SETI Will Eventually Destroy Creationism

Nothing seems to upset creationists as much as the idea of life on worlds other than earth. They’re all pretty much bound by their belief that life on Earth is unique, and all of it was created (or designed) just for us.

They tremble at the thought that one day, perhaps soon, SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) will discover life elsewhere. So we’re bringing you the latest from the SETI Institute’s website: Small Planets Abound. The bold font was added by us:

Today, astronomers have announced new evidence that small planets – the type of worlds most favorable for biology – may be more common than thought. Once believed to accompany only stars with a large helping of heavy elements, this result suggests that – like weeds that can grow anywhere – Earth-size planets can be found around nearly any type of star. The new work bolsters the chances that scientists will eventually succeed in discovering extraterrestrial biology.

A team of 29 Danish and American astronomers, led by Lars Buchhave, of the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, has analyzed data from both NASA’s Kepler space telescope and ground-based observatories to discover that even star systems that contain only sparse amounts of the heavy elements that make up planets can still get enough of this material together to form small worlds, the size of Earth or Mars.

All those worlds, many of them earth-like, possibly bearing life — and none of this is scriptural. You know it gives the creationists nightmares. Here’s more:

This has two consequences in the search for extraterrestrial life: (1) The tally of small worlds is even greater than we once believed, and (2) Even relatively ancient stars, billions of years older than our Sun and generally deficient in such relatively heavy elements as silicon and iron, could host planets that are potential homes to life. This circumstance may help in the discovery of intelligent life beyond Earth.

May help? That’s an understatement. Let’s read on:

At SETIcon II, a public event being hosted by the SETI Institute, leading experts on planetary systems will be discussing where life might be discovered and how we could find it.

Here’s the website for SETIcon II. It’s too much work to navigate around there, so we’ll look at a news item from PhysOrg: Alien life searchers conference SETICon 2 held in Santa Clara. It says:

SETICon 2, a conference unlike any other, ran this past weekend in Santa Clara, California. In attendance were people from all walks of life whose area of interest intersects on the topic of the search for intelligent life somewhere other than here on planet Earth.

The best thing about it is that there was likely a total absence of creationists. We continue:

Fueling much of the discussion this time around (the first SETICon was held in 2010) are findings by NASA’s Kepler mission which is dedicated to looking for extraterrestrial life, regardless of form or degree of intelligence. Since 2009, the mission has uncovered the existence of over 2,300 exoplanets that researchers believe hold the possibility of harboring some forms of life.

Wow — over 2,300 planets found so far that may have some form of life. Creationism — which assumes that Earth is the stage for the key events of creation — is essentially a one-planet view of the universe, so it’s very likely that their days are numbered. Thousands of transitional fossils haven’t made a dent in their thinking, but one extra-terrestrial world with life … it would be absolutely devastating. Here’s more:

This year’s conference, those in attendance noted, was much more upbeat than the last, as more information from Kepler becomes available, the numbers of planets that might have life on them keeps going up, making the possibility of detecting its presence more plausible than ever before.

Well, the big discovery hasn’t happened yet, so the creationists can continue to cling to their beliefs — but deep down, they’ve got to know that their primitive view of things can’t last much longer. One more excerpt:

In addition to offerings talks, the conference also held panel discussions, interviews, and even screenings of movies, all aimed at opening the door to the possibility that extraterrestrial life might truly exist, and if it does, highlighting the fact that we are now in a better position than ever before to find evidence of its existence.

If the SETI folks can take the time to screen movies, we can open up our discussion a bit. Let your thoughts roam, dear reader. It’s a big universe out there.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

28 responses to “SETI Will Eventually Destroy Creationism

  1. NeonNoodle

    …[creationists] tremble at the thought that one day, perhaps soon, SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) will discover life elsewhere…

    I’m sure they have a plan, and I know they have no shame. If WorldNetDaily can make a creationist case for Men in Black III with a straight face, this ought to be a walk in the park for them.

  2. I think creationists mock SETI as they mock
    most science. I saw a release recently by
    The Smithsonian that creodesigner is in the
    Congo with a team reportedly searching for
    a lost “dinosaur” of local legend, I’m sure as
    another creationist way of “disproving” evolution.
    It’s the African version of Nessie for intelligent
    wedgie advocates. Can you imagine that someone could actually collect tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars from American evangelicals to support an “expedition” like that.
    Thers actually a web site about this complete with emails from the team leader giving friendly reminders to The Smithsonian to “watch” the tone of their coverage. NOW FOLKS THAT’S SOME WILD N CRAZY BIG TIME BIG TENT CREATIONISM GOING ON. Amazing..Where do
    they find them?

  3. I doubt extraterrestrial life will really keep creationists down long. Heck they might even work hard to start interstellar travel before any atheists so they can make sure to start missions as soon as possible. They’ll want to ensure that those aliens have similar beliefs to emphasize a universal god.

