Over at the Huffington Post I came across a series of articles related to aliens and thought it would be fun to keep up with the latest trending and see how much success there’s been. Now, as much of a sci-fi fan as I am, and as much as I love the concept of space exploration and cool technologies, I can’t help but notice how lost science has become in this particular arena. The scientific community seems to have lost its sense of priorities, and is focusing on the trivial.
One article proclaims, Mars: It’s All About the Life. Another tells us Why We Need To Be Prepared to Leave Planet Earth. And the third explains Why the Aliens Want Earth.
Why so much buzz about aliens? And why do scientists take it so seriously, especially when those who claim to have seen aliens (or have been abducted) aren’t taken seriously? I think there are plenty of reasons, but how many of them are compelling?
It used to be that those who believed in aliens and alien encounters were thought of as being on the fringe- crackpots, kooks, lunatics. But now, especially within the scientific community, the opposite is the case… those who don’t believe in extraterrestrial life are considered the oddballs, and there’s a lot of animosity towards unbelievers who refuse to wear tinfoil hats. Case-in-point, creationist Ken Ham recently came under fire for expressing his opinion about aliens and his lack of belief in them. He was accused of wanting to defund NASA and the search for extraterrestrial life, and he supposedly said that, even if aliens existed, they would go to hell. On the contrary, Ham never said any of this. He did say that he was “shocked at the countless hundreds of millions of dollars that have been spent over the years in the desperate and fruitless search for extraterrestrial life.” And he did say that aliens- if they did exist- couldn’t achieve salvation, but he stopped short of saying they would go to hell. Most atheists would probably agree that aliens can’t achieve salvation, yet they were all fired-up. Ham was also targeted because he came across as certain about his beliefs, while science, they claim, isn’t about certainty or absolutes- it’s about a constantly changing world where we’re updating what we know. Therefore, anyone who speaks in absolutes doesn’t understand science… or the concept of evolution.
But the problem with that line of thinking is that, while science may not deal with absolutes (in theory), that’s not how it works in practice. Going back to the article, Why the Aliens Want Earth, such a statement isn’t exactly scientific because it implies that aliens absolutely and certainly exist. Yet, instead of receiving criticism, the article was met with applause. There’s no question that aliens exist in their minds; it’s just a matter of figuring out what would motivate creatures from other worlds to suffer a journey of billions and trillions of miles to come to our planet. Do they want our water, resources, a new home, or just to hunt?
The next article, Mars: It’s All About the Life, tells us that “Life on Mars is inevitable.” The author, Chris Carberry, defends this statement by saying his belief is based firmly in the realm of reality. He claims that humanity will definitively determine whether indigenous life exists or ever existed on Mars, or the human missions to Mars will begin. So, in fairness, he’s not really claiming that alien life definitely exists on Mars, but that something living will exist on Mars at some point- even if that life is human. But, once again, the author is making an absolute statement, something that those who understand science should never do (or so we’re told). While it seems that our technology and determination will inevitably take us to Mars, there’s nothing certain about it. We may overcome the many challenges awaiting us, but there are no guarantees. Still, the author insists that the search for life on Mars should be an international priority- even though there’s a tremendous amount of evidence suggesting that there is no life on Mars, or anywhere else in the universe.
NASA, for example, has had numerous missions to the moon, Mars, and other planets, yet we’ve discovered nothing but barren wasteland. We’ve even failed to find methane on Mars– supposedly evidence of life. And we certainly haven’t detected any type of signals from other worlds trying to contact us.
The last article, Why We Need To Be Prepared To Leave Planet Earth, is more of a doom-and-gloom article, suggesting that we need to begin space exploration and colonize other worlds because of the many threats to human survival. Mankind has wounded nature, and many lives are being lost. There’s always the threat of nuclear war, and natural disasters threaten our extinction. We are exposed to floods, earthquakes, asteroids, viruses, disease, crime, weapons, war, famine, etc. Of course the article implies with certainty that we’re gonners, and, therefore, we must preserve our species and develop a spacefaring program to colonize space and other planets, moons and asteroids. And not doing so would be suicide. The article even claims that evolution is a fact.
Therefore, with all the certainty expressed in these articles about evolution and alien life, it’s odd, if not hypocritical, to condemn Ken Ham and other creationists as unscientific when those doing the criticizing are just as guilty. I guess it’s just a matter of perspective; evolutionists, in practice, will violate their own rules when it suits them, but are intolerant of others who do the same. The rules are strictly enforced against creationists, but evolutionists are welcome to violate those rules at whim. But the odd thing is that most of those who are offended don’t seem to be aware of their double-standard, even when it’s pointed out.
As for myself, I don’t believe that aliens exist, and I think that’s reasonable. Various polls suggest that only one-third to fifty percent of Americans believe in UFOs or aliens, so there’s no clear consensus on the matter. I just don’t find any compelling reason to believe that aliens exist, and I think there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. Further, I see no Biblical evidence for their existence, even though many would point out that the Bible doesn’t explicitly exclude aliens from existing. I do find it interesting, however, that the pope has suggested that he’s not opposed to alien baptism. Hmmm.
In the meantime, the Mars rover, Curiosity, continues to plug away on its mission, exploring the Martian landscape, sampling the soil, drilling through rock, and sending photo images back to earth… all with no evidence of life. So I think we need to ask the question: could the millions and billions of dollars being spent on the search for extraterrestrials be better spent on more fruitful endeavors, such as medicine, technological advancements, and research that would benefit all mankind? I think it’s a reasonable question to ask… don’t you?