Extra-Solar Planet Update: August 2019

That picture 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, as does 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.

News about planets beyond our own solar system really upsets creationists, and that’s why we write these posts. Our last update was less than a month ago — see Extra-Solar Planet Update: July 2019, and this will follow the same format. First, the introductory material, to get the creationists in a frenzy.

Virtually everything learned since around 1,000 BC, when the Genesis text was first written, seems to contradict what was believed back then. Creationists don’t like any of it, but to avoid looking too crazy, they’ve accepted some of it. Most of them are no longer flat-Earthers. Although many passages in the bible say that The Earth Is Flat!, and none say otherwise, most creationists now deny that the bible is a flat-Earth book. And since Galileo, creationists have reluctantly accepted that the Earth is merely one of several planets in our solar system — but that’s where they drew the line.

Until very recently, they insisted that ours was the only planetary system in existence. Why? Because the bible didn’t mention any others. 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.

With a lot of grumbling, most creationists have accepted that there are other planetary systems out there — but no life! That’s important. Although some are now hedging their bets and saying, “Well, okay, maybe primitive life — but no intelligent life!” We haven’t found any life out there yet, but the search has only begun. Just the number of planets is enough to drive creationists crazy — and the number keeps growing!

Our information comes from NASA, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration — see Exoplanet Exploration. For each statistic, we’ll give you the latest figure as well as the figure we reported about 3 weeks ago, which will show you how rapidly things are progressing:

Confirmed planets: 4,043 (old figure: 4,025). 18 more!
Planets awaiting confirmation: 3,983 (old figure: 3,947). 36 more!
Planetary systems beyond our own: 3,004 (old figure: 2,994). 10 more!

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. Because our observations are of only a small portion of nearby stars, it’s generally accepted that most of the stars in our galaxy have planetary systems — which means that the odds against a life bearing world out there are getting slimmer by the day.

Now we leave the creationists — writhing in both pain and anger. They’ve lost the cozy little universe described in the bible. Science took it away from them! That’s why they don’t like science — and they don’t like you either, dear reader.

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

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5 responses to “Extra-Solar Planet Update: August 2019

  1. “habitable zone” indeed!
    Everybody knows that the Earth is not in a “habitable zone”, so what difference does it make whether or not an exoplanet is in a so-called “habitable zone”.
    The Second Law of Newton’s Thermos tells us that natural laws do not permit life on Earth.
    So, too, does the Law of Conservation of Specified Complex Information.
    And, if that is not enough, the mathematics of probability tell us that it is mathematically less probable that even the simplest cell to exist is less than the probability that a tornado blowing through a junkyard would construct a 747!

  2. If the creationists had some Giant Sta Puft Marshmallow people they could take over all the universities. Sadly giant marshmallows are reported to be rarely seen at creationist revival meetings these days.

  3. BTW, the guys in graphics did another super job.
    You could call it an intelligent design.

  4. Dave Luckett

    In fairness, Genesis implies that the earth kinda sorta floats in an immense sea – or less prosaically, is a bubble in a void of waters. This is how the Lord God opened the sluices of Heaven and called up the waters of the Great Deep to flood the earth. The whole arrangement is sustained only by Divine Power, which holds the sea in its bounds. We can only assume that the fires of Hell replaced the waters under the earth after the Flood, when it became necessary to punish humans by other means. This would imply a change in divine plan, though the Lord did not appear to mention this to Moses when the latter wrote God’s memoirs in Genesis. Possibly He, Yahweh, was a little embarrassed by the necessity of reordering the Universe after He’d had His almighty and watery snit.

    Anyway, it’s certainly true that no other worlds are mentioned in Genesis – but I know of no theologian ever who insisted that Genesis was a complete and unabridged account of the creation of all things. It obviously contains elisions and lacunae caused simply by considerations of space. In the manuscript, that is – only so much goatskin is available after all. Not the other kind of space, which does not appear in Genesis, or the Bible, at all.

  5. @Dave Luckett
    As far as conserving goatskin, one may perhaps be forgiven for wondering about the importance of the painstaking details of the First Temple, which was to last only about 500 years.. How much suffereing would have been releaved with a few words about microbes, at the cost of the lost to memory of the color of the pomegranate decroatons?
    But I will resist the temptation to suggest that the idea of Hell came from from influential neighbors, like the Greeks and Persians.