There is a large percentage of the population that believes in UFO’s, or more specifically, alien life on other planets. I have studied cosmology and astronomy to a degree (I am by no means an expert), and could write a fairly technical article on the theoretical science behind space travel to convince readers of its ridiculousness.
Example? How about the simple math of exploring the 400 million other stars in our galaxy alone; or applying Einstein’s theory of special relativity and propelling an object at the speed of light, the fastest possible speed (c) which would allow you the ability to get to the next closest galaxy, Andromeda, in 2.3 million years traveling at 186,000 miles per second where you would have only just begun exploring the universe; except as our speed increases, so does our mass increase necessitating even more power to generate this kind of speed, such that a mere one pound object, far smaller than what is required to transport life, would need the energy of 100 atomic bombs to travel at 50% the speed of light. If we do the math, this means that a modern-day sized ship traveling at 90% the speed of light would require the energy of 73 million atomic bombs. Furthermore, it takes the same amount of energy to slow down the object, meaning a round trip would cost 4x the energy required to make speed just once. But consider also the particles of dust in all of space too small to detect (hence the force fields and deflector shields in sci-fi). Hitting an object the size of a pea at 50% of c would impact like 2 atomic bombs. Even dust would be catastrophic. Safe to say, without a lot of unreasonable mental gymnastics, UFO visitors are not possible.
I understand this can be an emotional subject for certain people. There are those who believe to there core that aliens are so, and no amount of reason or logic will dissuade them. But I would implore you to ask yourself why this is so. My opinion is that evolution requires it to be considered. There has been no gains in the theories pertaining to life-from-non-life, and genetics have proven no friend to the theory of evolution (genetics articles to come). So evolutionary science is forced to look to the stars for answers, so long as the answer is not God. The idea is technically called panspermia, and suggests that life was started by a distant race of other beings. My last article highlighted the influence and suggestion that science has on society. Can we not say that alien mythology permeates our social construct?
Example? When I say picture an alien visitor, do most people not picture the pale-skinned, long-necked, oval-faced, black-eyed, bald, prototypical alien? In mass interviews from supposed sightings, these were non-existent before the 1977 movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Afterwards, this became the popular description among those who reported seeing aliens.
Panspermia is a convenient hypothesis for non-believers, because it requires no proof, passes the problem of life-from-non-life to a distant time and space where it can be assumed to have happened, and can still dismiss the idea of a creator God. Some may find this silly that this theory has reared its head in the annals of science, but it is a strongly considered theory that allows for humanists to kick this pesky can down the road. Even atheist figure heads such as Carl Sagan promoted the idea, without a shred of scientific backing.
Why does evolutionary theory allow for this mindset, you may ask? The logical assumption is, if the universe is considered to be 14 billion years old, and we evolved by chance (or were planted here by someone who evolved by chance) then it stands to reason that it must have happened elsewhere too. This does seem logical on the face of it… almost, but not when science so clearly and so often precludes the result.
The mythology of aliens and appetites for sci-fi have only grown in our modern era. From Star Wars, to Star Trek, to Superman, alien life is fun to consider, no arguments here. But the lines between reality and fiction can often be blurred over time for even the most astute citizens. Without realizing it, people allow for things to be so in their minds that contradict the authority of scripture, and do so without evidence to back it up. Jesus says in Mark 10:6 “In the beginning God made them male and female,” clearly teaching the creation story as accurate. If billions of years existed between the beginning and Adam, this would make Jesus a liar. Furthermore, Christ says in John 5, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” and Matthew 24, “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
Christians must be careful not to strip authority from the very words of their savior, for it is clear that Christ Himself believed in a six day literal creation, the deluge, and historicity of Old Testament events. When you believe in aliens, you indirectly support and believe the reason why they must exist, evolution. If you believe in evolution, there is no getting around disagreeing with Jesus of Nazareth, or Moses, or Paul, or John, or any number of patriarchs. I am not saying you mustn’t believe in evolution to be saved, but I will say you have damaged your testimony in some way by undermining the authority of God’s word, and those who do will have to square with that some day.
16 thoughts on “UFO’s and God”
This is very true. It is sadly believed more and more by unbelievers. I have really been enlightened by Answersingenesis.org. Ir really bring Genesis ti life and the world around us exhibits Jehovahs glory
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Yes, the resource is extensive. Unfortunately, secular press and academia cast what they do in a disparaging light. They suffer ad hominem attacks often, because typically there is not enough evidence to launch attacks at the conclusions themselves. This is of course, just my opinion.
We find ourselves once again on opposite sides of the coin, but once again I must compliment you on a well-thought out article.
