Extraterrestrial life Intelligent Design Privileged planet

Boldly going where no man has gone before — will we find ET’s or are we alone?

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[ HT: KRock]

The aim of this essay is to set the record straight on behalf of Norm Geisler in the landmark creation-evolution case Mclean vs. Arkansas as well exploring a few connections of ID/creation/evolution with Extra Terrestrials (ETs) and certain religious ideas.

Ironically, the Uncommon Descent weblog owes much of its existence to an advocate of Extra Terrestrial (ET) origins of life on Earth, namely DaveScot Springer who built up the UD blog for several years before getting separated from it. I have promoted the work of another ET-ID fan, Dr. Andras Pellionisz. And last but not least, UD’s very own Rob Sheldon offered his hypothesis that comets throughout the universe participated in a massive coherent computation that created life on Earth. His paper Comets, Information and OOL puts forward the hypothesis that comets facilitated information flow and enabled the universe to become one gigantic OOL computer that works like a quantum computer (versus classical computers), and thus even Rob Sheldon gives a scenario for the involvement of Extra Terrestrial computation for the origin of life.

In this essay, I offer some concern over my ET-loving associates in ID’s big tent who may believe that space alien civilizations are the source of life and evolution on Earth. This essay is not a disagreement with the other forms of ET theories like Dr. Sheldon’s Cometary hypothesis or simple microbial panspermia that life exist throughout the universe and is spread by comets, meteors, asteroids, etc. (FYI, even some creationists like Walt Brown think comets have bacteria in them because the bacteria came from Earth, so this is sort of a reverse panspermia!).

It would be nice in some respects to think the universe, like Earth, is teaming with life and never ending adventure and advancement and good. A highly romanticized expression of this idea found its way into popular culture through the series Star Trek which is summarized in this brief heartwarming collage:

embedded by Embedded Video

YouTube Direkt

But alas Star Trek was only a dream and tragedy struck the lives of some who were part of that dream. I had the honor of meeting one of the actresses, Nichelle Nichols (Lt. Uhura),

uhura

of the original series, and it was a sad day to see her talking on TV about her brother’s suicide with the Heaven’s Gate UFO Cult that tried to go into outer space via mass suicide as the Hale-Bopp comet approached….

Are advanced alien civilizations real, and what about UFOs? A beloved Darwinist professor of physics of mine, James Trefil, in criticizing the existence of ET’s, unwittingly wrote a book that gave fuel to the ID movement. As he explored the improbability of ET’s, he arrived at an interesting conclusion which ID proponents have never let him off the hook for. From Are We Alone?, he concluded:

I were a religious man, I would say that everything we have learned about life in the past twenty years shows that we are unique, and therefore special in God’s sight.

So at least some credible scientists doubt the existence of advanced alien civilizations. Remarkably, a contrary opinion was offered by Richard Dawkins in favor of space aliens creating life on Earth. 😯

It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved, probably by some kind of Darwinian means, probably to a very high level of technology, and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. Now, um, now that is a possibility, and an intriguing possibility. And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.

Rirchard Dawkins
Expelled

Future discoveries will hopefully clarify whether Trefil or Dawkins is closer to the truth. My money is with Dr. Trefil, but Dawkins arguing for detecting signature of some designer? Now that’s news in itself. 🙂

That said, I have to express some concern over the possible sources of inspiration for the idea that advanced space alien civilizations are sending UFOs to Earth. I’m not speaking on behalf of my colleagues in the ID community, nor others at UD, but just speaking thoughts as a concerned citizen and also one feeling some obligation to stand up for a fellow ID proponent and creationist Norm Geisler who suffered much ridicule for speaking his conscience in the Mclean vs. Arkansas creation-evolution trial.

An exceprt from Geisler’s testimony from the landmark creation vs. evolution trial, McLean vs. Arkansas:

Q. Do you believe that Satan exists?

A. Yes. Yes.

Q. What is the basis for that?

A. The basis for that belief is that the Bible is the word of God, and the Bible teaches it. And my basis or belief in the Bible as the word of God, I have already indicated earlier.

Q. That’s true.

A. And I might add that it is confirmed by experience, as well.

Q. What experiences have confirmed it to you, sir, as an expert, the existence of Satan?

A. Uh, dealing with demon possessed people, exorcisms, the study of the UFO phenomena, the study of the occult.

Because of all the pro-ID activity happening at GMU 8 years ago, Eugenie Scott was asked to visit GMU to “set everyone straight about ID” at a gigantic meeting that the faculty sent their students to. One of her first swipes at the creationists and IDists drew huge laughter from the audience when she pointed out creationist Norm Geisler claims UFO’s are a manifestation of Satanic activity.

Eugenie managed to elicit that response from the audience because of the widespread views that Satan is as mythological as Santa Claus and those UFO/ET followers are generally kooks. Even as recently as Septermber 2013, 3 decades after McLean vs. Arkansas, the NCSE’s “Science” Defense League of America was still trying to pile on after Norm: Bride it came from Outer Space.