    Creationists have managed to accept some things like “microevolution”, they’ll accept this too. They lie really well.

  4. It’s one SteveMcCullah. His quotes are hilarious and he’s for real. I am offering a $10 donation to build a rocket ship to send him on a one way expedition to Mars whether he finds a live dinosaur or not. Mars is where he apparently grew up. Anybody in?
    Also to any creationists reading Curmie’s blog on the side( watch out for thunderbolts from heaven ) I am offering 100 to 1 odds McCullah
    won’t actually bring back a live dinosaur .
    So if you bet say $100,000 dollars you could win $10 million.. Now that’s Out of This World good odds.
    You have to put the money in up front.
    Make checks payable to the”Buy Will a Ferrarri Fund”..Cheshire Cat Grinning here.
    Will “the evil scientist conspirator”

  5. docbill1351

    I think that all of creationism stems from the “argument from ignorance” and it’s been heartwarming to watch the goalposts recede over the years.

    First, it was “where are all the planets?” Remember back in the 80’s when not a single extrasolar planet had been discovered and how tenuous that first “wobble” discovery was? Creationists were wetting themselves just about that! But, it was a huge, gas planet; not suitable for life by our standards.

    Then came more discoveries and more and more and rocky planets and planets with atmospheres and now planets are a common as astronomers thought they should be, namely around every star. So, in a few short years we’ve gone from 9 known planets to billions and billions. Planets are more the rule than the exception.

    Well, if Earth-like planets are common and chemistry is chemistry and time is time then any system 4.5 billion years old or so might just harbor life. It could be that self-replicating chemical systems are common as, say, stardust.

    Life isn’t exceptional, it’s anticipated.

  6. When I was on Free Republic, there were several creationists who said that any extraterrestrial life must be the work of Satan. In other words, as they saw it, Earth was God\’s and the rest of the Universe was Satan\’s. I told them that, if that\’s what they worshiped was a pretty piss-poor god.

    Frankly, as someone who believes in God and accepts evolution and modern cosmology that\’s what angers me most about creationism: Not that it rejects science — not that that\’s an acceptable thing — but that it diminishes God. The creationists\’ god is one that they can stuff in a shoe box, shove under their bed, and keep control of, instead of God, who probably does things that the would rather not have God do.

    If I\’m going to be a believer — and I am — give me a God who created a universe teeming with life, intelligent and otherwise, rather than a god limited to just one planet.

  7. If extra-terrestrial biology is confirmed, the effect on creationism will be such a tiny sidebar to the big story! Who really gives a flying fetid rat fart what the creationists will think?

    Besides, it will not make them change their tune. They will still fight to have creationism taught in public schools (or lobby for public money vouchers to fund its teaching in religious schools), and they will continue to deny the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution. YECs will still be YECs, OECs will still be OECs, Intelligent Design proponents will continue to be just as unintelligent, and Ken Ham will still seek answers to all his questions in Genesis.

    They will simply proclaim how great God is to bring forth life throughout the entire universe.

  8. That’s exactly right, RSG, it’s all about power and control and nothing more.

    Jonny Wells famously demonstrated that if you take a cell and gut it, it stops working. Brilliant, Jon. Then Craig Venter came along, gutted a cell, put new parts in and it scooted along quite fine. Jonny should shut up, but he won’t, I’m sure. Or he’ll claim “intelligent design” or some other prevarication.

  9. Chuck Lipsig, I was typing as you were posting. My comment about life throughout the universe was not in response to your post. Whether God put life throughtout the universe or it got there by other means I am not in a position to answer, but it stands to reason that since life exists here, it’s logical that it exists elsewhere — same elements, same chemistry, same physics, same results. As DocBill says, life is anticipated.

    Proving its existence elsewhere is another matter entirely.

  10. NeonNoodle

    Who really gives a flying fetid rat fart…?

    Is that anything like the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Is it the second coming already? But I haven’t finished my ironing yet.

  11. What happens if Stephen Hawking’s hypothesis that aliens might be hostile were to come true? And what if such an alien race had its own version of “creationism” or just a version of “exceptionalism”? And what if they see us as a threat to that “exceptionalism”? (“Why, there can’t be life on that little, podunk planet! We’re the only life in the universe! The Great Deity, Wjfiiufhh, said so!”) I would see it as playing out like “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy”. The difference is that instead of being blasted out of existence in order to make way for a hyperspace bypass, we’d be blasted out of existence for no other reason than to ensure the aliens’ “exceptionalism”.

  12. docbill1351

    I love aliens! I have spent a great portion of my daydreaming time thinking about aliens and how they might evolve. Of course, Dawkins says that whatever evolution happens on other planets will be Darwinian. Hard to argue with that!

