ICR Rejoices — No Habitable Extra-Solar Planets

One of the many nightmares that plague creationists is the fear that life will be found on planets other than the Earth. We’re written about this several times before — see NASA Has More Bad News for Creationists. As we said there:

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.

[…]

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.

Even the Discoveroids, who pretend not to be influenced by Genesis, nevertheless insist that Earth is The Privileged Planet.

But with more potentially habitable worlds being discovered all the time — see NASA Reports: Proxima b May Be Habitable — the creationists live in a state of constant fear that the cosmos imagined 30 centuries ago when Genesis was written will be completely discredited. So what do they do to keep up their confidence and that of their drooling followers? You’re about to find out.

But first the actual news. A month ago, PhysOrg reported Astronomers search for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet. A few excerpts will be sufficient. They say:

Is there anybody out there? The question of whether Earthlings are alone in the universe has puzzled everyone from biologists and physicists to philosophers and filmmakers. It’s also the driving force behind San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane’s research into exoplanets — planets that exist outside Earth’s solar system.

As one of the world’s leading “planet hunters,” Kane focuses on finding “habitable zones,” areas where water could exist in a liquid state on a planet’s surface if there’s sufficient atmospheric pressure. Kane and his team, including former undergraduate student Miranda Waters, examined the habitable zone on a planetary system 14 light years away. … “The Wolf 1061 system is important because it is so close and that gives other opportunities to do follow-up studies to see if it does indeed have life,” Kane said.

What has he found so far? We’re told:

Since Wolf 1061c is close to the inner edge of the habitable zone, meaning closer to the star, it could be that the planet has an atmosphere that’s more similar to Venus. “It’s close enough to the star where it’s looking suspiciously like a runaway greenhouse,” Kane said.

Okay, maybe that one isn’t habitable. This is the reaction of the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. Their headline is Earth Remains the Only Goldilocks Planet, written by Brian Thomas. He’s described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” This is ICR’s biographical information on him. We’ll give you some excerpts from his article, with bold font added by us:

Brian begins by describing the work of Stephen Kane, and then he says:

[E]xcitement dwindled when they overlaid the likely orbital track of planet Wolf 1061c onto the Goldilocks zone, they discovered that the planet orbits so close to its star that any water there would likely cause a runaway greenhouse effect. It would be a hellish sauna, like Venus. Basically, they just crossed Wolf 1061c off the list of exoplanets that might have liquid water.

That thrills the creationists. Brian says:

Now it [Wolf 1061c] seems to be another dead end, like everywhere but Earth, so far as we know. Of the hundreds of exoplanets targeted for faint hints of distant life, so far none meet the most basic requirement: liquid water.

Hurray — Earth is still unique! Brian continues:

However, if some astronomers ever do verify liquid water on a distant planet, they will almost certainly take it as a sign of life even though water destroys the very chemicals that make cells operate. Water facilitates the right chemistry inside already-living cells, but terminates those same chemicals when exposed outside the protective membrane of a cell.

Wow — even if those godless astronomers actually do find a planet with water, it won’t mean anything. The whole field of Astrobiology is a waste of time. This is how Brian’s essay ends:

With Wolf 1061c too close to its star to reasonably expect liquid water, and with water’s power to destroy biochemistry, the idea of life somewhere out there goes from a hope without reason to a hope against reason.

Those astronomers are fools! Why do they keep wasting their time? Creationists know that there’s no place like Earth. Nothing like it has been found out there yet, so they can keep on promoting the truth of Genesis a while longer.

What will happen when we eventually discover life on some extra-solar planet? Or when we create life from lifeless chemicals in the lab? That will be the creationists’ ultimate crisis, and it’s coming. They know it, and they’re frightened.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “ICR Rejoices — No Habitable Extra-Solar Planets

  1. It has been determined that there are something in the order of 10^7 stars in a typical galaxy and there are a similar number of galaxies. That’s about 10^14 stars total – each as a possible “solar system”. The thought that earth is unique in that many chances is just not a sustainable idea.

  2. What if Venus were discovered to have the remains of civilization? What if Venus had intelligent life which destroyed itself?

  3. In the meantime Ol’Hambo tried to imitate the New American President going apes**t:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularvoices/2017/02/17/ken-ham-just-another-twitter-meltdown/

  4. “However, if some astronomers ever do verify liquid water on a distant planet, they will almost certainly take it as a sign of life even though water destroys the very chemicals that make cells operate.”

    That’s not really true. Cells are largely water and the chemicals do just fine. Indeed, many enzymes depend on water for their shape and activity, and some even use water as a substrate. Moreover, it’s water that helps keep our phospholipid plasma and internal membranes intact. Even if a cell is ruptured, most of its enzymes still function: just witness the success of in vitro biochemistry. Finally, the small molecules like amino acids and sugars aren’t destroyed by water.

    Astronomers and exobiologists won’t reflexively conclude that water equals life, though it will raise their expectations. Brian understands very little science.

  5. I’ve said this before: so what if it were true that Earth is the only life-bearing world in the universe? (Unlikely, but suppose.) How would that prove anything about how, or whether, evolution occurred on Earth?

  6. If [liquid] water destroys the very chemicals that make cells operate … then on what basis can one claim that Earth is the Privileged Planet?

    If the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics (or Conservation of Information) makes prevents the formation of life … how is it that the parameters of the Universe are Find Tuned for life?

    If the Anthropic Principle tells us that the Universe is designed for human life … how is it that the Earth needs privilege to be the home for humans?

  7. Eric Lipps, the idea that humans are especially privileged and the pinnacle of creation is the real reason why creationists dismiss evolution. Humans and Earth must be unique.

    Why so? Nothing in the scriptures states or necessarily implies that Earth is the only home for life, or for intelligent life, yet Rives, ICR and Ham insist on it.

    I would suggest that it really has nothing to do with scriptural authority, or theology, or any of their official preoccupations. Like a lot of institutional creationism, it’s political and venal. They have a constituency that needs constant reassurance that it’s special. And in a good way, too! Demagogues, stump orators, snake oil salesmen and con men of all kinds have always known that there’s a demographic that will pay good money to be told that. The creationist mills are nothing more than noise machines, and any noise that profits them is grist to them.

  8. “It has been determined that there are something in the order of 10^7 stars in a typical galaxy and there are a similar number of galaxies.”

    Your statement is in error by some 4 orders of magnitude. The estimated average galaxy size is about 100 billion stars (10^11) and the estimated number of visible galaxies is approximately the same value. It is entirely possible that the universe is infinite in extent (due to the currently measured space-time “flatness”), in which case the number of actual galaxies would be “somewhat” higher than the current visible estimates.
    http://www.skyandtelescope.com/astronomy-resources/how-many-stars-are-there/
    http://www.universetoday.com/102630/how-many-stars-are-there-in-the-universe/
    http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/cosmo/lectures/lec15.html
    http://curious.astro.cornell.edu/about-us/103-the-universe/cosmology-and-the-big-bang/geometry-of-space-time/600-why-is-the-universe-flat-and-not-spherical-advanced