Answers in Genesis: There Is No Ninth Planet

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.

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

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20 responses to “Answers in Genesis: There Is No Ninth Planet

  1. Sorry but you do not use much scientifical evidence to prove that it is unlikely to exist.

  2. Of course a ninth planet can exist. About 6,000 years ago, god said “poof” and everything in the universe came into being and everything was in the proper position! QED.

  3. Charles Deetz ;)

    If everything that depended on millions of years to develop didn’t actually exist, well, there wouldn’t be much in the universe.

  4. A.I.G. has really missed the target on this one. Wouldn’t they be more in character claiming the the findings confirm the existence of the hilarious Nemesis star? And therefore “End Times for sure this time. Please send cash”.

  5. I hope no one tells AIG about quasars or black holes.

  6. michaelfugate

    Isn’t this one of those cases where AiG argues against uniformitarianism by using uniformitarian arguments?

  7. @michaelfugate
    That can be a valid type of argument. Even on the assumptions of my opponent, one can prove my opponent is mistaken. p -> ~p therefore ~p.

  8. Not quite, TomS. If (1) P implies Q, and (2) not Q, the conclusion is not P.

  9. Mike Elzinga

    How smart can Danny Faulkner be if he buys into the argument that life violates the second law of thermodynamics?

    Faulkner also references Jason Lisle’s calculation of the rate of recession of the Moon’s orbit in which Lisle asserts that (no kidding; he really says this),

    “The rate of this recession is approximately proportional to the inverse sixth power of the earth-moon distance. “

    .

    Wow! Pure, made up crap. Lisle’s calculation is totally bogus.

    In the kind of calculation that a real physicist would do, the angular momentum of the Earth is decreasing due to tidal friction as the Earth spins within the tidal bulge of the oceans. The torque that is generated is also the same torque applied to the angular momentum of the Moon’s orbit. This means that the angular momentum lost by the Earth is the same as the angular momentum gained by the Moon’s orbit; and that transfer of angular momentum exactly accounts for the rate of recession of the Moon’s orbit.

    So here we see two YEC “PhDs” getting the basic science dead wrong at the most basic level. This happens over and over again with every “PhD” in the ID/creationist movement; and it has been going on for something like fifty years now.

    These misconceptions – or deliberate misrepresentations – of the actual laws of physics are so mind-numbingly stupid that one has to wonder how these characters got those letters after their names. Can they even read a science textbook?

  10. 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
    And as a consequence this has given rise to astrology then, as now.

    15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
    Thus the earth was created before the stars, the sun and moon.

    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.
    And on days at or near the new moon there is no light to rule the night, evil must preside?

    19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
    And so there was no night or day until the fourth day, but no days or nights for the first 3 non-days as that time period could not be gauged in days/nights w/o the sun & moon.

    And out of all of this absolutely no mention of the planets other than the earth. So how could creationists claim another planet could not exist when they didn’t even know of the readily visible to the eye five planets, which actually were merely wandering stars to them?

  11. Mark Germano

    Thing is, he could be right. Then he gets to claim a valid prediction made by creation science. If he’s wrong, he just has one more thing not to write about.

    That’s called a win-win, folks!

  12. Mark Germano says: “Thing is, he could be right. Then he gets to claim a valid prediction made by creation science.”

    Yes! Very good.

  13. One thing that I must note is that this explanation requires millions of years to perturb the TNOs into their orientation.

    A word of advice to creationists – never identify a potential future discovery that will disprove a young earth. Especially one that has a reasonable likelihood of happening.

    Also, don’t assume telescope time will not be dedicated to this effort. One question to be asked is whether this object was formed with the solar system or is a captured object. If captured, it will be the closest “exoplanet” like object to us, and will be intensely studied. Either way, it’s confirmation will be a big deal, and will bring credit to the investigators and the institution that accomplished it.

  14. Let’s be fair — Faulkner’s article is far more lucid than the usual foaming-at-the-mouth claptrap from Answers in Genesis. He seems to realize that astronomers can theorize on the basis of their observations to make new discoveries, and he implicitly acknowledges the uniform foundation that physics, particularly gravitational mechanics, provides.

    He’s right: if this ninth planet is observed where expected, it will confirm the theory that Sedna and other TNOs were diverted into their eccentric orbits millions (billions?) of years ago. Maybe Faulkner is secretly a saboteur, setting up creationism for another spectacular failure.

  15. James Chapman

    OMG! Did Danny Faulkner make a testable prediction?

  16. Derek Freyberg

    I heard a discussion about this with Brown (last Friday, on NPR’s “Science Friday”, as I recall). What they have now is a reason to believe there’s another planet, but Brown himself said that it’s going to be really hard to find. But he also said that because essentially all astronomical observations now are imaged, it will be possible to use computer searching of images to look for it. Which means, I think, that it’s a matter of enough interested people/organizations (those with access to the data and enough computing power) deciding that it’s a worthwhile project to do the search, and then carrying it out; and if the planet is there, evidence will be found.

  17. It’s mindnumbing to be reminded that people take Biblical statements that axiomatically.

    One thing that’s interesting to me is that Christians can so easily “disprove” this or that, based on a flimsy self-serving reading of a terrible collection of myths and fables, but the same Christians will condemn atheists for saying there is no god after literally no evidence of that god anywhere ever.

  18. https://www.facebook.com/aigkenham
    “Have Astronomers Found a New Ninth Planet in the Solar System?
    The media has been buzzing with the news of a new ninth planet to replace Pluto. But is this supposed find based on observational science or assumptions about the past?”
    It’s based upon OBSERVATIONAL SCIENCE. Observed orbits of dwarf planets, trans neptunian objects, and the like. In the present day.
    Who writes the crap? Is it Ken Ham himself or one of his idiot ‘research team’ (who either fail to read AiG’s propaganda or cannot understand it)?
    This propagandist crap on Ham’s Facebook page is NOT in the Faulkner article itself. I suspect Ham did not write the crap himself. He is employing a bunch of ignorant and indoctrinated bigoted cultish Fools. (Which will only bother him when they distort AiG’s own dogma.)
    The only reference Faulkner makes to the past is when he admits at the end “this explanation requires millions of years to perturb the TNOs into their orientation”. But saying it took ‘fictional’ millions of years to orientate the orbits/orbital planes of objects like Sedna is NOT the same thing as saying that the ‘Planet Nine’ hypothesis is ‘not’ based upon present day observations but upon ‘wrong’ assumptions about the past.

  19. I actually thought AIG would assert that it was evidence of a young solar system. If the orbit takes 20,000 years there wouldn’t be enough time for “Planet9” to affect the various kuiper belt objects in the YEC timeline. In fact the intro to the paper assumes a multi-billion year timeline as a reason the planet must exist.

  20. Why should anyone be surprised by any of this? Creation “scientists” give the game away when, in the face of physical evidence which contradicts their ideas, they reply that “God’s Word says” creation happened in six days a few thousand years ago.

    Imagine that the shoe were on the other foot, and evolution supporters were reduced to saying, “Well, The Origin of Species says . . .”How credible would that be? The Bible has the advantage of a millennium and a half in which skeptics could be stoned, drowned or burned at the stake, not exactly the sort of edge Darwinists want or need.