Discoveroids: Proxima b Is the Big Test

Yesterday we wrote Proxima Centauri Has Planet in Habitable Zone, which we ended by saying: “Now we await the response from the creationists.”

It didn’t take long for the Discovery Institute to rise to the occasion. Well, “rise” may not be the proper word. This just appeared at their creationist blog: Put Up or Shut Up for Evolution? Nearest “Habitable” Planet Found Orbiting Proxima Centauri. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

For materialists, the origin of life and the evolution of complex, even intelligent creatures needs to be a sure thing, or close to it, given a suitable planetary environment. Reportedly Earth-like exoplanets discovered up until now have been far away and difficult to check for signs of alien biology. Not so Proxima b, reported today … .

[…]

It’s a “game changer,” the “holy grail,” only a “hop, skip, and a jump” away, physicist Michio Kaku tells CBS, which characterizes the planet as a possible “Earth 2.0.”

Silly materialists! Let’s read on:

A closer look, though, reveals trouble in paradise. Liquid water — perhaps, but also a surface assailed by “ultraviolet and X-ray flares,” and a climate not well suited to make Earthlings, at least, feel at home.

We know all that. Nobody expects the Klingons to be living there. Klinghoffer continues:

All is celebration until it sinks in that with every discovery of a seemingly near-Earth-like planet, evolutionism comes a step closer to a put-up-or-shut-up moment.

What? Here’s more:

Unguided evolution must be baked into the cake, not only on Earth but anywhere like Earth. It must be something blind forces accomplish readily. If it could ever be known that only one planet in the cosmos was graced with biology, that would pose an insurmountable difficult for Darwinists.

The Discoveroids, of course, already know that life on Earth is unique. That’s because their intelligent designer — blessed be he! — arranged the universe so that we’re the The Privileged Planet. Moving along:

Imagining life elsewhere, in the absence of evidence, is more comfortable when Earth-like planets are conjectural, distant, or both.

True. When we had no evidence other than our own world, we were free to speculate that the same natural forces that resulted in life on Earth could do the same elsewhere if conditions were favorable. Creationists use that same data point but reject the blasphemous notion that life is the result of natural forces — thus their claim that life on Earth is a miracle, which can’t occur anywhere else, especially intelligent life. Another excerpt:

The planet orbiting Proxima Centauri is uncomfortably nearby. [Hee hee!] The more Earth-like the exoplanet, the closer it is and the easier to probe for any signature of life, the more materialism may be forced to consider the possibility that a key premise was in error.

See what’s happening here, dear reader? The Discoveroids are making a desperate bet. They’re betting everything — as if they ever had anything — that there’s no life on Proxima b. If there isn’t any, which is certainly possible, then they’ll claim the game is over and they’ve won. But what if some kind of life actually does exist there? They’ve got that covered too. This is the end of Klinghoffer’s post:

Intelligent design can live easily with the idea of inhabited worlds beyond Earth. The more difficult “evolution” looks, though, the more it looks like design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! As extra-solar planets keep getting sighted, the Discoveroids have been gradually changing their position in a desperate attempt to hedge their bets. Lately they’ve been saying, reluctantly, that there could be some kind of primitive life out there, but surely no intelligent life — see Klinghoffer’s Latest Thoughts on Aliens. So if no life (except maybe bacteria) is found on Proxima b, they’ll be jumping with joy and claiming that evolution has been disproved. It doesn’t take much to make a creationist happy.

Copyright © 2016. 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

22 responses to “Discoveroids: Proxima b Is the Big Test

  1. For materialists, the origin of life and the evolution of complex, even intelligent creatures needs to be a sure thing, or close to it, given a suitable planetary environment.

    Where oh where did Klinghoffer get that idea? Evolutionary science has nothing whatsoever to say about the origin of life and certainly doesn’t regard intelligence as an inevitable consequence of evolution.

    I also have difficulty following his logic. He says (quite correctly) that Proxima b probably doesn’t offer “a suitable planetary environment” then says that finding it sterile would be a blow to the science of evolution.

  2. Ya gotta love the guy!

    Klingy’s offering a classic con-man’s ‘bet’: “Heads, I win; tails you lose!”

