Solar Eclipses Prove Intelligent Design

You probably know about the solar eclipse coming next year, which will be visible in a path across the US. PhysOrg had an article about it a week ago: One year to the 2017 total solar eclipse. They say:

Quick; where will you be this time next year on August 21st, 2017? We’re now just one year out this weekend from a fine total solar eclipse gracing the United States from coast to coast. … The last time a total solar eclipse made landfall over a U.S. state was Hawaii on July 11th, 1991, and the path of totality hasn’t touched down over the contiguous ‘Lower 48’ United States since February 26th, 1979. And you have to go all the way back over nearly a century to June 8th, 1918 to find an eclipse that exclusively crossed the United States from the Pacific to the Atlantic Coast.

They have a map showing the path of totality. Then they add:

The sun is about 400 times larger than the moon in diameter, but the moon is 400 times closer. We’ve actually heard this fact tossed out as evidence for intelligent design, though it’s just a happy celestial circumstance of our present era. In fact, annular eclipses are now slightly more common than totals in our current epoch, and will continue to become more so as the moon slowly recedes from the Earth. Just under a billion years ago, the very first annular eclipse of the sun as seen from the Earth occurred, and 1.4 billion years hence, the Earth will witness one last brief total eclipse.

We know what you’re thinking: No one could be crazy enough to claim that solar eclipses are evidence of intelligent design! That’s what we thought — until we visited the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog this morning. There we found: In 2017, Watch a Spectacular Display of Intelligent Design. It was written by Sarah Chaffee, whom we call “Savvy Sarah.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us.

She mentions the coming eclipse, and then says:

In their book, The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery [Amazon link], astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and philosopher Jay Richards explain that total eclipses were monumental in science: Einstein’s theory of relativity predicted that gravity bends light and would therefore make stars near the Sun appear at different locations than they actually were during an eclipse — and astronomers observed it.

Everybody knows about that. Let’s read on:

They note that observation of a total eclipse requires two elements: the right planetary and celestial conditions for a total eclipse, and a planet hospitable to complex life such as ourselves. Gonzalez and Richards conclude that “our place in the cosmos is designed for discovery.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The solar system was intentionally designed so that we could learn about relativity. Savvy Sarah quotes from the PysOrg article about the fact that the phenomena of total solar eclipses are peculiar to this era in the Earth’s history, and she tells us:

It’s true. There is a limited time period in which solar eclipses are visible. Gonzalez and Richards acknowledge this — and actually take it a step further. Not only is the Moon receding, but the Sun is getting bigger. But this does not refute the case for design — in fact, it amplifies it:

[Presumably this is a quote from The Privileged Planet:] These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the earth. This relatively small window of opportunity also happens to coincide with the existence of intelligent life. Put another way, the most habitable place in the Solar System yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] What perfect timing! Isn’t that wonderful? Savvy Sarah continues with the usual list of facts about the size of the Earth, the Moon, etc. that are allegedly essential for the emergence of life — all intentionally designed just for us! This is how she finishes her post:

Mark your calendar for the 2017 eclipse; I’m certainly planning to go. But humans won’t be observing it due to chance or determinism. Rather, a designing intelligence evidently had in mind to make a habitable planet hospitable to scientific discovery — and total solar eclipses seem like a very elegant part of this cosmic and terrestrial symphony.

This reminds us of something we wrote 7 years ago; it’s one of our favorite posts: The Ten Laws of Creationism. Savvy Sarah is using two of the laws we listed there:

1. The Law of Evidence: Everything is Designed; therefore everything is evidence of ID. No evidence supports evolution.

8. The Law of Supernatural Superiority: Whenever two explanations of a phenomenon are presented, one natural and one supernatural, the latter is always better. Naturalistic bias must be avoided.

So there you are, dear reader. And when you observe the eclipse next year, we hope you keep in mind its deep supernatural meaning.

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

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56 responses to “Solar Eclipses Prove Intelligent Design

  1. I don’t believe that I’ve ever seen this proof of Intelligent Design:

    The year is not a simple number of days. It is about 365.2422 days. If it had been a nice round number, like 360 days, and the month exactly 30 days, the we would have a simple calendar of 12 months of 30 days. But that would make things too easy. Let’s enlarge on that, and had the planets been traveling in perfect circles, and we’d have it too easy to compute the motions of the heavens, and we’d never have been motivated to develop mathematics and eventually, to discover the motion of the Earth.

    We would have had a solar eclipse every new moon (but only at the equator) and a lunar eclipse every full moon.

