Discoveroids Say Earth Is Obviously Unique

According to the latest information at the NASA website, in the short time that we’ve been able to look, 3,936 planets have been confirmed in 2,932 planetary systems beyond our own, and another 3,520 possible planets are awaiting confirmation. Some of the confirmed planets are Earth-sized, rocky, and orbit in the habitable zone of their stars, but we haven’t yet been able to analyze their atmospheres for “biosignature” molecules, which may be a sign of life.

Before Copernicus and Galileo, there was nothing to contradict the mythology that our Earth was the only world in existence. Then, albeit with some resistance (see, e.g., the Galileo affair) it was accepted that the Earth is only one of the planets orbiting our Sun — but it was still believed that the solar system was unique. Now, because our observations are of only a small portion of nearby stars, it’s generally accepted that most of the stars in the galaxy have planetary systems — which means that the odds against a life bearing world out there are getting slimmer by the day. But so far, nothing definite has been found that will upset the creationists’ fantasy universe in which Earth was uniquely created to be the abode of the intelligent designer’s favorite species.

That is why we still see stuff like this new post at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Gonzalez: “Worlds Like This Are Hard to Come By”. It was written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

So says Discovery Institute astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, talking with his co-author Jay Richards on a new episode of ID the Future. [Wowie, another Discoveroid podcast!] But of course saying planets like Earth are “hard to come by” is quite the understatement.

Yes, today it’s an understatement. Tomorrow, who knows? Some astronomers estimate that in our own galaxy there are Maybe Billions of Habitable Planets. But Klinghoffer and the other creationists live for today. He says:

In the 15 years since these two wrote The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery, Dr. Gonzalez’s field has grown astonishingly, with the discovery of thousands of exoplanets. Some of those planets will come into much clearer focus with the planned launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in a couple of years.

Wikipedia has a write-up on their book: The Privileged Planet. It belongs on every creationist’s bookshelf. Klinghoffer then tells us:

Since the book was published, just how special the Earth is has become ever more apparent, in ways that allow life to flourish, but more than that: they make scientific exploration possible. [For example, see Solar Eclipses Prove Intelligent Design] Dr. Richards and Dr. Gonzalez discuss developments in science over the past decade and a half that have confirmed [Confirmed?] their arguments and predictions.

Great stuff, isn’t it? Klinghoffer continues:

We take features of our planet for granted — a moon, visible stars, rainbows, to name just three out of a great many — but these could easily have been other than they are. As Gonzalez quips, “Who ordered that?” Who indeed?

Ooooooooooooh! Everything is so wonderful! It’s obviously the handiwork of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! Let’s read on:

The Privileged Planet argues not just for intelligent design but for design by an intelligent agent interested in being known through the medium of science. [The designer wants to be known!] Why are people so afraid of that idea? [Because they’re fools!]

And now we come to the end:

Naturally, as Jay points out, popular science reporting gives a very different perspective. [They’re ignorant and disrespectful!] Download the podcast or listen to it here. [Link omitted.]

So there you are, dear reader. The whole universe cries out that the Earth is unique. Why do you refuse to accept it?

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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31 responses to “Discoveroids Say Earth Is Obviously Unique

  1. For a rainbow, you need rain with a Sun shining through it. Inevitable if you have a planet with some liquid water, and a reasonably clear atmosphere, which will also implies visible stars.

    But the moon …

  2. Laurettte McGovern

    Actually, I would agree that the Earth is unique. Though there are probably billions of other planets, how many have the continents in the same alignment, a single moon of the same size and distance, covered by some two thirds by water, etc. ? So what? Every other planet is also unique, in it’s own way. Another meaningless creationist discussion.

  3. Yes Earth is unique in the same way that I am unique. There is no other ME any where!!! But as there are other humans, I am not unique in terms of human!! And the same applies to the earth. When these dimwits travel to thousands of worlds and find NO life, then we can talk about being unique.

  4. As I understand it, the “Privileged Planet” argument tells us that that life on Earth is consistent with nature.
    On the one hand, God does not need to use an environment naturaly consistent with life to create life. Inteligent designers can design life on planets different from Earth. (NASA takes care not to colonize other bodies by mistake!) Only a scientist who believes in only natural causes would restrict the search for life to privileged planets.
    On the other hand, if Earth is a privileged planet, then there are no natural laws which make life improbable. The second law of thermodynamics would not prevent life on a truly privileged planet. The conservation of complex specified informaton would not prevent life on a privileged planet.

