Jason Lisle Discovered a Planet!

You’re going to be hearing about this for a long time, so get used to it. We learned about it from one of our clandestine operatives, code-named “Blue Grass.”

The amazing headline is Creationist discovers new planet using data from Kepler spacecraft. It appears at the website of The Christian Times, which has a comments section. They describe themselves like this:

The mission of The Christian Times is to report on Christian-related news and events nationwide and worldwide. … We affirm the divine inspiration, truthfulness and authority of both Old and New Testament Scriptures in their entirety as the only written word of God, without error in all that it affirms, and the only infallible rule of faith and practice.

Let’s find out what The Christian Times reveals. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A Christian astrophysicist in Texas has discovered a new planet seven times bigger than Earth while analyzing data from the Kepler spacecraft. Dr. Jason Lisle, the director of physical sciences at the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research, announced the discovery in May after he analyzed a measurable drop in the brightness of the host star KPLR 7826659, during a period in which the planet crossed in front of the star.

Jason Lisle discovered a planet? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! As you all know, he’s the creationist astrophysicist who used to be employed by Answers in Genesis (AIG), ol’ Hambo’s online ministry. For reasons which have never been explained, Jason left AIG a few years ago to go to the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.

Our last post about him was: Jason Lisle’s Extra-Solar Planet Predictions. That was almost a month ago, and he may have already known about his planetary discovery at the time. The Christian Times says:

The Kepler spacecraft, launched in 2009 for the purpose of researching stars and exoplanets in the Milky Way, records the brightness of 145,000 stars using a photometer and transmits the data back to Earth. Lisle explained that thousands of planets have been discovered orbiting stars by analyzing the data from the spacecraft.

Yes, and as far as we know, creationists played no part in the design or implementation of Kepler, and certainly not in the conception of its mission. But somehow, Jason used their data to find a planet. The Christian Times tells us:

KPLR 7826659 had already been marked as a “potential candidate” in the Kepler archives, but nothing has been published to confirm that there is a planet orbiting the celestial body. “That’s what made this one very exciting for me as I’m apparently the first to confirm that there is a real planet orbiting that star,” Lisle stated.

Ah, now we understand. The Kepler data is being made available to everyone at this website: Discover new planets orbiting other stars in our galaxy! Amateurs — and even creationists like Jason — are encouraged to view the data to look for likely planets. Over 12,000 people have signed up to give it a try, and Jason appears to be one of them. They’re given a quick tutorial and are then asked to plow through data on thousands of stars recently observed. PhysOrg had a story six weeks ago about another amateur discovery: Exoplanet discovery by an amateur astronomer shows the power of citizen science.

The Christian Times news story continues:

Lisle noted that the newly discovered planet is almost as large as Jupiter, and yet, it orbits quite close to its star, which he says runs “contrary to secular expectations, but perfectly consistent with the diversity that the Lord has built into His universe.”

“Contrary to secular expectations”? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! There are a few more paragraphs, but they contain no actual news, so this is where we leave The Christian Times. Now we wait for the inevitable babbling from creationist news sites about how Jason used the bible to find a new planet, thus proving its perfect accuracy in all scientific matters. This is going to be fun!

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22 responses to “Jason Lisle Discovered a Planet!

  1. “contrary to secular expectations, but perfectly consistent with the diversity that the Lord has built into His universe.”
    Wow, I got to pick up the Bible once again and do a quick reread. It appears I must have missed the passage on planetary study. Who knew?

  2. Because the secularists expect all the planets to be in size order, just like our own solar system. Oh, wait……

  3. God can do anything. Therefore any planet is perfectly consistent. If there is a planet with a square orbit, or with an orbit of intersecting rings. Even if there is a planet with naturally macro-evolving life.

  4. docbill1351

    Oh, yeah? Well I have “discovered” a planet by “processing” Kepler data, myself! I have probably helped to discover several planets.

    As a participating member of PlanetHunters.org I can look at Kepler any time I like, as long as I like. Sometimes I spend 30 minutes on the site, sometimes 5 minutes. It all depends.

    It can be tricky, though, and I usually skip tricky data that I don’t feel confident classifying, but when an obvious transit comes across it’s, like, “Eureka!”

    But, I’m happy that Jason has a hobby. Everybody needs a hobby.