The idea of alien life existing out there, somewhere, is one that, from my own perspective on evolution/creation, is a logical inevitability. Whether alien civilisations have been paying humanity visits is a different kettle of fish altogether!
I just hope that, if and when they arrive, they’re friendly!
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So polite! I love it. I’m more than happy to be on the opposite side of an argument with someone as pleasant as yourself. Often differences of opinion lead to unnecessary ugliness. I appreciate the change. Let us assume for now that no empirical evidence exists that will convince us both that we have been visited, and concentrate on your premise that it is inevitable life exists elsewhere. What do you base this conclusion on, if I may ask?
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My conclusions about life elsewhere are based upon the observed age of the universe. I know that contradicts the age of universe as viewed via a literal interpretation of the Bible, but personally speaking, the evidence points to a very old universe with the possibility of life popping up elsewhere. Hopefully that life will be more in keeping with peaceful Vulcans rather than Independence Day invaders!
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Then by that rationale, I have to conclude that we are not on opposite sides of the coin at all. If anything, you have proven the premise of the article, which is to say, evolution, (in this case Cosmic evolution: the origin of time, space, and matter from nothing in the “big bang”,
Chemical evolution: all elements “evolved” from hydrogen
Stellar evolution: stars and planets formed from gas clouds,
and possibly (depending on your take) Organic evolution: life begins from inanimate matter) must lead to the conclusion that these chance events leading to intelligent life happened elsewhere, and not just here on Earth. One conclusion logically follows the other, as it has in scientific circles. But, with no evidence of any kind, and the cause for conclusion being based on a theory, to call it an “inevitability” would be a tough leap for me, even if I believed in a 14 billion year time table.
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Much of science is theory – when it comes to the idea of alien civilisations, given there are more galaxies in the universe than grains of sand on earth, it’s a theory with, in my view, good odds.
Theories tend to come from observations, analysis, and more theories. Those theories can then lead to other experiments and tests, which may then prove those theories correct – and trigger more ideas – or wrong, which will also trigger more ideas.
One theory is that there are 11 billion earth-like planets out there in the Milky Way alone. This is based on observations of the galaxy and the planets and stars we’ve seen so far. We know some of these stars are older than our own and who knows what may be there?
Given the span of the universe itself, I’m quite confident in regarding intelligent life out there as being inevitable. I just hope it’s peaceful!
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May I rebut a couple of points? Or would you rather just agree to disagree?
It’s your blog, so by all means!
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Let me start by saying I don’t believe interpretation of facts will bring people to the Lord. I think that is a Holy Spirit thing. My hope is to afford people the ability to stand fast in what I consider authoritative scripture. I respect your opinion, and know that many share it. But to address the chance of other earth like planets, let me say, several years back NASA published a famous picture of earth from space, showing just how not-special we were, a distant spec among millions of others. It was named ‘the pale blue dot’. Carl Sagan famously commented, “Consider again that dot [Earth]. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
Well, of course the creationist community was in a scramble, trying to prove that this little blue marble wasn’t so matter-of-fact, and insignificant. After all, our bibles tell us we are a special creation, made in His image. Despite the many problems with the big bang, and the several brands of evolution that must exist, the crux of Sagan’s criticism was that the odds of other planets like ours goes up exponentially with our understanding of the vastness of space. This would seem like reasonable logic, but I don’t mind telling you, this has been debunked, and very soundly at that.
Consider odds, since that is all this is based on, the odds that another planet like ours exists. First science began to determine what factors were needed to have a planet capable of supporting the diversity of life we find here. Factors became abundantly apparent: We must be within a galactic habitable zone, be around the right type of star, protected by gas giants, distance from sun, nearly circular orbit, oxygen atmosphere, a terrestrial planet, large amounts of water, one moon to not only block debris, but to stabilize, create tides etc (I could do an amazing write up on the extraordinary moon alone),correct mass, iron core for magnetism, proper thickness of earth’s crust, plate tectonics, heat within its interior, and on and on, and furthermore they are all factors that must be met at one place and at one time, or the possibility of life fails. Just to extrapolate a bit on one factor alone, we can consider the sun. It is technically classified as a spectral type G-2 dwarf main sequence star. If it were less massive, like 90% of the stars in our galaxy, the habitable zone would be smaller, and we’d have to be closer to remain within livable boundaries, but increased gravity would lock our planets rotation into synchronization to its orbit, forcing one side of the earth to continually face the sun, exposed to radiation and heat, while the other side would lay in a frozen state of perpetual ice. To say we existed within a delicate balance would be the scientific understatement of the century.