  2. These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the earth. This relatively small window of opportunity also happens to coincide with the existence of intelligent life.

    According to PhysOrg, that “relatively small window of opportunity” is about 2.4 billion years wide. The usefulness of eclipses to science began, if we’re going to be really generous about this, about 2,400 years ago, when they interested the Greeks.

    Chaffee’s “relatively small window of opportunity” also “coincided” with, for example, the rise and fall of the dinosaurs. Was it for them that the Designer intended the message of eclipses?

  3. You want predictions, Mark Germano? I can predict what ENV posts to which the Curmudgeon will devote space and the ones for which you’ll only hear crickets. My accuracy is approaching 100%. Hee hee.

  4. Derek Freyberg

    Dear SC:
    How about “silly Sarah” or “sappy Sarah”? – her pronouncements are way short of savvy.
    Thanks!

  5. michaelfugate

    But nothing about ID, Kevin? Is that because it makes none?

  6. I bet you use your design filter to measure the levels of complex specified information!

    I predict ID proponents won’t answer questions about the strengths and/or pros of evolution, list those certain things that aren’t best explained by an intelligent cause, or make testable predictions about stuff that happens all around us, Kevin’s joke aside.

  7. I forget. Are the DI folks happy with savvy Sarah’s admission that the universe is way older than the age computed from the holy babble? And I’m pretty sure there must be at least 10^9 planets where solar eclipses of various sorts occur — we just can’t see them. Did the great designer (blessed be he/she/it) really need all that practice to get the orbits right?

  8. The eclipse won’t be visible from all locations on Earth. Is who gets to see the eclipse a decision the designers make?

  9. michaelfugate

    It is also very elitist; only rich people can travel to see it.

    One wonders why the supposed designer didn’t make weather more predictable. Why can’t a supercomputer give us an accurate forecast?

  10. Charles Deetz ;)

    @Derek Freyberg I agree Sarah needs a better nickname. This is about the most silly, stupid, sparse, spotty, science-less, stretching, sad post.

  11. “Are the DI folks happy with …”
    Get your priorities right, Abeastwood. The most important thing, the second most important thing and the seven next most important things are getting rid of evolution.

  12. “These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the earth.”

    Hmm, the great designer couldn’t manage to make this work for the entire age of the earth? Poor design I’d say. And if you look at the pictures of Jupiter or Saturn, the shadows of their many moons can be seen crossing the disk of the planet, i.e., eclipses quite often. Then again, they must have been designed that way.

  13. Mike Elzinga

    We can also see our own shadows; not just the shadow of the Moon. Even more remarkable is the fact that sometimes our shadows line up in such a way that someone’s shadow eclipses another person.

    Surely this is proof that we live in intelligently designed times. My heart is all aflutter.

  14. Not only is the Moon receding, but the Sun is getting bigger. But this does not refute the case for design — in fact, it amplifies it:

    These two processes, working together, should end total solar eclipses in about 250 million years, a mere 5 percent of the age of the earth. This relatively small window of opportunity also happens to coincide with the existence of intelligent life. Put another way, the most habitable place in the Solar System yields the best view of solar eclipses just when observers can best appreciate them.

    And here I thought the earth–indeed, the universe–was only supposed to be 6,000 years old. 5 percent of thatwould be a mere 300 years.

  15. @Eric Lipps: As you did, I wondered whether the DIs would be happy with Sassy Sarah’s time lines. Perhaps we should be quiet about it — we wouldn’t want to get the poor girl excommunicated, or what ever DIs do to heretics.

  16. Let’s see, if I remember correctly:

    The moon’s distance to the earth varies, hence there are sometimes total eclipses, other times annular eclipses, still others only partial eclipses.

    Too, the earth/moon distance to the sun as well as the moon’s distance to the earth also vary slightly, making eclipses variable in duration.

    Then there’s the earth’s tilt, causing eclipses to occur at various places on the earth, i.e., not all in the same place at the same time, which is also due to the earth’s orbital period of 365.2422 days.

    Then the frequency of eclipses varies due to the moon’s orbital tilt to the plane of the ecliptic, thus eclipses only occur when the moon’s orbital node passes at or near the ecliptic.

    Given the infrequency of eclipses, I’d say Savvy Sarah’s great designer had trouble designing a better system with all the details to consider and the resulting corrections the designer had to make and had to settle for what we have. Maybe the great designer got an “astrology” degree from the ICR?

