Tag Archives: Hoax

Is Kepler-452b an Earth-like planet? Does it support life?

Apologetics and the progress of science
Apologetics and the progress of science

Previously, I blogged about a few of the minimum requirements that a planet must satisfy in order to support complex life.

Here they are:

  • a solar system with a single massive Sun than can serve as a long-lived, stable source of energy
  • a terrestrial planet (non-gaseous)
  • the planet must be the right distance from the sun in order to preserve liquid water at the surface – if it’s too close, the water is burnt off in a runaway greenhouse effect, if it’s too far, the water is permanently frozen in a runaway glaciation
  • the planet has to be far enough from the star to avoid tidal locking and solar flares
  • the solar system must be placed at the right place in the galaxy – not too near dangerous radiation, but close enough to other stars to be able to absorb heavy elements after neighboring stars die
  • a moon of sufficient mass to stabilize the tilt of the planet’s rotation
  • plate tectonics
  • an oxygen-rich atmosphere
  • a sweeper planet to deflect comets, etc.
  • planetary neighbors must have non-eccentric orbits
  • planet mass must be enough to retain an atmosphere, but not so massive to cause a greenhouse effect

Now what happens if we disregard all of those characteristics, and just classify an Earth-like planet as one which is the same size and receives the same amount of radiation from its star? Well, then you end up labeling a whole bunch of planets as “Earth-like” that really don’t permit life.

Here’s an article from The Conversation which talks about a recent case of science fiction trumping science facts. (H/T JoeCoder)


NASA’s announcement of the discovery of a new extrasolar planet has been met with a lot of excitement. But the truth is that it is impossible to judge whether it is similar to Earth with the few parameters we have – it might just as well resemble Venus, or something entirely different.

The planet, Kepler-452b, was detected by the Kepler telescope, which looks for small dips in a star’s brightness as planets pass across its surface. It is a method that measures the planet’s size, but not its mass. Conditions on Kepler-452b are therefore entirely estimated from just two data points: the planet’s size and the radiation it receives from its star.

Size and radiation from its star? That’s all?


Kepler-452b was found to be 60% larger than the Earth. It orbits a sun-like star once every 384.84 days. As a result, the planet receives a similar amount of radiation as we do from the sun; just 10% higher. This puts the Kepler-452b in the so-called “habitable zone”; a term that sounds excitingly promising for life, but is actually misleading.

The habitable zone is the region around a star where liquid water could exist on a suitable planet’s surface. The key word is “suitable”. A gas-planet like Neptune in the habitable zone would clearly not host oceans since it has no surface. The habitable zone is best considered as a way of narrowing down candidates for investigation in future missions.

What about plate tectonics – does it have that?

Kepler-452b’s radius puts it on the brink of the divide between a rocky planet and a small Neptune. In the research paper that announced the discovery, the authors put the probability of the planet having a rocky surface about 50%-60%, so it is by no means sure.

Rocky planets like the Earth are made from iron, silicon, magnesium and carbon. While these ingredients are expected to be similar in other planetary systems, their relative quantities may be quite different. Variations would produce alternative planet interiors with a completely different geology.

For example, a planet made mostly out of carbon could have mantles made of diamond, meaning they would not move easily. This would bring plate tectonics to a screeching halt. Similarly, magnesium-rich planets may have thick crusts that are resilient to fractures. Both results would limit volcano activity that is thought to be essential for sustaining a long lasting atmosphere.

What about retaining the right kind of atmosphere, which depends on the mass of the planet. Does it have that?

If Kepler-452b nevertheless has a similar composition to Earth, we run into another problem: gravity. Based on an Earth-like density, Kepler-452b would be five times more massive than our planet.

This would correspond to a stronger gravitational pull, capable of drawing in a thick atmosphere to create a potential runaway greenhouse effect, which means that the planet’s temperature continues to climb. This could be especially problematic as the increasing energy from its ageing sun is likely to be heating up the surface. Any water present on the planet’s surface would then boil away, leaving a super-Venus, rather than a super-Earth.

You might remember that “retain atmosphere” requirement from the lecture by Walter Bradley that I posted with a summary a few days ago.

What about having a Jupiter-sized sweeper planet – does it have that?

Another problem is that Kepler-452b is alone. As far as we know, there are no other planets in the same system. This is an issue because it was most likely our giant gas planets that helped direct water to Earth.