  5. Mark Germano

    It’s nice to see Klinghoffer has finally found his niche: summarizing podcasts that nobody listens to.

  6. Michael Fugate

    It is the same argument DI fellow Wesley Smith tries to make for human exceptionalism. There is no character that defines humans that all humans possess and that separates us from other species. See this:

  7. The Privileged Planet argues not just for intelligent design but for design by an intelligent agent interested in being known through the medium of science.
    The argument that makes science subservient to religion and is used only to reveal the works of the designer, no more. Science cannot be used to make objective claims contrary to, in this case, the Bible. Galileo dared to cross the line.

  8. “Dr. Gonzalez’s field has grown astonishingly”

    Since “Gonzalez’s field” is actually creationism it is exceptionally clear that the above statement is terminally false. The Earth is unique in that it is the only planet in the solar system, and perhaps the entire Milky Way galaxy, known to be infested with a small but significant number of bible thumping and very obnoxiously ignorant creationists.

  9. The only reason for our planet to be ‘privileged’ would be that life doesn’t get started without supernatural intervention. Although we haven’t managed yet creating life in the lab, there is very little doubt that the laws of nature are conducive for creating self-replicating molecules.
    Once life get started, evolution takes over and, given sufficient time, you’ll get complex creatures.

  10. docbill1351

    Yeah, but the Tooters never talk about the early earth where life actually started. They don’t talk about the Late Heavy Bombardment or the origin of the Moon which a major new simulation suggests the entire Earth may have been vaporized, condensing into the Moon and Earth. Or the early atmosphere. Or Snowball Earth. Right, because none of those scenarios fit into the “designed for us” narrative. That’s why we laugh at IDiots.

  11. Michael Fugate

    It is interesting that Gonzalez’s Ball State page is empty – no links to research or publications. One wonders what is going on.

  12. Robert van Bakel

    I too am awaiting the lauch of the James Webb Telescope, just like Klinghoffer, (now at least three years behind schedule because of Congressional funding issues).
    My question is why does Klinghoffer even mention this ambitious project, which really is designed to find exactly what he, and other creationist absolutely fear, habitable planets?

  13. @Robert
    From Wikipedia:
    Development began in 1996, but the project has had numerous delays and cost overruns, and underwent a major redesign during 2005. The JWST’s construction was completed in late 2016, after which its extensive testing phase began.[11][12] In March 2018, NASA delayed the JWST’s launch after the telescope’s sunshield ripped during a practice deployment.[13] The JWST’s launch was delayed again in June 2018 following recommendations from an independent review board, and is currently scheduled for March 2021.

    Not so much govt funding issues, more on technical problems which stretched out project leading to scarcer project funding. Project years late.

  14. Robert van Bakel

    Yes. Should have used the index finger for one more click. Ooops.

  15. Sure Earth is unique. So is the life that has evolved on it.

    Every other planet in the universe is also unique, as is the life that has evolved on each one that has life. The life that evolves on a planet is the life that can survive on that planet.

  16. Dave Luckett

    I must admit that I am hanging out for the launch and successful deployment of the James Webb telescope. Obviously, the last thing the team needs is impatient nerds joggling their elbows, but I hope I live long enough to see it, now that it’s clear that I won’t see a moon base or a Mars mission with crew. Quite apart from its enormous value to astronomy, the James Webb might rekindle interest in space.

    I know I’ve wittered on about this before, but here goes again: The James Webb telescope will cost about 10 billion dollars. NASA’s budget for the last fifty years adds up to about 600 billion dollars. But the US has spent 400 billion dollars on three related aircraft, the F-35 types, will have to spend another 400 billion to fully deploy them, and another 1.2 trillion (trillion with a tr) to maintain them for the next forty years. No doubt some new tech has come to light in that process – but of course it is ultra-secret, and will be squirreled away into some military vault that it is treason to access. What value the F-35 will have over and above the USAF and USN’s present capability is not clear to me, considering that those two forces can and routinely do establish total air superiority anywhere on Earth without needing radical departures in technology, even if the innovations worked perfectly – which they don’t.