To some extent, I wish there were no Satan even if that meant the world is purely material and absent of spiritual influence. A purely secular life and values and ideals have had appeal to me whereby we humans with our technology and science can ever progress to better conditions toward some utopia. But alas, that too is wishful thinking bordering on false religion. The fact of inevitable death of civilization and the universe, the obvious flaws of human nature, have precluded me from buying into the falsehood that science and technology and atheism will somehow be the salvation for the human condition.

It would be nice to just laugh away the experiences of people claiming to have contacted aliens and relegate them to being harmless but happy kooks. But these people have suffered mentally, emotionally and physically after such encounters. I feel compassion for them whether or not the cause was a mental or physiological dysfunction or possibly the result of sinister spiritual forces. Having kooky ideas is one thing, but living a life of suffering because of such an experience is another. And the Heaven’s Gate Cult suicides show that religious ideas tied to space aliens can lead to fatal consequences.

Even recently, a member of the UFO related Urantians visited UD in this discussion: Enigma of Consciousness, Comment 481829. No disrespect intended toward individuals with sincere and intense religious beliefs like Urantia, and though I appreciate their interest and support of ID, I feel some obligation to offer my disagreement on some points.

In defense of Geisler, here are some quotes from experts in the field regarding UFOs coming from space alien civilizations:

“One theory which can no longer be taken very seriously is that UFOs are interstellar spaceships.”
– Arthur C. Clarke, New York Times Book Review, 07/27/75

“The ‘medical examination’ to which abductees are said to be subjected, often accompanied by sadistic sexual manipulation, is reminiscient of the medieval tales of encounters with demons. It makes no sense in a sophisticated or technical framework: any intelligent being equipped with the scientific marvels that UFOs possess would be in a position to achieve any of these alleged scientific objectives in a shorter time and with fewer risks.”
– Dr. Jacques Vallee, Confrontations, p. 13

“A large part of the available UFO literature is closely linked with mysticism and the metaphysical. It deals with subjects like mental telepathy, automatic writing and invisible entities as well as phenomena like poltergeist [ghost] manifestation and ‘possession.’ Many of the UFO reports now being published in the popular press recount alleged incidents that are strikingly similar to demonic possession and psychic phenomena.”
– Lynn E. Catoe, UFOs and Related Subjects: USGPO, 1969; prepared under AFOSR Project Order 67-0002 and 68-0003

Many cases of UFO influence I think are of mental and physiological origin, but that does not exclude spiritual origins. Why do I believe that there are spiritual origins for UFO experiences? We have credible accounts of unseen spiritual forces acting even in the present day.

Regarding the paranormal and supernatural, I tried to give a balanced description of viewpoints (pro and con) in the OP and comment section of Creationist RA Herrmann’s ID theory. I cited the good work of Skeptic Organizations like James Randi Foundation, but pointed out there are some credible cases that may lie outside the detection of such organizations. Thanks to KRock, the Creationist RA Herrmann’s ID theory thread became a collection of evidence for and against paranormal and supernatural involvement at the personal level. It is a repository of links to accounts of Astronaut Charles Duke, Governor Bobby Jindal, professor of mathematics RA Herrmann, professor of psychiatry Richard Gallagher, Fr. Ralph DiOrio, professional gambler Mike “Bootlegger” Turner, Latoya Ammons, and others.

In that thread, I tried to give some opinions (like that of James Randi and others) that I think demonstrate a lot of paranormal activity by “practitioners” is a hoax, but also reasons I think controlled methodology will fail to detect rare but genuine occurrences of paranormal or supernatural phenomenon. I cannot go into all the data of that discussion, so I direct readers to that thread and particularly the comment section. That discussion also gave me a chance to respond to critics whom I respect (like RD Fish) regarding evidence of non-material supernatural mechanisms. ID proper doesn’t require the supernatural, but I’ve often contended evidence of the supernatural makes the ID case more believable.

Long before the Heaven’s gate mass suicide, Jaques Vallee warned the world of his concerns regarding the group’s activities. Sadly, it was to no avail, and the group succeeded in taking at least 41 lives. In his book Messenger’s of Deception: UFO Contacts and Cults, he argued that UFO’s are not of extraterrestrial origin. An amazon reviewer summarizes Vallee’s book:

Jacques Vallee’s ‘Messengers of Deception’ (1979) is an intelligent, complex, and prescient exploration of the UFO phenomenon that focuses specifically on its social aspects and the mysterious UFO cults which have arisen globally around it.

By the time he came to write ‘Messengers of Deception,’ Vallee had produced five earlier books on the subject, and was fairly confident that UFOs did not represent extraterrestrial craft of any kind (“I believe that UFOs are physically real. They represent a fantastic technology controlled by an unknown form of consciousness…they may not be from outer space.”).

Almost thirty years later, Vallee, who contributes a new foreword to the current edition, is, like everyone else in the field, still in the dark about the exact nature of the subject under question.