At our position from the sun, the dust grains that came together to form the Earth were too warm to contain ice. Instead, they produced a dry planet that later had its water most likely delivered by icy meteorites. These frozen seas formed in the colder outer solar system and were kicked towards Earth by Jupiter’s huge gravitational tug. No Jupiter analogue for Kepler-452b might mean no water and therefore, no recognisable life.

What about having a magnetic field – does it have that?

All these possibilities mean that even a planet exactly the same size as Earth, orbiting a star identical to our sun on an orbit that takes exactly one year might still be an utterly alien world. Conditions on a planet’s surface are dictated by a myriad of factors – including atmosphere, magnetic fields and planet interactions, which we currently have no way of measuring.

You know, after the whole global warming hoax, you would think that NASA would have learned their lesson about sensationalizing wild-assed guesses in order to scare up more research money from gullible taxpayers who watch too much Star Trek and Star Wars.

The best answer to this is for parents to make sure that their kids are learning the facts about astrobiology from books like “The Privileged Planet” and “Rare Earth”, where the full list of requirements for a life-supporting planet will be found. Pity that we can’t rely on taxpayer-funded public schools to do that for us, because they are too busy pushing Planned Parenthood’s sex education curriculum and global warming fears, instead of real science and engineering.

Gay man fakes hate crime against himself

Young, unmarried women celebrate gay pride
Young, unmarried women celebrate gay pride

Here is a story from the left-wing Associated Press.

They write:

A man who reported someone beat him and carved a homophobic slur into his arm staged the attacks, authorities in rural Utah said Tuesday.

Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said Rick Jones, 21, could face charges after officers investigating the series of reported attacks found inconsistencies in the evidence. The Delta man eventually acknowledged faking the harassment, Dekker said.

[…]Jones has since begun mental health treatment, the lawyer said.

The purported attacks began with a beating at his family’s pizza business in April that left Jones with head and facial bruising.

Five days later, the family’s home was found spray-painted with a homophobic slur. On June 10, a rock and a molotov cocktail were thrown through the window of the home. That same day, the business was spray-painted, broken into and robbed of $1,000.

Jones told KSL-TV earlier this month he believed he was targeted because he is gay.

Dekker said prosecutors are considering possible charges including filing a false report and reckless burning.

Previously, I blogged about a case where a gay activist claimed that allowing a pro-marriage event would cause gay people to commit suicide.

That story came from Life Site News.


“Their viewpoint kills people,” Jeffrey Cohen, vice president of GradQ, a homosexual advocacy group for graduate students, told the GSC.  “There’s a lot of research published in top psychology journals that have looked at university environments, both positive and negative. An event such as this would be a negative event, [and] in schools that have negative events there is a statistically significant increase in suicide.”  He said the last time a pro-marriage speaker visited the campus, someone told him “they wanted to kill themselves.”

Cohen said he was especially “bothered by the idea that their conference is trying to create better ways to deliver [the pro-marriage] message. … The idea that they are learning how to deliver their message scares [me].”  Cohen suggested SAS cancel its conference and instead hold a joint event with GradQ in which gay activists would have a chance to promote their message too.

Ben Holston, chair of the undergraduate senate, also threw his weight behind the gay groups. “This is an event that hurts the Stanford community,” Holston said. “To express a belief that, for some reason this event is not discriminatory, is completely off-base. This event as it stands, given the speakers, and given that they have said the event is supposed to ‘promote one-man one-woman [marriage],’ which promotes stripping away rights of people in this room, is unacceptable on Stanford’s campus.”  He urged the GSC to withdraw its funding for the conference.

I don’t know what to say to all of this. Part of me just thinks about what it would be like to have a friend like that. They ask me for my opinion about their decision to do something morally wrong. I say “no, that’s not a good idea, you should not do that”. Then they threaten to commit suicide because I said that. Or they run into a wall, and claim that I made them do it by not celebrating their bad decisions. I’m just not comfortable being bullied into agreeing with someone else’s decisions. Just let me say what I really think, and don’t punish me because I disagree with you. Yet this seems to be a major part of gay activism: agree with me or I will hurt myself.

Pro-gay marriage study retracted for using “completely” fake data

Marriage and family
Marriage and family

The story was reported in the ultra-leftist Politico.

They say:

One of the authors of a recent study that claimed that short conversations with gay people could change minds on same-sex marriage has retracted it.

