AIG Panics Over Another Extra-Solar Planet

It must be terrifying to be a creationist. They live in constant fear that another of their ever-dwindling portfolio of miracles will turn out to be something that scientists can routinely explain and duplicate. The biggie, of course, is the creation of life from non-living material. Sooner or later — probably sooner — that will be done in someone’s lab.

Almost equally devastating will be the discovery of life on another planet. Genesis strongly suggests that Earth is utterly unique, but it’s now thought that there are Maybe Billions of Habitable Planets in our galaxy, and it would be amazing indeed if none had life.

So every day in the life of a creation scientist is potentially the day when they’ll learn what is to them absolutely devastating news. All they can do is keep grinding out their silly posts and hoping that the game will go on a little longer. The latest discovery that has them in a tizzy was described a few weeks ago at PhysOrg — see Newly discovered exoplanet may be best candidate in search for signs of life. It says:

The newly discovered super-Earth LHS 1140b orbits in the habitable zone around a faint red dwarf star named LHS 1140, in the constellation of Cetus (The Sea Monster). Red dwarfs are much smaller and cooler than the Sun and, although LHS 1140b is ten times closer to its star than the Earth is to the Sun, it only receives about half as much sunlight from its star as the Earth and lies in the middle of the habitable zone. The orbit is seen almost edge-on from Earth and as the exoplanet passes in front of the star once per orbit it blocks a little of its light every 25 days.

“This is the most exciting exoplanet I’ve seen in the past decade,” said lead author Jason Dittmann of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (Cambridge, USA). “We could hardly hope for a better target to perform one of the biggest quests in science—searching for evidence of life beyond Earth.”

[…]

This super-Earth may be the best candidate yet for future observations to study and characterise its atmosphere, if one exists. Two of the European members of the team, Xavier Delfosse and Xavier Bonfils both at the CNRS and IPAG in Grenoble, France, conclude: “The LHS 1140 system might prove to be an even more important target for the future characterisation of planets in the habitable zone than Proxima b or TRAPPIST-1. This has been a remarkable year for exoplanet discoveries!”

As you can imagine, creationists are upset. That’s what we see today in the latest post from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia . It’s titled The Latest “Earth-Like Planet”: LHS 1140 b, written by Danny Faulkner. Here’s AIG’s biographical information about him. They say he taught physics and astronomy until he joined AIG. His undergraduate degree is from Bob Jones University. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

On April 19, 2017, a team of researchers announced the discovery of the latest “earthlike” planet, LHS 1140 b.

Like those scare quotes? Danny used them in the title of his post too. We’ll skip his description of the newly-discovered planet, and his emphasis on all the factors that may — he hopes — make it inhospitable to life. That kind of negativity is standard when creationists discuss such things. We’ll skip right to his conclusion:

Despite the problems with each supposed earth-like planet they have discovered, most scientists are undeterred, because in the evolutionary worldview life must exist on many planets. But the more extrasolar planets that we discover (the number is closing in on 4,000), the more we realize how special the earth is. This is consistent with the expectations of the creationary worldview, but it is a huge problem for the evolutionary worldview.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Consider the statistics. Out of probably billions of candidates, we only need to find life on one of them and the creationists will be devastated. But for them to keep their game going, they need to show (or wait for us to show) that there’s no life on any of them. It’s a game they can’t win, but they’ll keep playing as long as they can.

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

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14 responses to “AIG Panics Over Another Extra-Solar Planet

  1. For them it really doesn’t matter. They will dismiss it all in favor of the biblical narrative

  2. Given that when the bible was written (by humans), they could only rely on their senses and how they perceived the world. It’s only natural for them to think this is the only world with life, they weren’t aware of the other planets in our solar system, they could naturally assume the sun orbited the earth and that stars were just little lights embedded in the celestial firmament. Unfortunately creationists still think this way despite the thousands of years of discoveries and evidence to the contrary, they just can’t let go because it encroaches on their supernatural world, of which there is no evidence. Most of them will likely never admit they’re wrong and will wear blinders for life.
    “This is consistent with the expectations of the creationary worldview…”
    And the only use of the word “creationary” I could find is for a lego game.