What makes ‘Messengers of Deception’ particularly fascinating is that Vallee cautiously sketches out his belief that some agency with enormous power of various kinds is and has been “staging” thousands of technologically complex, essentially ‘fake’ UFO sightings around the world with the pointed intention of manipulating and guiding civilization, and man himself, in a very specific direction.

The apparent goal of this agency is to encourage mankind, via a belief in the impending arrival from the heavens of the benevolent ‘space brothers,’ to become anti-scientific, irrational, infantile, dependent, and endlessly hopeful that the essential problems of man—including his mortality—can be permanently overcome through the multi-prismed salvation the [false] “space brothers” offer.

So yes, the Darwinists, Eugenie Scott, the NCSE and for that matter the overwhelming majority of Americans will probably get a laugh from hearing Norm Geisler’s claims, but when I consider the 41 lives taken by the Heaven’s Gate UFO cult, I think Norm was right, and it’s no laughing matter.

NOTES
1. photo credits: Wikipedia, Amazon

2. Dr. Trefil gave me autographed copies of two books that I frequently mention at UD: Are We Alone and Darkside of the Universe

3. Here are some obscure arguments for and against the privileged position in the universe: The Fingers of God are pointing at You and Is the Earth the Center of the Universe.

4. Many thanks to KRock for helping me with this essay and pointing me to so much material. God bless you KRock.

5. This was the far more serious essay that was pre-cursored by the more light-hearted essay Former Canadian Defence Minister Said US Tried to Start Intergalactic War.

6. I believe miracles, supernatural phenomenon, demon possession is rare and unpredictable and will generally elude laboratory controlled detection. This raises philosophical problems about what we can believe, but I accept some things will escape lab controlled detection from start to finish, but that does not mean we can’t detect these things via inference from scientific instruments.

7. I think some churches overemphasize the Devil, and some individuals blame him disproportionately for their own bad behavior. I’m a member of the PCA and a minister from a sister denomination the OPC expresses my general view that most cases of demon possession are explainable by other factors than actual demons:

Can people still be possessed by demons?

8. I also think some phenomenon of seeing apparitions or aliens might be attributable to mechanism related or similar to Charles Bonnet Syndrome (HT: selvaRajan).

9. That said, in light of the cases listed in Creationist RA Herrmann’s ID theory, some phenomenon don’t appear to me to be explainable by anything but supernatural causes.

25 Replies to “Boldly going where no man has gone before — will we find ET’s or are we alone?

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    Sal, I, for one, believe in demon or spirit (or whatever) possession. I have seen it and felt it first hand. The experience I had (which I will not recount here) convinced me that, whatever it was, it was powerful and definitely alien, in the sense of being intelligent but non-human. And it was not benevolent in any sense of the word.

    My advice to anybody who experiences this alien force is to resist it with all your might and they will leave you alone. There is no question in my mind that we are not the only sentient inhabitants of planet Earth. But that is all I will say on this topic as I am really clueless as to what is really going on.

  2. 2
    scordova says:

    I was reluctant to engage this subject because it was too “out there” even for a professing creationist, but I sensed, there could be readers that are wrestling with these issues, and I had to say something.

    Those who are of a spiritual inclination, I offer this, make of it what you will:

    http://www.angelfire.com/on2/ce4/premise.html

    Sal

  3. 3

    My brother was involved in the Disclosure Project. He was present first-hand while Greer and others videotaped the credible testimony of literally hundreds of high-ranking government officials, military officers and personnel, and high-level people in the corporate world. I say “credible” because in no other area would their testimony be doubted.

    These people produced hard evidence and a consensus agreement about the putative fact of multi-species ET presence on Earth throughout human history and the high level of its current involvement.

    Do I believe in ETs? I happen to have personal experience with the creatures called “greys”, but I can’t say they are ETs or demonic – but they’re definitely not “brothers” of any sort. IMO, whatever they’re doing, they treat humans like cattle.

    I have no emotional or ideological attachment to the issue of ETs one way or another, but IMO there is really too much good evidence that forms of intelligence we refer to as ETs (and associate with UFOs, abductions & crop circles) exist to deny except out of ideological bias. The only real question, IMO, is what are they and what do they represent.

    At the end of the day, though, we still have our loved ones to attend to, our job, and our daily lives to live. For me, such things occupy the same level of interest as reading about Justin Bieber’s latest issues. While titillating, it’s not of much practical value.

  4. 4
    Joe says:

    Only in a design scenario would we expect ETs…

  5. 5
    snelldl says:

    I was one of a number of researchers who helped Dr. Geisler prepare the state’s case and his own testimony. He digested reams of material and his testimony was viewed by many as brilliant and devastating. The opposition had to resort to ad hominem arguments, which did nothing to deflect his testimony concerning the actual subject matter at hand.

    His views on the relationship of the occult to UFOs was not part of our research, as he had developed this over many years of research and personal experience.

    So Sal, thanks for defending one of the greatest thinkers of his generation, and one of the most influential in my life.