    However, I think that our curiosity is a result of aggression which is the dog-eat-dog story of our lives. I can only imagine, alas, that another civilization in order to achieve technology and all that requires curiosity driven by aggression.

    There’s good news and bad news. The alien version of DNA will be nothing like ours and, therefore, the aliens would probably find our planet poisonous and us not good to eat. The bad news is that they might be religious and wipe us out as a blasphemous infestation. I guess it wouldn’t matter either way except for the certain knowledge that you wouldn’t be paired with a fine chardonnay.

  13. retiredsciguy

    Doc Bill asserts, “…you wouldn’t be paired with a fine chardonnay.”

    Of course not. We are red meat; therefore, a great cabernet would be in order.

  14. Okay, I thought Doc Bill’s “chardonnay” statement was the pinnacle OMGROTFLMAO funny, but I’m afraid that RSG’s “cabernet” just topped it!

  15. docbill1351

    You know, I was going to go with a nice Pinot Noir but I thought about “long pig” and went with a lighter but robust, oaky accompaniment.

    Of course, if ET is into BBQ then we would have to rethink the entire proposition!

  16. docbill1351 says: “I love aliens!”

    I doubt that they’ll love you. I’ve suggested before that they probably won’t want to have anything to do with us. We’re way too primitive — freshly evolved and all that. It’ll be a blow to the ego to learn that, but it’ll be especially hard on the creationists.

  17. Retired Prof

    Even ignoring the possibility that alien life would show that earth is not god’s only sphere of operations, I don’t see how those who believe human life is the sole focus of creation can maintain that the universe is intelligently designed.

    Engineering principles dictate that no more material should be used in building a structure than required to accomplish its function. And it should run on as little energy as possible As a venue where the drama of human sin and divine redemption could play itself out, all that would be required is a stage setting. The solar system, supplemented with a background of stars glittering on a distant scrim, would have been plenty. To provide not just the whole Milky Way, but billions of other galaxies, most too far away to see, together with invisible black holes and broad expanses of nothing at all, the whole array embedded in incomprehensibly vast quantities of dark matter competing for dominance with even vaster quantities of dark energy, represents the squandering of matter and energy on a literally cosmic scale. No intelligent engineer would design such a structure to serve as a mere backdrop.

  18. retiredsciguy — No sweat. I figured that. If we find life elsewhere than Earth — and particularly if we contact intelligent life — what we conclude from it, both as a species and as individuals, will depend a lot on what we find.

  19. At first I thought this was going to be about SETI’s search methods: listening for alien radio waves. Creationists like to mock SETI given that they can safely (for now) assume that we won’t be listening to ET phone home any time soon.

    ***”(2) Even relatively ancient stars, billions of years older than our Sun and generally deficient in such relatively heavy elements as silicon and iron, could host planets that are potential homes to life.”***

    Do these ancient star systems have much carbon? If not, life, or at least life as we know it, would be impossible. And even if there were life, an alien technical civilization would be impossible there given the lack of the heavier elements. Can’t build high tech without ready access to iron, copper, tin, gold, silver, aluminum, uranium, etc.

    Biblical literalists are good at obfuscating. Given time they can ignore or distort any evidence. Most of them have given up on geocentrism for instance even though the Bible isn’t compatible with heliocentrism and a mobile earth. They also pretend that the Bible isn’t written from a flat earth perspective, even resorting to mistranslations and pretending that obvious references to a circular flat earth are really references to a spherical earth. Their rationalization hamsters are extremely well exercised. I doubt the discovery of alien life would faze them for long. They are very good at changing their line of argument while pretending never to have changed their line of argument.

  20. retiredsciguy

    Doc Bill says, “Of course, if ET is into BBQ then we would have to rethink the entire proposition!”

    Yes! Of course! Beer! It would have to be beer! Especially since so many of us are pre-marinated. A fine, Old Milwaukee, perhaps?

  21. This is off topic, sorry. I thought it deserved attention.

    It looks like David Klinghoffer posted a 4-star review for Luskin’s book on Amazon, using a sock puppet identity. It’s almost an exact copy of Klinghoffer’s post at ENV, accusing Darwinists of being bullies who run from a fight.

    The review is posted under the pseudonym “BchlrScMsBmd” and “Vince M.” I don’t know why, but the review is strangely flipping between two ID’s.

    If that’s Klinghoffer using sock puppets, he’s a fraud.

