Lessons from Pluto
On January 19, 2006 the "fasted spacecraft ever launched" - the New Horizons space probe - lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida on a mission to Pluto. In February of 2007 it collected data from Jupiter as it flew by for a gravity assist catapult as it continued on to Pluto. On July 14th, 2015, New Horizons made its closest approach to Pluto. Scientists have now had an opportunity to review the initial data and pictures from New Horizons about the dwarf planet Pluto, and many have been forced into a stunning but unavoidable admission: they've been wrong about Pluto for a long time.
What they found on Pluto was not at all what they were expecting to find. Scientists were expecting to find it heavily cratered, "a flat, dead world similar to our moon." Instead, what they actually found was:
While scientists are willing to fess up to being wrong when confronted with objective data like that supplied to them from their own instruments aboard the New Horizons space probe, it is unlikely that they are willing to acknowledge error with regard to the below lessons, save the first, which they cannot deny without being accused of being science deniers.
Since lessons 3 through 5 deal more with the worldview of science, and the approach scientists should take, I predict scientists will not learn the lessons of those items because as I state in my previous article, cosmologists (and other secular, materialists scientists) are not after the truth, they are after theories that will support their materialist philosophy which is anchored by the big bang theory. Thus any evidence contrary to their materialist-only theories will simply be explained away - not with good science mind you - with just so stories. However for those with eyes to see and ears to hear (Eze 12.2), here are some lessons from the exploration of Pluto, which re-enforces the legitimacy of the biblical account of origins.
Lessons from Pluto
1. Scientists can be not only mistaken, but dead wrong
I've made this point before but with the hard evidence from New Horizons, it bears repeating. When it comes to science, many believe “science” to be synonymous with “always true,” and scientists to be always correct. This is in spite of the fact that the very nature of science - coming up with hypotheses to test to determine if they're correct - will necessarily lead to many hypotheses and theories that are in fact wrong; and subsequently demonstrated to be wrong by experiment or observation.
So it is with theories about the nature of Pluto. Highly respected scientists from many different fields of scientific study have had to admit that their theories and expectations were totally wrong about Pluto:
"Ice volcanoes, fast flowing glaciers
and mountain ranges as big as the
"Pluto has really inspired me. It's showed me just how wrong we can
be. We thought we understood what Pluto would be and it was entirely
different. As a scientist you gotta think, how much out there do we have
to discover? If nothing else, Pluto taught us that."
2. Since Scientists can be wrong, you must evaluate scientific theories
This lesson is a direct corollary of the previous one. Scientist can be wrong. But they have their methods, their theories and their data. So they tend think they're always right. More importantly, they want you, the average person, to follow their opinions with a slavish devotion because they want you to think they're always right. The problem is, they are not always right. In fact they are often wrong. That's why you're constantly hearing about "a new study" or "new data" or a "new theory". What they're actually saying is their old theory was wrong, and now they have a new theory that they think is right, but which could also be wrong.
Least I am misunderstood let me be very
clear: I am not trying to disparage science or scientists, neither am I
saying you should disbelieve all scientists. I am simply reminding you
that scientists are people. People with opinions and worldviews. People
can be mistaken. And not all worldviews are correct. Therefore, there
are scientists with mistaken views due to an incorrect worldview that we
need to be able to discern and identify. We should not be like lemmings
going over the cliff following biased scientists who refuse to
acknowledge the truth. Instead, we need to evaluate the theories
that are put forth. Some of you will no doubt feel unqualified to
evaluate scientific theories and proclamations. But in the matters
in which I am speaking - the history and future of the world -
anyone who has a good grasp of a biblical teaching will be able to
discern whether a scientist is seeking the truth, or merely seeking to
bolster secular theories.
This distinction between operational and forensic science is a distinction that those who call Christians "science deniers" refuse to make. Thus you'll hear arguments like, "since you don't believe in the science of evolution, you shouldn't be able to use medicine, because that also comes from science." Here they've failed to distinguish the untestable forensic science of evolution from the testable operational science of medicine. The next time you hear such a claim you'll know the person is speaking from ignorance (or a willful intent to avoid the truth).
