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DPChallenge Forums >> Rant >> Aliens, evolution, and creationism
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04/22/2013 11:14:17 PM · #1
I've been thinking about this for the last few days and thought it might make an interesting discussion...

Question: If alien life were discovered on another planet, would it support evolutionary science and challenge creationist theology? Alternatively, if alien life is never discovered on another planet, would that support creationist theology and challenge evolutionary science?

It seems to me that the answer would be yes in both cases.
04/22/2013 11:16:01 PM · #2
I'll agree with you whole heartedly on this. And I think this makes my 200 year prediction fairly likely as well. ;)
04/23/2013 12:37:11 AM · #3
My problem with this question is that "creationist theology", at least as I understand it, has to do with believing in the Bible literally; in other words, specifically in the 6-day-Genesis creation story, and generally in the (relative) geological youth of the earth. But not all creation myths are the same in this regard, and I don't see where Christianity has the right to be the only yardstick here.

So I guess my point is, within the context of believing-in-a-creator it's perfectly alright to concede that the Old Testament prophets had the right idea (there is only one God and He created everything), but that the Book itself is simply an extended metaphor, the purpose of which was/is to describe a very complex reality in terms perfectly ordinary people could understand.

So, assuming there IS a Creator, a multitude of habitable planets would neither prove nor disprove Her existence, for all that the same set of facts would knock a HUGE hole in the Christian mythos.
04/23/2013 01:01:03 AM · #4
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

Alternatively, if alien life is never discovered on another planet, would that support creationist theology and challenge evolutionary science?

I'm reminded of the Simpsons:

Lisa: By your logic I could claim that this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh, how does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work, it's just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh-huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around, do you?
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock.
04/23/2013 05:34:12 AM · #5
One need not visit another planet... they are here and have been spotted by thousands of people all over the world.

There is even mention of this in the bible... something about chariots of fire. :O)

Ray
04/23/2013 05:50:23 AM · #6
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

Question: If alien life were discovered on another planet, would it support evolutionary science and challenge creationist theology? Alternatively, if alien life is never discovered on another planet, would that support creationist theology and challenge evolutionary science?


No in both cases.
04/23/2013 06:00:06 AM · #7
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

My problem with this question is that "creationist theology", at least as I understand it, has to do with believing in the Bible literally; in other words, specifically in the 6-day-Genesis creation story, and generally in the (relative) geological youth of the earth. But not all creation myths are the same in this regard, and I don't see where Christianity has the right to be the only yardstick here.

So I guess my point is, within the context of believing-in-a-creator it's perfectly alright to concede that the Old Testament prophets had the right idea (there is only one God and He created everything), but that the Book itself is simply an extended metaphor, the purpose of which was/is to describe a very complex reality in terms perfectly ordinary people could understand.

So, assuming there IS a Creator, a multitude of habitable planets would neither prove nor disprove Her existence, for all that the same set of facts would knock a HUGE hole in the Christian mythos.


Her? ;-)

Literal is not required in my view. "A day is to a thousand years as a thousand years is to a day". So does 6 days mean 6 24 hour days or 6 thousand years. Further in Daniel the reference to "time, times, and half a time". My take and thus my understanding is that a "days" length is merely a reference to a period of time and that period of time could be anything. Thus a "literal" interpretation of 6 days could be 6 million years or 6 billion or 6 trillion or 6 thousand or 6 - and further each day is not required to be exactly equal as the term day is merely a representation of a segment of time.

There are many problems with creationism using a literal 24 hour day or even a literal day = a thousand years. There is also problems with evolution and the missing pieces. What is likely true, is that in enough time (days), we will prove one or the other. Until then...
04/23/2013 07:22:04 AM · #8
Th question isn't whether extra-terrestrial life exists somewhere or somewhen, the question is are they intelligent enough to have their own religion and is it similar to Christianity or any another religion.
04/23/2013 07:55:08 AM · #9
My thinking is that if evolution is the true explanation for the origin of life, then it would be logical to assume that other planets in the universe would have life, particularly the planets that contain the necessary ingredients for life. On the other hand, if creationism (such as Christian creationism) is the true explanation for the origin of life then it would be logical that no other worlds would have life, thus making earth and the human life it contains unique (as the Bible claims). So, following this line of thinking, it would seem that the discovery of alien life on other planets would support evolution more than creationism. If evolution is scientifically accurate according to the laws of biology and physics, then it would make sense that evolution would also occur on planets with favorable characteristics for life. This would also go against the biblical claim that Earth and the human life that it sustains are the unique focus of the universe that God created.

