With the rapid development of space technology, mankind has accelerated its search for extraterrestrial life, especially intelligent life. This has even spawned a new branch of science—astrobiology (lit. ‘star-life-study’)—despite not a shred of evidence for such life being found in some 50 years of searching. With advances in space-based telescopes, like Kepler, it is widely hoped this situation will soon change.
What is behind this belief in alien life evolving on other planets around other star systems?
It is the rejection of the Creator.
This means one must explain life on Earth as having arisen spontaneously (and therefore, the reasoning goes, it must also have done so elsewhere in the universe, many millions of times).
But as famous evolutionist (and astrobiologist) Paul Davies has reminded us in a recent Scientific American article,1 leading evolutionists had in past decades opposed this idea of ‘ETs everywhere’.
Why? Because they had faced up to the nigh-insuperable difficulty of trying to imagine a way to have the information systems of reproducing life evolve from raw chemistry.
Hence they had concluded that life on Earth must be a near-miraculous one-off fluke, and that we are therefore alone. But, Davies indicates, today there is this feverish, near-universal belief that life must have popped up all over the cosmos—yet the science hasn’t changed (actually, the case for spontaneous life has worsened as knowledge of the requirements for a minimalist cell has increased2).
And it is that science, he says, which shows that even if there were vast numbers of Earth-like planets, the odds of life by pure chemistry are still so small as to be negligible. Which means, says Davies, that today’s belief in life arising inevitably wherever the conditions are right implicitly assumes the existence of a mysterious self-organizing principle, or life force. But there is, once again, no evidence whatsoever for such a force, concedes Davies.3
All of this exposes the fact that such beliefs are not held as articles of science, but of faith, and a peculiarly blind faith, at that, fuelled by rejection of the Creator. To highlight the bizarre depths to which this can lead, consider some recent comments by a Columbia University astrophysicist, Professor Caleb Scharf.4
This intelligent scientist suggests that the reason we are not finding any aliens (intelligent or otherwise) may be because they—or perhaps what is left of them—are all around us, even in the structure of matter and things like the quantum physical world:
… our universe is the remains of intelligent alien life which controls all aspects of the physical world—from gravity to the speed of light.
His proposal, intended to address many of the great mysteries of the cosmos, postulates that alien life has left all types of evidence, all around us. The notion purports to explain dark matter—it was created by the aliens. Even our universe itself is supposedly the product of intelligent alien life.
In an article in the science (not pseudoscience, apparently) journal Nautilus, this radical thinker wrote that alien life could exist in the behaviour of subatomic particles and the expansion of the universe. He is quoted as saying,
Perhaps hyper-advanced life isn’t just external. Perhaps it’s already all around. It is embedded in what we perceive to be physics itself. In other words, life might not just be in the equations. It might be the equations.4
Because naturalistic thinking has not paid off in the detection of the expected signatures of intelligent life elsewhere, or any evidence of extraterrestrial life for that matter, it seems that some materialists are willing to come up with even more bizarre ideas. He suggests that everything in nature, the very creation itself, the forces that control everything, could be either the product or at least the remains of intelligent alien life. Presumably they evolved long ago to such an advanced state that they learned how to control everything in nature, if not actually created much of what we observe. Anything, it seems, other than to give glory to God for creation. He wrote:
We don’t recognise advanced life because it forms an integral and unsuspicious part of what we’ve considered to be the natural world.4
Some have compared his theory to the sci-fi-like future on Earth postulated by some, in which humans will have downloaded themselves onto machine substrates, their minds and the essence of their personality living on in the form of software programs. Though the sketchy reports make it hard to pin down the exact extent of his speculations, it seems Scharf is suggesting that alien life forms, intelligent enough to reach us, may have already turned themselves into living machines. These hyper-advanced aliens may in fact have gone way beyond that and gone on to becoming a complex physical system. Nothing, it seems, is too farfetched; the laws of physics, quantum mechanics—even the universe itself— could be what is left over from (or has been created by) these hyper-advanced aliens. You may think you are looking at an orderly universe and physical laws, but maybe you are in reality looking at ‘their’ creation, or even their remains (innards?). And if that is not a stretch for your imagination, he also says:
If you’re a civilisation that has learned how to encode living systems into different [materials], all you need to do is build a normal-matter-to-dark-matter data-transfer system: a dark matter 3D printer.4
Wow, is that all? He speaks as if it (whatever ‘it’ really means here) is a trivial task for these hypothetical intelligent aliens. Yet we have to date not even discovered a single particle of the alleged ‘dark matter’. So Dr Scharf’s statement about 3D printers seems at the least a bit premature, which may be the kindest description possible.
One ID source suggested that Scharf seems to be saying, about this as-yet-unknown and maybe non-existent dark matter,
Perhaps it’s more like cloud storage for alien civilizations that have uploaded themselves.5
It also pointed out that a precursor to Scharf’s ideas was explored by evolutionary atheist Carl Sagan in one of his science fiction novels.
I had to think; talk about ‘ivory towers’. Perhaps some of my fellow academics and researchers just don’t get out enough. As a biblical creationist I am not unfamiliar with accusations of believing in a pseudoscience. The notion that life is a supernatural creation and that God placed mankind on this planet, specially prepared for life, is abhorrent to many, particularly to the so-called ‘freethinker’. Yet here we have something for which it is surely not too strong to call it not just pseudoscience but cuckoo-land type thinking.
Ironically, biblical creationists are the ones accused of doing pseudoscience when we look at the created world with biblical glasses, as did the great Isaac Newton and most of the other fathers of real science. Now this scientist looks at the world with materialist glasses, and it has led to what can only be called insane conclusions.6 But it’s ‘acceptable science’, regarded as a reasonable, if provocative, ‘thought experiment’, not something to be howled down like creation. One science site is typical of the ‘cautiously interested’ reception:
None of these ideas have been peer-reviewed, and they’re just the opinion of one astrophysicist pushing the boundaries of what’s theoretically possible. But while we can’t test any of these ideas just yet, we also can’t really rule them out.7
One thing seems certain: It will not lead to the sorts of repercussions and ridicule that would have surely taken place if the same academic had openly promoted Genesis creation.
References and notes
- Davies, P., The Cosmos Might Be Mostly Devoid of Life, scientificamerican.com, September 2016.
- Batten, D., Origin of life, creation.com/origin-of-life, November 26, 2013.
- He proposes that one way to test for it would be to look for evidence of new life forms, such as microbes, totally unlike any other Earth life. This is based on the idea that if there is such a self-organising principle, then life may well have arisen from chemicals more than once, so the descendants of such a ‘second Genesis’ as he calls it might be discoverable.
- Baker, N., Aliens could control mysteries like dark matter, says scientist,, The Sun, November 19, 2016.
- Klinghoffer, D., Alien Physics: Scientist Offers Novel Escape Hatch from Intelligent Design, www.evolutionnews.org, November 18, 2016.
- Hartnett, J.G., Where materialism logically leads, May 31, 2016.
- Macdonald, F., An astrophysicist says we might not be able to distinguish aliens from the laws of physics: What if dark matter is really just aliens?, http://www.sciencealert.com, 18 September 2016.