A good example of where we must use discernment is in the claims of the climate change alarmists. Such alarmists believe that humans are responsible for global climate change, that global climate change is killing the earth, and that if humans don't do something to stop it quickly, we will destroy the earth. There are two key distinctions that we need to make here.
A) Christians already know the fate of
We presently are in the post flood period where God himself has promised that the seasons, the earth, essentially the climate of the earth will continue to support life until he changes it to move to the next phase of his plan. That does not square with the destruction climate change alarmists are promoting as an impending doom. As scientists were wrong about Pluto because of lack of information, so the climate change scientists are missing an important piece of the puzzle when trying to predict the future of the earth: the resilience built into the earth by a God who intends for it to last until his purposes are complete; and who in fact, actively keeps the earth until the day of judgment.
B) Correlation does not imply Causation
Even if there were a correlation, does that mean that green house gases (and humans) are necessarily responsible for the increase? You want be careful about drawing causal connections between correlates, just as you should be suspect about humans being the cause of global warming. Because correlation does not imply causation. Consider the following:
Or consider this: there is a correlation in elementary aged school children between shoe size and reading ability and reading scores. The larger the shoe size the better the reading ability. Is this due to solely to shoe size, or is it due to the fact that children with larger shoes are older and have had more years of schooling and training in reading, and thus are better at reading?
It may not always be obvious, but correlates don't imply causation. They indicate a relationship, but that relationship is not always clear, and not necessarily causal in nature. So even if there were a correlation between carbon dioxide and global warming, scientists would need to do more than show a correlation to make a case that human activity is responsible for both the increase in carbon dioxide concentration and global warming . There is no correlation, but even if there were, scientists would need to do more than correlate human activity with global warming to claim humans are the cause of global warming. And thus far, as noted above, they haven't even made the correlation.
This has been the long way of saying: Scientists were wrong in their beliefs about Pluto since they had very little data. It should be clear they could be wrong in their beliefs concerning other planetary issues for which they have little data - like global climate change. That's not to say we shouldn't be good stewards of the environment - we should be; but we should also distinguish real threats from imagined ones.
There is a real threat to the earth, but it's not global warming, and scientists will never recognize the threat as a real problem. The real threat is mankind's sinful nature that brings death and destruction - and God's judgment. Make no mistake - the global flood (Gen 7.17-20) and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah (Gen 19.24-25) were real events brought about by mankind's sinful nature. They serve as God's promise, example and foreshadowing that judgment is coming upon the earth and those who live on it - as it it did before. That final judgment begins with the trumpet judgments in Revelation (Rev 8.6-13), and ends with the destruction of the present earth in fire (2 Pe 3.7) followed by the creation of a new heaven and a new earth. (Rev 21.1) Thus the thing to fear is not global warming. It's facing God's judgment apart from the salvation found in Christ. (Rom 10.13)
Phil is generalizing here so I won't spend a lot of time on this point, other than to point out, have you noticed that evolutionists like to generalize on how easy they believe it is for the right conditions to exist in the universe to support life? As I point out here, there are over 200 requirements that must be met for a planet to support life. Yet whenever they find even one element, they're talking about the possibility of life on another planet. It's sort of like finding a small light bulb in a small garage attached to a house, and suggesting it's evidence that this garage could support the operation and repairs of a Boeing 747 in all its complexity because a single element which might possibly be found in a 747 was found in the garage. Not very scientific, right? Yet in their desperation, that's the approach they take when searching for life on other planets.
When speaking to the public, scientists appear unable to keep from oversimplifying the needs for life; nor can they stop hoping they'll find life on planets and objects other than the earth - like Pluto. But hope will not turn a simple car garage into a hangar for a 747; nor will the Waning Great scientific hope turn lifeless chemicals into a living organism - on any planet.
