This news appeared ten days ago at the website of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory: NASA Planet Hunter Finds Earth-Size Habitable-Zone World. Briefly, they said:
NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star’s habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface. Scientists confirmed the find, called TOI 700 d, using NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and have modeled the planet’s potential environments to help inform future observations.
It’s not literally the first such planet discovered, but it was the first one found by TESS. JPL makes that clear:
TOI 700 d is one of only a few Earth-size planets discovered in a star’s habitable zone so far. Others include several planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system and other worlds discovered by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope.
Hey — the planet already has a Wikipedia write-up: TOI 700 d.
News like this is always upsetting to creationists. A good example is the reaction of the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. They just posted TOI 700d: The Latest Earth-Like Exoplanet?
It was written by Dr. Danny R. Faulkner. Here’s AIG’s biographical information about him. They say he taught physics and astronomy until he joined AIG. His undergraduate degree is from Bob Jones University. Here are some excerpts from Danny’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:
Here we go again. [Huh?] A recent news story [link omitted] reported the discovery of the latest earth-like planet orbiting another star. This time, it’s TOI 700d, discovered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). … What makes TOI 700d special? Measurements suggest that TOI 700d is 1.19 ± 0.11 times the earth’s size. Therefore, in terms of size, this exoplanet is earth-like.
The most important consideration is how far from its star TOI 700d orbits. The habitable zone is the region around a star in which an orbiting planet, having the right size and composition, could have the proper temperature range to support liquid water on its surface and hence possibly harbor life.
We know all that — see Circumstellar habitable zone. We also know that creationists are horrified at the existence of any extra-solar planets, because the bible doesn’t even hint at such things, and they’re in full-blown denial about the possibility of life out there. That’s the mindset which governs all posts like this one at AIG.
After a few paragraphs discussing the many things that aren’t yet known about TOI 700d, Danny says:
Is TIO 700d an earth-like planet? While the possibility is tantalizing for most scientists, there is far too much uncertainty to say for sure whether this exoplanet is earth-like or not. Of course, the agenda [agenda?] is to establish that earth-like planets are common in hopes of arguing that life elsewhere in the universe is common.
Beware, dear reader — those savage, sinful scientists have an agenda! After that warning, Danny tells us:
However, even if there are earth-like exoplanets, there is no guarantee that any of them harbor life. While liquid water and proper temperature are necessary conditions for life, they hardly are sufficient conditions for life. There is much, much more to the existence of life than just liquid water.
Are you wondering what else is required? Danny explains:
We know from Scripture that God specially made life on earth; therefore, life did not arise here naturally, nor did life arise anywhere else naturally. Hence, we have little reason to expect life elsewhere.
Don’t forget that, dear reader. Life doesn’t arise naturally — only supernaturally! Danny wraps it all up by citing a scientific principle:
It turns out that a science law backs this up the law of biogenesis, where life arises only from life, never from non-living things.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The “law” of biogenesis. We discussed that old clunker in Common Creationist Claims Confuted.
And so we leave Danny and the other creation scientists who work for ol’ Hambo. They tremble every day at what science is discovering, and they never fail to amuse us.
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