Everybody knows about the recent discovery: NASA Telescope Reveals Largest Batch of Earth-Size, Habitable-Zone Planets Around Single Star. PhysOrg reported it here: Temperate earth-sized worlds found in extraordinarily rich planetary system (Update), and said:
Astronomers have found a system of seven Earth-sized planets just 40 light-years away. They were detected as they passed in front of their parent star, the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1. Three of them lie in the habitable zone and could harbour water, increasing the possibility that the system could play host to life. It has both the largest number of Earth-sized planets yet found and the largest number of worlds that could support liquid water. … All the planets, labelled TRAPPIST-1b, c, d, e, f, g and h in order of increasing distance from their parent star, have sizes similar to Earth.
It’s no surprise that the Discovery Institute is among the creationist outfits claiming that this discovery of no significance whatsoever — see Klinghoffer Dismisses Latest Planet Discoveries. They insist that the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — made Earth unique, as a home for us (whom he also created), and there’s nothing else of any importance out there.
Their latest post on the subject is Lonely Planet — Metaxas on the TRAPPIST-1 System, by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
In a BreakPoint broadcast, considering media hype about the recent discovery of seven supposedly [Hee hee!] Earth-like exo-planets, our friend Eric Metaxas finds a note of poignancy. That is the TRAPPIST-1 system some 40 light years away, which I wrote about a little while back. Insightfully, Metaxas notes the sense of loneliness for companionship from beyond the stars, notable in the media, in science, and science fiction too.
Discovery Institute fellow traveler Eric Metaxas senses your loneliness, dear reader. According to Klinghoffer, he said in his broadcast:
In the new movie “Arrival,” a group of scientists try to break the language barrier between humanity and an extraterrestrial race that’s landed on Earth. These visitors have not come to make war, but to offer us a gift. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that the film is pervaded by a sense of loneliness and a longing for kinship with someone beyond our world.
Where in the world is Klinghoffer going with this? Hang on, it’s coming. He says:
He [Metaxas] … concludes by observing that there is, in fact, no cause for loneliness. As Eric argued in a provocative Wall Street Journal article, evidence of design in the cosmos indicates that we’re not alone at all.
We’re not alone? But we thought the Discoveroids, like all creationists, insisted that we are the only intelligence their magic designer created. What’s going on here? Klinghoffer explains:
Distant planets may be devoid of intelligent life — probably are, as far as anyone can tell at the moment. But a designer operating behind or through nature is the accessible object of both scientific and spiritual searching:
[Klinghoffer quotes from the Metaxas broadcast:] The longing for life beyond our planet is obsessive. For decades, we’ve poured resources into the search for celestial neighbors, hoping to establish in real life the kind of contact portrayed in “Arrival.” But the stars, despite our best efforts, have proved silent and barren.
But in another sense, our Sun, Earth, and the TRAPPIST-1 system are anything but silent! They declare a cosmic Intelligence Who’s both infinitely mysterious and intimately knowable. Christians recognize that our planet was uniquely designed and fine-tuned to support life — and that’s putting it mildly. Our place in the universe is nothing less than a miracle.
[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! It’s a miracle! [*End Drool Mode*] Klinghoffer’s final paragraph is a bold intellectual challenge:
We leave others to draw religious conclusions. The scientific evidence, though, is clear and demands a response from objective and open-minded observers.
So there you are. As we understand it, Klinghoffer is saying this: (1) evidence of a potentially habitable planetary system is proof that we’re alone; (2) but we’re not alone, because we have the intelligent designer; and (3) A is not-A.
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