  5. The Bible predicts that stuff happens. Lo and behold stuff happens. Never would have known w/o the Bible.

  6. Just when you think you’ve heard every stupid thing they can possibly say they keep talking!

  7. Typical creationist non-sequitur. If Jason Lisle analyzes data that indeed turns up a new planet, good. Unfortunately his further suggestion that somehow it is related to the bible is a fallacy, the creationist non-sequitur in their thinking. Here-to-fore haven’t creationists claimed there was no other planet than earth in the universe and other planets didn’t exist, therefore why even search for them, then non other planet LIKE earth, then no other planet in the “goldilocks” zone, or with any conditions at all that might sustain life? Only one open possibility remains, finding life on some planet, goldilocks or not.

  8. Michael Fugate

    What did Jason use as a prooftext for his assertion of consistency with YEC?

  9. Dave Luckett

    mnbo, I gave the Ark Park five years, open to close. It seems we’re roughly on schedule. By that time, Ken the Profit will be far away, having heard the call to other ministries, and he won’t owe anybody a cent. Maybe Ark Encounter or Whitewater might break even on selling the lumber, but the county and locals will be left holding the bag.

    The cheery end of the story is that when this goes belly-up, it will discourage emulation, for those loons capable of commercial judgement. And that is most of them, strangely enough, little as they may otherwise respond to reality.

  10. docbill1351

    As DavidK points out, many, many of us contribute to identifying a possible planet transit. That Lisle “discovered” a planet on his own is ludicrous.

    But, that’s the creationist standard of “research.”

    What a fool!

  11. This actually impresses me deeply. I was sure Jason Lisle couldn’t find his backside with both hands.

  12. Eric Lipps

    Lisle noted that the newly discovered planet is almost as large as Jupiter, and yet, it orbits quite close to its star, which he says runs “contrary to secular expectations, but perfectly consistent with the diversity that the Lord has built into His universe.”

    Snicker. Lisle is quite a few years behind the times. So-called “hot Jupiters” were a surprise when thy were first discovered, but they’re hardly shocking now; many others have been discovered, so Lisle’s claimed discovery, even if genuine, is nothing revolutionary, especially since mechanisms whereby such planets might form have been worked out.

    See, that’s how science is supposed to work: form a theory on the basis of data, test it with more data and revise or abandon it if new discoveries contradict it. Creationists, by contrast, begin with the Bible and cherry-pick, distort or invent evidence to support it.

  13. Creationists begin with the idea that there has to be something wrong with the idea that we are related to the rest of life. If they can remember some Bible verse, that can be pressed into service. If they can remember some proof of God, they will use that as if it had any relevance. Whatever seems at the moment to keep away disturbing feelings about being part of the natural world.

  14. Docbill is right Dr. Lisle has a hobby, as this project specifically is employing citizen volunteers to do the grunt work of finding dips in the transit curves in the Kepler data.
    Checking out the planethunter website I think Lisle is doing his creationist horn tooting prematurely. The website specifically states that credit is given when papers are written and published, if Lisle is uncertain that he is the lone discoverer then it is premature to take credit for it. In addition the fact that the star had already been marked previously means he likely would only get credit for helping to confirm someone else’s discovery. Obviously, it would be preferable to wait until (or if) the paper is published before Lisle gets his attaboy and pat on the back.

  15. Astronomy has a history of significant work being done by amateurs. The skies are big, and the number of professional observers is few. Amateurs can record data about variable stars, meteor showers, eclipses, comets, …
    AIUI, a comet will be named after its disoverers, often amateurs, but the exoplanets are not.

  16. So it took him a whole doctorate to do something that several enthusiastic amateurs do in their spare time. Pretentious primitive pompous pious prat.

  17. God damn piece of [edited out]! 25 years ago creationists adamantly claimed that there would be no other planets found around other stars. The whole angular momentum argument. Now this [edited out] wants to take credit for what his ilk denied for so long? They have no shame.

  18. @TomS, my comment wasn’t meant to disparage amateurs at all. This crowd chunking of the data is a great idea. What Lisle is doing here is quite nefarious though. First he is taken credit before he has earned it. He is taking his credit as a professional when he is doing something as an amateur (“volunteer”). Then he is using this “accomplishment” to puff up the feathers of young earth creationism. This is similar to the disingenuous method he used to get his doctorate in the first place.

  19. I’m sorry that I wasn’t clear in what I wrote. I didn’t think that you were disparaging amateurs, and I’m sorry that I left that impression. Thank you for bringing my mistake to my attention.

  20. @TomS
    Our comments were close together in the feed, so I made an incorrect assumption that they were related.