  6. 6
    Axel says:

    There’s a poltergeist in the flat I live in, I hear quite regularly. The most manifestly so is when he has slowed down the transmission of TV pictures. The picture sort of shudders, and the set makes impossible noises, loud ones – which is kind of particularly strange, since they are all solid-set these days, aren’t they.

    Also, at Mass at the local cathedral, a weird voice started cursing through the microphone during a Mass by a particularly immature-seeming young, peripatetic priest. Peripatetic on the orders of his bishop.

  7. 7
    drc466 says:

    I found Gary Bates (YEC) book on the subject compelling, and well documented. He, too, feels that most “alien encounters” are spiritual and malignant in nature.

    Alien Intrusion

  8. 8
    scordova says:

    Because the material in one of the links I provided is incredibly lengthy, and because if any of the readers have any level of encounter, let me summarize some key points.

    Two UFO researchers that were field investigators in Florida by the names of Jordan and Clark were taking interviews. Many of those claiming abduction sought their help and all they could do was provide a listening ear, which they were good at. They were unable to be of further assistance than give a listening ear.

    They tried to see if there were any discernible correlations in demographics, etc. Then finally one day, they recalled an interview when the attempted abduction was stopped:

    http://www.angelfire.com/on2/ce4/premise.html

    Then, Jordan and Clark remembered an interview they had made with an experiencer a few months before. He related an experience that made them stop and take a closer look. The experience he related would eventually blow the lid off the mystery of alien abduction phenomena. This man was able to stop his abduction cold, which, as far as they knew, had never been done before, and the way he did it is very extraordinary.

    What follows is the case of Bill D. Bill’s experience took place in Christmas, Florida in 1976. His abduction started out typically, ie., late at night, in bed. Earlier in the evening he saw some anomalous lights through his living room window over a forest north of his house. He assumed it was a police helicopter searching for drug runners or something. Whatever it was, it agitated his dogs for several hours thereafter. He eventually went to bed.

    He was lying in bed, kept wide awake by the barking dogs, when paralysis set in. He was unable to cry out. He could see nothing but a whitish gray, like a mist or fog,
    although he sensed someone or something was in his room. His Wife didn’t waken. The next thing he knew, he was being levitated above his bed. He then had the sensation he was being suspended by what felt like a pole inserted into his rectum. By this time, he was alive with terror, but he couldn’t scream.

    Here is where the story becomes very interesting. The following is an excerpt taken directly from the transcript of Mr. D.’s interview:

    “I thought I was having a Satanic experience; that the devil had gotten a hold of me and had shoved a pole up my rectum and was holding me up in the air… So helpless, I
    couldn’t do anything. I said, ‘Jesus, Jesus, help me!’ or ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!’ When I did, there was a feeling or a sound or something that either my words that I thought or the words that I had tried to say or whatever, had hurt whatever was holding me up in the air on this pole. And I felt like it was withdrawn and I fell. I hit the bed, because it was like I was thrown back in bed. I really can’t tell, but when I did, my wife woke up and asked why I was jumping on the bed.” (5)

    This man was able to stop his abduction. Until this point, Jordan and Clark had assumed Abductees were taken, willingly or not. To stop an abduction was something
    they had never heard of, and this gentleman did it by calling upon the name of Jesus. This particular case was astounding. This case seemed to involve some kind of spiritual aspect. The spiritual element of UFO/abduction phenomena was well recognized as a contributing factor by many researchers in the past, however to their knowledge, no one had ever done any specific research into the spiritual element itself. Could there be other similar cases? CE 4 began a systematic search of the UFO/abduction community, through the Internet, and the published findings of other researchers. The premise of spiritual warfare was beginning to develop.

    While CE 4 were researching the spiritual angle of abduction phenomena, Rita Elkins, a staff writer with Florida Today newspaper, began gathering material for an article entitled “Spiritual Warfare.”(6) As CE 4 Research Group was already developing a presence within the UFO/abduction community in East Central Florida, Ms. Elkins contacted Jordan and Clark, interviewing them extensively.

    The resulting article drew a large number of responses within the local area. Many of those responding gave accounts of their own experiences, happy to have someone to relate them to. Most of the respondents were Christians and the subject of spiritual warfare is not one organized religion prefers to deal with, and they didn’t feel comfortable discussing their experiences with UFO investigators due to the New Age inclination of many UFOlogists. As the number of cases mounted, the data showed that in every instance where the victim knew to invoke the name of Jesus Christ, the event stopped. Period. The evidence was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

    Wes Clark, through the process of examining these cases, himself started studying the Bible and became a Christian. He points out the conflict of interest in the UFO research community in suppressing evidence:

    Joe Jordan contacted several of the leading abduction researchers in the country regarding the data CE 4 was uncovering. Perhaps others were seeing these trends as
    well. They all requested anonymity but off the record, every single one said they, too, had similar cases in their files of abductees stopping their abductions by the name of Jesus Christ. But they didn’t know how to deal with that knowledge, so they simply disregarded it. Besides, many of them made their living primarily through abduction research and subsequent booksales. It would not do much for their credibility with the UFO/abduction community to reveal the evident authority in the name of Jesus Christ, since for the most part, the UFO/abduction community tend to have New Age leanings and are therefore trying desperately to kill off Jesus Christ and replace Him with “christ consciousness.” Literally hundreds of cases where abductions have been stopped by the authority of the name of Jesus Christ, and they’re sitting on the information.

