Saturday, 19 June 2010

Debunking Corner - Dealing with Creationism in Astronomy

This is just an extract from here:

If a theory predicts an effect is too small for current technology to detect directly, is that proof that the effect does not exist?

According to many pseudo-scientists, the answer to this question is 'yes'. They use these 'gaps' in current understanding to squeeze in their outlandish claims. To isolate the full implications from their belief systems, they have established the categories of “Origins Science” (for Young-Earth Creationists) or “Cosmological Science” (for Electric Universe supporters).

But consider how foolish such a claim looks in the light of some historical examples.

In 1990, there were NO planets known beyond those in our own Solar System. Was this proof that no extra-solar planets existed? At that time, even our own Solar System would be undetectable by the technology of the day even if it were around the nearest stars. While I've yet to find any documentation that any creationists advocated that our Solar System was unique in all the universe, such a position would certainly be consistent with many characteristics of their beliefs.

By the late 1990s, when the technology finally reached the point where some of the more extreme types of solar systems could be detected, some creationists went so far as to try to dismiss the detections (see Another Failed Creationist Prediction?).

But you might think that these types of problems can only happen when researchers must rely on observation alone. It can't possibly happen in laboratory science where one has controls on the experiment. Could it?

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