Hubble discovers a new form of apologetics!


Okay, sorry, it wasn’t the Hubble, it was the Spitzer telescope. And it wasn’t “new”, it’s actually a form of apologetics as old as the practice.

Via Christian News Wire:

Since Biblical times, people have put their trust in the Genesis account of creation. In recent years however, some have challenged the account and say there is no scientific evidence to support Genesis. It appears now that discoveries made by NASA’s scientist are confirming that the Genesis account is scientifically accurate. The idea of no scientific evidence to support it is now being turned upside-down by the very findings made in 2004 by NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Telescopes of proto-planetary disc that surround infant stars.

According to NASA scientist, data from these two telescopes is revealing that planets like the Earth are formed in the exact same fashion as described at Genesis 1:2, 3. According to NASA, planets form inside a proto-planetary disc of dust and debris, starting out in a formless and chaotic state in total darkness, as describe in Genesis verse 2. “Now the earth proved to be formless and waste, and there was darkness upon the surface of the watery deep.”

Now Blog Ubermensch Ed Brayton already got to this one but this story bears a bit closer analysis. Specifically, regarding just how many things you can get patently wrong and still be considered a credible story by Christian News Wire.

First, and most obviously, the animation that NASA made depicting the formation of a star and planet within a protoplanetary disc is actually based on new observations from the Spitzer telescope. All the observations that we’ve made to this point using Hubble are indeed important with regard to our knowledge of stellar formation, and even foundational, but nowhere in the animation is Hubble mentioned. That was added entirely by CNW presumably due to Hubble’s higher name recognition value.

Secondly, NASA has more than one scientist. Now, despite my English degree (one credit shy of completion), I’m not the best person in the world (much less this blog network) to criticize blatant grammatical errors, given there are probably four or five in what precious little I’ve written so far in this post. I make common errors like substituting “providence” for “provenance”, spelling errors that change the entire meaning of a sentence, and run-ons and comma splices that would make Bulwer-Lytton contestants flinch. All that aside, it’s fairly obvious that nobody passed this through any sort of grammar check or, hell, even editorial process. I strongly suspect, because of this fact alone, that Christian News Wire employs writers the way Yahoo famously has in the past — paid by the word, designed to pull eyes, and functioning solely to sell ad impressions to a niche audience — those who want their news as filtered through as many pages of the Bible as possible. Err, translucent Bible pages, I guess. Or something. Anyway.

And third, and most importantly, these goobers evidently have precious little understanding of the sequence of events in either account in Genesis. According to Christian Answers, and well… the Bible in Genesis 1, or the other account in Genesis 2, everything was created in a much different order than is claimed. Notwithstanding “let there be light” coming first, the sun was created on day four. After the Earth and “heavens” on day one. And the creation of vegetation (and “dry land”) on day three. This conflicts directly with the claim that first God created the sun (e.g. “light”), then the inner planets.

Is there anything at all correct about this post? Well, there’s a second sentence in the first paragraph that approaches true: “In recent years however, some have challenged the account and say there is no scientific evidence to support Genesis.”. I say “approaches” because in actuality, people have been disputing the account of Genesis for hundreds of years. It’s only recently that we’ve gained ground in convincing the public that reality doesn’t work the way Christians wish it did. We’ve gained so much ground on that front, in fact, that Christians are forced to misinterpreting their own texts to comport with reality.

I can’t help but smile about that sort of thing.

Comments

  1. Randomfactor says

    “Apologetics” is the systematic study of exactly which logical fallacies can best prop up a failing argument.

  2. says

    Since I already commented- over at Cafe Witteveen about this article- I’ll just cut/paste my response here:

    According to NASA scientist, data from these two telescopes is revealing that planets like the Earth are formed in the exact same fashion as described at Genesis 1:2, 3

    ORLY?
    Then why don’t you quote a NASA scientist saying that?
    The only person quoted is J. Paul Hutchins, who’s bio can be read here. I’ll cut to the juicy bit:

    Hutchins is a successful entrepreneur and says he’s fortunate to be alive. A patented inventor and amateur astronomer, he began to notice the role imagination played in every major discovery in man’s history.

    emphasis mine

    Bonus points will be allotted to the creationist who can find a real scientist who gives evidence that an early Earth being created in darkness would have had the requisite “watery deep” during it’s formation from clouds of dust.

  3. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    But what Hubble Spitzer recorded was just like the Genesis creation…more or less…well, less than more…if you squint really hard…and haven’t read Genesis in years…and really, really, really believe in Biblical literalism…and ignore those parts of the video which don’t agree with Genesis…and ignore those parts of Genesis which don’t agree with the video….

  4. noahsarkive says

    “…because in actuality…”

    Really?! “in actuality”? And you’re the English major? There is a perfectly serviceable word: “actually”. As in “The Universe was actually created 13.7 billion years ago, which is half as long as Christian wingnuts will take to pull their heads out of their assholes!”

    BTW: did you call up the NASA scientist? What kind of science does she do? Is she Christian? How can NASA be sure of all this stuff?

  5. says

    noahsarkive@5: In actuality, you’re wrong. “In actuality” has a different meaning from “actually”, mostly in force. Saying “actually” doesn’t have quite the same effect as “in actuality”, because the latter is something akin to a slightly less sarcastic “meanwhile, here in our reality”.

    No, I didn’t call the NASA scientist to confirm what kind of science the NASA scientist does, and whether or not it has anything to do with what the creationists said it does. Didn’t seem relevant to my point. Nor could I source “the scientist”. Though it shouldn’t be hard to do since NASA apparently only has the one.

  6. F says

    Go for the gusto, and say, “in all actuality”. I don’t know if this idiom is regional or what (or even reaches the (disputed) definition of idiom), but I have heard it used not infrequently.

    Whatever, I really love it when these gawddists show up randomly in the comments of astronomy photo galleries doing the “glory to gawd” thing. Even on tech sites with the odd astronomy posting, these types will create a login to post just this one thing. It’s like they were sent.

  7. sinned34 says

    You’re ignoring the fact that generic science writers the world over are crowing over the fact that CERN has shown that particles can travel faster than light and disproven all of science! This is irrefutable evidence that scientists know nothing about the universe, and are motivated by a Satanic, anti-Christian inability to admit their sin. Therefore, Jesus created the Earth and all the animals on it less than ten thousand years ago, just like the bible says.

    Checkmate, atheists!

  8. says

    Ignoring? Oh no. I was thinking of putting up a piece on it, in fact. Just, probably not as trollish as you would have put it. I’ve got a bit of a backlog of things that need bloggin’.

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