Columbia University political science professor Donald Green’s retraction this week of a popular article published in the December issue of the academic journal Science follows revelations that his co-author allegedly faked data for the study, “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support of gay marriage.”

According to the academic watchdog blog Retraction Watch, Green published a retraction of the paper Tuesday after confronting co-author Michael LaCour, a graduate assistant at UCLA.

The study received widespread coverage from The New York Times, Vox, The Huffington Post, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and others when it was released in December.

“I am deeply embarrassed by this turn of events and apologize to the editors, reviewers, and readers of Science,” Green told the blog.

[…]The investigation into the paper began when graduate students at the University of California, Berkeley, were initially impressed with the work and wanted to do an extension of it, according to a timeline of their probe posted Tuesday. When the students started a similar study, they found they were not getting the large response rate that Green and LaCour received in theirs.

[…]Qualtrics said it was not familiar with the project and “denied having the capabilities” to do some of what the survey described, according to Green, after UCLA’s political science department chair contacted the company. The graduate students also contacted a Yale political science professor to help look into the discrepancies.

After speaking with LaCour, Green told one of the graduate students and the Yale professor that the UCLA graduate assistant [Michael LaCour],had confessed to “falsely describing at least some of the details of the data collection.”

The equally leftist Washington Post is even more forceful – calling the data a complete fake.


[…]…[W]hat really happened was that the data were faked by first author LaCour. Co-author Green (my colleague at Columbia) had taken his collaborator’s data on faith; once he found out, he firmly retracted the article.

Ironically, LaCour benefited (in the short term) by his strategy of completely faking it. If he’d done the usual strategy of taking real data and stretching out the interpretation, I and others would’ve been all over him for overinterpreting his results, garden of forking paths, etc. But, by doing the Big Lie, he bypassed all those statistical concerns.

The Christian Post has an article on this that makes the faking of the data look deliberate.


According to Hughes, after Green was alerted to the irregularities, he contacted LaCour’s dissertation advisor, Professor Lynn Vavreck. After Vavreck confronted LaCour, he was unable to provide the study’s raw data and claimed he accidentally deleted the file. A representative from Qualtrics, the company that provided the survey program LaCour used, told UCLA there was no evidence that the data had been deleted.

Isn’t it amazing that the fake study was quickly picked up by the mainstream media, but none of them thought to check the data? Well, I guess it’s what they wanted to believe, and there was not even one person who thought critically about it. That’s the trouble with surrounding yourself with people who agree with you. I doubt that anyone in the mainstream media can even state the case against same-sex marriage without resorting to insults or caricatures. And that’s how these mistakes get made.

Here’s an older post that summarizes what we know from research on same-sex parenting. This post is more recent, and links to two studies – one from the UK, and one from Canada – that show that same-sex parenting does have a negative effect on children. Surprise! Moms matter. Dads matter. You can’t switch either one out without hurting the child. That’s one reason why people oppose same-sex marriage. And another is because it is not compatible with religious liberty and freedom of conscience. We’re getting more proof of that almost every day.

UVA Dean sues Rolling Stone for publishing Jackie’s false rape story

None of the normal rape stories were good enough for her
None of the normal rape stories were good enough for her

This is from the leftist Washington Post, of all places.


A University of Virginia associate dean of students filed a multimillion dollar defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone magazine Tuesday, alleging that it portrayed her as callous and indifferent to allegations of sexual assault on campus and made her the university’s “chief villain” in a now-debunked story about a fraternity gang rape.

Nicole Eramo is seeking more than $7.5 million in damages from Rolling Stone, its parent company Wenner Media and Sabrina Rubin Erdely, the investigative journalist who wrote the explosive account of sexual assault on the campus in Charlottesville, Va. The magazine retracted the story after news organizations and the Columbia University journalism school found serious flaws in it.

Eramo, who is the university’s chief administrator dealing with sexual assaults, argues in the lawsuit that the story destroyed her credibility, permanently damaged her reputation and caused her emotional distress. She assailed the account as containing numerous falsehoods that the magazine could have avoided if it had worked to verify the story of its main character, a student named Jackie who alleged she was gang raped in 2012 and that the university mishandled her case.

“Rolling Stone and Erdely’s highly defamatory and false statements about Dean Eramo were not the result of an innocent mistake,” according to the lawsuit, which was filed in Charlottesville Circuit Court. “They were the result of a wanton journalist who was more concerned with writing an article that fulfilled her preconceived narrative about the victimization of women on American college campuses, and a malicious publisher who was more concerned about selling magazines to boost the economic bottom line for its faltering magazine, than they were about discovering the truth or actual facts.”

