A Creationist Astronomer in Montana

This is from The Livingston Enterprise of Livingston, Montana. Their headline is SURVEYING THE HEAVENS IN THE SHIELDS VALLEY, and they have a comments feature — with no comments yet. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

In Mike McClure’s book, cloudless skies are good for far more than bright, sunshiny days. For him, the real joy comes after Montana’s side of the globe has bid our solar system’s centerpiece adieu, as there are few places McLure would rather be than beneath a rich, star-painted nocturnal canvas. And at nearly every opportunity, that’s exactly where he is — peering through a hefty telescope in his observatory on the southern fringe of Wilsall — his personal window into the heavens.

That’s nice, but why are we blogging about Mike McClure and his telescope? Is there a creationism angle to this story? Stay with us, dear reader, and you’ll soon find out. The Livingston Enterprise tells us:

“This is really a dream I had, 25 or 30 years in the making,” he said. His professional career serves his hobby well. A retired aerospace engineer, McClure worked for 26 years in Tennessee for the then-called Arnold Engineering Development Center, a U.S. Air Force operation distinguished as the most advanced and largest complex of flight simulation test facilities in the world. The 67-year-old astronomer holds three degrees in the fields of physics and aerospace engineering from Iowa State University.

He’s a retired aerospace engineer. This could be another example of the Salem hypothesis, that engineering types — which often includes computer scientists — have a tendency toward the creationist viewpoint.

After a lot of details about McLure’s telescope, we finally get to the good stuff:

Inside the dome, printouts of dozens of passages from the Bible are taped to the walls. McClure, a self-described “creationist astronomer,” holds a differing view as to the origin universe than the prevailing cosmological theory, the Big Bang.

You knew we wouldn’t disappoint you. Let’s read on:

“Secular scientists live and die by the Big Bang model, but there are problems with it,” he said, stating the physics don’t quite add up for him.

Unfortunately, we’re not given anything specific about that. Oh, this is good:

He pointed out one of his favorite passages on the wall: “He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was at his feet,” offering that God is the creator of mass and that “bowed the heavens,” hints at the general relatively’s [sic] curvature of the space time continuum, while “the darkness at his feet” is in reference to black holes.

Wowie — black holes are mentioned in the bible! Here’s our last excerpt:

“I’m a creationist, but that doesn’t take away from looking through the telescope,” he said. “I still see the wonders of the universe.”

Yes, McClure sees things, but he’s also missing a lot. However, he doesn’t appear to be making money by operating a creationist tourist attraction, and he doesn’t seem hostile to astronomers who aren’t creationists. So whatever you may think of Mike McClure as an astronomer, he’s not a bad guy.

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

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14 responses to “A Creationist Astronomer in Montana

  1. siluriantrilobite

    Hasn’t there been trouble with creationism and creationists in Iowa State’s astronomy department?

  2. Sorry, but his Meade 12″ telescope does not make him an astronomer.

  3. Ceteris Paribus

    “He [the Montana astronomer] pointed out one of his favorite passages on the wall: “He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was at his feet,” offering that God is the creator of mass and that “bowed the heavens,” hints at the general relatively’s [sic] curvature of the space time continuum, while “the darkness at his feet” is in reference to black holes.”

    And in his Bible, the astronomer may also have discovered additional foot fetishes. For example, in Ruth 3:4 it reads [KJV]:

    “And it shall be, when he lieth down, that thou shalt mark the place where he shall lie, and thou shalt go in, and uncover his feet, and lay thee down; and he will tell thee what thou shalt do.”

  4. @DavidK
    Has that Meade telescope ever been outside in the dark?

  5. Mark Germano

    I wonder what Mike McClure would say to an astronomer that told him some things about powered flight just “don’t add up.”

  6. Ross Cameron

    Scary stuff that apparently rational people can be so irrational. Wonder what his explanations are for asteroids crashing onto the Earth? God farts?

  7. @mark Germano
    We’ve heard of the Theory of Flight: Flight is just a theory.
    And flight is a violation of the Law of Gravity. But we should distinguish between micro-flight and macro-flight.
    But just like other laws of nature, the Law of Gravity can be bypassed by Intelligent Design. Airplanes, kites and rockets can macro-fly only because the are intelligently designed by humans.

  8. Michael Fugate

    “It’s not flying, it’s falling with style”

  9. Mark Germano

    Think of all the victims of the Theory of Flight. Without an understanding of aerodynamics, there would have been no Battle of Britain, no firebombing of Dresden, no terrorist attacks of September 11th.

    In fact, you could say, “No Wright Brothers, no Osama bin Laden.”

  10. “No Wright Flyers, No Bright Fires!”
    “No Kitty Hawk, No Concussive Shock!”
    “Planes drop nukes!”
    “Hitler believed in aerodynamics!”

  11. How ignorant of Scripture do you have to be, not to see “He bowed the heavens also, and came down: and darkness was at his feet” as an obvious case of JHVH in one of his favourite manifestations, as a storm god?

  12. Dave Luckett

    How ignorant of writing do you have to be, not to recognise that this passage is obvious metaphor and poetic device, and that interpreting it as a description of a black hole is ridiculously far-fetched?

    I think there is a parallel here to pareidolia – seeing faces in random patterns. Or like the ganzfeld effect – that is, if you place a subject in front of a perfectly blank white field that extends to the periphery of vision, and ask them to describe what they see, they will find colours, shapes, images, patterns that aren’t there. Or rather, that exist only in their minds.

  13. I agree with Mike, “I’m a creationist, but that doesn’t take away from looking through the telescope”
    Yes you can have a very nice hobby in Astronomy and not understand any of the science. Mike could believe in a flat Earth and still enjoy his telescope. I disagree with DavidK, 12″ does make you an astronomer, really one doesn’t even need a telescope to be an astronomer. Obviously Mike isn’t a professional astronomer.
    I’m not thrilled at Mike’s web page though, all preach and no photos. His world view is an eclectic mix of modern and medieval. Even when he could have used one of his own photos he chose to use a professional photo.

  14. “The physics don’t add up” regarding the Big Bang? Ohhh-kay, let’s have some specifics here–but wait, as the Curmudgeon observes, Mr. McClure doesn’t provide any. He also apparently doesn’t know that in modern American English, “physics” isn’t a plural noun.