  17. @DavidK: I don’t think the ID designer (blessed be his/her/its name) studied Newton or Kepler very carefully. One of the many courses he/she/it skipped.

  18. Rather, a designing intelligence evidently had in mind to make a habitable planet hospitable to scientific discovery

    Perhaps Sarah could describe what a habitable planet hostile to scientific discovery would look like. I want to know more about the alternatives.

  19. @Ed
    Maybe a planet in which all of the answers were written in a book, so we wouldn’t have to use our brains.

  20. “Perhaps Sarah could describe what a habitable planet hostile to scientific discovery would look like. I want to know more about the alternatives.”

    Ed, how about an opaque atmosphere?

    Wow! That was easy.

  21. Would the planet (easily) described above be one of those things not explainable by an intelligent cause? What amounts of complex specified information would it show? Would it be irreducibly complex?

    Also, I’ve predicted with near 100% accuracy the blog posts and comments that ID proponents will respond to. My knack is uncanny.

  22. Mark, how would you describe the relationship between IR and an opaque atmosphere?

  23. KevenC, try nonexistent, because CSI and IrC mean exactly nothing.

  24. We all know why the super special eclipse is super special for that super special species that is the super special apple of God’s eye: Jesus. He died for us. The least He could do was give us an eclipse every now and again.

  25. Does everyone here have ADD? Why can’t you stay on topic? Ed inquired into what a habitable planet hostile to scientific discovery would look like. I answered it. Does anyone disagree that an opaque atmosphere would be hostile to scientific discovery? If not, then say so. Don’t muddy the water with references to IR and CSI.

  26. IR should be IC. I’ve been reading a bit about infrared light recently. Should I grovel to TSC to correct the typo like the rest of you do?

  27. michaelfugate

    So rockets can’t fly through opaque atmospheres?

  28. They sure can mf but try building one in an atmosphere where you couldn’t see 10 feet in front of you. I can hear michaelfugate at Mission Control now: “Did it launch? Which way did it go?”

  29. Kevin, why would a planet with an opaque atmosphere be hostile to scientific discovery? There are many sciences other than astronomy. Would an opaque atmosphere prevent the inhabitants from exploring chemistry, for example?

    Imagine for a moment that there are other intelligent beings on other planets. Would they not think that their world, which is so perfect for their own needs, is unique and special? Some might even go so far as to conclude that it was designed for them.

  30. michaelfugate

    GPS? Ever heard of ultrasound and x-rays? Your imagination is pretty limited.

  31. KevinC, to answer your question, I don’t know the relationship between irreducible complexity and atmospheric opacity. I don’t know the relationship between IC and anything, for that matter. But you’re right, I’m off topic, so let’s start from the top.

    What are the strengths of evolution?
    If certain things are best explained by an intelligent cause, what are the things that aren’t best explained by an intelligent cause and what might that other cause (or causes) be?
    And, since you brought it up first in this thread, what predictions does intelligent design make?

  32. @Mark Germano
    May I suggest a slight change, from what might that other cause (or causes) be to what might be that other explanation be.

    It is easy to say that the cause(s) are God, or Intelligent Designers, or the supernatural, etc. What is difficult, and has never been attempted, is to offer an explanation for events that are in the scope of evolutionary biology without making reference to evolution.

    Yes, I realize that it is difficult to support the statement that so-and-so is the cause, but you didn’t ask for support. But moreover, I suggest that getting into the idea of support for any claim is going to just bring up the same endless arguments, and be a red herring for the important point that evolution is unchallenged as a factor in any explanation of the variety of life on Earth: just saying that there is a better explanation does not tell us what that alternative is. The most that anyone can do is to claim that there is a weakness in evolutionary explanations.

  33. michaelfugate

    Maybe a visit to God’s psychotherapist? I am sure the big guy is feeling a bit guilty about drowning all those babies in the flood and needs to talk through it.

  34. Ok Mark, from the top:
    – antibiotic resistance
    – those things best explained by natural forces
    – RM + NS
    – given all of the requirements for carbon-based life, ID predicts that it is extremely unlikely that life will be found elsewhere in our universe and it won’t be created in a lab given what we know about what constitutes a living cell.