[…]“Erdely and Rolling Stone’s epic failure of journalism was the result of biased, agenda-driven reporting,” the lawsuit says. The suit claims that the magazine’s account represented “a purposeful avoidance of the truth, and an utter failure to investigate the accuracy of Jackie’s claims.”

The magazine also printed a photo illustration of Eramo that she argues is inflammatory; the lawsuit says that the magazine turned a mundane Cavalier Daily student newspaper photo of her addressing a classroom and turned it into a wild-eyed image of her sitting in an office and giving a thumbs-up in front of a distraught sexual assault victim as protesters hold signs outside. The lawsuit claims the doctored image “demonstrates the lengths Erdely and Rolling Stone were willing to go to portray Dean Eramo as a villain.”

The complaint details that in the wake of the story’s publication, Eramo received hundreds of spiteful e-mails from alumni and others who judged her based on her portrayal in Rolling Stone. In addition to rape and death threats, the messages described Eramo as a “wretched rape apologist” and “a disgusting, worthless piece of trash” who should “burn in hell forever.”

Yes, that’s what we call “radical feminism”. The whole point of radical feminism is to tell lies and make fake statistics to make women look like victims, and men look like evil brutes. Then the government steps in and fixes everything, e.g. – giving women free birth control pills. And that’s why feminists vote for bigger and bigger government, because they have been told, through these myths and fake statistics, that they are victims. This is the same big government, by the way, that is now going to war with freedom of speech and freedom of religion. Should Christians care about puncturing the myths that cause people to vote for the big government that comes after us? We better start making the connections and getting in the game now, before it’s too late.

We as Christians really need to consider why people are voting for the bigger secular government that turns around and trashes our liberties, for example, with the Hobby Lobby case and the mandate that companies pay for drugs that cause abortions. If you don’t want Christian-owned companies to be forced to do bad things, then understand that you have to counter the reasons why non-Christians vote for bigger government. If it’s global warming, you have to defeat that. If it’s higher minimum wage, you have to defeat that. And I am telling you right now, there are a lot of women out there who are being led by their emotions into disastrous situations of their own making, and then turning to big government for a bailout, because feminists are telling them that it’s all the fault of those evil men. If you want your religious liberty, your right to work, your right to keep what you earn, then you’d better start connecting the dots and confronting the people around you. Christians, we cannot absorb doctrines like radical feminism into our worldview, we have to fight against it by telling the truth.

Related posts

UVA retracts rape story after Columbia University calls it “journalistic failure”

UVA students following their leftist masters
UVA students blindly following their leftist masters

The Wall Street Journal reports on the conclusion to this radical-feminist scandal. I’ll explain later why I am writing about this, too.


Rolling Stone retracted an explosive article detailing an alleged gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity after Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism concluded that the story was a “journalistic failure that was avoidable.”

The Rolling Stone story was written by Sabrina Rubin Erdely and published last November under the headline “A Rape on Campus.” It sparked a national uproar over sexual misconduct at college campuses. At UVA, President Teresa Sullivan suspended all Greek activities for six weeks and students marched in protest.

But before long, other media reports raised serious doubts about the veracity of the article and the reporting and editing process behind it.

[…]The “most consequential” decision, the report found, was Rolling Stone’s acquiescence to the fact that Ms. Erdely “had not contacted the three friends who spoke with Jackie on the night she said she was raped.” If Rolling Stone had done so, it said, it “would have almost certainly led the magazine’s editors to change plans.”

[…]The Charlottesville, Va., police concluded in March after a four-month investigation that “there is no substantive basis to support the account alleged in the Rolling Stone article,” the Columbia report notes. Police said at the time they were unable to interview the woman featured in the story and their investigation remains suspended until she decides she “wishes to cooperate.”

Jackie was later discovered to be a radical feminist. The author of the retracted rape story is also a radical feminist. And she is presenting herself as a victim:

Ms. Erdely, in a statement, said the past few months have been among the most painful in her life, and reading the Columbia report detailing her mistakes was “a brutal and humbling experience.”

[…]The report said that Rolling Stone’s editors, as well as Ms. Erdely, “concluded that their main fault was to be too accommodating of Jackie because she described herself as the survivor of a terrible sexual assault.”

