Creationists, especially those at the Institute for Creation Research, just love tarring every science that they don’t like as ‘evolution.’ They have successfully made much of the American public distrustful of the word, so it’s unsurprising that they would try to exploit this else-ware. I’m sure, if you asked them, few people would have trouble with the observed life-cycle of stars – but call it stellar evolution and many will object.
Of course, the trouble with that example is that stellar evolution is actually a Thing. It’s just that that’s irrelevant to what creationists mean when they talk about “evolutionary models of stellar formation.” Put it this way: my bike tires have “Evolution” on them, as a brand-name. Here in the topsy-turvy world known as the antipodes, evolution has positive connotations, though admittedly they apply more to Lamarckian evolution than Darwinian. Point is: when Brian Thomas goes and writes a story under the heading Did Astronomers Find an Evolving Planet?, he’s using the word wrong for a reason, even if in this case ‘Planetary Evolution’ may also be a Thing.
If you haven’t heard the story before, “the first direct image of a planet in the process of forming around its star” has been taken. There’s a pretty artist’s impression of the situation circulating with the story, which you may have seen (but I wont republish here, as personally I feel the above, totally irrelevant picture fits my size constraints better). Mr Thomas complains that the press release linked above “didn’t show original photographs,” but there’s a big link entitled Additional Illustrations to a page which has plenty of multi-coloured smudges for his perusal – nice start.
Basically, his objection to this piece of science news is based on the idea that the process of accretion can’t get started because “small particles bounce off each other when they collide, instead of sticking together.” He gives a reference to an Acts & Facts beat-up of the Nebular Hypothesis, and apparently quote-mines this paper to that effect, avoiding the ‘possible solution’ given etc.
He then says:
But this is only a problem for planetary evolution—not planetary creation.
That may be, but this find is a huge problem for creationism. Why would God make something that appeared to be undergoing an impossible, “evolutionary” process? He gives a denial that I couldn’t have written better if I was trying to parody him:
These astronomers may not have observed a planet at all. If it is a planet, what is the evidence that it is forming today, or that it formed by natural processes in the past? It might instead simply be in the process of falling apart or breaking down like everything else in the universe. Whichever is the case, these astronomers did not watch any planet forming!
I’m working on the latest Acts & ‘Facts’ edition, but I’m supposed to be studying and I’m not exactly having the greatest week, so that might be a while. Ditto the latest Ideological Education Essentials, but you’re not missing out on much there…