AIG Says We’re Alone in the Universe

The question of whether we’re alone in the universe is being tackled by the brilliant scientists at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

Their article is titled The Evidence Is In: We’re Alone in the Universe. It was written by Danny Faulkner. Here’s AIG’s biographical information about him. They say he taught physics and astronomy until he joined AIG. His undergraduate degree is from Bob Jones University. Here are some excerpts from Danny’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

ET isn’t a mystery, if you’re willing to examine the data from 60 years of research and take it to its logical conclusion. … The problem isn’t a lack of data — we’re awash in it. And the problem is not that we don’t have any good tests. Several great scientific minds have already suggested some solid ways to test for the existence of extraterrestrial life.

Then he discusses the scientific tests:

Let’s examine the three most famous tests, and we’ll discover that something more than cold, hard science is preventing them from reaching the logical answer.

Egad, what’s preventing us from reaching the answer? That gets explained later. Meanwhile, some of the “tests” Danny discusses aren’t really tests — they’re ways to think about the question. He begins with the Fermi paradox. You know how it goes: If the universe is full of life, some of it intelligent, then — as Enrico Fermi is said to have asked — “Where are they?”

We’ve written about the Fermi paradox before. Our favorite speculation is that intelligent aliens may be out there, but their civilizations are like ours were until quite recently. They never developed technologically beyond ancient Egypt, or Babylonia, or Rome. The aliens, abundant though they may be, have no serious disciplines like physics, chemistry, etc, or the economies to support them. They’re not sending signals because all they have is torches, trumpets, and their own equivalent of the pony express. So although they exist, we can’t detect any signals from them.

Anyway, after discussing that “test” with his own spin, Danny tells us:

A decade after Fermi, the astronomer Frank Drake took a different tack to test whether intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe. By Drake’s day, humans had been broadcasting radio waves for several decades. Many radio waves pass through the earth’s atmosphere and into space, so it should be possible for alien civilizations to pick them up and become aware of our existence. Drake turned this process around — he reasoned that if other civilizations could detect our broadcasts, we ought to be able to pick up theirs as well.

With that as background he discusses SETI, the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. Looking for signals really is a kind of “test,” but we haven’t detected any alien transmissions yet.

Scrambled up with that, Danny describes the well-known Drake equation, described by Wikipedia as: an “argument used to estimate the number of active, communicative extraterrestrial civilizations in the Milky Way galaxy.” It’s not a “test” of extraterrestrial life. Rather, it’s just a way of making estimates.

Then he mentions the recent discovery of thousands of extra-solar planetary systems (and he doesn’t mention how that contradicts what had been the biblical assumption that Earth is the only “world” in existence). He discusses what we assume is the necessity for intelligent life to be on an Earth-like planet in its star’s habitable zone, and we haven’t found too many of those yet.

We know what you’re thinking: That’s all very nice, but where’s the creationism? Okay, here it comes. Danny announces that we’re all alone in the universe, and justifies it like this:

Many scientists would complain that not all the data is in yet. [Indeed!] But when is all the data ever in? We can always collect more data. Furthermore, scientists frequently make conclusions based upon far less data. So why the reluctance to reach a conclusion in this case? The conclusion that is warranted by the data does not support the evolutionary worldview of most scientists. There’s a term for that: bias. [Gasp!] And extreme bias at that.

The evolutionists are biased! Let’s read on:

It’s not a matter of evidence or science. If you believe in evolution, then evolution must be common in the universe. Period. And this negative answer is out of the question, not because of what scientists find but because of their unwavering commitment to a belief.

Fortunately, creationists aren’t biased. Danny says:

If you believe in the Creator of the Bible, however, you have no qualms following the data to its logical conclusion. [Huh?] Biblical creationists understand that life doesn’t just happen (and good science agrees with that conclusion). God created it just 6,000 years ago.

Yes, that’s how “good science” is done. He explains further:

The three lines of evidence presented here — the Fermi paradox, the null SETI results, and the lack of earthlike planets — amount to scientific data. [Ooooooooooooh!] And all three agree with the prediction from biblical creation: we’re alone in the universe. To reach the right conclusion, evolutionary scientists do not need more data about life elsewhere in the universe, but the right starting belief about life here on earth.

Then he applies creationist “facts” to the variables in the Drake equation, and once again comes up with the conclusion that we’re all alone. We’ll let you read that for yourself. Here’s how Danny ends his fascinating essay:

[W]e know from God’s Word, which infallibly documents [Hee hee!] how life came to be, that life didn’t evolve here or elsewhere. The product of the Drake equation is zero. Ergo, life doesn’t exist anywhere else. This simple theoretical approach matches what we see in the world. Therefore, it’s time to call it: apart from God and angels, we’re alone in the universe.

