Creationists React to Possible Physics Discovery

There’s more weird science in the news. This time it involves the so-called EmDrive. Wikipedia has an article on the concept: RF resonant cavity thruster, which says:

This would be a type of reactionless drive, providing thrust from electricity without consuming a propellant. This appears to violate well-established laws of physics, such as the conservation of momentum; therefore most scientists believe such thrusters to be impossible. Many physicists have labeled them as “pseudoscience” Despite this, inventors try to discover such drives, because if they exist they could support long voyages in space, where propellant is a primary limiting factor. Roger Shawyer published a design with a tapered conical cavity, which he called the EmDrive.

The EmDrive has been much in the news lately. PhysOrg had an article on it a couple of weeks ago: Was physics really violated by EM drive in ‘leaked’ NASA paper? They say:

Ever since NASA announced that they had created a prototype of the controversial Radio Frequency Resonant Cavity Thruster (aka. the EM Drive), any and all reported results have been the subject of controversy. And with most of the announcements taking the form of “leaks” and rumors, all reported developments have been naturally treated with skepticism.

Is it EmDrive or EM Drive? PhysOrg uses the latter. NASA claims they actually made such a thing? Wow! PhysOrg then tells us:

Given the advantages of the EM Drive, it is understandable that people want to see it work. Theoretically, these include the ability to generate enough thrust to fly to the Moon in just four hours, to Mars in 70 days, and to Pluto in 18 months, and the ability to do it all without the need for propellant. Unfortunately, the drive system is based on principles that violate the Conservation of Momentum law.

That does seem to be a problem. PhysOrg continues:

The [NASA] report, titled Measurement of Impulsive Thrust from a Closed Radio Frequency Cavity in Vacuum, was apparently leaked in early November. It’s lead author is predictably Harold White, the Advanced Propulsion Team Lead for the NASA Engineering Directorate and the Principal Investigator for NASA’s Eagleworks lab.

The PhysOrg article is a long one, which you may want to read for yourself. It ends with this:

But of course, this is all assuming that the “leaked” paper is genuine. Until NASA can confirm that these results are indeed real, the EM Drive will be stuck in controversy limbo.

Much suspense. Much at stake. Meanwhile, the creationists have become interested. Look what we found at the website of Pat Robertson’s Christian News Network, which “provides up-to-date news and information affecting the body of Christ worldwide from an uncompromising Biblical worldview.” Their headline is NASA Research Findings Stun Scientists, Seemingly Defy Important Law of Physics. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

NASA has published findings that seem to defy Newton’s third law of motion, thus casting doubt on a foundational premise of modern physics and astonishing the scientific community.

Then they describe what the controversy is all about, as best they can. We’ll skip that in order to get to the good stuff. Here’s the warm-up:

NASA’s physics-defying discovery underscores the point that scientific knowledge — even well-established scientific laws such as Newton’s laws of motion — is subject to change. Even the expression “scientifically proven” is a contradiction in terms, writes physicist Carlo Rovelli. “There’s nothing that is scientifically proven. The core of science is the deep awareness that we have wrong ideas, we have prejudices. We have ingrained prejudices,” Rovelli wrote in a 2014 piece published by “New Republic.

Okay, having established that scientists are a bunch of clowns who are just wildly guessing, here comes the creationist reaction:

In response to Rovelli’s column, Elizabeth Mitchell [the creationist gynocologist] with Answers in Genesis proposed that the Bible is the only unfailingly true account of our origins — a reliable “yardstick by which to assess ideas relevant to the unobservable past.”

“If only all scientists wishing to explain our origins would allow their vision to include an understanding that the physical universe was brought into being by a Creator God, a God who has left us an eyewitness account of our origins and the early history of the earth in Genesis, a history that is consistent with the observable facts of science,” she wrote in an online article published on the Answers in Genesis website.

They provide a link to Mitchell’s AIG article, but we’ve left that out. Anyway, that’s how creationists deal with science questions. In response to what may (or may not) be an incredible breakthrough leading to a much-needed new propulsion system for spacecraft, the Christian News Network cites an article from Hambo’s website explaining how much better the bible is than ever-changing science.

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11 responses to “Creationists React to Possible Physics Discovery

  1. Maybe even such well-established laws as the Conservation of Information in the Creationist Sense?
    Anyway, we all know that Intelligent Design can overcome natural laws, so maybe that is all that is going on here. The experimenters are just intelligently designing the rocket motor!

  2. Yes, well, physicists will attempt to determine whether the EM drive actually does or does not work. Unlike creationists, they won’t claim it works just because some paper from NASA says it does.

  3. The only way to be really sure the thing works is to “fly it to the moon!” Let’s see NASA do that!

  4. Wait for WND to pick it up so their ignorant bottom quartile commentariat (but robust ad revenue generating base!) can say “How stupid is science! God is so smart!” in 3…2…1

  5. The odds against this drive working may be large, but given the benefits, if there is a chance that it actually works its definitely worth testing.

    That’s what science does anyway. Get an idea, figure some way to test it. Rinse and repeat.

    This is the exact opposite of creation “science” where they start with an a priori belief and make up or cherry pick some supporting evidence, fudge whatever else they can, and ignore anything that contradicts that belief, all in an attempt to make things come out the way they want.

    And then they have the gall to nitpick real science? Bah!

  6. Ah yes. Probably works as well as cold fusion did.

  7. Ah yes. Probably works as well as cold fusion did.

    Since it’s Name Drop Tuesday, I knew Martin Fleischmann when I was a grad student. He certainly knew nothing about fusion! The fact that his “experiments” were not repeatable didn’t surprise me at all.

  8. I knew Martin Fleischmann. Martin Fleischmann was a friend of mine. Retired Prof, you’re no Martin Fleischmann.

  9. Retired Prof, you’re no Martin Fleischmann.

    Thank Dog!

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    I dunno. Guess I’m just still grieving over NASA’s attempt, some many years back, to land a science mission on Mars. Unfortunately some folks at NASA ran an unexpected experiment that involved the landing phase. They tried simultaneously using both US conventional units, and the [then] newfangled SI system. It didn’t work out so good.