    Abundant evidence that belief in Jesus Christ yields results, and they haven’t released that information to the abduction community. They dare not because for the most part, the abduction community wants “Space Brothers,” and they will settle for nothing less, whether it’s true or not.

    It’s absolutely true there is, in deed, a “UFO cover-up conspiracy,” however the conspirators are not the United States Government or military establishment. The conspiracy lies within the UFO/abduction community itself. There are two primary factions involved in the cover-up conspiracy. One faction are the researchers who are withholding key evidence from those who are trusting them to tell them the truth of their research findings. The other are those most vocal in the UFO/abduction community who give lip service to “truth,” but attack it with such a vengeance, preferring instead to believe the “Space Brother” lie. They attack reality with such open hostility that it makes it impossible for the researchers to freely distribute the objective results of their research efforts. “We want truth, only as long as it’s ‘Space Brothers.'” “Give us ‘Space Brothers’ or else!” These researchers don’t dare release their data and who can
    blame them? For if they did, a multitude of the UFO/abduction community would eat them alive and spit out the bones. The U.S. Government may be held suspect for various other dirty tricks, and assorted scams, but in the case of UFOs, the greatest threat to the UFO/abduction community is the UFO/abduction community. Still the
    abductions continue. And with every rape, every probed rectum, every sinus crushing implant, every nosebleed, every egg or semen extraction, every trauma, and every lie the abductee is told, the UFO/abduction community frantically digs for truth where no truth will ever be found.

    For those skeptics out there, I suppose they could say, “this is clearly a malfunction in the nervous system and people are just having sensory failures and just like going in a dream state, their minds create seemingly real exeriences.”

    Ok, for the sake of argument, let’s suppose that is true. Then you can come up with at theory why invoking the name of Jesus Christ with sincerity (versus using his name in vain) will make the bad dream go away for some unexplained reason. So even a hardened skeptic ought to suggest calling upon the name of the Lord Jesus Christ sincerely when someone believes they are being abducted. That would seem in accord with cause-effect notions of science. 🙄

    For myself, even though I’ve not had an encounter, the more I began to fear and reverence the Lord, I had less fears of UFOs and demons. A skeptic may say, the fact you believe in Jesus makes it work, but it doesn’t mean Jesus is real. Ah, but that’s the point it works, are you willing as a skeptic to investigate for yourself that abduction experiences (be they real or illusions of the mind) were stopped cold by people calling upon the name of Christ? Are you as skeptic willing to investigate whether there is active suppression of this evidence.

    Honestly, I’d be curious to hear what you find.

  9. 9
    scordova says:

    drc466,

    I found Gary Bates (YEC) book on the subject compelling, and well documented. He, too, feels that most “alien encounters” are spiritual and malignant in nature.

    Alien Intrusion

    WOW! From the link:

    In this landmark book (the only creation book ever to be an Amazon top 50 best-seller),

    Didn’t realize such an intense level of interest brewing under the surface. Notice it is classified as a creation book! Yes, there is some issue between the doctrines of creation and the hypothesis of “space brothers.”

    I wasn’t aware of this book. Thanks guys for all your help pointing to material and your courage in sharing some personal stories.

    I have friends who had abduction experiences, and though I’m inclined to think these were bad dreams, the fear they had wasn’t the sort one has after a bad nightmare. For the sake of their privacy, I’ll leave the details out, but I pray if they ever have future encounters, they’ll call upon the one Name that can rescue them.

  10. 10
    scordova says:

    Wow, I just noticed the subtitle of Gary’s book:

    Alien Intrusion
    UFO’s and the evolution connection

    From an Amazaon reviewer:

    Interestingly, `aliens’ often affirm the theory of evolution in their messages.

    Wow! Thanks. Nice to see Norm Geisler is being vindicated.

  11. 11
    Mapou says:

    It sure seems like these alien abductions are a remanifestation of the demonic possessions we’ve read about in ancient literature. One thing is certain. They have a deep hatred for humans and seem to enjoy human suffering.

    In this light, the New Testament advice “resist the devil and he shall flee from you” should be seen in the light of demonic possession. These ancient malefic creatures are not particularly brave. They have a predilection for low hanging fruits, so to speak. It would no surprise me if a large percentage of the people who have suffered from these “abductions”, also suffer from debilitating neurological disorders that make them more vulnerable to possession.

  12. 12
    KRock says:

    @ Sal

    Excellent post Sal. I for got to mention Jordan and Clarke and the testimony of Bill D. Glad you came across it.

