Category Archives: Science

WorldNetDaily: NASA’s Godless Agenda

Buffoon Award

The blaring sirens and flashing lights of the Drool-o-tron™ alerted us, and the blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). As you know, WorldNetDaily (WND) was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo displayed above this post.

The device had locked our computer was locked onto this headline at WND: NASA’s new assignments: Find aliens, prove evolution, and above the headline, in bold red font, it says: “WND EXCLUSIVE.” Wowie — you can’t find this information anywhere else!

It was written by Joe Wilson, described as “an intern with WND. He hails from Sunman, Indiana, and is finishing his bachelor’s degree in History and Classical Language at Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia. He is a devout Catholic and a baseball enthusiast, as well as an amateur filmmaker.”

This is going to be good! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

The National Space and Aeronautics Administration has done some amazing things for the United States over the years: the initial short flights into space, then the longer orbiting missions, the moon visits, the space station and even unmanned trips to every sidewalk [Huh?] in the solar system. But now it has some new goals: Find aliens. And prove evolution. And while the agency is at it, its staff members should identify the origins of life.

Aliens? Evolution? The origin of life? Egad — that’s heresy! How could this be happening in the Trump administration? Joe refers to and quotes extensively from this article in the Atlantic: The Tiny Edit That Changed NASA’s Future, which says:

On March 21 of this year, both parties in Congress and the Trump administration made a change to a federal document that amounted to only a few words, but which may well change the course of human history. … [I]n this year’s bill, Congress added a momentous phrase to the agency’s mission: “the search for life’s origins, evolution, distribution, and future in the universe.” It’s a short phrase, but a visionary one, setting the stage for a far-reaching effort, that could have as profound an impact on the 21st century as the Apollo program had on the 20th.

[…]

There may be billions of Earth-like planets out there that are abundant with all the elements for life, but that doesn’t mean that there is life, let alone complex life on any of them. The only way to answer the question, “are we alone?” is to go see for ourselves, and this is exactly what NASA has now been empowered to do.

Gasp! What is WND’s opinion of this ungodly situation? Joe tells us:

[T]he move is being viewed by those in the faith community as the federal government’s endorsement of an effort to prove the biblical creation narrative false.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We searched the NASA website for some information on this and found their FY 2017 Budget Request for Science which says, among other things, that it:

Furthers our search to answer some of humanity’s most profound questions:

• How do planets and life originate?

• How does the universe work, and what are its origin and destiny?

• Are we alone?

And NASA’s Budget Request for fiscal year 2018 says, among other things, that it:

Furthers our search to answer some of humanity’s most profound questions:

• How did our solar system originate and change over time?

• How did life originate, and are we alone?

• How did the universe begin and evolve, and what will be its destiny?

So WND is probably correct. Other than quoting stuff from other websites, including blogs, Joe has one more thing to say:

At least the marching orders are a change from what ex-President Barack Obama wanted from NASA. He wanted the agency to be a Muslim feel-good outreach.

That’s correct, as this seven year-old article from the Telegraph reports: Barack Obama: Nasa must try to make Muslims ‘feel good’.

Okay, so where are we? It appears that NASA has gone from Muslim outreach to blasphemy. Verily these are the Final Days. Oh, and one more thing. Joe is a WND intern. From what we’ve seen here, he has a great career ahead of him.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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More Extra-Solar Planets, Less Creationism

That picture you see 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, the same as 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.

Since the time of Galileo, scientists have been demonstrating that the universe is, ah, somewhat different. First, it was shown that the Earth was merely one of several planets, and they all orbit the Sun. That was a major upheaval, but it was accepted by the clergy, albeit with some initial resistance — see the Galileo affair. But they insisted that ours was the only planetary system in existence, so they could still believe that Earth was specially created for us.

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.

Now, even that has been taken away from them. In recent years, other planetary systems have been discovered, and more are constantly being sighted. Our last post about this was a couple of months ago: NASA’s Tally of Extra-Solar Planets. Now we have the latest update from NASA: NASA Releases Kepler Survey Catalog with Hundreds of New Planet Candidates. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

NASA’s Kepler space telescope team has released a mission catalog of planet candidates that introduces 219 new planet candidates, 10 of which are near-Earth size and orbiting in their star’s habitable zone, which is the range of distance from a star where liquid water could pool on the surface of a rocky planet.

