Giant Planet Sends Planetologists Scrambling
Secular astronomers are experts in telling the public about things that are observed but should not exist.
Astronomers have discovered a “monster planet” that challenges planet formation theories. Science Daily reports,
A giant planet, which should not exist according to planet formation theory, has been discovered around a distant star. The new research is presented in a paper recently accepted for publication in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
The existence of the ‘monster’ planet, ‘NGTS-1b’, challenges theories of planet formation which state that a planet of this size could not be formed around such a small star. According to these theories, small stars can readily form rocky planets but do not gather enough material together to form Jupiter-sized planets.
Astrobiology Magazine also reprinted the press release from the Royal Astronomical Society. And National Geographic headlined its post, “Bizarrely Huge Planet Discovered Orbiting Tiny Star.” The subhead reads, “The size mismatch is the largest ever seen and challenges theories of how planets form.”
The reports go on to say that this case may not be rare. Professor Peter Wheatley (U of Warwick) remarked, “small stars like this red M-dwarf are actually the most common in the Universe, so it is possible that there are many of these giant planets waiting to found.” He wasn’t alone in his surprise:
Dr Daniel Bayliss, lead author of the study, also from the University of Warwick, commented “The discovery of NGTS-1b was a complete surprise to us – such massive planets were not thought to exist around such small stars – importantly, our challenge now is to find out how common these types of planets are in the Galaxy, and with the new Next-Generation Transit Survey facility we are well-placed to do just that.”
There isn’t supposed to be enough dust around small red stars to form large planets. According to current thinking, large stars have enough dust to produce gas giants, but small stars do not. So are astronomers hanging their heads in shame at having their theories of planet formation falsified? No; they are “excited” about it:
Professor Peter Wheatley leads NGTS, and was pleased to see these exciting results: “Having worked for almost a decade to develop the NGTS telescope array, it is thrilling to see it picking out new and unexpected types of planets. I’m looking forward to seeing what other kinds of exciting new planets we can turn up.”
How can this be? Aren’t scientists supposed to meekly retract models that don’t work? National Geographic explains what comes next: “The new planetary system breaks that idea, though it’s not clear whether it’s time to completely rewrite the story of planet formation, or just add an addendum.”
While they’re at it, they could ‘add addenda’ to their theories about these other objects that shouldn’t exist:
- Our freakish galaxy shouldn’t exist (New Scientist) — the Milky Way “has cosmologists seriously worried”
- A giant ring of galaxies that shouldn’t exist (8/11/15) — “we still don’t quite understand how it came to exist at all”
- A dusty galaxy that shouldn’t exist (3/11/15) — Astronomers were “taken aback” by what they saw
- The lava planet that shouldn’t exist (10/31/13) — “We don’t know how it formed or how it got to where it is today”
- A gravitational lens arc that shouldn’t exist (6/26/12) — “When I first saw it, I kept staring at it, thinking it would go away”
- A ‘freakish star’ that never should have existed (9/01/11) — “If stars did not exist, it would be easy to prove that this is what we expect”
- A tightly-orbiting triple star with a planet that should not exist (7/15/05) — “according to the orbital migration theory, this planet should not exist”
- And, of course, our universe that shouldn’t exist (10/23/17) — “the universe should not actually exist”
One thing that most certainly exists, however, is the requirement that only secular materialists have the right to explain existence.
In his book Science’s Blind Spot, Cornelius Hunter lays out the history that led to modern naturalism. It all started with theological assumptions, he shows with quotes from philosophers, theologians and scientists. At first, Bernoulli and Laplace rejected Newton’s appeals to God as Creator and Sustainer, because these scientists assumed that God would have created planets in random orbits, not all so close to the ecliptic. Since ‘God wouldn’t have done it that way,’ they reasoned that there must have been natural causes at work.
Additionally, they imposed theological arguments by reasoning that only a weak God would have to ‘intervene’ to keep things running. In their visions, a ‘strong’ God would have set up natural laws to do all the work via secondary causes.
This line of theological reasoning was reinforced by Immanuel Kant, David Hume and others—all the way up to Darwin, who imposed this thinking on biology. Some of them felt they were ‘rescuing’ God from the errors of natural theologians who tended to assume God must have made a perfect universe. Critics who saw abundant ‘natural evil’ wanted to distance God from things in nature they found unpalatable.
Darwin frequently used theological arguments for his theory — not because he had strong empirical evidence for his mechanism, but because he felt ‘God wouldn’t have done it that way.’ Hunter shares numerous quotes to illustrate Darwin’s inability to believe in a Creator who would have made animals and plants with the patterns and behaviors he observed: parasites that lay their eggs inside a host, cats that play with mice, patterns in biogeography, etc. This was actually the strongest argument he employed in The Origin of Species.
So why do naturalistic scientists continue to face daunting anomalies, to the point where they claim things they see in their telescopes cannot exist? Hunter argues that the theological arguments continue to be so strong in their minds, naturalism must be right. Even atheists today, like Jerry Coyne, wield that argument. Naturalism is true by default, because ‘God wouldn’t do things this way.’ They fail to recognize they are using theological arguments, not evidence.
This line of reasoning is very evident in biology, but it continues in astronomy as well. Naturalistic explanations can never be falsified, because naturalism has priority over observation. No matter the anomaly, naturalism must be true. That’s why they get excited when falsified. It just keeps them employed in their naturalistic theory-making. They don’t have to worry about reconsidering a Creator God who intervenes, because He has been ruled out of court.
Of course, the god they had erected is a false god—an idol—that they have created in their own image. They make a straw god they can knock down, so that they can pursue naturalistic causes at all costs, even when their models are falsified, even when anomalies pile up that militate against naturalism. Naturalism endures, because it must be true. God wouldn’t do things this way!
How about considering the true God of Scripture? He is a God who does intervene. He is a personal God who made beings in His image with free will. This God judges sin, and cursed the creation because of it. He is a God who allows evil to exist, but not forever. He flooded the Earth after sufficient opportunity for the sinners to repent, and He will burn up the present heavens and Earth in judgment after sufficient time for the nations to hear the message to repent and believe the gospel. This is the kind of Creator that explains the observations, such as the fine-tuning of the Universe and the Earth and the complexity of life, and provides the necessary and sufficient causation for them. Oh, but they hate that God! They can’t knock Him down.