    Whitley Strieber, who’s had his own personal experience with the UFO phenomenon, one I might add that is well documented, had this to say regarding his experience:

    “Increasingly I felt as if I were entering a struggle that might even be more than life and death. It might be a struggle for my soul, my essence, or whatever part of me might have reference to the eternal. There are worse things than death, I suspected… so far the word demon had never been spoken among the scientists and doctors who were working with me…Alone at night I worried about the legendary cunning of demons …At the very least I was going stark, raving mad.”

    (Whitley Strieber, Transformation, p. 44-45)

    “I felt an absolutely indescribable sense of menace. It was hell on earth to be there [in the presence of the entities], and yet I couldn’t move, couldn’t cry out, couldn’t get away. I’d lay as still as death, suffering inner agonies. Whatever was there seemed so monstrously ugly, so filthy and dark and sinister. Of course they were demons. They had to be. And they were here and I couldn’t get away.”

    (Whitley Strieber, Transformation, p. 181)

    Thank you Sal… Eugenie Scott never did her homework; Geisler was spot on!

  13. 13

    One of problems is thinking like this:

    I were a religious man, I would say that everything we have learned about life in the past twenty years shows that we are unique, and therefore special in God’s sight.

    Note the conflation of two very different concepts, as though one followed from the other: special and uniqueness.

    Even if one believes the ID shows humans as special — in the sense of being a purposeful, intentional creation of an intelligent being — that in no way suggests that humans are unique, at least not insofar as the rest of the galaxy or universe are concerned.

    There is absolutely nothing about ID that would suggest the Earth or life or humans are unique and not to be found elsewhere in the universe. Indeed, a strong argument can be made that if there is a purposeful designer, then there is more likely to be other Earths and other life, than if life on Earth is just an incredibly lucky one-time win of the cosmic lottery.

    Ironically, therefore, although ID does not speak directly to the question of extra-terrestrial life, an ID proponent might well be more justified in thinking that there is other life out there than would be the most died-in-the-wool materialist.

    My experience is that most people who reject the idea of extra-terrestrial life do so on religious or philosophical grounds. Often based on highly questionable interpretations of some small piece of text from some verse of scripture that wasn’t likely ever intended to address the question it is being used to support anyway.

  14. 14
    scordova says:

    we are unique, and therefore special in God’s sight.

    Eric,

    I never thought of your objection, but you do raise a point. It’s like saying:

    the way the Denver Broncos performed today in the superbowl was unique, therefore they are special in God’s sight

    Yikes!

  15. 15
    tjguy says:

    I too have found Gary Bates’ book The Alien Intrusion to be quite helpful and enlightening on this subject. Highly recommended! It is well researched and well documented.

    Materialists have a problem with these types of experiences and just tend to look down their long materialist noses at anyone who claims to have had such an experience and deny their first hand testimony just like they do the testimony of believers who have had their life changed by Jesus.

    About Eric’s idea that ID fits well with the existence of aliens. It is true about ID on General, but for Christians, it doesn’t fit so well. It’s not an impossibility, but doesn’t fit too well.

    Gary Bates wrote an article on this and here is a part of his introduction:

    “But even many Christians think, ‘God must have created life elsewhere, otherwise this enormous universe would be an awful waste of space.’ In my experience, this seems to be the major underlying reason why people think that there must be other life ‘out there’. However, our thinking should be based on what God said He did (the Bible), and not what we think He would, should or might have done.”

    Good point. It like saying God could have used evolution to create the world. But the issue is not what He could have done, but what He said He did do.

    Bates goes on to explain why Christianity and the Bible are not a good fit ETs. Interesting read!

    http://creation.mobi/did-god-c.....er-planets

  16. 16
    groovamos says:

    Stanislav Grof is a Czech born psychiatrist who was one of the founders of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, along with Abraham Maslow and others. It was Maslow’s idea to name the new field ‘transpersonal’ after Grof coined the term in his first book in 1975. Grof spent 18 years of his clinical practice exploring the use of LSD-25 with the seriously ill in psychotherapy.

    Now with that introduction, and the above references to Satanic phenomena, have a look at one of his most astonishing experiences as a researcher: http://books.google.com/books?.....38;f=false

  17. 17
    KRock says:

    @ groovamos

    That is quite a story, thanks for posting the link groovamos. I think I’ll add that book to my Amazon wish list 🙂

    When I read the account of a demonic possesion given by Dr. Richard Gallagher, a board certified psychiatrist in New York State, I was astonished to hear the psychiatrist describe what happened during the exorcism. The patient levitating 6″-8″ off the bed, speaking in dialects the patient didn’t know or understand, the manifestation of what Dr Gallagher described as a black mass of fog, the patient having the ability to know personal things about each person present that they could not have possibly known, and the utter contempt the patient showed towards anything religious (Christian).

    When the account comes from a reputable psychiatrist, such as Dr Gallagher, its hard to look the other way!

  18. 18

    About Eric’s idea that ID fits well with the existence of aliens. It is true about ID on General, but for Christians, it doesn’t fit so well. It’s not an impossibility, but doesn’t fit too well.

    That reinforces my point. ID doesn’t have any issue with ET. Some people do for religious reasons.

