Are we pretending to be like God?
If you can imagine a planet, and then discover one that could maybe be a little like the one you imagined, that’s the same as making one, right?
Awesome stuff. Sounds incredible.
But how real is it?
Have we become like God – able to make planets?
The sciencemag.org article is titled How to make a planet just like Earth.
I enjoy cooking and baking, so I’m expecting to see a recipe, step by step, hopefully with pictures, ’cause I like to verify that what I’m making looks like it’s supposed to. And for baking, it’s got to be really exact, otherwise the right chemical reactions won’t happen, and I’ve got a mess.
I also enjoy doing woodworking, so a really nice blueprint with exact dimensions would be anticipated. I’d really like to see some well laid out cut sheets too. Makes the whole thing so much easier.
The article from arstechnica.com is titled Earth-sized planets discovered by Kepler may really be Earth-like. This seems to lower the bar for my expectations. A lot. But then I read the caption for the picture at the top of this post – With the right ingredients, you can mix up an Earth-like planet – and they go way back up again. This is really beginning to sound like baking. And they do have pictures!
OK – obviously my expectations are way over the top. At least I hope that was obvious. But just look at the way theses things are described – especially from the point of view of someone who only reads the headlines, looks at the pictures, and maybe reads a paragraph or two.
It really sounds like scientists know a whole lot about what they’re doing.
Here are the first paragraphs from each of the articles. (Color coding back to the titles will let you know which one.)
Ever since exoplanets were first discovered in the 1990’s, astronomers have dreamed of finding an Earth-like planet amongst the stars. Better detection techniques have allowed us to find smaller and smaller exoplanets. But when we spot a planet beyond our Solar System, does “Earth-sized” really mean “Earth-like?” A new study presented at this week’s American Astronomical Society meeting shows that the smallest exoplanets are much more likely to be similar to Earth than we thought.
Only a small number of worlds around other stars look anything like Earth: roughly the same size and at the right distance from their star for liquid water to be present. But are these Earth-like exoplanets really made from the same sort of stuff—a rocky surface, an iron core, and just a dash of water? A study presented here today at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society suggests that exoplanets, at least up to 1.6 times the mass of Earth, follow pretty much the same recipe as our home. So if we’re looking for life out there, we can probably ignore anything bigger than that.
Both sound very positive. We know what we’re doing. We understand this stuff. You can trust us.
Let’s go a bit deeper.
Does a composition similar to that of Earth mean that the planet is truly Earth-like? There are other factors to consider before this determination can be made. Location in its system is another major factor that contributes to the environment on an exoplanet. For example, Kepler-93b, though Earth-like in composition, is in a very tight, 4.7-day orbit around its star. In order to support liquid water on its surface, an exoplanet needs to be at the right distance, and this one is much too close.
There are other, more nuanced factors in a planet’s history that will ultimately determine if it has liquid water or other conditions needed for it to be considered habitable by life as we know it. Nevertheless, having a composition similar to that of Earth is a good start.
The team calculated the masses of 10 known exoplanets with diameters that are less than 2.7 times that of Earth. Plotting the mass results against the planets’ diameters, the researchers found that the five smallest exoplanets—all less than 1.6 times Earth’s diameter—lay on the curve typical of a largely rocky planet with an iron core, the same curve that Earth and Venus sit on. “This suggests that they have the same recipe as Earth,” Dressing told a press conference here today.
In contrast, the five larger exoplanets turned out to have significantly lower densities, suggesting that they contained more lighter material, or “fluffy stuff” as Dressing termed it, that could include water, hydrogen, or helium. There are outliers among low mass worlds that also have low density, but “to find truly Earth-like worlds, we should focus on planets less than 1.6 times the size of Earth, because those are the rocky worlds,” Dressing said.
Things are getting a bit fuzzier. Especially in the arstechnica.com article. They are in fact more honest as well. The truth is, we’ve never been anywhere near any of these objects being studied. We make guesses about them, based on what we know Earth is like. As least as much as we think we know. Witness my recent post – was there really enough water to flood the earth? – and you’ll see that it was only this past year when scientists realized that there is a huge amount of water under the earth’s crust. They just found this. Moses wrote about it 5,000 years ago. That begs the question – how much of this do we really know?
Let’s move on.
I found a recipe!! It’s in the sciencemag.org article! Here it is.
