The spirit of scientific inquiry — creationist style — is alive and well at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. Their intrepid creation scientists have just posted SETI Funding Linked to Belief in Evolution. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute, or SETI, was founded in 1984 to detect signals from faraway alien beings. The National Science Foundation and the State of California are among SETI’s major supporters, but in the current economic climate monies are becoming increasingly scarce. That raises the question: Is SETI’s mission important enough to keep it going?
Is SETI funding important? We are reminded of the immortal words of Henny Youngman. When asked “How’s your wife?” he’d invariably respond: “Compared to what?” We humbly suggest comparing SETI to the ongoing effort of “creation science,” the arcane folklore practiced by ICR.
Then they quote SETI senior astronomer Seth Shostak who wrote Search for ET Put on Hold, which appears in the Huffington Post:
In tough economic times, a lot of folks who hear this story will dismiss its importance. After all, with problems like expensive health care, a weakened education system, and pervasive joblessness, it’s unlikely that people are going to march in the streets to get the hunt for ET back on track. They’re more likely to shake their heads, and profess that this sort of exploration is superfluous.
After that quote, ICR says:
He [Seth Shostak, the SETI astronomer] then argued that a defining feature of humanity is the capacity to discover “new things.” The implication was that dropping SETI’s search for ET would halt discovery and cause mankind to settle for a less-than-human existence.
They don’t quote Shostak any more, but this is part of what he actually wrote:
The answer is that discovering new things is what distinguishes our species. That’s not glib; that’s the difference between the grinding monotony of the Middle Ages and life after the Renaissance. Are we destined to merely endure, or to flourish?
How does ICR react to SETI’s endeavor to discover new things? They say:
But SETI has not discovered new things!
Scientific endeavors that do lead to discoveries are funded because they answer core questions about how the world works. SETI has not done this, and all signs indicate that it won’t in the future. Thus, a belief in the importance of its mission has to be fueled by a belief in evolution.
We don’t need to point out that ICR’s “creation science” hasn’t discovered anything either, and unlike SETI, there’s no possibility that it ever will. But ICR won’t apply its own “reasoning” to itself. Their article continues:
But if life was created and this “evolutionary drama” never did occur, as is consistent with the best evidence [footnotes to creationist writings], then SETI’s work is pointless.
Obviously, if there ever were results from SETI research, it would be devastating to ICR. That’s why ICR thinks it should stop now, while their creationism is still “ahead.” Here’s more:
[T]he complete absence of evidence for ETs, even after decades of searching and the billions of dollars poured into SETI, corroborates the extraordinary uniqueness of life on earth.
Aha — SETI proves creationism! Here’s ICR’s smashing conclusion:
The reasons to fund SETI are firmly rooted in the belief that life evolved. If enough public interest can be generated to reignite SETI’s telescope array amidst an economic downturn, it would not reflect humanity’s pioneering spirit of discovery, but would instead involve donors duped into funding a dubious cause because of godless evolutionary ideas that have no evidence to support them.
Translation: SETI must be stopped now, before it ruins ICR.
We’ll end with one more quote from Seth Shostak, the SETI astronomer:
This hunt for alien biology in our solar system costs you a few dollars per year. What would be the surcharge to augment this exploration by adding a radio experiment that could turn up life on worlds around other stars? Life that’s not microbial, not mindless moss, but as clever as we are? A few additional cents.
You’re a member of the first generation possessing technology good enough to turn up some cosmic company, and your financial support could restart this instrument. We can never prove that we’re alone in the universe. But the Allen Telescope Array could prove that we’re not.
So there you are. Shall we quit SETI when we’re just getting started? ICR hopes that we do.
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