If alien life is not discovered 1,000 years from now, I would think that evolution would be much more difficult to defend. But if alien life is discovered on another planet I would think that Christianity (or any other religion, for that matter) would be much more difficult to defend.
04/23/2013 08:18:30 AM · #10
I think time travel will reveal all. ;D
04/23/2013 08:18:41 AM · #11
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:



If alien life is not discovered 1,000 years from now, I would think that evolution would be much more difficult to defend. But if alien life is discovered on another planet I would think that Christianity (or any other religion, for that matter) would be much more difficult to defend.


why? There is life on other planets, probability suggests there has to be, whether we will have the ability to discover it in a 1000yrs or less is another issue (if we are even still around).

As it stands we can only actively check for life on the planets close to us or look for planets that meet the criteria as possible for life. if we cant get there, we cant be certain, unless we are contacted by intelligent life from abroad or are able to pickup the signatures of life from afar, e.g. radiowaves.

The universe is a big place that spans a long time, its entirely possible that life afar has already past its time or hasn't even begun yet. I don't think that we will ever discover life on another planet unless its in our solar system, the planets are just too far away and our lifespan is too short.

all that said, i think that the shear size of the universe is a knock against creationism, why would God create so much universe and not populate it with any life? Seems like a big waste of time and space.

Message edited by author 2013-04-23 08:22:15.
04/23/2013 08:25:27 AM · #12
deep thoughts
04/23/2013 08:28:15 AM · #13
Originally posted by Mike:


all that said, i think that the shear size of the universe is a knock against creationism, why would God create so much universe and not populate it with any life? Seems like a big waste of time and space.

Fascinating point. But is the massive universe really a waste if it was intentionally made that big for a specific purpose? If God really is who the Bible says he is, then his power is unlimited so the concept of "waste" would not apply. Nevertheless, you raise an interesting question. Why would God make such a massive universe if only one planet contained life?

My opinion is that God created such a huge universe to show us how small we are in comparison to who he is. I also believe that he left us alone on Earth in this massive universe to show us that we are unique; that he created us for a specific purpose.
04/23/2013 10:42:08 AM · #14
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

My opinion is that God created such a huge universe to show us how small we are in comparison to who he is. I also believe that he left us alone on Earth in this massive universe to show us that we are unique; that he created us for a specific purpose.

An interesting thought and not inconsistent with the idea of the hermits and monks who sought isolation in the desert to be closer to God.
04/23/2013 10:58:43 AM · #15
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:



My opinion is that God created such a huge universe to show us how small we are in comparison to who he is. I also believe that he left us alone on Earth in this massive universe to show us that we are unique; that he created us for a specific purpose.


and what purpose is that?

don't forget the disease and pestilence we have to endure or the fact that murderers live among us and kill innocents and children or folks in many parts of the world are starving, let's not even go into the what the horrors the catholic church has places upon young boys.

Message edited by author 2013-04-23 10:59:38.
04/23/2013 07:30:40 PM · #16
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

Why would God make such a massive universe if only one planet contained life?


...ever wonder why of all the sperm that is produced only a very small percentage actually get to fertilize the eggs... same analogy.

Just because it does.

Ray
04/23/2013 10:22:02 PM · #17
Originally posted by Mike:


and what purpose is that?


To be his representatives on earth (i.e., steward his creation, bring order to it, etc.).
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Gen 1:28).

Originally posted by Mike:


don't forget the disease and pestilence we have to endure or the fact that murderers live among us and kill innocents and children or folks in many parts of the world are starving, let's not even go into the what the horrors the catholic church has places upon young boys.

And I believe that those things exist as a result of humanity's failure to fulfill its purpose. Which makes it even more imperative that we take care of the Earth, other people, and bring order to this chaotic world.

Message edited by author 2013-04-24 01:54:17.
04/24/2013 07:00:48 PM · #18
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:


...I believe that those things exist as a result of humanity's failure to fulfill its purpose. Which makes it even more imperative that we take care of the Earth, other people, and bring order to this chaotic world.


...and there exists a quantum leap between taking care of something and "Ruling" over it as you described above. Humanity truly has ruled over nature, and that may well be the very reason we find ourselves in such a predicament.

Similarly, unbridled increases in our numbers surely cannot bode well for the future of humanity.

Ray
04/24/2013 07:08:49 PM · #19
Originally posted by RayEthier:


...and there exists a quantum leap between taking care of something and "Ruling" over it as you described above. Humanity truly has ruled over nature, and that may well be the very reason we find ourselves in such a predicament.