Now you know, dear reader. The great question has been answered. Creation science says we’re all alone.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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30 responses to “AIG Says We’re Alone in the Universe

  1. More than the usual amount of illogic. What we do know is that planets are enormously more common than we imagined a few decades ago, and that no planets that are clearly Earth-like have so far been detected. However, such planets would be extremely difficult to detect, since they would need to be small and close to a reasonably bright star, and protected during their formation by a planet like Jupiter, which would make them all the more difficult to spot.

    We have absolutely no idea how easy it is to get life started by natural processes. Just like (I keep on saying this) sixty years ago we had no idea how easy it is to make atoms of elements heavier than helium. But that wasn’t a good argument against chemistry, and it isn’t a good argument against evolution.

    Indeed, if someone were to admit to a belief that the origin of life on Earth was a unique special divine intervention, I would have no good counterargument, and would not regard that belief as an obstacle if they were available as allies on behalf of evolution.

  2. I read his blog post (linked at his bio page) about visiting a flat-earth conference. A fascinating view of the world through the eyes of someone entirely lacking self-awareness or a sense of irony.

  3. Perhaps Danny should consider another possibility: all intelligent extraterrestrial life have detected the nonsense spewed from the AIG and decided they’d be bloody fools to have anything to do with us.

  4. It is known that there are over a trillion galaxies. Typical galaxies contain over a hundred billion stars. It has been determined that planets are common. We also know that the universe has existed for billions of years. The probability that we are alone in this vast universe is very low. The claim that just because we haven’t detected another life form we are unique is an awesome example of hubris!

  5. @abeastwood, I remember hearing Carl Sagan, around 1985, commenting that everyone within 40 light-years was by then able to pick up I Love Lucy and the McCarthy hearings. No wonder they didn’t want to get to know us

  6. As you recall, Paul, Sagan used TV broadcasts as the basis for communication in Contact. Still one of my favorite books/movies.

    So, two things really bug me. Number One, friends from San Diego who rabbit on about how nice it is to live in San Diego. Humbug! Give me humidity and mosquitoes any day.

    Number Two, people who rabbit on about “Earth-like planets.” Please!!!! Who gives a flying rat’s fig about “Earth-like planets?” You’d think to hear these folks that the only place one could live is San Diego.

    Let us be reminded that the Earth went through quite a long adolescence to get where it is today, and that the self-sustaining chemical reaction called life got started under what we would call harsh conditions and we now live in a world that early beasties would have thought harsh.

    I am very keen on the work that Jeremy England is doing at MIT. Here is a pitiful interview that will give you a teensy-tiny intro into the physics of energy management.

    Just as Dawkins reckons that evolution is a fundamental process for diversification, England might be on to a fundamental process for energy management that leads to self-sustaining reactions. Thus, both life and evolution might be fundamental properties and more common that we imagine. (Although we just did!)

  7. @docbill1351, I admire England as a self-publicist, but is he really saying anything different from what Prigogine and Eigen were saying a generation ago?

  8. Using this boneheads “logic” humankind would never have discovered electricity, computer technology, any of the physical or natural sciences, automobiles, airplanes, astronomy, etc etc etc etc. In other words, why bother. We already know the answer here at AIG and Bob Jones University.
    Wow. I’d love to sit through a geo”science” class there. Must be fascinating stuff if they’re turning out great inquisitive minds like Faulkner.

  9. Michael Fugate

    If we were the only life in the universe, how would this help us distinguish between a natural and a supernatural origin?

  10. Dannyboy, as the good creacrapper he is, doesn’t understand what he’s talking about:

    “So why the reluctance to reach a conclusion in this case?”
    Because there is quite a list of possible explanations that assume extraterrestrial life.

    “There’s a term for that: bias.”
    Huh? Which scientists exactly have definitely excluded the possibility that we’re alone indeed?

    “If you believe in evolution, then evolution must be common in the universe.”
    OK, I get it – Dannyboy doesn’t – cannot understand the difference between evolution (origin of species) and abiogenesis (origin of life). He’s talking the latter, of course. Same question. Which scientists exactly have definitely excluded the possibility that our Earth is the only planet around where the circumstances enabled abiogenesis?

    “[W]e know from God’s Word ….. that life didn’t evolve here.”
    BWAHAHAHAHA! Except when our Earth dried up after the Great Flood – then the evolution of life suddenly hyper-accelerated!