Of course, as one considers this, one could still say, “yes it would be rare, but hey, we are talking about the whole universe here. Billions and billions of stars, right?” So we will consider actual odds. In an attempt to estimate the probability of attaining this perfect combination of factors, a conservative 1 in 10 chance was applied to each. Once you multiply the probabilities of 20 factors needed, you get 10 to the -15, or one one thousandth of one one trillionth.
Some estimate there may be as many as 200 separate factors. I’ll let you do the math. Once those odds were overcome, we would have to then consider odds of random chance creating the order necessary to produce a complex living cell, which is more remarkable math, and also mathematically impossible. If you wish to read a short article to understand it, here is a link:
The bible says God stretched out the heavens, and says “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” Psalms 147:4. Space is vast, to be sure, which does fill us with awe and wonder. But depending on perspective, some look up and think they are not special, like Mr. Sagan. Others look up and and feel blessed at how special we are, and can be nothing but grateful that under all that glory, He chose to love us.
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I take Carl Sagan’s comments, and see them not as a mark that we are on an insignificant speck, but rather, that his words are remarking on how remarkable we are.
Regardless of whether we are the product of an incredible series of fortune events, or a guiding hand in the form of Intelligent Design, or created in a cosmic blink of an eye, I interpret Sagan’s remarks to mean that we are unique, special, and that we owe it to ourselves and our children to see to it we look after that pale blue dot. Whether we are the only life in the universe or whether we are one of countless civilisations, there’s only one planet with humans on it.
In terms of the science and the odds, I’m typing this on my phone right now, which doesn’t allow for me to post properly, but later I’ll try to explain myself in more detail.
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Just before he died, Sagan was interviewed on Ted Koppel’s TV program “Dateline”
Ted Koppel asked him if he had any closing remarks or words of wisdom he would like to share with the Earth’s people.
This was Carl Sagan’s last major statement to the world:
“We live on a hunk of rock and metal that circles a humdrum star that is one of 400 billion other stars that make up the Milky Way Galaxy which is one of billions of other galaxies which make up a universe which may be one of a very large number, perhaps an infinite number, of other universes.That is a perspective on human life and our culture that is well worth pondering.” I would disagree that he thought we were unique and special. You can take that quote how you wish, but he faced death with that mindset only a few short days later, and I dare say it was a sad legacy to leave behind.
Hello again! Now that I find myself in a position to do so, I’ll talk a little about the odds of life (and intelligent life) forming.
Life itself? It’s a matter of hot debate as to whether Mars held – or still holds – primitive life. What is now known is that Mars once held oceans and liquid water may still exist under its surface. Since liquid water is seen as a major factor for mixing chemicals and materials, it’s quite impressive to find evidence for it, not only on Mars, but also potentially on (or in) moons of Jupiter and Saturn.
But, that’s a little off-topic of me. What of Intelligent life?
In many respects, you are correct, the odds and processes behind life, as per the model of evolution and the scientific view of the universe’s formation, are astronomical.
However, we now know from observations that not only are planets (naturally necessary to the formation of life) are common, and this includes earth-sized worlds.
The odds are low (of course they are) through an evolutionary model. The odds (as calculated by one Professor Andrew Watson) are 0.01 over a 4 billion year period.
Tidal locking is not necessarily a consequence of orbiting closer to a star. It is dependent also on the speed of the planet’s orbit and rotation, and not inevitable. The chances of tidal locking also vary depending on the mass and density of the parent star. Atmosphere also plays a role in this (Venus suffers due to its incredible atmospheric density – earth may be more likely to maintain a spin, albeit not the same as now, if swapped with Venus).
Studies have indicated that even tidally locked planets could theoretically hold life. Intelligent life in those circumstances would be more challenging, but nevertheless it raises the odds.
In respect of the relationship between the odds and the scale of the universe, estimates established by studies from the Kepler mission would put forward the idea that there are 40 billion earth-sized planets in the Milky Way alone. There could be as many as 8e+21 earth-sized worlds in the universe.
In some respects, we view in a similar fashion. Just as you look at the beauty of the universe and of our own existence, and see in that the divine wisdom of God, His Creation, and in that that you see something very special.
For me, I believe the vastness of the universe, its unfathomable scale, and the forces that drive it (and drove it) to lead to our existence are forces that either have happened, are happening or will happen elsewhere. If we are an exceptionally rare moment of luck, we are all the more special for it, and we need to treasure our existence, for we are an invaluable and incalculable event in the history of the universe, and we need to remember that.
If other intelligent life is out there, I don’t believe that makes us less special, for humans will still be unique among all that. There is only one planet with us on, one we need to take care of.
I imagine we are both looking to faith, in a way. And we both want to believe humanity is special and unique. We may hold many disagreements, but I’m sure we can agree that we need to look after ourselves, not doing anything stupid to jeopardise our existence!
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