More Potentially Habitable Planets Found

Creationists probably won’t be mentioning this, but more extra-solar planets in their star’s habitable zone have been found. The news is reported by PhysOrg: Four Earth-sized planets detected orbiting the nearest sun-like star.. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A new study by an international team of astronomers reveals that four Earth-sized planets orbit the nearest sun-like star, tau Ceti, which is about 12 light years away and visible to the naked eye.

Wowie — only 12 light years away! But wait — it gets better (or worse, if you’re a creationist):

These planets have masses as low as 1.7 Earth mass, making them among the smallest planets ever detected around nearby sun-like stars. Two of them are super-Earths located in the habitable zone of the star, meaning they could support liquid surface water.

Aha! Two more planets in the habitable zone of their star. According to the latest tally available from NASA, perhaps not yet updated for this tau Ceti discovery, there are 3,502 confirmed extra-solar planets, of which 361 are terrestrial (i.e., rocky, not gaseous like Jupiter). But they don’t give a figure for how many of those are in the habitable zone of their star. It’s at least a dozen, and the search has only just begun.

We always delight in 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.

Okay, back to PhysOrg. The news isn’t all good. They tell us:

The outer two planets around tau Ceti are likely to be candidate habitable worlds, although a massive debris disc around the star probably reduces their habitability due to intensive bombardment by asteroids and comets.

We’ll skip over a description of the method that was used to detect the planets. You can click over there to read it if you like. Here’s one more excerpt:

Sun-like stars are thought to be the best targets in the search for habitable Earth-like planets due to their similarity to the sun. Unlike more common smaller stars, such as the red dwarf stars Proxima Centauri and Trappist-1, they are not so faint that planets would be tidally locked, showing the same side to the star at all times. Tau Ceti is very similar to the sun in its size and brightness, and both stars host multi-planet systems.

So there you are. Month by month, we have more evidence that the description of the universe in Genesis, although a reasonable guess at the time it was written, is woefully wrong. Yet creationists insist on its perfect accuracy. So who ya gonna believe?

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11 responses to “More Potentially Habitable Planets Found

  1. Of course, as creationists will rush to point out, a planet’s being in its star’s habitable zone doesn’t mean it’s life-bearing. And besides, even if it is, all that means is that God created it that way along with Earth 6,000 years ago.

    But I just love the Henry Morris quote:

    ]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.

    According to Wikipedia, “Dr.” Morris was an engineer by profession and thus dubiously qualified to pass judgment on matters of astronomy. Moreover, he died in 2006, which means he’d have lived to see that there are, indeed, other planets in the universe. However, I’m confident that this did not shake his faith, just as it hasn’t undermined that of other true believers. After all, if nothing else will do, they can always explain away the evidence as having been faked by God-denying scientists bent on undermining belief in the Holy Word.

  2. “According to Wikipedia, “Dr.” Morris was an engineer by profession”

    Specifically a hydraulics engineer, and not even a good one at that. For example, Morris claimed that the fossil record that we view was hydraulically sorted by the flood, leaving the smallest and “simplest” life forms at the bottom and the larger more “complex” life forms at the top, so evolution never happed. As *any* oceanographer can tell you, for objects of the same density, smaller ones fall slower in water than larger ones because the mass is cubically related to the size while the drag is related squarely. Hence any “hydraulic sorting” would actually result in the inverse of what we observe. Creationists specialize in “looking backwards” (in all senses).

    Of course Morris taught religious apologetics as his real occupation for decades.

  3. About the fossils being hydraulically sorted – or sorted by any natural means – that means that the pattern was the result of natural means, contrary to the creationist “2nd law of thermodynamics”. Or, maybe, it was the Creator who made the fossil record appear to support evolution (see the Omphalos Hypothesis).

    About “habitable planets” – that means that the planet meets certain natural criteria for supporting life. But the creationists tell us that the Earth does not meet their criteria for supporting life – even Earth, the “privileged planet” is not habitable, but needs attention from Intelligent Designers which do not use natural means. God can make life on the Sun or in empty space just as easily as he can make it anywhere where the 2nd law of thermodynamics is preventing the natural appearance of life.

  4. P.S. Design means taking account of the rules of the natural world.
    Or maybe there are some rules which apply to the other-than-natural world which apply to the actions of the Intelligent Designers – rules which we can detect being followed. Any suggestions for a rule for supernatural design?

  5. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik

    I’ve always loved the implied dissonance of simultaneously believing that Yahweh finely tuned the universe to support life (therefore Yahweh, btw) and that life cannot possibly exist elsewhere in the very same unimaginably yuge bigly universe.

    The further implication being that all that “stuff” out there is little more than a pretty light show for Big Yahoo and apparently he never gets bored watching stars wink in and out of existence for an eternity nor watching the only soap opera in town playing out here on Earth. As The World Turns indeed.

  6. Creationists and consistency ….. Yesterday I saw a fragment of a Dutch creationist (and biologist!) proudly declaring that science originated only in christian societies (never mind the problems with that one). He went on to reject so many of its conclusions.

  7. Ceteris Paribus

    If dear old Henry Morris had lived long enough to learn about habitable exo- planets, one expects he would have merely invoked the “Miraculous Birth of Jesus” clause which he had already found in his KVJ Bible. And nothing would change.

  8. mnb0, and once christianity had started doing science, it also started a prolonged process of suicide that extends onto today.

  9. Is there a place which collects contradictions of creationism?

  10. TomS asks: “Is there a place which collects contradictions of creationism?”

    Sure. I often link to it: Index to Creationist Claims.

  11. BTW, the article on Tau Ceti in Wikipedia mentions that there is about 10 times as much dust and debris in the Tau Ceti system as in the Solar System. This seems that there would be frequent bombardment of the magnitude of the magnitude as the Chixculub event, possibly stopping much evolutionary development.