More Extra-Solar Planets, Less Creationism

That picture you see is our representation of the universe described in Genesis, written at the time of the Babylonian empire. Immovable in the center of the universe is the flat Earth, supported by pillars, created as the abode of man. The Sun orbits the Earth, the same as the Moon. Above them are the stars, embedded as lights in a presumably solid firmament, which also revolves around the Earth. Above the firmament is heaven, the glorious realm of Yahweh. Below Earth is the lake of fire [described later in scripture]. That’s the universe, and we’re in the center — the focus of divine attention. No other worlds are mentioned in Genesis. There’s no place for them.

Since the time of Galileo, scientists have been demonstrating that the universe is, ah, somewhat different. First, it was shown that the Earth was merely one of several planets, and they all orbit the Sun. That was a major upheaval, but it was accepted by the clergy, albeit with some initial resistance — see the Galileo affair. But they insisted that ours was the only planetary system in existence, so they could still believe that Earth was specially created for us.

We keep reminding you of this oldie-goldie from the 1970s at the Institute for Creation Research: The Stars of Heaven. It was written by Henry Morris himself, who said:

[T]he earth is unique in the solar system and, for all we know, the solar system is unique in the universe. So far as we can observe, there are not even any planets anywhere else, let alone a planet equipped to sustain biological life.

Now, even that has been taken away from them. In recent years, other planetary systems have been discovered, and more are constantly being sighted. Our last post about this was a couple of months ago: NASA’s Tally of Extra-Solar Planets. Now we have the latest update from NASA: NASA Releases Kepler Survey Catalog with Hundreds of New Planet Candidates. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

NASA’s Kepler space telescope team has released a mission catalog of planet candidates that introduces 219 new planet candidates, 10 of which are near-Earth size and orbiting in their star’s habitable zone, which is the range of distance from a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of a rocky planet.

The creationists get whacked like this every few months. NASA says:

With the release of this catalog, derived from data publicly available on the NASA Exoplanet Archive, there are now 4,034 planet candidates identified by Kepler. Of which, 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of roughly 50 near-Earth size habitable zone candidates detected by Kepler, more than 30 have been verified.

By the way, if you’ve been keeping score, don’t be misled by those figures. They’re just the latest Kepler findings. According to NASA’s running total, available here, the numbers are 3,496 extra-solar planets confirmed, of which 362 are terrestrial.

There’s a lot more information in the latest NASA article; you can click over there to read it. Our purpose here is to show how relentlessly the Genesis universe is being overthrown. That’s why creationists are grudgingly admitting that yes, there are other planetary systems out there, and although there may be even some with microbial life, there are none with intelligent life.

As you know, the Discoveroids have gone farther than any of the other creationists. They recently posted Could Atheism Survive the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life?, in which they said:

The probability of life spontaneously self-assembling anywhere in this universe is mind-staggeringly unlikely; essentially zero.

[…]

The discovery of extraterrestrial life would be the death knell for atheism, at least for the thinking atheist. On the other hand, such a discovery should not be in the least surprising, if there is a supernatural Creator who has designed the universe to support life, and has brought about life and beauty throughout the universe, even if no human ever gets to see it.

No one could misunderstand the Discoveroids’ latest position as an acceptance of reality. Rather, it’s a demonstration that their “theory” of intelligent design is so worthless that it’s compatible with literally everything. After years of sounding like other creationists and saying there’s no life out there, and then switching to say there’s no intelligent life out there, they recently claimed that finding any life out there would confirm their “theory” of intelligent design.

So where are we? First, because of evolution and astronomy, the Genesis version of the universe is dead. The more creationists cling to it, the sillier they look. And second, the Discoveroids are trying to be so clever that they have totally undone themselves. So it’s all good.

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

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16 responses to “More Extra-Solar Planets, Less Creationism

  1. The irony is that the Bible’s vision of the world was pretty sensible given the information available at the time, although the Greek’s was much better. Granted, Ptolemaic astronomy was some centuries after Genesis (I think), but the Greeks didn’t have any technical advantages, they were just a whole lot more scientific/smarter than the Jews. There’s a moral in there somewhere.

  2. Steven Thompson

    One point: in Genesis (and indeed, as far as I recall, in the rest of the Old Testament), there is no lake of fire under the Earth (or, indeed, anywhere else). I’ve read that, in common with other ancient near east cultures, the ancient Hebrews assumed that the sky and Earth floated in an immense sea of water, which formed both the “waters above the sky” and the waters under the Earth, but Genesis is not specific about the latter, and, again, I don’t think any passage in the rest of the Bible is clear on the point.

  3. Re “The probability of life spontaneously self-assembling anywhere in this universe is mind-staggeringly unlikely; essentially zero.”
    Q: How many planets do we have significant knowledge of?
    A: One.
    Q: How many of those planets has life on it?
    A: One.
    Therefore the probability of life being on a planet, by our own measurement is 100%. So, where do they get zero percent? Oh, the God of The Gaps. We don’t know how many planets there are. We know almost nothing about any planet not our own. Therefore “God did it.”

