Astronomy: technology, science, or speculation? -- By: Erich A. von Fange

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 14:1 (Winter 2001)
Article: Astronomy: technology, science, or speculation?
Author: Erich A. von Fange


Astronomy: technology, science, or speculation?

Erich A. von Fange

[Our English word “astronomy” comes from two Greek words: astro (star) and nomos (law), meaning the law of the stars. In this article, Dr. von Fange addresses Creation/Evolution issues from the field of astronomy.]

The universe up there. No one can fait to be awed by the absolutely marvelous photos beamed back to the world from such triumphs of technology as the Hubble space telescope. These sights are a perfect illustration of the Psalmist who exclaimed that the heavens declare the glory of God. This article is not a short course in astronomy (that is the task for astronomers) but it will describe some characteristics of modern astronomy.

Faulkner and DeYoung (1991) carefully spell out what is involved in developing a creationist astronomy, no simple task. Several items about astronomy in the news in recent years show the extremely speculative nature of some important aspects of astronomy.

A Notorious Quotation

Evolutionists sometimes accuse Christians of restricting the free exercise of scientific endeavor, and sometimes this has been true. But it is not difficult to find examples of blindness on the part of scientists in the past, and of evolutionists throughout their history. About 200 years ago the Academy of Sciences of France declared: “In our enlightened age there can still be people so superstitious as to believe stones fall from the sky.” (Tomas 1971:57). Eyewitness accounts of meteor falls were summarily dismissed at that time, because science had spoken. Does this mentality still exist within the field of astronomy?

Comet Hyakutake as photographed on March 25,1996. Taken near Oxford, England, it was shot with a two-minute exposure. The brightest comet to fly near the earth in 400 years, Hyakutake also had the longest ion tail ever recorded. Discovered by Yuji Hyakutake in Japan, it was officially desginated Comet C/1996 B2.

Is astronomy a science? Every astronomer in the world would be shocked at such a question. There can be no doubt that billions have been spent to make the study of the universe a truly sophisticated pursuit. Then why is it commonly stated that astronomy is the most speculative of all the sciences? As we shall illustrate below, there is a great gulf between what is observed and how the observations are interpreted. We have no quarrel, of course, with data gathering, nor with speculation properly labeled as such. It is only when speculation is presented as fact that we must emphasize that hunches fitting a particular bias are not the same as truth. The Christian, for example, realizes that ...

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