“If there is life on other planets, I am sure that He must know,
and he’s been there, once already, and has died to save their souls.”
– Larry Norman, UFO
I just read this article on the search for extra-terrestrials: The search for aliens should start on Earth not outer space, says scientist.
it reminded me of a recent conversation I was having with some folks about theology and the existence of aliens. One of the fastest growing religions in America is technopaganism. Technopagans almost universally believe in the existence of alien life forms. I believe that this is a theological position, based on faith, not science, and that it forms a part of their eschatology and provides them with hope. I also find it curious that many Christians also hold to the alien fantasy.
I take the position that under our current understanding of the physical laws of science, aliens will never, ever, reach out to us and we will not be able to contact them. We will not know if they exist, and we should give up on the dream of ever finding them. It’s fantasy, pure and simple. To think that the scientific community actually spends research dollars on the hunt for extra-terrestrials is, to me, an indication of just how deeply held this technopagan belief is in their hearts and minds. This topic will become bigger and bigger with the newly commissioned Kepler satellite which is a part of our government’s search for planets that are similar to earth. I am not at all opposed to this search as I see scientific exploration as an important part of being human. But the alien angle is a but much.
Hugh Ross details his reasons for why aliens cannot travel here in this article. Basically, the distances are too great for any plausible scenario in which a sentient life form can travel to us or us to them, the dangerous galactic hazards would prevent such a journey, and those doggone laws of physics get in the way of travel above the speed of light.
“Well, the aliens will have technology we don’t yet possess to make this work,” is the rebuttal. Oh, c’mon, give me something better than that! Like what? Time travel? Wormhole-to-wormhole travel? String-to-string travel? Very imaginative, and a good example of a “faith claim.”
When I say, “under our current understanding of the physical laws of science…” I mean, “under our current understanding of the physical laws of science” Is there “science” out there that we don’t know about? Absolutely, but we must start with what we DO know to be true, not what we DON’T know. Incredibly, these are often the same people that would argue against the spiritual world because it is not scientific enough for them (check out this clip with Dawkins for an example – the alien claim starts at around 3 mintues and 30 seconds or so).
With each new planet that is discovered (and I think there will be LOTS of them) we will hear the same refrain about the possibility of life on other planets. Let me suggest that while we can speculate all we want about what life may be on these planets, it makes no difference to us past the value that speculation might bring. Be on the watch for creeping technopaganism. Popular portrayals of alien life, far more interesting and imaginative than our own, are why many people hope for ET.
Rather than embrace the life we are living, they yearn for an alien life that will bring meaning to their own.