Aliens out there?
Who doesn’t love aliens, right? Well, nice aliens, anyway.
The idea of aliens has captured the thoughts and imaginations of millions of people over the years. Many movies have been made depicting all sorts of scary-looking creatures inhabiting distant planets, occasionally visiting us here on Earth.
What, ultimately, is driving this fascination? Primarily, it’s been the belief in evolution. There are two main lines of reasoning.
First, many people, including scientists, believe that if life evolved here on this planet, why not somewhere else? After all, it’s a big universe, so if life arose here it is virtually certain that it arose elsewhere as well. Believe it or not, I think this logic is fairly sound. Now, before you think I’ve lost my marbles, let me assure you that I still have them. You see, they’re right here in my… wait a minute! I could have sworn they were here just a minute ago. (Alright, I’ll dispense with the uncalled-for attempt at humor.) On a slightly more serious note, I certainly DO NOT believe that life evolved here, nor even could have. I am simply saying that IF it did evolve here, it could possibly happen somewhere else, because of the sheer immensity of the universe.
You may be familiar with the SETI Program, which stands for the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. As evidence of this first line of reasoning, the following excerpt was taken directly from the SETI website:
Over the last half-century, scientists have developed a theory of cosmic evolution that predicts that life is a natural phenomenon likely to develop on planets with suitable environmental conditions. Scientific evidence shows that life arose on Earth relatively quickly (only 100 million years after life was even possible), suggesting that life will occur on any planets that have the requisite characteristics, such as liquid oceans (either on the surface or underground). With the recent discovery that the majority of stars have planets – the number of potential habitats for life has been greatly expanded. (https://www.seti.org/faq#csc2)
The second line of reasoning has to do with the fact that some people, scientists in particular, realize there’s no way life could have evolved here on Earth (or at least it would be so incredibly improbable as to make it virtually impossible), therefore, IT MUST HAVE evolved somewhere else. This was the view of the late Dr. Francis Crick, who you probably recognize as being the co-discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule.
The focus of this brief article will be regarding how they detect evidence for the existence of alien life somewhere else in the universe. Scientists are not sitting up all night, perched high atop of some remote mountain, peering through their telescopes, hoping to catch a serendipitous glimpse of “my favorite Martian” (Yes, I know, I am dating myself, but if I don’t date me, who will?)
Even though some may be hoping to directly observe an alien life-form, the scientists who take their work seriously are simply attempting to detect signals in outer space they believe had to have come from intelligent life. So how will they know if whatever signals they capture are truly coming from aliens and are not just natural artifacts of the normal day-to-day operation of the universe? Good question!
Scientists are generally looking for patterns or a signature within the signals that would not (or could not) be the product of “random” processes of nature and the cosmos. Once again, directly from the SETI website:
[in addition to band width issues…] “Other tell-tale characteristics include… the existence of coded information on the signal.” (https://www.seti.org/faq#obs9)
unlikely to be the result of random chance, that purposeful placement is a much more logical conclusion. This is similar to the line of reasoning used by those looking for signals coming from intelligent life in outer space. You may be familiar with the SETI Program, which stands for the Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence. Their radio telescopes have been in operation, scanning the skies for almost 60 years now. What have they found? (crickets chirping…) No, they didn’t find crickets chirping, that’s my way of saying, "nothing."
The main point I want to make with this article is that it is tremendously ironic that they would get sooooooo excited if they detected a repeated “dot-dot-dash, dot-dot-dash” pattern, but when they observe the astronomical complexity of their own DNA (which is millions of times more complex than any signal from outer space), they can actually say, with a straight face, “That’s just what undirected processes in nature do given enough time.” They are not being consistent with their own logic.
Here are some statements secular scientists have made regarding design “allegedly seen” by everyone all around us:
Lawrence M. Krauss (Theoretical Physicist and Cosmologist)
“The illusion of purpose and design is perhaps the most pervasive illusion about nature that science has to confront on a daily basis. Everywhere we look, it appears that the world was designed so that we could flourish.”
Richard Dawkins (Oxford University)
“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”
Francis Crick (Co-Discoverer of the DNA molecule)
“Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
It’s been said, “There are none so blind as those unwilling to see.” The evidence is more than abundant and clear for everyone to see, but Romans 1:18-24 tells us why some “just don’t get it” and truly don’t want to.
I personally do not believe there is any intelligent life in outer space. We have an abundance of evidence of intelligent design here on our own planet, but rather than acknowledging it, all too often people ignore it and seek for signs of intelligence elsewhere. “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.” - Jeremiah 5:2