  3. Eric Lipps

    Despite the problems with each supposed earth-like planet they have discovered, most scientists are undeterred, because in the evolutionary worldview life must exist on many planets. But the more extrasolar planets that we discover (the number is closing in on 4,000), the more we realize how special the earth is. This is consistent with the expectations of the creationary worldview, but it is a huge problem for the evolutionary worldview.

    Drivel.

    The number of other planets with life has nothing to do with whether life on Earth arose via natural, evolutionary means. Earth can be special, even unique, without that invalidating evolution. In fact, for generations scientists believed Earth might well be unique, because the then-prevailing theory of planet formation involved two stars passing close enough to each other for their gravity to rip chunks of mass out of both, and such close passages were known to be fabulously rare. That didn’t stop those scientists from accepting evolution, not because they had a God-denying worldview but because there was simply too much evidence on this planet that evolution had occurred.

    Er, and “creationary”? My spell-checker no likey!

  4. Faulkner was an actual astronomer for many years before retiring and joining AIG in 2013. Besides dismissing the hopes for life on exo-planets he has been busy refuting-get this-the flat earth theory. He has posted about it 6 times(!) in 2016-7 plus an attack on geocentrism back in 2001.
    It must be really hard to be an astronomer and a creationist. In one post he says:

    I have conducted several experiments in recent months to test the flat-earth model. Every time I do this, the results contradict the predictions of the model, but conform to the predictions of the conventional understanding of the world. How much longer will flat-earther’s believe this nonsense?

    Imagine that: clinging to your beliefs despite the evidence! Who would do that? And imagine doing “experiments” to refute the flat earth theory after doing real astronomy. What does that feel like?

  5. A couple of side issues:
    If scientists are able to make life from non-living matter, that would at least show that design could play a part in the process. As things stand today, the best that IDers can say that with design, anything is possible.
    As far as finding a place where life is possible, creationists tell us that thermodynamics makes Earth not a place where life is possible, unless there is design involved.

  6. “I have conducted several experiments in recent months to test the flat-earth model.”
    Impressive. I do that every night by looking at the sky. Guess what? Every time the starry sky looks totally different here in Suriname from the starry sky in my native country The Netherlands.
    So much for Danny the Astronomer.

  7. Strange how the complex points to creation for the dim ones. When it is clear that randomness and random external influences can and do create more complexity. Euler made some really complex drawings, but they are nothing compared to the randomness of the fractal or genetic variation!
    And the gawd-bots can claim the greatness of gawd all they like, until S/He/IT shows itself there is nothing but BS dripping down their chins!

  8. TomS correctly notes:

    If scientists are able to make life from non-living matter, that would at least show that design could play a part in the process.

    …with the emphasis on could; it seems to me the ID advocates think that ‘could’ is a must, but that does not actually follow.

    In fact, the term ‘design’ has been so debased by the DI et al. that I think the hypothetical here of scientists make living from non-living matter in the lab would be a case of reverse engineering rather than ‘design’ in the sense the Creationists use that term.

  9. Aarrrgggghhh! Not sure I can face either another grovelling supplication to The Invisible Hand of Correction, or a taunting remark from Our Curmudgeon about the challenges I face with a sapiens keyboard…:-(

    [*Voice from above*] You also have trouble with Latin. Et al. is the abbreviated form of et alia (if neuter), which means “and others.” Note that et is not an abbreviation, and should not be followed by a period.

  10. Timeo parcepromos sensuales et dona ferentes…

  11. Charles Deetz ;)

    Lots of habitable planets, but somehow ours is unique. Lots of proto-humans, but somehow homo-sapiens are unique. Lots of creationist positions, yet somehow AIG has the right answer on everything. Doh!

  12. At least Mega knows how to quote Asterix the Legionary ….

  13. docbill1351

    A “creationary” is a small bird in a cage that you slip into a room of people you suspect are creationists. If the creationary falls off its perch in a stupor, don’t go in.

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