  35. @Kev

    given all of the requirements for carbon-based life, ID predicts that it is extremely unlikely that life will be found elsewhere in our universe

    ‘Ere, what’s all this “carbon-based” chauvinism about? You’ll recall all the hoo-ha a few years ago when someone claimed to have discovered arsenic-based life on earth; the claim was soon debunked, but what was noteworthy was that there was nothing wrong with the proposed chemistry that might underpin such life. And, yes, while there’s the old joke that the difficulty about hypothetical silicon-based lifeforms is working out how they could exhale SiO^2, that jest assumes, without justification, that said hypothetical lifeforms would be physiologically just like the organisms we know, only silicon- rather than carbon-based.

    I have no idea what “RM + NS” is supposed to mean, and how that answer applies to any of Mark’s questions.

    And in all of that we’re making the judgement, untested, that life is restricted to squishy organisms.

    Reverting to your “opaque atmosphere” argument, I’ve seen the idea expressed by genuine scientists — not just ID types — that astronomy is the driver of the other physical sciences and of math. (I’ve also seen real scientists speculate about how important to the progress of science has been our relatively large moon, and the coincidence of its angular size being close to that of the sun.) Before you posted your response, I was about to suggest something similar as a planetary environment in which science would be unlikely to develop — a water-covered world, in which land-based creatures couldn’t emerge and whose inhabitants would thus remain ignorant of the skies — but then I re-examined my own assumption and realized its flaw. My hypothetical marine creatures could develop high understanding in (say) the biological sciences and indeed much of physics and chemistry without having the first idea about the greater universe.

    As for the guys living on your hypothetical opaque-atmosphered planet, well, we’ve adapted to see in “visible light” because that’s the region of the electromagnetic spectrum that our planet’s atmosphere Even if the atmosphere of Planet Kev is opaque to “visible light,” it’ll obviously be permeable to other forms of electromagnetic radiation. Evolution would therefore be expected to drive the planet’s more successful inhabitants to “see” at those wavelengths.

    Finally, talking about the prediction of science articles that IDers might choose to avoid discussing, when I posted this link to another strand of SC’s site this morning, I predicted to myself that you’d cheerfully ignore it.

    Bingo.

  36. @KevinC: “Don’t muddy the water with references to IR and CSI.”
    You brought it up, not me.
    And I already figured that you meant IC when you wrote IR, which is why I used IrC.
    You asked a simple question: “how would you describe the relationship between IC and an opaque atmosphere?”
    I gave a simple answer: “try nonexistent, because CSI and IC mean exactly nothing.”
    Not that I expected you to accept my advise. That’s what you’re a creacrapper for.

  37. @KevinC: “ID predicts that it is extremely unlikely that life will be found elsewhere in our universe and it won’t be created in a lab given what we know about what constitutes a living cell.”
    Are you aware that some IDiots already are backpedaling on this one? I’m not going to look it up for you – don’t feel like right now – but there are IDiots who already see trouble ahead and argue that “life created in a lab” actually is evidence for ID – because life created in a lab is “Intelligently Designed by scientists.

    1. What does this tell you about the intellectual honesty of your fellow IDiots?
    2. If scientists indeed manage to develop life from non-life in a lab by setting up the initial conditions and then not interfering, will you give up creationism?

    This is relevant because those scientists might be much, much closer to do so than you seem to realize.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/20249628/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/scientists-expect-create-life-next-years/#.V8OEeNH6vIU

    https://www.probe.org/creating-life-in-the-lab/

    http://www.livescience.com/3214-life-created-lab.html

  38. Given that life violates the “second law of thermodynamics” and is “as improbable as a 747 being assembled by a tornado” and various other difficulties, how can one say that Earth is a privileged place for life?
    Given that the human mind is not a material, natural object, how does the physical environment make mind possible?
    What prevents the existence of intelligent life on the Sun or on Halley’s Comet?

  39. The intelligent TomS asks “What prevents the existence of intelligent life on the Sun or on Halley’s Comet?”

    I suppose intelligent life could exist on the sun but life would be pretty boring, what with the lack of shopping malls and cable TV🙂

  40. The whole truth

    Isn’t it interesting that IDiot-creationists never proudly claim that brain eating amoebas, skin eating bacteria, deformed human and animal babies, sudden infant death syndrome, deadly cancers, tooth decay, irritable bowel syndrome, Alzheimer’s Disease, hemorrhoids, Ebola, serial killers, bad breath, farts, saggy female boobs, and male erectile dysfunction are proof of intelligent design?

  41. Aristotle said that what is last in execution is first in intention. Therefore, whole truth, aren’t the last two things you mentioned really why life has you down?

