Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Are There Extra-Terrestrials?


Over the years many people have wondered about the possibility of extra-terrestrial life. The question “could other intelligent life exist?” has been at the forefront of the minds of scientists and science fiction fans alike for years. Still the question remains, is it possible?

Reasoning
The concept of life on other planets is a natural conclusion of the theory of evolution. Even with the odds being astronomically high against it happening at all, if evolution did occur on Earth, perhaps it took place elsewhere as well. If that is the case it’s entirely possible that intelligent life, like humans, could exist somewhere out there. Many organizations have put a great deal of resources into tracking down these possible extra-terrestrials, most notably among them being the SETI Project which searches the night sky for radio transmissions and other indications of advanced intelligent life. We assume other civilizations will likely produce and send out such signals because as an advanced civilization we do.

Pros
Little evidence at this point has been found of life on other worlds though attempts have been made. The Mars rover’s discovery of bacteria fossils on Mars is about the strongest indication so far of life on other planets, though this is far from the intelligent life that many search for. UFO sightings abound of course, but it’s hard to say whether those can truly be taken seriously. Still, there’s always the old adage “if it happened once it can happen again,” to fall back on.

Cons
The real issue is did it even happen once? In depth studies into evolutionary theory have shown conclusively that the chances against it actually happening are so high that it’s basically impossible several times over. As this has been brought to light many scientists from various fields have changed their tune and now back the theory of intelligent design which essentially puts forward that we were created by an intelligence and are not the product of random coincidence. With this as our premise we have to ask ourselves if an intelligent designer would create life on more than one planet. The answer to that depends on what kind of intelligence you’re talking about. If we’re talking alien intelligence than I definitely believe that once they figured out how to create new intelligent life they would do it on as many worlds as they could find in order to maximize the chances for a success. However if we’re talking about God then the equation is just a little different. A true God though able to create and manage life on an infinite number of worlds, would I believe focus on just one not needing to maximize probabilities as they’d be the maker of those probabilities. This consolidation would allow that God to alter things on a scale that would affect everyone at once without the need to sacrifice additional resources (for instance the death of Christ would only be known to those on Earth and other intelligent life would be left without this life giving knowledge).

Conclusion
While it’s an interesting concept, I find it difficult to believe that evolution is possible and that a loving God would create beings that would be unreachable with the good news of salvation for such an extended period of time. As such the idea of extra-terrestrial life is one I must ultimately reject for inclusion in my N3rd C0rn3r.