    I know that it’s no use to plead that this is time of peace; that there is no conceivable conventional military threat to the US, and none that a new strike fighter could counter; that it is never in the interests of the dominant military power to introduce radical changes in technology; and that the major claimed advantages of the technology being introduced – improved stealth and long-range detection and engagement – can probably be countered by simpler and cheaper means. It is also useless to argue that humanity in general and the US in particular would gain far more from investment in space, were the spin-off technologies made available.

    I mean no disparagement to Americans, but there seems to be a strong opinion in the US that any amount spent on the military is justifiable. That opinion has shallow historical roots – it really only extends back to WW2 and was sustained by the Cold War. But the Cold War was over a generation ago. Is it still really necessary for the US to continue to spend nearly half of the total military budget of the entire planet?

  17. How many kinds of complex chemistry are there? We know of one kind, which we call “life”. When we discover another kind of complex chemistry, how much like life will it be that we will call it “life”? There is a vast variety of environments out there.

  18. Steve Gerrard

    the book was published, just how special the Earth is has become ever more apparent, in ways that allow life to flourish, but more than that: they make scientific exploration possible.

    The Privileged Planet argues not just for intelligent design but for design by an intelligent agent interested in being known through the medium of science.

    For ID advocates, there seems to be an inordinate focus here on scientific exploration and the medium of science. Are they envious, because science keeps turning up interesting new things?

    Is this like the fossil records, put there to fool us into thinking life was older than 6,000 years? Do they think the great IDer is trying to hide his tracks by making things look sciency?

  19. Or are they saying that Real Intelligent Design is known because it is indistinguishable from the operations of natural laws?
    Real Intelligent Designers are so Omnipotent and Omniscient that they are able to design their way in the Natural World?

  20. Michael Fugate

    Meyer’s “God Hypothesis” accounts for miracles and science so it explains everything – except that there aren’t miracles….

  21. The God Hypothesis does not distinguish between anything that happens and any other possibility.
    God could just as well make humans with bodies like other vertebrates, or vastly different from all other forms of life. God could make the Earth spherical, or flat, or no Earth at all.
    Any account of what happens in the world of nature, whether correct or imaginary, need not be changed when the supernatural is assumed.
    Unless there are limits on the supernatural.

  22. Michael Fugate

    Why if you believed in the supernatural and agent gods, would you think science would work? The idea that agent gods allow science to work seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

  23. There are many scientists – and others – who believe in God and also accept that science provides naturalistic explanations for what goes on in the world of nature.
    I, for one, do not trust what seems intuitive.

  24. Michael Fugate

    That doesn’t answer the question.

  25. Why if you believed in the suernatural and agent gods, would you think that sciece would work?
    Science does work. And I would “believe” that for the same reaons that any reasonable person accepts that science works. For example, I “believe” that rabies vaccination in dogs works and does not cause canine autism.
    The idea that agent gods allow science to work seems counterintuitive, doesn’t it?
    I don’t find the question of intutivity interesting.

  26. @MichaelF: Why if you believed in the supernatural and agent gods, would you think science would not work? It’s like TomS wrote – the God Hypothesis doesn’t have any explanatory power (see Herman Philipse once again), exactly because there are no limits on this supernatural entity.

  27. Michael Fugate

    Because gods are doing it – it gods of the gaps.

  28. Because gods are doing it – by means of science.

  29. There is a philosophical position knonwn as “Occasionalism” which I will not attempt to explain, so I suggest Wikipedia or the Standford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. I understand that Occasionalism is a common opinion in Islam.

  30. Michael Fugate

    There are two options – agent gods do everything or they do nothing (you can’t tell the difference). Science could work in either – the former because the gods want it to work, the latter because they aren’t involved (or don’t exist). The position that makes no sense is the middle ground. Just because some theologian comes up with some idea doesn’t mean it is true or even makes sense. The idea of one god controlling everything, especially a supposed benevolent one, when there is so much arbitrariness in the universe is a problem and the resulting cognitive dissonance may well have led to science and atheism. Who knows what would have happen if we had stuck with the pantheon… Why do you think so many people believe in the Devil?

  31. @Michael Fugate
    so much arbitrariness in the universe
    I don’t understand this as a scientific problem.
    Do you mean things like quantum uncertainty, or the “butterfly effect”?
    Surely you don’t mean that we don’t know the reason for the laws or the values of the basic constants of physics
    If you mean a variation on the “problem of evil”, or something like the “panda’s thumb”, or the “omnibenevolence-omnipotence-omniscience of god”, then that is not a scientific problem.