    Though I’ve never been able to understand why some Christians insist on thinking that the Bible: (i) even addresses the topic directly, or (ii) is intended to be a complete and comprehensive record of God’s dealings with every one of God’s creations across the whole universe, rather than a record of God’s dealings on the particular Earth that was relevant to Moses.

    I’d appreciate any insight anyone can provide.

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    scordova says:

    Stanislav Grof is a Czech born psychiatrist who was one of the founders of the Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, along with Abraham Maslow and others. It was Maslow’s idea to name the new field ‘transpersonal’ after Grof coined the term in his first book in 1975. Grof spent 18 years of his clinical practice exploring the use of LSD-25 with the seriously ill in psychotherapy.

    Now with that introduction, and the above references to Satanic phenomena, have a look at one of his most astonishing experiences as a researcher: http://books.google.com/books?…..38;f=false

    Thank you! That was very informative, and I found a link that includes the missing page 292 that was not available in the google books link:

    http://www.doc88.com/p-996353226634.html

    The missing page was pretty important and I provide it for the readers. It turns out Grof and Gallagher’s cases give good evidence for non-material intelligence (where material is defined as ordinary materials involving mainstream understanding of matter and energy).

    Thank you. The philosophical arguments for a non-material intelligence were not personally persuasive even if logically reasonable. These accounts bring the point home far better than any logical deduction or metaphysical argument about the non-material realm. It’s also an interesting case of specified complexity (whereby a spiritual force reveals details about personal secrets).

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    snelldl says:

    The actual account starts on page 312 at the website.

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    groovamos says:

    OK I’m happy to see interest in the work of Grof who I met in Austin in ’87 when he came to give a weekend workshop, and signed my hardcover copy of his first book (1975), that book is why I’m posting again.

    I have not read the book to which I linked above but intend to. He is in his last years and has taken the extremely unusual step of writing about his personal experiences in spiritual exploration using an extremely powerful tool in addition to other non-drug exploration; you bet I’m going to get it.

    So I’m posting to suggest that the first book of his would be the best one to start with for you guys. It is a classic in the field, it was the first book to actually map out in a very concise way the enormous dimensions of the subject which is consciousness research. In the book he lays out a brilliant categorizing scheme which is loosely based on working backwards in time for the individual participant, and finally opens into what he calls the “transpersonal realms” of the human psyche. I have had many copies of this book and have loaned them out to some of the most hardcore materialists that I encounter at work and otherwise. They all get stuck in chapter 4 which is titled (going from memory) “Perinatal Experiences in LSD-Assisted Psychotherapy”. And the materialists cannot get through this chapter, succumbing to fear, I presume. One of these people was CFM, Ph.D. on the physics faculty at UT Austin. I will post an excerpt from this chapter, next post. Go to amazon.com and see the good reviews there. Here is an accurate review: http://psypressuk.com/2011/01/.....slav-grof/

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    groovamos says:

    Grof’s first book “Realms of the Human Unconscious” (1975) is based on 13 years of research in Prague from where he emigrated to Baltimore during the 1968 Prague Spring. His second book, “The Human Encounter with Death” recounts 5 years research with terminal cancer patients having maximum 3 sessions each (by government license terms) with LSD-25 at a facility in Baltimore, where the Flora case unfolded and was I think the only psychiatric case undertaken there. Now please have a look at an excerpt from chapter 4 of his first book, which I above postulate terrifies materialists:
    The individual comes to realize, through these [perinatal] experiences, that no matter what he does in his life, he cannot escape the inevitable; he will have to leave this world bereft of everything that he has accumulated and achieved and to which he has been emotionally attached. The similarity between birth and death-the startling realization that the beginning of life is the same as its end-is the major philosophical issue that accompanies the perinatal experiences. The other important consequence of the shocking emotional and physical encounter with the phenomenon of death is the opening up of areas of spiritual and religious experiences that appear to be an intrinsic part of the human personality and are independent of the individual’s cultural and religious background and programming. In my experience, everyone who has reached these levels develops convincing insights into the utmost relevance of the spiritual and religious dimensions in the universal scheme of things. Even hard-core materialists, positively oriented scientists, skeptics and cynics, and uncompromising Marxist philosophers suddenly became interested in a spiritual search after they confronted these levels in themselves. (pages 95-96)

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    scordova says:

    Though I’ve never been able to understand why some Christians insist on thinking that the Bible: (i) even addresses the topic directly, or (ii) is intended to be a complete and comprehensive record of God’s dealings with every one of God’s creations across the whole universe, rather than a record of God’s dealings on the particular Earth that was relevant to Moses.

    I’d appreciate any insight anyone can provide.

    I had to give it serious thought because at first I actually was at loss to give a response, and then I finally figured out why.

    Let us suppose that an alien creature is definitely a different species than human.

    Consider that the Bible says that Jesus took on the form of a human and is a human. Jesus himself, calls himself, “the Son of man”, and many Christian traditions and doctrines maintain that Jesus will remain “the son of Man” through out eternity, that his incarnation forever joined God to humanity, and that is essential to human salvation.

