Creationism & Life on Other Worlds

CREATIONISTS hate the concept of alien life. They don’t even like the idea that other worlds exist. In their view of things, the entire universe was created for the drama of humans on Earth.

Perhaps that’s why the planets are virtually absent from the bible. As we’ve noted before, the entire bible mentions the planets only once — in 2 Kings 23:5. According to the King James version:

And he put down the idolatrous priests, whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven.

The planets are so unimportant in scripture that the only thing we’re told is not to burn incense unto them. There’s no mention that the planets are lifeless, nor is there any specific claim that life exists on Earth alone — but the uniqueness of life on Earth, although unexpressed, certainly seems implicit.

We assume that’s why the idea of life “out there” has the creationists spooked. It would be something new to learn about and they’re not comfortable with that. Also, it would be difficult to reconcile with their concept of the human-centered purpose of the universe.

The catholic church, however, appears reconciled to the inevitability that we’ll find life elsewhere. See: Beyond Darwin: Vatican Conference on Aliens.

That attitude seems wise, because the discovery of life on other worlds is probably in our future. For example, there’s this BBC article: Super-Earths’ Orbit Nearby Stars. It’s quite interesting. You may want to read it, because we’re going to give you the creationist “analysis” of that story. The BBC reports:

Planet-hunters have discovered two “super-Earths” orbiting two nearby Sun-like stars. These rocky planets are larger than the Earth but much smaller than ice giants such as Uranus and Neptune. Scientists say the discoveries are a step towards finding potentially habitable planets – smaller planets that are comparable to the Earth.

[…]

Both stars resemble our Sun in size and age. The planets have orbits too close to their stars to support life or liquid water. But, according to Dr Butler, they point the way …

[…]

Professor Vogt said: “These detections indicate that low-mass planets are quite common around nearby stars. “The discovery of potentially habitable nearby worlds may be just a few years away.”

What’s the attitude of the most extreme creationists? For your weekend contemplation, we bring you commentary from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of creationist wisdom. They have this new article at their website: Astronomers may soon find more “Earth-like” planets — and with them, alien life? It’s the third item in a feature they call “News to Note, A weekly feature examining news from the biblical viewpoint.” Here are some excerpts, to which we added some bold font for emphasis:

Of course, for evolution-believing astronomers and astrobiologists, the existence of other “Earths” — and life on them — is effectively a forgone conclusion.

[…]

Faith — evolutionary faith — is thus a cornerstone of the search for Earth-like planets and for extraterrestrial life. Earth “cannot” be unique; life “cannot” be special — no matter what the evidence suggests.

Yeah, faith. But the creationists’ hope that life is unique to Earth — that’s not faith. Or if it is, it’s okay because it’s their faith. Let’s read on:

It may well be that we discover genuinely Earth-like planets in the heavens, and such discoveries would not challenge the biblical view. Until that point, however, such news as this reminds us of how desperate evolutionists are to be comforted by finding signs of their alleged origins among the stars.

We’re desperate. Okay. Here’s the end of the AIG article:

All that said, even while scientists throw the net farther and farther in search of habitable planets, they are also broadening the definition of habitable planets to include icy planets with possible subsurface oceans (with some salt, perhaps?).

Can you understand what they’re complaining about? Aside from the obvious fear that their primitive worldview will soon be shattered, we suspect that they don’t like sitting on the sidelines while educated people are engaged in the great adventure of learning new things. Creationists are fuming because they have no control over such events, and because their thoughts are of no interest to anyone.

But if that’s their gripe, whose fault is it? Their marginal position is entirely their own choice.

[Related posts: See Creationist Wisdom #109: SETI, and also Ken Ham Says There’s No Extraterrestrial Life.]

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “Creationism & Life on Other Worlds

  1. The Curmudgeon boldly proclaims

    Creationists hate the concept of alien life. They don’t even like the idea that other worlds exist.

    Except, of course, for Planet Ronda — which, as your own research recently indicated, does have life –but not as we know it, Jim.

  2. No need to look extra-Earth for aliens, they are among us now.

    If you wear those polarized 3D glasses they can be easily recognized by the halos above their heads.

    They smell bad too.