  3. “For materialists, the origin of life and the evolution of complex, even intelligent creatures needs to be a sure thing,” It is a sure thing you half-wit look around you! Oh! Wait! you can’t look around you for intelligent life, go to a near by college then look around, you probably can’t find it near your church!

  4. Eddie Janssen

    Everytime something comes into the reach of science and touches upon some dearly held religious idea, people get nervous.
    Another gap is closing, slowly, but surely.

  5. What would be a discovery in favor of non-natural origins of life would be a place which is inhospitable for life, yet there is life. That would be a miracle! That would be a way of convincing the unbeliever.

    And creationists do tell us that about Earth. Because of the second law of thermodynamics (as interpreted by creationists), life is impossible.

    And most of space seems to be inhospitable for life. Why the intelligent designers took care to make Earth privileged for life, when they could make life anyway, that is a minor problem. Or why they made Earth almost (except for 2nd law), so close to privileged, before skipping that last step in designing life.

    Come to think of it, what does seem to take a miracle is for a creationist to be consistent.

  6. Intelligent design can live easily with the idea of inhabited worlds beyond Earth.

    Really? Inhabited by what?

    If microbes are found, then ID will have to either concede that life can come into existence naturally – which they will never do – or be forced into the uncomfortable theological position of describing a designer that pops microbes into existence throughout the universe for no obvious reason. I doubt very seriously that ID can “live easily” with that idea.

  7. Realthog wonders: “Where oh where did Klinghoffer get that idea?”
    I’m pretty sure you doesn’t want to explore that particular area.

  8. @mnb0

    You mean he pulls it out of, er, the extensive database of other Disco Tute wisdom?

  9. Klingypoo:
    ” If it could ever be known that only one planet in the cosmos was graced with biology, that would pose an insurmountable difficult[sic] for Darwinists.”

    Well, since that is something that is impossible to know, that’s one difficult(y) we “Darwinists” will never have to surmount.

    There is no way to prove the nonexistence of life on a distant planet by remote means. We can only detect intelligent life remotely outside of our Solar System, and then only if they have developed technology — and choose to broadcast.

    Since life has existed on Earth for at least 3.8 billion years (sorry there, Ken Ham. {No, not really}), and radio technology for little more than 100 years, there might well be only 100 planets with technology for every 3,800,000,000 planets with life. Unless we discover life within our own Solar System, it looks like we have many, many years of speculation ahead of us. Think of that future — instead of typing on a keyboard or dictating to the computer, bloggers and commenters (bloggees?) will have their thoughts transcribed directly to the internet (or future equivalent) by their personal brainwave detectors, and readers around the world will have the words instantly translated as the post is received in their head-mounted brain stimulators — in a sense, a sort of reverse brainwave sensor. It would create brainwaves and transmit them transcranially — no need to read or hear. Well, maybe.

  10. In my post above:
    “We can only detect intelligent life remotely outside of our Solar System, and then only if they have developed technology — and choose to broadcast.”

    On re-reading, that’s ambiguous. Let me make that clearer. I should have written:
    “The only life outside of our Solar System that we will be able to detect by remote means is intelligent life, and then only if they have developed technology — and choose to broadcast.

  11. Actually, there’s probably only a narrow historical window during which we could detect alien radio or TV broadcasts–the hundred or so (Earth) years between the time of the first radio broadcasts powerful enough to be detected at interstellar distances and that of the virtually complete replacement (except for specialized purposes) of broadcast technology by fiber-optic transmission and other non-broadcast means of communication. Other methods would have to be used after that window closed.

    Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that there’s another civilization within our present detection range that happens to have a technological level between ours circa 1950 and what ours might be by 2035 (my rough guess for the death of broadcast radio and TV).

  12. The other way to detect technological life would be the discovery (by some means) of artificial pollutants in the atmosphere of their planet. Of course, maybe the window for that is short too. Hopefully.

  13. Evolution – nay, all of modern science! – hinges on whether this one planet has life.

    Intelligent Design, on the other hand, is confirmed by Doug Axe getting a warm and fuzzy feeling.

  14. Klinghoffer, of course, is right. Proxima b is really your only hope of showing the ubiquity of life in our universe given its nearness to us. If there’s no life there, the possibilities of visiting another Earth-like planet are practically nil. As Kaku says, it’s only a “hop, skip, and a jump” away.