    If Jesus joins his nature with humans then human nature is set apart from any other species in the universe. One would have to make a very contorted view of Christian doctrine to argue how and why Jesus could simultaneously take on the forms of other species (including aliens) and make that part of his eternal nature.

    He is called the Lamb of God and Lion of Judah but almost all Christians take this as a figurative expression, whereas him being “the Son of Man” as accepted as literal.

    The only creatures mentioned higher than humans are angels, but that is only temporary because of Christ’s incarnation.

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    Sal:

    Thanks for the valiant effort! Seems like a pretty questionable interpretation to me (going through several contorted steps to even arrive at the aliens question), but let’s assume, for sake of argument, that your interpretation of the word “Man” in that particular phrase refers to humans and is spot on.

    1. Why would we think that only “humans” are a subject of God’s “salvation?” Indeed, there are many scriptures that talk of animals and beasts being present in the heavenly paradise.

    2. Even if other beings aren’t subject to salvation, why would we think God could not create other creatures that are at least intelligent enough to communicate? There are numerous kinds of creatures on this planet. Why not elsewhere?

    3. Even if humans are “set apart from any other species in the universe,” where on Earth (pun intended) in the Bible does it say humans only live on this planet?

    4. Where in the Bible does it say there is only one inhabited planet?

    Again, it is just pretty strained for anyone to think the Bible even addresses the question of extraterrestrial life. There most certainly is not anything that says “there are numerous other planets, but there is no life on them.” So at the very least, we are left to interpretations. And interpretations of verses that, in no case I am aware of, are even attempting to address the question at hand.

    Furthermore, as to my question (ii) you quoted, it seems a large part of the problem is that some people have this impression that the Bible is supposed to function as some kind of complete, comprehensive encyclopedia on all kinds of questions that go far beyond anything directly addressed by the text.

    Finally, and this is not a logical deduction, but just something to consider from our own experience as we contemplate what it means to be a “creator”: How often have we seen a great, skilled, impressive, capable creator create only one marvelous thing and then sit on his hands never to create again? Pretty unusual indeed. To be sure, some humans’ lives have been cut short due to various reasons, but such an issue would not exist for an eternal being.

    So the picture that some people want to paint is that the greatest, grandest, most capable, most skilled creator of all — with literally all the space, time, and resources of the entire universe at his disposal — carried out a marvelous creative act to bring about life in one little corner of the universe and then put down his tools, never to take them up again, abandoning the creative process forever more. And all based on some highly questionable interpretations, of a few words, in a couple of verses, taken out of context, in passages of scripture that don’t even pretend they are addressing the question at hand.

  25. 25
    KRock says:

    @ Eric Anderson

    “My experience is that most people who reject the idea of extra-terrestrial life do so on religious or philosophical grounds. Often based on highly questionable interpretations of some small piece of text from some verse of scripture that wasn’t likely ever intended to address the question it is being used to support anyway.”

    I used to hold to a belief that there were aliens or ET’s in our universe, I don’t know for sure, maybe there is, but the UFO phenomenon we see taking place here on earth, has challenged this belief. Some of the most respected, well educated, UFO researchers have concluded in their own studies, that this phenomenon is probably not inter-stellar in nature, but rather inter-dimensional. I’ll be honest; I had a hard time reconciling my faith and the idea of life outside of earth. That being said, Its hard to deny that some sort of phenomenon is taking place here on earth; there is just to many credible people reporting UFO/alien encounters. I think if the phenomenon is inter-dimensional, as many researchers now suspect, it raises some big questions. One might start with the question: Why are they telling us they are from outer space if they’re not? This of course, would lead to the next question: Why the deception? I think when one looks at the subjects of poltergeist, demonic possessions, ghosts, and UFO’s, there seems to be a common denominator present in most encounters, and that’s malevolence. The above subjects such as poltergeist, demonic possessions, ghosts, and UFO’s seem in many ways, to mirror each other as Lynn Catoe suggest below.

    “A large part of the available UFO literature is closely linked with mysticism and the metaphysical. It deals with subjects like mental telepathy, automatic writing and invisible entities as well as phenomena like poltergeist [ghost] manifestation and ‘possession.’ Many of the UFO reports now being published in the popular press recount alleged incidents that are strikingly similar to demonic possession and psychic phenomena.”
    – Lynn E. Catoe, UFOs and Related Subjects.

    My feeling is that much of the above is linked somehow. Dr. Jacques Vallee had this to say regarding the UFO phenomenon.

    “We are dealing with a yet unrecognized level of consciousness, independent of man but closely linked to the earth…. I do not believe anymore that UFOs are simply the spacecraft of some race of extraterrestrial visitors. This notion is too simplistic to explain their appearance, the frequency of their manifestations through recorded history, and the structure of the information exchanged with them during contact.”

    I no longer subscribe to the notion that what we’re dealing with here on earth, in regards to UFO’s, is inter-stellar. Thus, it remains quite possible that we truley are unique in the universe.

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