Shall We Travel to Other Worlds?

I have recently been setting up and teaching apologetic classes for my church, and as I grow my curriculum, I am getting more and more excited about the future of my ministry, in whatever form or capacity God may use it. But after gearing up for an amazing class for the high school kids this past Wednesday, I was derailed by threats of weather, which shut down the whole town, and sent the locals running for milk and bread.

The post script to this “storm of the year” was that it rained a little, but I digress.

Since I have been so amped up to rattle off some amazing facts, and have as of yet been unable to, I thought I would share a bit about space travel. The reason? TRAPPIST-1 of course. The observation of some planets passing in front of a star approximately 39.5 light years away. This news, although interesting in the sense that we can discover more about space and our galaxy, is being used as a catalyst to create space-exploration fever. TRAPPIST-1 has its own website now, and chatter about the planets have been mentioned far and wide, picked up by NASA, space.com, and a myriad of other such science based programs. The issue is, with each report comes the suggestion, sometimes implied, sometimes outright affirmed, that we are a step closer to exploring life on other planets, discovering life in the universe, and even traveling to them for a meet and greet in the near future.

This is an  intellectually dishonest position, and I am of the belief that these scientists know it. What they have observed is simply that planets orbit a dim sun 232,210,000,000,000 miles away. Now, of the seven observed, they push the insinuation repeatedly that 3 of these 7 are within the “habitable zone”. This of course implies that life like ours could potentially live on all three of these planets, which will be the idea perpetuated heavily and with as much vigor as possible. Why? The all-mighty dollar. This will insure attention, clicks, interest, comments from world leaders, write ups in magazines, PBS specials, and most importantly, an influx of money promised to be earmarked for further discoveries of such ‘magnitude’.

Why this assumption that life must be out there waiting for us to discover it? Evolution! The pre-supposition is firmly set within the minds of academia, and through this lens is how they observe the universe. It stands to reason that if we evolved here, then judging by the size of the universe, many other such life forms in various states of evolution must have done the same all over. We just need to locate where!

Of course if they believed we were a special creation, and that God stretched out the heavens (said over 17 times in the old Testament) to speak of His glory, we would not expect evolution, a most unscientific theory anyway, to have done much with any of the stars we see in the night sky.

SETI – the search for extraterrestrial intelligence –  believes as Sagan, Tyson, and Dawkins do, that we are not special, and so they have spent hundreds of millions since 1960 in order to discover absolutely nothing.

This is a huge topic, but 2 things we must consider:

  1. Carl Sagan said that only 2 factors were needed to sustain life, (ironically the same two factors that have been highlighted in all these articles). A sun like ours, and a planet in the habitable zone of said sun. This was stated by him in 1966, but since then we have learned of many more requirements for life to exist, or Goldilocks factors. Water, thickness of crust, large gas planets, size of sun, moon, electromagnetic core, and on and on. If we take just 20 of these factors, and give each a 1 in 10 chance of occurring at some particular star, say Trappist, the chances would be 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000  that it could happen. Based on the number of stars we think the universe has, this is a one star for every billion out there. Here’s the kicker. There are now over 200 factors identified! Hugh Ross, astrophysicist has named 200+ Goldilocks factors, and that number brings our chances up to 1 chance in 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000! This cannot happen, and is beyond nature’s ability to create by chance. Furthermore, this ignores the life-from-non-life problem that evolution already has.
  2. If we consider actually traveling to find these places, we must take in to account that the nearest star is 25,671,957,738,631 mi away, Alpha Centari. Nearest galaxy, about 2.5 million light years. And as of now, we cannot get even close to traveling at light speed. Mass increases as speed increases, therefore as we get a shuttle to approach the speed of light, lets say 90% of the speed, it would take the energy of 73 million atomic bombs to move the mass. The same amount to slow it down. And one touch from a pea sized piece of debris would impact said vehicle like two atomic bombs, according to Gary Bates of CMI. This is an unrealistic goal.

There is much more on this topic, and I wrote this article, UFO’s and God some time ago for you to check out. The bottom line is, yes science and discoveries are wonderful, but space exploration, like the “discoveries” from anthropology, are often used for money, grants and prestige, not for truth.

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UFO’s and God

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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.