheon. The first modern planet discovery was in 1781, when the German-English astronomer William Herschel (1738–1822) stumbled upon an object while surveying the sky with his telescope.
Ah yes — the seventh planet — the one that dare not speak its name. Then, after describing the subsequent discovery of Neptune, Danny says:
[I]n 1930, Clyde Tombaugh (1906–1997), a young assistant at Lowell Observatory, found a faint object orbiting beyond Neptune’s orbit. Again, following the custom of naming planets, they chose the Roman god Pluto.
We know all that, but AIG’s regular readers probably don’t. Finally, Danny gets around to describing the recent discovery of what may be Planet Nine. We discussed that in our earlier post, so we’ll skip to Danny’s conclusion section:
Does this planet actually exist? Only time will tell. At such great distance from the sun, it would be extremely faint, requiring the largest telescopes in the world to find it. And, like the search for the previous ninth planet, the location is not well defined, so the search probably would take many years. It is not likely that valuable time on the largest telescopes would be dedicated to this search. It may be that other hypotheses may be developed that will equally explain the data.
You’ve got to be wondering: Where’s the creation science? Here it comes:
One thing that I must note is that this explanation requires millions of years to perturb the TNOs [trans Neptunian objects] into their orientation. From God’s Word, we understand that the world is only thousands, not millions, of years old. Therefore, I consider it unlikely that this hypothetical ninth planet exists.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And now we come to the end:
Publication of this article [in the Astronomical Journal: EVIDENCE FOR A DISTANT GIANT PLANET IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM] suggesting a hypothetical ninth planet probably has generated more coverage than it merits. For those who still fret over the loss of Pluto as the ninth planet, this potential new planet could restore the order that they once knew. However, it is likely that with time this story will fade.
So there you are, dear reader. The creation scientists at Answers in Genesis say that there is no ninth planet — not if its discovery depends on the universe being older than 6,000 years. If you’re one of those still mourning over the demotion of Pluto, you’ll just have to get over it.
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