4. Commitment to a secular worldview prevents scientists from seeing that the Biblical Model is a better fit for the data
Cosmology is one of the few sciences driven as much by worldview as it is by scientific insight. (Another one being evolution.) This worldview influence dictates the entire approach that is taken towards the origin of the universe. The secular approach rejects God and the intervention of a supernatural being into the physical realm. Biblically oriented scientists accept God and His intervention into the physical realm. These two radically different worldviews lead to radically different views of the origin of the universe. How to determine which approach, which theory correct? You simply need look at which theory, which story better corresponds to the what we already know to be true.
Consider one thing we know: 71% of earth's surface is covered with water. That fact is a very big, very serious problem for the secular big bang theory to explain. Because according to the big bang, planets were formed by a process of accretion - little bits of stellar dust stuck together and became larger and larger until they became a planet. The problem with that is - the pieces "sticking together" were not water molecules. According to this process, there should be no water on the face of the earth. So where did all the water come from?
To make matters worse for big bang believers, based on the new data from the New Horizons probe, scientists now believe that at its center - Pluto also has a massive ocean:
How do scientists solve this problem of the massive volumes of water on earth, and now, as it turns out, on Pluto? For earth - believe it or not - they believe it rained down on earth buried in meteorites. (Yes really.) While zooming in on a microscopic section of a grain of table salt which is buried within a meteorite that fell in 1998, we see an "inclusion" of a liquid made visible by a gas bubble floating around inside it. And we're told:
So scientists now believe the oceans were filled by being bombarded by meteorites that had a drop of water, and the water somehow escaped each meteorite. Supposedly billions of these fell over billions of years, and the water collected to form the oceans - leaving absolutely no signs of the billions upon billions of meteorites that brought the water. I imagine they will come up with a similar story for Pluto. If you find that persuasive, please email me, I have some prime real estate on Mars at near give away prices I'm sure you'll be interested in.
The Biblical account of how the water
arrived on earth and Pluto is much simpler. When God created the
universe, he started with water. (Gen 1.2) In fact, the Bible explicitly
says that "the earth was formed out of water and by water." (2 Pe 3.5)
So the origin of massive amounts of water on earth is not a problem for
the Biblical account. Which theory better fits the data?
The youthful appearance of the earth and Pluto is of course easy to understand from a Biblical point of view, which holds to a recent creation as Jason Lisle, a scientist who holds to the biblical worldview points out:
As to the heat that Dr. Stern attributes to the release of heat given from the ocean at Pluto's core as it freezes, Dr. Lisle states:
So here we have two different physical characteristics: massive amounts of water, and youthful appearance. I suggest that the case current science makes to explain these items on Pluto is unpersuasive. But if you want a slam dunk example of physical characteristics that big bang science cannot explain consider our final example: Pluto's orbital angle of inclination.
5. Pluto demonstrates the Nebular Theory is an unfalsifiable "just so" story, not verifiable science
The Big Bang's theory for solar system and planetary formation is called the Nebular theory. Pluto deals the Nebular theory a death blow; and in so doing leaves the Big Bang without an explanation of planetary formation. Yet scientists refuse to acknowledge that, preferring to make up "just so" stories of how Pluto's complex orbital system came about.
It has long been known that Pluto's orbital characteristics don't fit the nebular theory of planetary formation. The nebular theory supposes that solar systems like ours are formed out of a giant cloud of molecular gas and dust. Something (it's unknown what, I'd call it more big bang magic) caused the cloud to collapse and form dense regions. It conveniently collapsed in a rotating motion so that conservation of angular momentum could increase rotational speed. Somehow (more magic) the largest mass stayed at the center (it should have been flung outwards, but remember, this is the scientist's just so story) becoming the sun, while smaller masses were flung outwards and later formed into planets by slowing accreting matter. There are many things wrong with this scenario, but let me just focus in on one obvious one that is magnified with the Pluto.