  11. As we become more sophisticated in communication, we encode information more densely, and we waste less. What signal that we would come across by accident would be waste of signal by the transmitter. It would be wasted because it wouldn’t be received by its intended target. And the more dense the information is encoded the closer it is to noise. That means that it is more difficult to detect densely encoded information.
    From a different point of view, we have found it very difficult to understand even what humans like us meant by their writings and paintings. For example, the Indus Valley Script is not understood, and we don’t know what Paleolithic cave art means. When it is a matter of a different species, it is very difficult to understand what, for exampe, whale comminication means. Even though whaes are fairly closely reated to us, and we know a lot about their environment. How difficult would it be to understand what a totally alien species, in a totally different environment and an unknown history, was doing?

    But as far as the Bible tells us,
    When the morning stars sang togetherJob 38:7
    Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speakDeut. 32:1
    The heavens declare the glory of God Psalm 19:1
    There is commuication going on in the heavens, thus there is extraterrestrial alien intelligence.

    As far as the natural basis for extraterrestrial life, the creationists tell us that the laws of thermodynamics and the law of conservation of specified complex informaton mean that life on Earth is not possible by natural means. Why, then, expect that it is possible by natural means in the heavens?

  12. @Michael Fugate, easy. If we are the only form of life in the universe, that proves that life is so improbable that it must have arisen supernaturally. On the other hand, if it is common throughout the universe, that proves that the universe is well designed for life, which could only have come about through supernatural agency.

  13. @Paul,

    I think England is trying to “shave the fuzz off the what” as we used to say. (Yes, unfortunately, we used to say that.) I see England’s point: it’s chemistry, ultimately physics, so apply what we understand about thermodynamics to build a model. I appreciate the difficulty of boiling this stuff down to a 4-minute radio interview, because there really isn’t a Fourth Grade level to discuss a topic like this and make sense.

    I remember being home for the holidays and my mother finding my textbook on Applications of Group Theory to Chemistry. To her question, “What’s group theory?” I had to choke back replying, “You wouldn’t understand it, Ma” for fear of getting a whooping. So, I told her that Chapter 1 explained it better than I could. She brought back the book a day later and told me, “Good luck with that!” Best advice ever.

  14. @TomS

    My favorite example is the plaque on Voyager that has an arrow pointing to the Third Rock. We know what an arrow is because we’ve been making them for thousands of years, and we point at things. What of a culture that never had arrows or never pointed? They would have no clue. “They” say that mathematics is the universal language. I doubt that, too.

    Or those ochre scratches recently discovered. Do they mean, “Dum de dum dum, making scratches, dum diddily dum” or do they mean “How do I love thee, let me count the ways.” Without the social, historical and evolutionary context I would say it’s close enough to impossible that we’ll ever know.

    I think I understand my dog. “woof” – funny noise outside. “Bark!” – me want treat! “BOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!” – intruder alert or UPS delivery.

    As for an alien, I expect the translation will be, “My name is Inigo Montoya …”

  15. Alone? No life elsewhere in the universe! Perhaps. Which means that religious folks need not insist on sending evangelists on manned space missions if and when they occur. But, I lean toward the hypothesis that life is relatively common: all that’s required for it to start is self-replication. The result, if it survives, need not look like life as we know it. As others have suggested, if life, intelligent or not, transforms its environment to the extent the change causes its extinction, we’ll have to look long and hard for its occurrence. I’m not at all discouraged by lack of radio signals.

  16. His self-delusion is astounding. Lack of evidence (as yet) for ET means it doesn’t exist; lack of evidence for god means it MUST exist.

  17. Danny Faulkner is being disingenuous. Searching for alien signals is poorly funded and still in its infancy. It is certainly scientifically rational based on what we know about cosmic and biological evolution, but we humans are merely concerned with affairs on our own bit of dirt. To pick up signals from an alien civilization requires scanning of billions of channels simultaneously in all areas of the sky. It is a daunting task, but has already had spin off technology (Crowd computing for example).
    Danny Faulkner can be confident, he is unlikely to be proven wrong in his lifetime, or at least until he retires from sucking off the AIG teat. But he’s a good example of how the intellect is restrained in a box when one is committed to an ancient religious worldview in a modern world.

  18. That must be a wonderfully reassuring pat on the head from Dr. Faulkner to lay YEC’s everywhere. Phew! That was a close call with all those extrasolar planets the secularists have been discovering lately.

