The discovery Institute, like other creationist outfits, has gone through a series of beliefs about life in the universe. Creationists used to claim that our sun was unique in having a planetary system. Old Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, wrote in The Stars of Heaven:
[T]he earth is unique in the solar system and, for all we know, the solar system is unique in the universe. So far as we can observe, there are not even any planets anywhere else, let alone a planet equipped to sustain biological life.
They’ve had to back away from claims like that, but several of them still insist that although extra-solar planets are abundant, life is unique to our world — despite their claim that the universe was miraculously created to be congenial to life.
Now that literally thousands of extra-solar planets have been discovered, several in their star’s Goldilocks zone, creationists dimly sense the likelihood that some kind of life will be found out there. Many of them have been reluctantly shifting to another position — that we are the only intelligent life in the universe.
That’s probably the last concession they can make, otherwise we’re just another evolved species on one of many worlds where the right conditions exist. Understandably, they all claim that SETI research is a waste of time and money, and they desperately hope it can be shut down before some other intelligent species is discovered out there.
Like other creationist outfits, the Discovery Institute continues to insist that Earth was uniquely created and is the one and only Privileged Planet in the universe — see Klinghoffer Insists Earth Is Unique. Nevertheless, they’ve been gradually revising their claims — “just in case.” We’ve documented some of those shifts – see Klinghoffer Flip-Flops on Alien Life.
With that as background, here’s the latest at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog: “I Think We’re Alone Now”. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Last night my wife and I saw 10 Cloverfield Lane, a very tense, effective, and scary thriller. To say more about its precise genre would be a spoiler. I mention it because there’s one of many great moments in the film when John Goodman as a bunker-dwelling survivalist plays a 1967 hit on the jukebox in his cellar, “I Think We’re Alone Now,” by Tommy James and the Shondells.
Why are we being told about that incident in Klinghoffer’s domestic life? Because he then — oh so cleverly! — ties it in to what comes next:
That could be, as well, the theme of new research indicating, as John Stonestreet points out in a new BreakPoint commentary, that “Increasingly, it looks as if we are alone in the universe.”
Wikipedia says that BreakPoint “is a Christian worldview ministry founded in 1991 as a daily radio commentary by Chuck Colson. It continues to air each weekday, with commentary hosted by John Stonestreet or Eric Metaxas.” That’s where Klinghoffer goes for his information about the universe. What did he learn from that esteemed source? He tells us:
[T]he old estimates vastly inflated the number of potential alien civilizations. .. It turns out that Drake’s equation failed to take into account factors that we now know to be essential to life. For example, scientists once believed that planets orbiting a certain distance from their host stars in the so-called “Goldilocks zone” were prime real estate for creatures like us. But not anymore. It turns out that the size and chemical composition of the host stars matters just as much as planetary orbits.
Intelligent Design theorists have long pointed out how improbably unique our little blue planet is. And findings like this only deepen the problem for materialists. Because if thinking creatures emerged here and nowhere else, it makes us look less like accidents and more like — dare I say it — miracles.
What does Klinghoffer do with that irrefutable information? Let’s read on:
Being alone in the universe resonates very differently depending on how you answer certain other ultimate questions. For materialists it’s a source of fearful consternation, verging on refutation. Hence the need for recourse to fables of a multiverse.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The unlikely scenario that we’re alone doesn’t cause your Curmudgeon any “fearful consternation,” nor is it any reason to resort to fables. Rather, we see it as the cause for great optimism. We would be presented with an opportunity that comes only once in the lifetime of a galaxy. As we said before in Earth May Be a Cosmic Early Achiever:
This could be very good news. If we seize the opportunity, it means we can occupy all the habitable worlds in our galaxy with relatively little competition. We previously projected that we could do this in “only” a million years — see What Are We Learning from SETI?
Klinghoffer continues, and he once again slips in the subtle change in the Discoveroids’ dogma:
For others, open to evidence of purpose and design in the cosmos, our solitude is not required. Life could indeed be intelligently designed, yet still common across the stars.
See? They’re hedging. Nevertheless, Klinghoffer ends his post by reassuring his creationist readers:
But earth as a privileged planet and humankind as a privileged species fit together well with other lines of inference — pointing to the conclusion that the universe, far being the result of a grand mishap, was tailored for us.
What do we make of that contradictory mess? The obvious fact is that the Discoveroids — like all creationists — are desperately squirming around, trying to maintain their belief that we were uniquely created by the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — even though there may be loads of alien life out there. Somehow, despite their confident belief that we have been given a special place in the universe, they now say that it doesn’t really matter what we may find out there. Whatever we may discover, they’ll claim that they were right all along. But a “theory” that can survive the discovery of any evidence is no theory at all.
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