Friday, May 27, 2011

Stellar evolution vs. biological evolution

[N.B.: This May 28, 2008, post of mine is not from my blog, but from the now-defunct Creation vs. Evolution group on MySpace. It follows from my previous post about evolution.]

"In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth."
Genesis 1:1 (NKJV)

Astronomy, the scientific study of the heavens, so far has been relatively ignored by the creationist/I.D. (intelligent design) movement, which instead focuses on biology and paleontology to make its case. Why is that, I wonder?

The more I read the threads in this group, with the responses of those from the creationist camp, the more I realize how little they seem to know about science. So, if this is you, get out of the biology discussion for a little while and read up on astronomy.

Astronomers have a lot figured out, but there are lots of topics that are not yet well understood. As one example, the star Eta Carinae, in the nebula NGC 3372, was one of the brightest stars in the sky around 1840, then dimmed below what the naked eye could see by the 1860s. It remained thus until the late 1990s when it brightened considerably. Why? Good question.

If you want to see true scientific debate going on, study this. There are hypotheses and there are theories.

(OK, review time, and I’ll say this simply: A hypothesis is an idea of what’s going on, nothing more, nothing less. You test the hypotheses, you make observations, you record what occurs, you make predictions. If the hypothesis holds up, good. If it doesn’t, you set it aside and come up with another hypothesis. Repeat. Get enough of these together that play nicely with one another and you can begin to construct a theory, a framework for hooking all these together. Meanwhile, keep on coming up with hypotheses. Each will either continue to support the theory, or maybe it will throw that framework into question again. Got it?)

Back to Eta Carinae. See this for a quick overview of the discussion as of April 2000. The Astronomy Picture of the Day for May 28, 2008, describes it only briefly, but has many links to additional information (1, 2, for starters).

Really, people, and creationists I’m talking to you here: There is no fundamental scientific debate about whether biological evolution occurs, but there are plenty of threads in this group to debate that. Here, in this thread, I merely but strongly suggest you get out of the biology debate and see for yourselves just how science is debated when there really is something to debate.

Stars evolve, too, and one line in the Bible hardly makes for a complete understanding of the subject.


bus15237 said...

This May 28, 2008, post of mine is not from my blog, but from the now-defunct Creation vs. Evolution group on MySpace. It follows from my previous post about evolution.

bus15237 said...

There was this one comment from 2008 that I managed to preserve. (There may have been more, but they didn't make it to my backup.)

Mark from Cuyahoga Falls, OH
The ID movement is using evolution as "the sharp end of the wedge" to drive a wedge between science and religion. That is why they keep pounding the anti-evolution drum.

Read the Wedge Document sometime, the leaked manifesto of the largest ID org in the country.