NASA Has More Bad News for Creationists

The more we learn, the more young Earth creationists become isolated, frightened, and demented. They insist that what they call creation science — based on Genesis — must be true, and all modern science to the contrary is not only blasphemous, but it’s based on false assumptions — i.e., verifiable observations and testable hypotheses.

The universe described in the bible is a cozy arrangement, with the Earth created as the only world in existence, in the center of what seemed to be a rather limited universe, consisting of the Sun and the Moon, with the stars as lights set in a presumably solid firmament rotating around us, just below the glorious realm of Yahweh.

The people who wrote the bible weren’t idiots, but they were limited to naked eye observations, so they believed The Earth Does Not Move. And being limited in geographic knowledge by their primitive transportation methods, it’s understandable that they thought The Earth Is Flat. Those beliefs found their way into several scripture passages, which we cited in those two links. Despite the bible’s clarity on those issues, young Earth creationists have abandoned the idea of a flat Earth, and most seem to have accepted the idea that the Earth moves as part of the solar system — but they still insist on the truth of everything else in Genesis.

Until very recently they insisted that ours was the only planetary system in existence, so they could still believe that Earth was specially created for us as the focus of divine attention. But in recent years, to their increasing horror, other planetary systems have been discovered, and more are constantly being sighted. The total of verified extra-solar planets is now over 3,000, of which over 500 are rocky planets like Earth, and more than 20 of those are in their star’s so-called Goldilocks zone, or rather, the Circumstellar habitable zone.

We still haven’t found any aliens. That will be the creationists’ ultimate crisis. But today we have some news from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) that will certainly add to the discomfort of creationists. The first item is Building Blocks of Life’s Building Blocks Come From Starlight. It says:

Life exists in a myriad of wondrous forms, but if you break any organism down to its most basic parts, it’s all the same stuff: carbon atoms connected to hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and other elements. But how these fundamental substances are created in space has been a longstanding mystery.

Now, astronomers better understand how molecules form that are necessary for building other chemicals essential for life. Thanks to data from the European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory, scientists have found that ultraviolet light from stars plays a key role in creating these molecules, rather than “shock” events that create turbulence, as was previously thought.

How did they figure that out? We’re told:

Scientists studied the ingredients of carbon chemistry in the Orion Nebula, the closest star-forming region to Earth that forms massive stars. They mapped the amount, temperature and motions of the carbon-hydrogen molecule (CH, or “methylidyne” to chemists), the carbon-hydrogen positive ion (CH+) and their parent: the carbon ion (C+). An ion is an atom or molecule with an imbalance of protons and electrons, resulting in a net charge.

“On Earth, the sun is the driving source of almost all the life on Earth. Now, we have learned that starlight drives the formation of chemicals that are precursors to chemicals that we need to make life,” said Patrick Morris, first author of the paper and researcher at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech in Pasadena.


“This is the initiation of the whole carbon chemistry,” said John Pearson, researcher at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and study co-author. “If you want to form anything more complicated, it goes through that pathway.”

Scientists combined Herschel data with models of molecular formation and found that ultraviolet light is the best explanation for how hydrocarbons form in the Orion Nebula. The findings have implications for the formation of basic hydrocarbons in other galaxies as well. It is known that other galaxies have shocks, but dense regions in which ultraviolet light dominates heating and chemistry may play the key role in creating fundamental hydrocarbon molecules there, too.

Starlight is what starts the process going. Very nice. The next item we found at the NASA website is Hubble Reveals Observable Universe Contains 10 Times More Galaxies Than Previously Thought. We’ll give you only one excerpt:

The universe suddenly looks a lot more crowded, thanks to a deep-sky census assembled from surveys taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories. Astronomers came to the surprising conclusion that there are at least 10 times more galaxies in the observable universe than previously thought. This places the universe’s estimated population at, minimally, 2 trillion galaxies.

So there you are. The chemistry of life begins with starlight, and now there are ten times more galaxies out there than we had previously thought. The simple, Earth-centered universe of the creationists is becoming ridiculously huge, and the miracle of life is becoming increasingly less miraculous. As a result, creationism is becoming increasingly absurd. Now, let’s see if any of the usual creationist websites bother to mention these new discoveries.

See also: Bible Astronomy Is Always True.

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

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7 responses to “NASA Has More Bad News for Creationists

  1. Not much UV light near an undersea vent.

  2. Mike Elzinga

    There is a crucial underlying principle in this data; the building blocks of life have been built up in energy cascades in which the products are quickly shuttled from a highly energetic processes into a more benign environment where they don’t get ripped apart again.

    Ultraviolet light has energies extending from about 2 electron volts and up. Chemical bonds are on that order of energy. Once the basic building blocks made at that energy level are formed, they can, in turn, begin to form more complex, lower energy configurations.

    Impacts of asteroids and comets with the Earth can also generate enough energy to change chemical bonds; as can chemical reactions occurring near hydrothermal vents in the oceans.

  3. I’m trying to wrap my head around 2 trillion galaxies. Our galaxy has 100 billion stars. We might be larger than average, or smaller, but either way the total number of stars in the universe is incomprehensible.

    At some point it becomes impossible to claim our world is the only world where conditions are just right for life to form, or for intelligent life to evolve. Even if there is only one planet per galaxy with intelligent life, there would be 2 trillion potential civilizations in the universe.

  4. “Even if there is only one planet per galaxy with intelligent life, there would be 2 trillion potential civilizations in the universe.”

    And to make a finer point on that, the 2 trillion galaxies is an estimate based only on the *visible* universe. Based on the best curvature measurements the universe is likely to be infinite in size, in which that 2 trillion becomes vastly larger.

  5. What I wonder about are the varieties which life can take. We only know of one variety, all of it physically related by common descent, in one small world over just a few billion years. What could be produced different from intelligence. What complex chemistry different from life?

  6. Cyano de Bacteregerac

    Are we alone in the universe? Yes and no. No, because of what Ed mentioned about the sheer number of galaxies in the observable universe. By mere probability, there must be life elsewhere in the universe. Yes, we are practically alone, in the meaning of solitary, because of the limitation of light speed. Barring the discovery of some shortcut method (wormholes?) there is no way to contact, let alone physically reach, any other life in the universe. Maybe that’ll be the creationists’ tack if life is discovered by astronomers: “You only have radiation analyses, and they don’t say LIFE”, just like they say about evolution, “You only have stones and bones, and they don’t say EVOLUTION.” “Were you there? Did you actually travel and see life elsewhere in the universe? Neener neener.” Never underestimate the creationists’ slipperiness.

  7. Arguments from probability won’t sway the creationists, who’ll point out that we don’t have ACTUAL PROOF that life exists elsewhere and say that our mathematical assumptions must be wrong. And if life actually is detected in space, they’ll say either that the evidence is fraudulent or that it doesn’t matter because that life was created in six days 6,000 years ago along with everything else in the universe.