  42. Holding the Line in Florida

    @ the Whole Truth Silly person, all those things mentioned were caused by the Original Sin! Everyone knows that!! Just ask any IDiot.uh, I mean creationist! And God said, “Eve! thou boobies will sag as ye gets on in age because ye harkened to the talking snake!!” And it was done!

  43. An opaque atmosphere imposes the same challenges to exploration as the deep seas (which are hard to reach because of the pressure) or the universe (which we can only glance at from a distance on account of its whargarbling vastness). We manage with what we have. But to say that either place was designed to be explored from this planet is absurd.

    And try to drill only go a meagre 12 kilometer into that clump right under our feet. The designer sure doesn’t want us down there.

  44. “constrained optimization”
    Look it up

    All your objections here imply that for design to be real, there must be perfection or there can be no obstacles. Try to think a little further than your atheism will allow.

  45. michaelfugate

    And if we find life somewhere else in the universe, then what Kevin?
    Or if we produce life in the lab?

  46. Do not assume that one is an atheist who rejects the argument from design.

    Yes, design assumes constraint. What constraint is there on God, Intelligent Designers of nature, or the supernatural?

  47. Thank you, TomS. Why people insist that a theist must believe that everything in the universe is entirely hand-crafted by God and can’t be just the product of a natural process is beyond me.

  48. Nonsense, dweller42. No ID proponent believes what you claim and therefore does not insist than anyone else believe it either. Show me the IDiot who insists that a supernova is “entirely hand-crafted by God and can’t be just the product of a natural process…”

    @TomS
    “What constraint is there on God, Intelligent Designers of nature, or the supernatural?”
    Self-imposed constraint. Instead of explaining myself, I would invite you to use that well evolved imagination of yours to see why that might be so.

  49. michaelfugate

    Kevin, you still have given us any means of distinguishing between non-intelligent design and intelligent design. Neither need be perfect – both can be constrained – so what is the difference?

  50. If I were actually talking exclusively about IDers there, Kevin, you might actually have a point. I was not, although based on past behavior, I’m not surprised to see that you assumed I was talking about you.

    I think you’d probably agree with me that a lot of people do think that theists must believe that God controls every single event in the universe, down to the tiniest atom, yes? I mean, that describes a not-inconsiderable number of theists, for starters.

    (As to why the creator would impose constraints that enable things like, say, cancer, or congenital birth defects, the simplest explanation is that he’s a giant, thundering jackass who enjoys watching people suffer.)

  51. It makes no difference what the source of the constraint. A constraint is something limiting. You are claiming to know what God cannot do, and to excuse that claim by claiming to know the cause of that constraint does not avoid the hubris.

  52. BTW, if you mean something like tzimtzum (in the Kabbala) and kenosis (in Christianity): Insofar as they are a self-limiting of God, they the antithesis of design.

  53. @michaelfugate
    On how to distinguish design from non-design, this article
    on SETI written by Seth Shostak is a good place to start. Since it is included in TSC’s List-O-Links, it’s Curmie approved; so you know it’s good.

    @dweller42

    I think you’d probably agree with me that a lot of people do think that theists must believe that God controls every single event in the universe, down to the tiniest atom, yes?

    I think…you’d probably…people do think…must believe…yes?
    I’m not sure you even believe it based on your vocabulary.🙂

    I mean, that describes a not-inconsiderable number of theists, for starters.

    There are indeed a not-considerable number of theists that believe it if you include Muslims, since that is exactly what Islam teaches. Christianity on the other hand does not. If you come across some Fundamentalist chowderheads that say that, tell them they’re heretics and should be burned at the stake.

    (As to why the creator would impose constraints that enable things like, say, cancer, or congenital birth defects, the simplest explanation is that he’s a giant, thundering jackass who enjoys watching people suffer.)

    I’m not going to pretend to have all the answers to suffering and the problem of evil but C.S. Lewis is spot on:

    We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

    And before you trash talk God again, remember another Lewis insight:

    A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.

    @TomS

    It makes no difference what the source of the constraint. A constraint is something limiting. You are claiming to know what God cannot do, and to excuse that claim by claiming to know the cause of that constraint does not avoid the hubris.

    The above is completely incoherent because you misunderstood my point.

  54. And it is my fault if your point is misunderstood? And you don’t condescend to explain.

  55. We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.

    What in heck is that supposed to mean? That cancers, kids being burnt alive, rape, pillage and war are all good for us because your benevolent god deliberately inflicts them upon us? That the existence of pain proves the benevolence of god?

    Lewis’s apologetics are just laughable.

  56. michaelfugate

    Kevin – how does that apply to ID?