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 Evolution and astronomy at odds in the 19th C

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Tim of Aclea
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Join date : 2011-12-31

PostSubject: Evolution and astronomy at odds in the 19th C   Thu 23 Aug 2012, 09:15

There does not seem to be a section concerned with the history of science and so i thought I would put this post here.

As part of my rather mixed combined science first degree i did a module on the history of astronomy. Our lecturer commented that following the publication of O'n the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection' there was a conflict between evolutionists and astronomers. Evolutionists recognised that they needed a long time for evolution to have occured, although even then they did not realise how long they needed, but according to astronomers they did not have enough time. The problem was concerning the Sun and how it produced energy. If the sun was burning hydrogen then it would have lasted around 6,000 years (fits in nicely with Bishop Usher's 4004BC start of creation). The best that astronomers could come up with, in the absence of Einstein, was that the sun produced energy by gravitational contraction but this gave a maximum age of 17 million years for its age - too short for evolution. Evolutionists had to revert that astronomers had been wrong in the past (true) and they were wrong again and there must be some unknown method by which the sun was producing energy. Obviously the evolutionist were correct but arguing for some unknown means it not really the best argument.

I wondered if, in the famous Oxford debate, that Bishop Soapy Sam had, instead of being totally overconfident, concentrated on the time factor as a problem that Huxley would not have had such an easy time dismissing the bishop.

Tim

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