For those that want to cook up their own Earth-like planet, Dressing proposed a recipe:
Makes one small model planet
1 cup magnesium
1 cup silicon
2 cups iron
2 cups oxygen
1/2 teaspoon aluminum
1/2 teaspoon nickel
1/2 teaspoon calcium
1/4 teaspoon sulfur
Dash of water delivered by asteroids
Blend well in a large bowl, shape into a round ball with your hands, and place neatly in a habitable zone area around a young star. Do not overmix. Heat until mixture becomes a white hot glowing ball. Bake for a few million years. Cool until color changes from white to yellow to red and a golden-brown crust forms. It should not give off light anymore. Season with a dash of water and organic compounds. It will shrink a bit as steam escapes and clouds and oceans form. Stand back and wait a few more million years to see what happens. If you are lucky, a thin frosting of life may appear on the surface of your new world.
Oh. This is good. Especially the part about Stand back and wait a few more million years to see what happens.
So – why did I write this?
It’s about the alleged conflict between science and God. For whatever reason, people have a tendency to believe science – but not believe God. And yet, look what we get. In this case, we get these amazing headlines. We get the impression, if we don’t read too far, that scientists really do know their stuff. Especially if we accept what’s said without checking any of it out.
But then, if we do even a little research, we find that assumptions are faulty – such as the one about we “know” the contents of the earth. Hard to swallow that one when we’re constantly learning new things about our home planet. Not to mention the billions of dollars being spent to do more research to learn even more about it. Obviously, we don’t really know that much about it. To then extrapolate from bad assumptions, using incomplete and unverified formulas, to reach a conclusion that we can either build or merely recognize another earth – please. It’s beyond belief.
If we look at the Bible, creation of the planets – and everything else – was quite simple.
Ge 1:3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.
I know some (many) people won’t buy this either.
Part of the problem with it is that it’s in English. The American / English Bible is so over simplified, that we lose a whole lot of meaning.
For instance – light doesn’t necessarily imply “light” as in turning on a lamp. It also doesn’t necessarily mean sunlight – as in what we see during the day. One of the possible meanings for it is “light of life”.
Let’s consider this meaning. Let’s compare it with the very simple scientific concept of The Big Bang. I point that that it’s very simple – because it is. It doesn’t explain how it happened. In fact, scientists are still trying to figure out how it happened. Some will claim that it “just happened” – had no cause. But in the Bible we read – God said, “Let there be light”.
Let’s take this one step further. The big bang says there was a massive explosion of pure energy. Guess what is the purest form of energy. It’s light. Is the “light of life” making more sense now?
To go one further, for those that are really into this stuff – check out “string theory”. It holds that everything is kept together via oscillations / vibrations that we can’t see. Guess what happens when we speak. Our vocal chords make vibrations in the air (that we can’t see) – and our ears pick up those vibrations and translate them into sounds, which our brain then processes to reform the vibrations back into what the person said. Now imagine an all powerful God speaking. Talk about oscillations and vibrations!
In one verse in the very beginning of the Bible, Moses wrote something 5,000 years ago that we are still trying to figure out today. As I said in the flood post – Moses didn’t have an advanced science degree. Where did he get this? He got it from the One who created all of it.
Why is it that we have such a hard time believing this? Why would we rather say – No, the Bible is wrong? Why can’t we eventually accept that everything that we really learn (as opposed to the stuff we guess about or make up) really matches with what this old book said 5,000 years ago?
And really – why would we not want to learn from the Master? He made all of it. He made all of us.
So let’s say you have a choice.
You can make science your “god”. This god will tell you you’re just a random happening. An accident of nature. Against all odds, you are here. On a planet that is also against all odds. Located at a place in the solar system that is also against all odds. And so it goes – on and on – against all odds. And when you die, it’s all over. Because there isn’t anything else.
Or, you can choose the God of the Bible. He will tell you that you’re special. He will tell you that He formed you Himself. That He knew you even before the universe was created. Nothing was against all odds. In fact – it was against no odds at all. He planned it – and He did it. And when you die – if you want – you can spend eternity with Him. Or not. It’s really your choice. If you want to – He tells us how to make that happen. If you don’t want to – He also tells us how to make that happen. (Pretty simple when you look at it that way, isn’t it?) Anyway – why would you not want it to happen? Especially if you’re into this kind of stuff. If you like to learn. An eternity learning from Him. I can get into that. It will be absolutely awesome!
And the really good part – again for those that are into this – you get to learn the truth about the things you really like. Not theories that can never be proven. But the real thing. For instance, you know there are other dimensions. String theory calls for them. Mathematical models that try to accommodate for the things we “know” have gaps. Gaps that can easily be resolved with the addition of more dimensions.
I think we’ve learned a lot. But there’s so much more to learn. If this is your thing – why would you not want to learn it? All of it?
You have a choice.
I want everything He has to offer. It is, after all, forever!
Why make one small model planet that you’ll never be able to see a result?
What if you get a portion of a galaxy in some other dimension as your own private lab?
Heaven is supposed to be so much better than anything we can ever imagine.
I can imagine a lot.
How about you?
Hope to see you there!