  4. I’m especially giddy about this as Ken Ham so recently went double down on his hardline stance that “there are no aliens”. So when they finally announce that they have proof (chemical signatures of the atmospheres?), I’ll be rubbing his d*mned face in it. ALL. OVER. THE. INTERNET.

  5. Remember that according to ID-creationism life on Earth requires supernatural intervention. Life conflicts with the second law of thermodynamics. So it is rather pointless to restrict one’s search for extraterrestrial life to planets to “Earth-like” planets. According to creationism, life requires a miracle in any case. The probability of life is zero anywhere. Life is just as probable on Mercury, Venus or Sedna as on Earth.

  6. Our Curmudgeon outlines the Discoveroids’ amusing switching of goal posts:

    After years of sounding like other creationists and saying there’s no life out there, and then switching to say there’s no intelligent life out there, they recently claimed that finding any life out there would confirm their “theory” of intelligent design.

    Their more recent switch away from denying the possibility of intelligent extraterrestrial life is significant. They must have realised just how damaging it would be to their brand of twaddle to discover, not a planet with ‘intelligent’ life, but one with only a very, very simple reproducing organism (something like cyanobacteria)–that is, something so simple, and thereby analogous to the earliest generations of life on earth–to demonstrate the natural workings of biochemistry with no need to invoke oogity boogity.

    I’d like to think that even they would find it difficult to suppose that such a planet was uniquely ‘privileged’ for the sake of its population of cyanobacteria-like organisms. But then again, the capacity of Creationists to cling to their conspiracy theories in the face of overwhelming contra-indications is probably unlimited.

  7. Steven Thompson says: “One point: in Genesis (and indeed, as far as I recall, in the rest of the Old Testament), there is no lake of fire under the Earth (or, indeed, anywhere else).”

    True, it’s not in Genesis. See Where is hell mentioned in the Bible?

  8. Ross Cameron

    You have to hand it to creos. They are the world`s best recyclers, revising discredited arguments time and again. If it isn`t Henry Morris rubbish getting a new airing, It`s Behe or any other of the dimly-lit firmaments in their sky. Maybe, a couple of decades from now, we can expect Ole Hambo to have his junk dusted off and brought back for review. Be prepared. 🙂

  9. As I recall, there is no life after death in Genesis or elsewhere in the “Old Testament”, so no “Pearly Gates” as your picture shows. The cosmology of Genesis seems to depend mostly on the common knowledge of Babylon, or maybe a touch of Egypt. Later ideas may show Persian and Greek influences.

  10. The Theory of Intelligent Design or, in short, the Theory of Nothing.

  11. Megalonyx makes a good point, but I’ll quarrel a bit with the characterization of cyanobacteria as simple. As bacteria go, they are pretty sophisticated, capable of photosynthesis (ancestor of chloroplasts of plants) and fixing nitrogen. Some forms even have multiple cell types thereby approaching multicellularity. Not surprising with billions of years of evolution behind them. Among free living bacteria, Mycoplasmas are the simplest with about 500 genes. But with cyanobacteria gene numbers of ~2000 to~5000 many are nevertheless “simpler” than laboratory E. coli with ~4,300 genes. What also fascinates me is that sequencing of environmental DNA suggests that for every described bacterial species there are 100-1000 undescribed species. The designer was quite busy, more so than with beetles!

  12. @ Scientist: many thanks for this, I happily defer to your knowledge on this. I confess, I was digging back to ill-remembered High School Biology for an example!

  13. Nasa says ‘we are probably not alone’ as it reveals 10 new Earth-size planets

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/nasa-says-apos-probably-not-224356611.html

  14. Until actual intelligent life is found, creationists will keep on insisting Earth is a “privileged planet.” And if intelligent alien life is found, they’ll just insist it, too, was created by the Designer. You know, 6,000 years ago, on the sixth day.

  15. Creationism/intelligent design thrives on short attention span and immediate gratification, and self-contradiction is accepted in defense of vacuity.

  16. Interesting that the Discovery Institute now features writings by evangelical Christians who have no pretense at objectivity. They seemed to have dropped the charade of being scientists.

    https://p2c.com/students/kirk-durston/

    Durston, of course, is immersed so deeply in his religion that he thinks it is easier to believe that an eternal omnipotent supernatural creature exists than it is to believe that an as-yet undiscovered natural sequence of molecular reactions could form the self-replicating molecule(s) that led to the eventual evolution of life. Per Durston, the one that violates every known law of nature is more likely than the one that follows all known laws of nature. And he sees this as common sense. It’s obvious to him. Just like beauty is some sort of supernaturally created thing.

    Sheesh.

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