Sunday, 10 June 2007

Is there life out there?

There is a interesting discussions at digg about an article that says life out there is almost definite.

At least 26 people on digg agree with the following comment:

The impact of finding extraterrestrial life on organized religion will be similar to the discovery that earth revolves around the sun, and in fact not all celestial bodies revolve around the earth!

First the church will deny it, then it will proceed to interpret the bible in some other way.

I think the discovery of life on another planet may cause some problems for some religions. I don't think Buddhism will be affected, I have no idea about Islam, but I think Christianity will be affected, depending on what type of "life" is found.

Maybe we might find some
single celled organisms, or even non-cellular life in a puddle or ocean on some far distance planet; if that is the case then I don't see that as a problem. What I do see as a problem for Christianity is the discovery of another species that are like humans. That is a species which subdues the land, has a language, a justice system, creative skills in areas such as music, architecture, paintings and the ability to improve upon advancements of the previous generation in the sciences such as maths, physics and philosophy.

The main question I see for Christianity to ask is: did Jesus died for the sins of the people on this this world, or for other forms of life on other worlds? I think Jesus died for only humans. Jesus took the form of a man and not some other animal, to save mankind and not another species.

This morning my RSS feed produced an article on the logistics of space travel to another earth like planet. There are large distance problems such as so far no valid planet has been found within 155 light-years to support life. And to counter the distance problem you have to travel fast, but as you increase in speed you increase in mass so you need more energy to move, so the faster you want to go the bigger engine you need, which causes more mass that is needed to move. Also space dust could rip a hole in a fast travelling spaceship. Radiation erosion may cause other problems to a space craft that is travelling in space for 100+ years. But these problems might be overcome in the future. I mention this article to balance the recent UK one which is almost definite about life out there and also because this article had an interesting conclusion:

The ironies seem too great to ignore. An obviously spiritual quest accounts for huge research expenditures of both government and private funds. As long as that quest opposes, rather than supports, Christian doctrines, no outcry arises from the separation-of-church-and-state camp.


  1. Hey Vella,
    Nice blog. Hey, I'm coming down to Canberra in a few weeks, so we'll have to have lunch.

    I don't really see that there's an issue for Christians to discover alien life-forms. Like you suggest, in the Christian frame of thinking they would be just be regarded in the category of other animal-species in God's good creation, as distinct from humanity.

    Talk of a super-intelligent animal-life-form seem odd to us, but I can't really see why there would be an issue. Where, I think, you see it would be an issue, is if they were similar to humans (as opposed to just super-intelligent), that is, same form. I have to say that if human evolution was a fluke, then the chances of two species being evolved independantly has to be off the charts. I think that *if* there were alien life-forms similar, there would have to be enough differences to be able to distinguish between them and so maintain the binary creation categories: human and animals.

    As for the end of your article, it just goes to show the ridiculous lengths that people seem to go to say that God doesn't exist. Why are people so determined to go these lengths when this world seems to be so obviously well designed??

    For athiests, things are rapidly sliding downhill. Richard Dawkins has written what seems to be universally acknowledged as a stupid book. Even Florida State University Professor, and Athiest, Michael Ruse says, "The God Delusion makes me embarrassed to be an athiest".

  2. Hey Dave,

    Lunch should definitely be an option when you come down.

    I see a rational, civilised, cultured alien species that is able to make moral judgements a problem, as I think those are they type of thing that are included with the idea that we are made in the image of God, and another species out there that has those characteristic... wait hold on. Don't angels and demons have some of those characteristics? They were able to make moral judgement calls and are punished or rewarded for their actions, and one day they will be judged and do not have the option of a saviour to spare them from judgement. That didn't occur to me till now...

    For atheists, things are rapidly sliding downhill.
    I'm not sure, but I am interested in reading this book, which argues that atheism is indeed on the decline.