Columbia, however, disagreed with that conclusion, noting that editors made decisions about “attribution, fact-checking and verification that greatly increased their risks of error but had little or nothing to do with protecting Jackie’s position.”

Newsbusters quotes the report, which shows that Erdely’s story was agenda-driven from the start:

Last July 8, Sabrina Rubin Erdely, a writer for Rolling Stone, telephoned Emily Renda, a rape survivor working on sexual assault issues as a staff member at the University of Virginia. Erdely said she was searching for a single, emblematic college rape case that would show “what it’s like to be on campus now … where not only is rape so prevalent but also that there’s this pervasive culture of sexual harassment/rape culture,” according to Erdely’s notes of the conversation.

Reason.com quotes this part of the report to show her editors were complicit:

Jackie proved to be a challenging source. At times, she did not respond to Erdely’s calls, texts and emails. At two points, the reporter feared Jackie might withdraw her cooperation. Also, Jackie refused to provide Erdely the name of the lifeguard who had organized the attack on her. She said she was still afraid of him. That led to tense exchanges between Erdely and Jackie, but the confrontation ended when Rolling Stone’s editors decided to go ahead without knowing the lifeguard’s name or verifying his existence. After that concession, Jackie cooperated fully until publication.

Reason also comments:

It’s actually even worse than that. When Erdely told Jackie that she really did need to know the name of Jackie’s date (the lifeguard who supposedly masterminded the attack), Jackie stopped answering her phone calls and texts for about two weeks. Eventually, Erdely left Jackie another voicemail in which the writer agreed to stop trying to contact the lifeguard and instead use a pseudonym, Drew. After that, Jackie magically reappeared, calling Erdely back “quickly,” according to the report.

Jackie, in fact, displayed impressive levels of self-preservation and rational behavior—at least, from the perspective of a highly disturbed person whose goal was to spread an incredible lie without exposing it as such. She was highly detailed in her account of the crime, gave descriptions, and recalled (wholly invented) conversations with great accuracy. And she studiously avoided any line of questioning that would have exposed the lie. If a particular question posed a threat, she either invented a reason why it couldn’t be answered, or simply stopped responding.

No one at Rolling Stone has been fired, much less charged with crimes. The woman who made the false rape charge has also not been charged with anything. So there is no deterrent there to prevent this from happening again – either to the women who make the charges, or to the radical feminists who “report” on them. Let’s hope that when the lawsuits shake out that both Erdely and her Rolling Stone cheerleaders find themselves bankrupted.

How often are rape claims false?

National Review explains:

Specifically, in their analysis of sexual-assault cases at a large university, the authors found that 5.9 percent of cases were provably false. However, 44.9 percent cases “did not proceed” – meaning there was insufficient evidence, the accuser was uncooperative, or the incident did not meet the legal standard of assault. An additional 13.9 percent of cases could not be categorized due to lack of information. That leaves 35.3 percent of cases that led to formal charges or discipline against the accused.

“35.3 percent of cases that led to formal charges or discipline against the accused”. That’s a lot of Jackie-scenarios.

The trouble is when people don’t do the homework and just come to have a general mistrust of men based on their intuitions and emotions from stories they hear about from the news media – stories like this one. And yet they become so sure that they have an educated and informed opinion, just from hearing news reports. They never hear about the retractions.

My take

So why did I cover this story in past blog posts, and why am I bringing up the retraction now? Well, it’s because of the feminist agenda. I want to point out how the feminist left uses stories like this in order to push a wedge between men and women. Women who are indoctrinated for four years in misandry are less likely to look to men as protectors, providers and moral/spiritual leaders. Marriage, with its traditional gender roles of men working and woman raising the kids, will be out.

If men are all rapists, then how could a woman give up her own dreams and career to stay home and raise kids? If men are all rapists, how could a woman trust a man to be faithful to her? If men are all rapists, then how could a man be trusted to provide for a family. If men are all rapists, then how could a woman trust a man to stick around when she is old and wrinkly? And of course, this lousy impression of men is all reinforced by the binge-drinking, hooking-up, and serial cohabitation that is so popular in university campuses.

There is a reason why Rolling Stone ran with this story, despite all the warning signs – it made the point that they wanted to make. Women who think that they can’t depend on men will naturally turn to bigger government to provide for them, and that’s what people on the left want women to do. Marriage is subversive to their plan. Having a lot of children is subversive to their plan. Homeschooling is subversive to their plan.