  19. It is amusing, but also disconcerting, to point out the lack of self-awareness, the self-contradictions, the short attention span of the anti-science people.
    If they cannot recognize that they are arguing against themselves, what chance is there for rationality or acceptance of reality?

  20. If we’re the only life in the universe, where the Hell do the angels live? Were they around before the universe was created? They must be in the universe in order to appear to saints and children and so on. Are they all just buzzing around the earth like flies around dog sh*t? Were a couple of them allowed to go to the moon with the astronauts? Gosh I wish I’d studies theology so I could have learned all this stuff.

  21. The three lines of evidence presented here — the Fermi paradox, the null SETI results, and the lack of earthlike planets — amount to scientific data. [Ooooooooooooh!] And all three agree with the prediction from biblical creation: we’re alone in the universe. To reach the right conclusion, evolutionary scientists do not need more data about life elsewhere in the universe, but the right starting belief about life here on earth.

    • The Fermi paradox isn’t evidence of anything. It’s simply a question: Why haven’t we observed signs of extraterrestrial intelligence?
    • The null SETI results prove nothing about the existence of life elsewhere in the universe. All they establish is that there’s no intelligent life within reach of our present detection technology which happens to be emitting signals we can detect and recognize. Two hundred years ago, neither were we; an alien civilization searching for life beyond its own world would not have detected any in our solar system. Two hundred years from now, we may no longer be using broadcast communications detectable at interstellar distances. That’s a narrow window of time in which to find evidence of intelligent life. The only other way, as far as I know, would be to send out actual probes to do close-up searches—and who’s going to pay for that? To judge from our own world so far, nobody.
    • We’ve only been able to reliably detect planets of any sort beyond our solar system for about a quarter century, and detecting genuinely earthlike ones at any but the shortest interstellar range is still essentially impossible (we can barely detect planets of roughly Earth’s mass, let alone tell what their atmospheres are like or whether they have water). That doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
    • The Bible doesn’t actually say we’re alone in the universe. It’s silent on the subject.
    • Finally, even if we are alone in the universe, that simply means that our planet is unique; it doesn’t prove the Genesis creation account is correct.

    None of which is, if you’ll excuse the expression, rocket science.

  22. Always sobering:

  23. Stephen Kennedy

    Danny occasionally does have moments of lucidity and writes some mostly factual and education things on Astronomy. This is definitely not one of his moments of lucidity. As an astronomer he should be aware of the immense size of the Universe and the incomprehensibly vast distances to even the nearest stars.

    As for the Fermi paradox, I am surprised that Fermi did not do a quick back of the envelope calculation, which he was famous for, of the energy needed to accelerate a macroscopic mass object to even a fraction of the speed of light and producing this much energy is essentially impossible for even the most advanced civilizations. This makes interstellar travel all but impossible and the idea that the galaxy would have been completely colonized by now ridiculous.

    Radio signals from other civilizations are extremely hard to detect. A 50,000 watt radio station on Earth would be undetectable with the best technology we have on even the closest stars to us let alone the entire Universe.

    The types of extra-solar planets we detect are limited by our technology, Again because of the vast distances to even the nearest stars, planets the size of the Earth are extremely difficult to detect.

  24. @EricL tries to score a point: “None of which is, if you’ll excuse the expression, rocket science.”
    No, it’s epistemology and for creacrappers like Dannyboy that’s even more difficult.

  25. “AIG Says We’re Alone in the Universe”

    You have completely misunderstood their admission. Biblical creationism is alone in our universe since it’s currently only found among the greater idiots located on the Earth. As far as we know scientifically, there are *no* other bible based creationists anywhere else in the visible universe.*

    *Of course that is also true of all non-bible based religions peddling their specific dogmas as well.

  26. It may be possible that there is a yet-to-be discovered communication technology that surpasses radio by the same margin that radio surpasses semaphore. Perhaps Fermi is basing his paradox on the same basis as a sailor looking around a modern-day naval fleet and concluding, “There’s no one alive on any of those other ships, I don’t see any flashing lights or waving flags!”

  27. Ashley Haworth-roberts
    ‘The Evidence Is In: We’re Alone in the Universe.’

    Employee of Ken Ham turns atheist, LOL. (Or he forgot to mention God.)

  28. Ashley Haworth-roberts

    Were you expecting a young earth creationist to write a properly balanced article on a scientific topic?

  29. Michael Fugate

    God is outside the universe – presumably heaven and hell are too. Unembodied souls are known to travel faster than the speed of light or how else do they escape the universe?