  22. “Mormon cosmology teaches that the Earth is not unique, but just one of many inhabited planets, each planet created for the purpose of bringing about the immortality and ‘eternal life’ (i.e., the highest degree of salvation) of humanity.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mormon_cosmology

  23. Retiredsciguy: “Besides, it will not make them change their tune. They will still fight to have creationism taught in public schools (or lobby for public money vouchers to fund its teaching in religious schools), and they will continue to deny the overwhelming evidence supporting evolution. YECs will still be YECs, OECs will still be OECs, Intelligent Design proponents will continue to be just as unintelligent,…”

    Exactly. If anything the Discoveroids will claim another victory for their “explanatory filter” and step up their slow conversion of the other brands of creationism over to their “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when” strategy. The other thread, where AiG’s apparent policy is that OEC “is and isn’t optional” looks like evidence of that slow transition. So does the phenomenon where YECs and OECs appear to be “slouching towards Omphalism.” None of the mutually contradictory literal interpretations of Genesis is remotely true, and peddlers are finding it harder than ever to pretend otherwise. Discoveroids have been aware of that from the beginning – and please everyone, don’t take the bait on Dembski’s “flood” speech – while the Biblicals (those not quite in on the scam) are finding hard to keep their Morton’s Demon working. But like any snake oil peddler, they always have a “plan B.”

    That said, my biggest worry these days is with fellow Darwinists, who are mostly stuck in the Scopes-era “debate.” The scam artists have moved on, and are evolving their bag of rhetorical tricks, some faster than others. But I see a gradual convergence. I predict that in a few decades all creationism will be “say as little about your alternate ‘theory’ as possible, and just promote unreasonable doubt of evolution any way you can.” AiG and ICR will go the way of flat-earthism (sell to a very small audience), while a much more postmodern brand will be the mainstream.

  24. Frank J: That said, my biggest worry these days is with fellow Darwinists, who are mostly stuck in the Scopes-era “debate.” The scam artists have moved on, and are evolving their bag of rhetorical tricks, some faster than others. But I see a gradual convergence. I predict that in a few decades all creationism will be “say as little about your alternate ‘theory’ as possible, and just promote unreasonable doubt of evolution any way you can.” AiG and ICR will go the way of flat-earthism (sell to a very small audience), while a much more postmodern brand will be the mainstream.

    I think the OECs will eventually be just as obscure as the Geocentrics and YECs. They really don’t have anything to stand on. They don’t present an actual argument. It isn’t enough to just disagree. As access to information continues to grow and globalize I imagine certain checks and balances will appear (evolve actually) that will help ‘clean up’ excess information much like the way wikipedia editors treat creationism. Articles that can’t be commented on won’t be trusted. Information will be more opensource in general.

  25. NeonNoodle

    The review is posted under the pseudonym “BchlrScMsBmd”

    That’s almost as silly as “Klinghoffer.”

  26. Jason Lane: “I think the OECs will eventually be just as obscure as the Geocentrics and YECs.”

    Sure. In fact OEC peddlers have already mostly disappeared. OEC believers, however, have mostly turned into ID peddlers. As have theistic evolutionists whose agenda overrules their scientific integrity. The early ID peddlers were mostly former YEC peddlers, but I strongly doubt that they remained YEC believers, because, in addition to abandonong reference to “Creator” and “creation,” mandated by “Edwards v. Aguillard,” they also abandoned testable young-earth and young-life claims. Those tetable claims are perfectly legal for public education, as long as they don’t refer to creators or designers. But they must have known that even a phony “critical analysis,” like the one they demand for evolution, would cause most students to conclude that YEC, and maybe even OEC, were at least far weaker than evolution. And that would not be good for the big tent.

  27. Once again I must make my terminology clear. Only a tiny minority of theistic evolutionists have sold out to the ID scam, and like Behe, still apparently believe something very close to TE. The rest are staunch critics of ID/creationism.

  28. mickthephysicist

    lol… I’m not really sure how the discovery of more earth like planets than was estimated affects the probability of life being discovered elsewhere. Remember it doesn’t have to be intelligent life… it just has to be life or the product of life. Even if an alien civilisation were long dead and left their technology behind them beeping and tweeting then thats enough. Even if the life were microbial the implication for creationists is the same…which is ‘Life is not unique to the earth, you are wrong!’

    Now I can sort of hazard a guess when this might come about. I’d give it 1,000 : 1 in 2012 lowering the odds at a a rate of 5% every year, for each year. As we speak there is a rover on mars collecting samples….

    But as other posters have outlined creationists have an uncanny knack of excusing away evidence that is staring them in the face. Their most common ploy is to simply ignore it and say nothing, telling their brainwashed minions not to investigate it since its the work of satan. (might have worked in the past…a little harder in the information age)

    The other ploy is to claim that ‘the scientists got it all wrong’ and this works very well… no creationists ever stops to wonder how so many scientists can all get evolution wrong but seem to do a sterling job with electronics!

    The main reason for creationism is simply really bad education…kept bad by immoral scam artists who earn their living by ensuring there is no education.

    So rather than presenting little green men armed to the teeth with photon torpedoes and intergalactic spacecraft to them it might be more productive to introduce them to a rather earlier technology…books!