The creationists get whacked like this every few months. NASA says:

With the release of this catalog, derived from data publicly available on the NASA Exoplanet Archive, there are now 4,034 planet candidates identified by Kepler. Of which, 2,335 have been verified as exoplanets. Of roughly 50 near-Earth size habitable zone candidates detected by Kepler, more than 30 have been verified.

By the way, if you’ve been keeping score, don’t be misled by those figures. They’re just the latest Kepler findings. According to NASA’s running total, available here, the numbers are 3,496 extra-solar planets confirmed, of which 362 are terrestrial.

There’s a lot more information in the latest NASA article; you can click over there to read it. Our purpose here is to show how relentlessly the Genesis universe is being overthrown. That’s why creationists are grudgingly admitting that yes, there are other planetary systems out there, and although there may be even some with microbial life, there are none with intelligent life.

As you know, the Discoveroids have gone farther than any of the other creationists. They recently posted Could Atheism Survive the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life?, in which they said:

The probability of life spontaneously self-assembling anywhere in this universe is mind-staggeringly unlikely; essentially zero.

[…]

The discovery of extraterrestrial life would be the death knell for atheism, at least for the thinking atheist. On the other hand, such a discovery should not be in the least surprising, if there is a supernatural Creator who has designed the universe to support life, and has brought about life and beauty throughout the universe, even if no human ever gets to see it.

No one could misunderstand the Discoveroids’ latest position as an acceptance of reality. Rather, it’s a demonstration that their “theory” of intelligent design is so worthless that it’s compatible with literally everything. After years of sounding like other creationists and saying there’s no life out there, and then switching to say there’s no intelligent life out there, they recently claimed that finding any life out there would confirm their “theory” of intelligent design.

So where are we? First, because of evolution and astronomy, the Genesis version of the universe is dead. The more creationists cling to it, the sillier they look. And second, the Discoveroids are trying to be so clever that they have totally undone themselves. So it’s all good.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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‘Historical Science’ Validated Again

You’re probably familiar with the false distinction made by creationists between “Operational” (or “Observational”) science and “Historical” science. We’ve written about it several times, originally in Creationism and Science.

Creationists insist that bible history (six-day creation, Noah’s flood, etc.) is true, and to preserve their dogma, they claim that “historical” science which contradicts those bible tales is a belief system based on unproven assumptions, because there is no way to go back in time and use observational science to prove those assumptions are correct. We discussed this in Common Creationist Claims Confuted.

Our favorite rebuttal is described in The Lessons of Tiktaalik, where we said:

[H]ow can we explain (or try to explain) to a creationist that the scientific approach to learning about the past has actual scientific value — the results of which are far more “true” (i.e., objectively verifiable) than some account that rests upon mere assumptions? There’s probably little to be gained from a philosophical lecture about the relative merits of natural versus supernatural explanations, because creationists are programmed to reject the former and prefer the latter. However, there is yet another method of explaining the merit of a scientific explanation of the past — cross-confirmation by independent lines of evidence.

Today we have another example of cross-confirmation, described in PhysOrg. Their headline is Geology and biology agree on Pangaea supercontinent breakup dates. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Scientists at The Australian National University (ANU) have found that independent estimates from geology and biology agree on the timing of the breakup of the Pangaea supercontinent into today’s continents. When continents break up, single species are divided into two and drift apart – physically and genetically. Lead researcher Sarah McIntyre said geologic dating of the continental drift and biological dating of the genetic drift provided independent estimates of the break-up dates over the past 180 million years.

Ol’ Hambo won’t like that, because he insists that the global Flood in Noah’s time — a mere 4,000 years ago — accounts for everything. He probably has his team of creation scientists working on a rebuttal. PhysOrg says:

“This is by far the most comprehensive comparison of genetic tree-based dates and the geological dates of the continental breakups,” said Ms McIntyre, a PhD scholar at the ANU Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics. “After excluding species that could easily move between continents, a new comparison of these two independent dating methods, applied to the breakup of Pangaea over the past 180 million years, finds good agreement between the two methods. Geological dating provides important independent support for the relatively new field of using genetic trees to date biological divergences.”

Here’s the paper, published Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Global biogeography since Pangaea, but you can’t read it without a subscription. Back to PhysOrg:

“In collaboration with biologist Professor Colin Groves, we came up with a vetting procedure that excluded species that could easily migrate from one continent to another,” Ms McIntyre said.

