Extra-Solar Planet Update: May 2021

We used to do this monthly, and then it was every other month. The last update was November 2020. After that we stopped for a while because these posts were getting too repetitive. But we can’t stop entirely, because this stuff infuriates creationists. So this time we’re going to repeat everything.

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 astronomical information that goes beyond the bible, 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 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 back in November, five months ago, which will show you how things are progressing:

Confirmed planets: 4,383 (old figure: 4,301) 82 more!
Planets awaiting confirmation:5,912 (old figure: 5,650) 262 more!
Planetary systems beyond our own:3,254 (old figure: 3,192) 62 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 © 2021. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

3 responses to “Extra-Solar Planet Update: May 2021

  1. Dave Luckett

    I fear, alas, that the discovery of new solar systems and of Earth-like planets will do little to deflate the creationists. They’ll say they know about planets. They’re just worlds of ice or gas or bare rock, and nobody knows different.

    Even if you could find life, it wouldn’t change matters. God created the Heavens and the Earth, and if He also created life on other worlds, it doesn’t change the fact that He created life on this one.

    Did Jesus die for the sins of this world, or all the worlds? Or was there a Redeemer in each one? Or perhaps other intelligent creatures never disobeyed God, retained their innocence, and didn’t need redemption? It’s not for us to say. The Bible doesn’t speak of it.

    Oh, possibly there will be denialists who’ll say that the scientists are in cahoots, and this “life on other planets” is a fraud, on account of they is all atheists. It might damage Ham, because he’s nailed his colours to the no-life-outside-Earth mast, and there might be tears before bedtime in some of the other outfits, but they’ll mostly regroup and carry on.

    Possibly there’ll be schisms – but they’ve have been in schism YEC vs OEC for more than a century, and religious divides are almost never over doctrine.

    Every time some new scientific discovery nails the lid shut on creationism (you’d think), it pries it open again, arises, climbs out of its grave, and shambles on. Find more intermediates than you can poke a stick at, and it still tells you there are none. Demonstrate endogenous retroviral insertions that are completely consistent with, and cannot occur without common descent, and it simply ignores them. Specify exactly the mutations that have allowed a new and advantageous trait to arise, and it goes on saying that there are none, and it don’t matter anyhow because they’re still just germs or bugs or flies, aren’t they? Mathematically prove that increases to information have taken place, and it plays with words.

    All of that has taken place in the last couple of generations, and none of it has shaken them. I regret that I am very doubtful that the discovery of thousands of other solar systems is going to have any effect whatsoever.

  2. @Dave Luckett, there are those who question the Second Coming!

  3. Techreseller

    Look at the religions that were based on a catastrophic event that did not happen. Jehovah’s Witnesses for example. Leader says God changed his mind, and they just move on. Belief based on faith is hard to shake.