When the masses that later formed into planets and moons were flung out from the center mass, they should have been thrown in the same orbital plane as the center mass (in our case the sun) and they should rotate in the same direction as the center mass. This is what is expected from the laws of physics.
Consider a cyclist riding over wet and muddy terrain on a bike with no fenders. What happens? Water and mud is flung from the spinning tires and lands either on his face (from the front tire) or on his back (from the rear tire). That's because the cyclist is in the same plane as the spinning tires. So when the angular momentum of the wheels flings the the loose mud and water off, they fly off of the spinning tire and hit the cyclist who is sitting in the plane of the tires. You never see, for example, the water and mud flying off and missing the cyclist and hitting instead items at a significant angle to the spinning tire, like something a few feet away and beside the cyclist. It simply doesn't happen.
This is the same expectation we have for the planets and moons from the nebular hypothesis. When the planets and moons are spun off from the central mass, they should wind up in the same orbital plane, and spinning in the same direction. But Scientists have long known about these problems with regards to the orbital plane and angle of rotation with regards to Pluto: Creationist scientist Tas Walker explains:
That's just Pluto itself. The Hubble telescope has also discovered that Pluto's moons also do not orbit or spin in a manner consistent with the Nebular Hypothesis. (A problem they're hoping the New Horizon's recent flyby will help them with.) The Smithsonian magazine describes the "strange" behavior of Pluto's moons:
Commenting on the difficulty of explaining the nebular theory defying, complex orbital system of Pluto's moons (depicted below), Mark Showalter, a senior research scientist at SETI says, "We are still baffled by how the system formed..."
"The moons form a series of neatly nested orbits, a bit like Russian dolls," Showalter says, and they orbit not Pluto, but the center or mass between Pluto and its largest moon Charon. The above animation shows the unlikely, neatly nested orbits as well as the chaotic spins of the moons. The below picture shows the variance from the ecliptic (the plane the earth orbits in around the sun) of both Pluto and the moons of Pluto. (All 5 known moons of Pluto orbit in the same plane as Pluto's large moon Charon - that is to say at the same 118° angle as Charon.) Note also the hard to explain orientation of Pluto's rotation - rolling on its side like Uranus which has an axial tilt of 98°. (Pluto's is 123°.) Clearly these unusual orbital inclinations and axial tilts did not result as part of the nebular theory process. So how do secular scientists explain such anomalies? They resort to a just so story: the convenient cosmic collision. The convenient cosmic collision is used to explain anything and everything that the nebular hypothesis can't - from the chaotic spins of Pluto's moons and their wild orbital inclination to the formation of our own moon.
Duane Caldwell | posted 11 January 2017
For more on the Nebular Hypothesis, see:
Saturn's Rings are Young!
1. NASA, "New Horizons, The First Mission to the
Pluto System and the Kuiper Belt", May 26, 2015,
2. Pluto, formerly a planet, was reclassified as a "dwarf planet" on August 24, 2006, because it "has not cleared the neighborhood around its orbit, and is not a satellite" - which they have decided is the definition of a dwarf planet.
Robert Roy Britt, "Pluto Demoted: No
Longer a Planet in Highly Controversial Definition", August 24, 2006,
How the Universe Works episode "The Secret History of Pluto",
Science Channel - Discovery Communications documentary, 2016
11. Alan White, The
Globe Is Warming, But It’s Not Your Fault!,
Answers In Genesis, March 14, 2015,
Hoffman, Professor of Cognitive Science, University of California,
Irvine, ref from Closer to Truth Cosmos. Consciousness.
Meaning. episode "When Brains go Bad" Kuhn Foundation
19. For more on a the young earth, see:
Diamond's A Girl's and a Creationist's Best Friend, or
magnetic field: Testament to more than a young earth
Jay Bennett, Weird Orbital Behaviors Offer Clues to the Origins of
Pluto's Moons, Smithsonian.com, June 3, 2015,
27. Pluto and Charon
orbital angles, ref from Courtney Seligman, Charon, accessed