Monday, December 19, 2011

Eta Caninae and Creationism

Eta Carinae (image credit National Geographic)

From the science blog Pharyngula, P. Z. Myers has been running some posts from readers on the topic Why I am an Atheist.

One particular post I liked for its astronomy angle came in from Michael Baizley, in which he raises an interesting conundrum for proponents of the young earth theory (i.e., 6,000 year old):

Increasing scientific knowledge did nothing to quell my views on god's creation. Seeing as my favorite star [see NOTE below] was eight thousand light years away, knowing that a light year is how far light travels in a year, knowing that my favorite star was at least eight thousand years old - and most likely far, far older - only made this doubt of god's creation grow. Especially in a world where creationists and fundamentalists, a great part of the United States population (40%, as late), tend to believe the world is six thousand years old.

If my favorite star were eight thousand light years away, and the oldest known sources of light were over thirteen billion light years away, what was the rationale for believing that the world [was] six thousand years old?

NOTE. In doing a bit or research, I'm suspecting that Michaels' favorite star is Eta Caninae, about to blow its stack in the photo above.

See also my previous post on Organ Cave, WV, where science and creationism also collide in documented measurements of natural phenomena.


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