    Short of receiving radio signals from advanced civilizations (how’s that SETI project working out so far?), Proxima b offers the only opportunity for visual confirmation of life elsewhere. I’m truly happy for everyone here. The hype is keeping the dream alive for you. At least for another 30 years; since that would be the soonest we’ll be able to confirm if life exists there.

    Curious how the Curmudgeon offers his usual in-depth analysis of Klinghoffer’s piece “Silly materialists…We know all that…What?…” but passes on Kirk Durson’s article with the usual inconvenient truths for Darwinists.

  15. I was going to ask, whoever claimed that ToE ever claimed that life must be ‘ubiquitous’ in the universe rather than ‘possible’ or perhaps even ‘likely’? And still less did anyone every claim that ToE demanded the existence of extra-terrestrial life–though one notes that finding life elsewhere can only provide an additional set of data points that further confirm it.

    But instead, lets all shout ‘Hooray!,, for the redoubtable KevinC finally demonstrates to my satisfaction the value and everyday utility of ID Creationism! Using the same flawless logic he has generously offered here, just look at how many other situations can be vastly simplified, e.g.

    [1] Suppose your wife has just given birth to your first child: a bonny and happy baby–but sadly, the infant has full amelanosis. The medics explain this is a inherited genetic disorder that affects 1 in 17,000 worldwide. But what do those silly materialists know? To find out how rare or common the condition is, you instead check on your next-door neighbour’s baby, only to learn that infant is normal. You happily conclude that your privileged baby is a unique and privileged human being!

    [2} Or imagine you’re a police detective investigating the demise of one Joe Bloggs, whose decomposing corpse has just been fished out of the East River; his feet are encased in ‘cement overshoes’, he has been shot through the chest 78 times, and decapitated. Routine investigation soon provides you with a list of 10 prime suspects for the murder, all folks with violent criminal records and severe grudges against Bloggs but no connection amongst themselves. But when you arrive at the home of the first suspect (whose address just happens to be closest to the police station), you learn he has an absolutely watertight alibi and simply cannot have been Blogg’s killer. But fret not! Using KevinC’s watertight argument, you simply conclude that Blogg’s killer cannot be found on the grounds that the easiest suspect to interrogate is not the man! So, mark Blogg’s case as ‘suicide’ and stamp the file, Case Closed!

    It really is terrible the way science so often admits that we simply don’t know something, and that despite our steady progress in increasing our store of knowledge it nonetheless remains incomplete. How fortunate are the Creationists, blessed as they are with unshakeable certainty about everything!

  16. michaelfugate

    Yes Megalonx, Kevin is a genius, just ask him. He even cites Kirk Durston which he manages to mutate into Durson. Is this micro or macroevolution or just variation and not evolution at all?

    Yep evolution is false and ID is true if we don’t find life on this planet? If we do, then ID proponents/creationists will merely claim that they expected it all along. Nothing is ever a test of ID/creationism – how could they give up on God through any mere test?

  17. @mf, your need to point out my typo simply tells me that you didn’t read the DuRston article or you did read it and didn’t understand it. Either way your comment is as irrelevant as Megalonyx’s analogies.

    @Megalonyx, if you had read my comment more carefully, you’d have noticed that I stated “Short of receiving radio signals from advanced civilizations”. Therefore it didn’t declare “Case Closed!” However, if you want to dream about an unmanned mission to a star with a “habitable” planet 50 light years away, then by golly you go right ahead and dream on (imagine me patting you on the head while I say that). You do the math yourself to see how long we’d have to wait before Megalonyx II radios back to say “Possible life detected!”

  18. michaelfugate

    What was there to understand? That God exists and God created the universe just for me, isn’t that sweet. Oh and the Universe is so vast and I so awestruck, therefore God exists? Oh and meaningless probabilities – what would an ID argument be without them?

    I am wondering Kevin – given ID, did your typo increase information, decrease information, or do nothing? I mean, my spouse and I have different surnames, so sometimes people mix them up. Is this macroevolution? A new person has been created that didn’t exist before, what do you think?

  19. I’d love to see some evidence for ID, not just purported evidence against evolution.

  20. michaelfugate

    You mean like if I raise a number to a really big power, then God exists?

  21. I’d like to see a description of ID, not just a claim that there must be an alternative to evolution. What happens when an ID intervention takes place.

  22. I’d also like to see predictions.