You’ve probably seen tabloid headlines about ʻOumuamua — yes that’s, the name. Wikipedia says:
[It is] the first known interstellar object to pass through the Solar System. Formally designated 1I/2017 U1, it was discovered by Robert Weryk using the Pan-STARRS telescope on 19 October 2017, 40 days after it passed its closest point to the Sun. … Initially assumed to be a comet, it was reclassified as an asteroid a week later, then the first of a new class of interstellar objects.
ʻOumuamua is tumbling rather than smoothly rotating, and it is moving so fast through space relative to the Sun that there is no chance it originated in the Solar System. It also means that ʻOumuamua can not be captured into a solar orbit, so it will eventually leave the Solar System and resume traveling in interstellar space. ʻOumuamua’s system of origin and the amount of time it has been traveling among the stars are unknown.
The name comes from Hawaiian ʻoumuamua, meaning “scout”, (from ʻou, meaning “reach out for”, and mua, reduplicated for emphasis, meaning “first, in advance of”) and reflects the way this object is like a scout or messenger sent from the distant past to reach out to us. The first character is a Hawaiian ʻokina, not an apostrophe, and is represented by a single quotation mark and pronounced as a glottal stop … .
A typical tabloid reaction when the thing was first sighted is in the UK’s Daily Express: REVEALED: Truth about ‘alien mothership’ filmed ‘tracking’ International Space Station.
All (or mostly all) concerns about aliens were put to rest by some actual research, as reported yesterday by PhysOrg in No alien ‘signals’ from cigar-shaped asteroid: researchers. They said:
No alien signals have been detected from an interstellar, cigar-shaped space rock discovered travelling through our Solar System in October, researchers listening for evidence of extraterrestrial technology said Thursday.
Creationists always try to take advantage of opportunities to promote their bizarre view of things, so it’s not surprising to find this from the Discovery Institute: ‘Oumuamua, Space Visitor, Shows Intelligent Design at Work. It was written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
The oblong space object ‘Oumuamua, currently whistling through our Solar System at 196,000 mph, shows intelligent design in action.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What a great first sentence! Then he explains:
How so? Well, what is ID, after all, but a scientific project focused on examining objects and phenomena in nature for evidence reflecting purpose and design by an intelligent agent. The researchers listening to the 800-feet-long space visitor for radio signals — they’ve detected none so far — are simply practicing the science of ID.
Isn’t this great? After that, Klinghoffer tells us:
‘Oumuamua means “messenger” in Hawaiian. What’s the “message”? Maybe one is that ID is a term for something scientists do all the time. Applied to a probable asteroid, ID is uncontroversial. Applied to much more awesome objects – the human brain, for example — it suddenly becomes controversial, “pseudoscience”? Quick, would someone please explain away the obvious contradiction there?
Someone? Anyone? While you’re pondering that profound question, Klinghoffer continues:
I don’t have a problem with its being alien technology. Obviously that would be the most exciting news of our lifetimes if it were true. Yet for proponents of ID, it would change nothing. The discovery of ETs would not undermine the case for the design of terrestrial life one bit.
That’s a total contradiction of what the Discoveroids have been saying for years. See, e.g.: Intelligent Aliens Terrify the Discovery Institute, and before that: Klinghoffer’s Latest Thoughts on Aliens.
Klinghoffer ends his post with this:
The situation for Darwinists is very different. They must have aliens. For them, human life cannot be unique, cannot be special. If an unguided process like evolution, fueled by randomness, produced life on Earth, it must have done so elsewhere, countless times over. So it makes sense that folks with a materialist perspective watch ‘Oumuamua not only with curiosity, as we do, but with a touch of anxiety as well. For them, the silence of the stars is a profound and ongoing problem.
So there you are. Aliens or no aliens, it doesn’t matter. The Discoveroids’ “theory” triumphantly predicts whatever we find. That’s great science!
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