Extra-Solar Planet Update: July 2020

We do this every couple of months because these posts always drive creationists crazy. The last was May 2020, and now it’s time for another update in our ongoing series about planets beyond our own solar system.

We are delighted to inform the creationists that — once again — the numbers are bigger than ever. They’re always increasing.

First, however, we’ll repeat some background material you’ve seen before. We keep repeating it because it infuriates the creationists. You can skip right to the numbers, if that’s your preference.

The picture above this post illustrates the universe described in Genesis, written around 1,000 BC at the time of the Babylonian empire. Immovable in the center of the universe is the flat Earth, which was created as the abode of man. It’s supported by pillars. The Sun orbits the Earth, as does the Moon. Above them are the stars. They’re not suns, they’re lights embedded 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 — or anywhere else in the bible. There’s no place for them.

Creationists believe that the universe described in Genesis is The Truth. However, virtually everything learned since then seems to contradict that primitive universe. 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 doesn’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 barely begun. Meanwhile, just the number of planets out there 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 two months ago, which will show you how things are progressing:

Confirmed planets: 4,183 (old figure: 4,154) 29 more!
Planets awaiting confirmation: 5,351 (old figure:5,142) 209 more!
Planetary systems beyond our own: 3,101 (old figure: 3,078) 23 more!

Remember — our observations are only of nearby stars (relatively speaking). Considering the percentage of neighboring stars that have planets, 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.

And so we leave the creationists — writhing in pain and anger. Whether they’re Hambo-type creationists or Discoveroids, it makes no difference. They all insist that Earth is unique, and there’s no life — certainly no intelligent life — anywhere else. But every day the facts keep piling up against them. That’s why we like to bring you these updates, and it’s why the creationists don’t like us. They don’t like reality either, but that’s their problem, not ours.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Extra-Solar Planet Update: July 2020

  1. There is a Wikipedia article on Biblical
    astronomy, which considers possible astronomical objects referenced in the Bible. Planet, stars and constellations. Of course the Sun and Moon are also mentioned. I tried to find a reference to comets, but it seems that there is no clear reference, which surprises me.
    The Star of Bethlehem is sometimes assumed to be a comet in extra-Biblical sources.
    Not particularly relevant to the topic of this thread, except to note that the Bible doesn’t even mention Mercury, Mars and Jupiter, let alone Uranus and Neptune.

  2. @Tom S: How lame of the sky thingy that supposedly dictated the holy bubble to his/her/its fans to neglect to mention any of those planets.

  3. Opps, oh great Curmudgeon, I mistakenly left out a “t” in the /its of the sky thing. I would be forever grateful (well at least for a long time) if you can fix it.

    [*Voice from above*] Your supplication has been heard. The clouds parted, a mighty hand descended, and behold — all is well.

  4. “because these posts always drive creationists crazy.”
    Wishful thinking. I just checked Dutch YEC out fit Logos.nl: it promotes them as evidence for a young universe. Ol’Hambo’s AIG doesn’t go that far, but Dannyboy last january simply wrote: “Earth-Like? Water? So What?”
    That’s what drives them crazy – the fear that we will find extraterrestrial life.

  5. @FrankB “That’s what drives them crazy – the fear that we will find extraterrestrial life”.
    Not even that. It needs to be intelligent life, not some green slime. Creationists are well prepared for future discoveries.

  6. Many ancient people believed that the stars were living things (after all, they move, and motion is a sign of life), even divine beings. So it is no stretch to understand those passages literally which tell of the stars singing or praising the Lord (that would show that those beings were lesser beings).
    Why do the literalists deny intelligent life in the heavens?

  7. Dave Luckett

    TomS: Why do the literalists deny intelligent life in the heavens? Why, they don’t. To the contrary: God is in the heavens. And everywhere else, of course. So of course there is intelligent life there.

    Do you wonder why the literalists deny intelligent life will ever be found outside the Earth? That’s a somewhat different question.

    The Bible says nothing (except for a few poetic metaphors) about stars. Its writers had no apparent notion even of our solar system, let alone that stars might have their own.

    What of that? Not even literalists claim that the Bible contains everything there is to know. Why should they deny intelligent life outside Earth? Surely it’s possible that the Bible simply doesn’t mention it, just as it doesn’t mention, say, the steam engine or the telescope.

    But the theological implications of that position are distasteful to a fundamentalist. The first human beings on Earth sinned and were cursed. Did others, outside Earth, and were the curses the same? The Bible is the complete revelatory authority for all time and all people on Earth. What about for other people? How can it be? It doesn’t even mention them. But that would mean that there must be a different revelatory authority for them, That is, the Bible is not a complete revelatory authority. That’s unthinkable.

    Scripture says that humans are made in the image of God. Literalists pretend that this means our bodies are like God’s. It’s one of their lines of objection to the Theory of Evolution. Flagrantly without foundation, of course, God being said by scripture to be pure spirit, but they refuse to relinquish it. If there is intelligence on other planets, and they don’t look exactly like us, literalists would be forced to acknowledge that our bodies need not be like God’s.

    God became flesh – yes, but our flesh. If there are others of “different flesh”, then the sacrifice of Jesus is not relevant to them. To redeem them, Jesus would have to die for them in their flesh – which is to say, his atonement on Earth is not sufficient. That’s heresy.

    Of course it makes no sense to anyone interested in fact, reality, data, evidence. But whoever said literalists were in the least concerned with that?

  8. It reminds one of the problem faced when Europeans learned about the New Word, the lands without mention in the Bible, with inhabitants with no knowlefge of salvation history. (And, by the way, obviously these lands were not among all the Earth mentioned in the story of the famine in Egypt in Joseph’s time. the bringers of gifts to Solomon, or of the visitors in Jetusalem at Pentecost.!