That makes sense. Here’s one more excerpt, a quote from co-author Associate Professor Charley Lineweaver:

“Along the way, we had to verify if geological and biological dating methods agree. We found that they do. This concordance between biology and geology gives phylogenetic dating more street cred,” Dr Lineweaver said.

So there you are. Yet more evidence that what Hambo calls “historical science” is a wee bit more than a godless evolutionist contrivance. What will the creationists do about this? We don’t know, but it’s going to be fun to watch them struggle.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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The WOW! Signal Explained

Everyone knows about the Wow! signal. It was detected 40 years ago coming from somewhere in the constellation Sagittarius. According to Wikipedia: “The Wow! signal was regarded for decades as the strongest candidate for an alien radio transmission.”

That’s the sort of thing that gives creationists nightmares, because their “science” tells them that the whole universe is essentially a one-world affair — this one, created just for us. Due to the discovery that there are probably billions of extra-solar planets out there, they’ve recently revised their dogma to claim that the universe has only one life-bearing planet — or at least only one where there is intelligent life.

Evidence of intelligent aliens would be catastrophic to the creationists’ view of things — except for the Discoveroids, who recently adjusted their “science” so that finding life out there would — get this! — confirm their “theory” of intelligent design. A few days ago in Could Atheism Survive the Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life? they said:

The probability of life spontaneously self-assembling anywhere in this universe is mind-staggeringly unlikely; essentially zero.

[…]

The discovery of extraterrestrial life would be the death knell for atheism, at least for the thinking atheist. On the other hand, such a discovery should not be in the least surprising, if there is a supernatural Creator who has designed the universe to support life, and has brought about life and beauty throughout the universe, even if no human ever gets to see it.

That means there will be mixed reactions to the latest news we just spotted at PhysOrg: Wow! mystery signal from space finally explained. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

A team of researchers with the Center of Planetary Science (CPS) has finally solved the mystery of the “Wow!” signal from 1977. It was a comet, they report, one that that was unknown at the time of the signal discovery. Lead researcher Antonio Paris describes their theory and how the team proved it in a paper published in the Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences.

Here’s a link to that paper: HYDROGEN LINE OBSERVATIONS OF COMETARY SPECTRA AT 1420 MHZ. It’s a 20-page pdf file, and you can read it on-line without a subscription. We’ll stay with PhysOrg. They tell us:

Back in August of 1977, a team of astronomers studying radio transmissions from an observatory at Ohio State called the “Big Ear” recorded an unusual 72-second signal — it was so strong that team member Jerry Ehman scrawled “Wow!” next to the readout. Since that time, numerous scientists have searched for an explanation of the signal, but until now, no one could offer a valid argument. Possible sources such as asteroids, exo-planets, stars and even signals from Earth have all been ruled out. Some outside the science community even suggested that it was proof of aliens. It was noted that the frequency was transmitted at 1,420 MHz, though, which happens to be the same frequency as hydrogen.

Then they say:

The explanation started to come into focus last year when a team at the CPS suggested that the signal might have come from a hydrogen cloud accompanying a comet — additionally, the movement of the comet would explain why the signal was not seen again. The team noted that two comets had been in the same part of the sky that the Big Ear was monitoring on the fateful day. Those comets, P/2008 Y2(Gibbs) and 266/P Christensen had not yet been discovered. The team then got a chance to test their idea as the two comets appeared once again in the night sky from November 2016 through February of 2017.

What did they find? We’re told:

The team reports that radio signals from 266/P Christensen matched those from the Wow! signal 40 years ago. To verify their results, they tested readings from three other comets, as well, and found similar results.

So that’s it? The WOW! Signal turns out to be no big deal? Almost, but not quite. The article ends with this:

The researchers acknowledge that they cannot say with certainty that the Wow! signal was generated by 266/P Christensen, but they can say with relative assurance that it was generated by a comet.

That’s good enough. We anticipate some celebration at the usual creationist websites. They’ll be relieved to learn that the WOW! Signal was a natural phenomenon. They usually reject natural explanations, preferring to believe that everything has a supernatural cause. In this case, however, they’ll abandon their principles and embrace the finding that the WOW! Signal was natural — except for the Discoveroids, of course. They’ve announced that aliens will prove their “theory,” so maybe they’ll post about their disappointment. We’ll be watching.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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