In English vocabulary, yes, there is a difference between "taking care" and "ruling over." Keep in mind, however, that we are dealing with translations here. The English translation "rule" may not communicate the original Hebrew perfectly. In this case, it does not. The biblical concept of "ruling" is quite a bit different from our modern concept of ruling. You'd have to do a word study to discover the nuances.
05/02/2013 06:44:34 PM · #20
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:

Originally posted by RayEthier:


...and there exists a quantum leap between taking care of something and "Ruling" over it as you described above. Humanity truly has ruled over nature, and that may well be the very reason we find ourselves in such a predicament.

In English vocabulary, yes, there is a difference between "taking care" and "ruling over." Keep in mind, however, that we are dealing with translations here. The English translation "rule" may not communicate the original Hebrew perfectly. In this case, it does not. The biblical concept of "ruling" is quite a bit different from our modern concept of ruling. You'd have to do a word study to discover the nuances.


Everything can be an exception when it comes to religious matter right?

Ray
05/02/2013 07:03:13 PM · #21
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:


In English vocabulary, yes, there is a difference between "taking care" and "ruling over." Keep in mind, however, that we are dealing with translations here. The English translation "rule" may not communicate the original Hebrew perfectly. In this case, it does not. The biblical concept of "ruling" is quite a bit different from our modern concept of ruling. You'd have to do a word study to discover the nuances.


The funny thing is when and how such variability of interpretation is applied to the testaments. From Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English. Even if the cultural interpretation of the words and phrases had remained frozen from the bronze age to the atomic age, just the complexities of carrying through so many translations and keeping what was an oral tradition for centuries, while The Word branched and was pruned, revised and marginalized. Yet there are those who see the King James as the word for word literal voice of God.

Message edited by author 2013-05-02 19:10:51.
05/16/2013 10:32:43 AM · #22
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:


If alien life is not discovered 1,000 years from now, I would think that evolution would be much more difficult to defend. But if alien life is discovered on another planet I would think that Christianity (or any other religion, for that matter) would be much more difficult to defend.


Nah, I disagree on both counts. Even if alien life should eliminate any hint of credibility that was initially had by creationists. However, there is a curious thing called COGNITIVE DISSONANCE and really I think the interpretation would simply change once again and all will stay the same. It's worked just fine this far, hasn't it?

And beyond that, there's nothing in evolutionary theory that requires X number of examples. Quite to the point, it's the opposite, in that it's correct until it's not.
05/16/2013 03:56:28 PM · #23
Originally posted by johnnyphoto:


If alien life is not discovered 1,000 years from now, I would think that evolution would be much more difficult to defend.


Given that human life has been on the planet for some time (2.3 million years for Homo Habilis, between 400,000 and 250,000 years for Homo sapiens, or 6,000 to 8,000 years ago for Adam and Eve) and we have had radio telescopes for less than 100 years, your window of 1,000 years seems remarkably small.

This is the probability of extraterrestrial life N = R* • fp • ne • fl • fi • fc • L

If you actually want to understand evolution I suggest you read The Beak of the Finch Like Darwin's work, it has nothing to say about how man got on the planet, it merely shows how natural selection works in designing certain parts of certain birds in quantifiable discreet steps that we can observe in real time, if only we look carefully enough.
05/26/2013 02:14:26 PM · #24
ROFL - As the video says:

The best advertisement for atheism? Religion.

06/19/2013 01:58:11 AM · #25
No use creating a new thread, but I thought I'd quote a bit from an io9 article about the Higgs Boson. Am I just noticing this now? Fascinating stuff and worthy of comment:

The spectacular discovery of the Higgs boson in July 2012 confirmed a nearly 50-year-old theory of how elementary particles acquire mass, which enables them to form big structures such as galaxies and humans. “The fact that it was seen more or less where we expected to find it is a triumph for experiment, it’s a triumph for theory, and it’s an indication that physics works,” Arkani-Hamed told the crowd.

However, in order for the Higgs boson to make sense with the mass (or equivalent energy) it was determined to have, the LHC needed to find a swarm of other particles, too. None turned up.

With the discovery of only one particle, the LHC experiments deepened a profound problem in physics that had been brewing for decades. Modern equations seem to capture reality with breathtaking accuracy, correctly predicting the values of many constants of nature and the existence of particles like the Higgs. Yet a few constants — including the mass of the Higgs boson — are exponentially different from what these trusted laws indicate they should be, in ways that would rule out any chance of life, unless the universe is shaped by inexplicable fine-tunings and cancellations.
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