  3. There are references in the Bible to the “morning star” and the “evening star”. I’m not sure whether the Biblical Hebrew expressions refer, as do the English translations, to the planets in their appearances at twilight.

  4. And this sort of thing is why science is always far more interesting than fairy tales. I do wonder what creationists are going to do when we find life on other planets. Will they simple ignore and deny like most other evidence, or will a new Bible mythology be created?

  5. Albanaeon says: “I do wonder what creationists are going to do when we find life on other planets.”

    Same thing they do about the solar system. They’ll pluck some ambiguous phrase out of the bible and claim that they knew it all along.

  6. Of course, the ancients had no idea that the tiny points of light they called Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn (or whatever they called them in earlier languages) were actually huge worlds comparable in size, or much larger than, Earth. To them, life on such tiny points of light would have been a preposterous idea.

    You have to think there’s a lot of life out there, since it got started here so early in the Earth’s history. However, that’s not the same as saying there’s all kinds of aliens flying around in UFOs, plotting their invasion of Earth. We’ve been actively listening for any radio transmissions emitted by a technological alien society, and so far, we haven’t heard anything conclusive. It’s hard to believe Earth is unique, though.

  7. retiredsciguy reassuringly points out

    We’ve been actively listening for any radio transmissions emitted by a technological alien society, and so far, we haven’t heard anything conclusive.

    My bet is, though, it’s only a question of time before we are targeted with intergalatic spam — exotic mail-order drugs just for you from Venusian pharmacies, or exclusive secrets to increasing the size of your multiple mating tentacles, or maybe even request for assistance in transferring 28 million Jovian zrqqqkvgs out of an abandoned account on Ganymede. All of which may be a nuisance, but we can probably filter it out.

    The tough one will be when we’re visited by Missionaries from Mars seeking to save our souls with the TRVTH about the Great God Bnrttxxvthy, The Holy Deflowerer of Virgins…

  8. While Ken Ham, Jason Lisle, and the other “scientists” at AiG wring their hands and whine, science marches on. Their postings about recent astronomical discoveries have become increasingly shrill and bizarre.

  9. Curmudgeon: “CREATIONISTS hate the concept of alien life.”

    Can we please leave it to the “creationists” to try to have everything both ways? If “creationists” include IDers, then some of them not only have no problem with alien life (the DI does not rule out that it’s own designer may be an alien), some (e.g. Raelians) even claim to have evidence of it.

    In fact even those Biblical literalist creationists who do hate the concept of alien life tend to withhold their objections when their more alien-friendly big tent buddies bad-mouth “Darwinism.”

  10. Curmudgeon: “Same thing they do about the solar system. They’ll pluck some ambiguous phrase out of the bible and claim that they knew it all along.”

    The DI will continue to ignore the Bible and claim that its SETI “design” arguments have been vindicated.

  11. Frank J: The DI will continue to ignore the Bible and claim that its SETI “design” arguments have been vindicated.

    I very much doubt that. The moment we were to discover alien intervention on earth would be the moment the creationists start arguing about how unscientifc these design arguments are and why we should reject them (and teach alternatives in HS Biology).

    Evidence of a non-God designer is no different than evidence for evolution – in both cases it provides a natural explanation for a phenomena they want to pin on God. So they’ll reject it.

  12. Frank J says:

    Can we please leave it to the “creationists” to try to have everything both ways?

    I’m doing things my way. What they do is of no consequence.

  13. Eric: “I very much doubt that. The moment we were to discover alien intervention on earth would be the moment the creationists start arguing about how unscientifc these design arguments are and why we should reject them (and teach alternatives in HS Biology).”

    Again with the “the creationists.”

    Maybe AiG folk will react that way, but the DI is too heavily invested in SETI arguments to suddenly abandon them once “designers” are really found.

    They have backpedaled from inconvenient arguments like Behe’s “designed universal ancestral cell” but it was only only half-heartedly proposed by one DI Fellow. But SETI is a DI staple.

    Discovery of alien life will, however, make it more uncomfortable for many under the big tent. But I trust that they’ll find creative ways to keep it propped up.

  14. – “I do wonder what creationists are going to do when we find life on other planets.”

    -“Same thing they do about the solar system. They’ll pluck some ambiguous phrase out of the bible and claim that they knew it all along.

    Oh, no. I see it coming.

    Pablo