Religion and ET: What’s wrong with science writing today
|December 19, 2016||Posted by News under Exoplanets, Extraterrestrial life, Media, Religion|
Exhibit A: “If we made contact with aliens, how would religions react?”
From Brandon Ambrosino at BBC:
The discovery of life on another planet might seem incompatible with faith in a deity. Yet many theologians are already open to the existence of extraterrestrials, argues the writer Brandon Ambrosino.
In 2014, Nasa awarded $1.1M to the Center for Theological Inquiry, an ecumenical research institute in New Jersey, to study “the societal implications of astrobiology”.
Yes, we noticed that a few weeks back. And we are baffled as to why.
Is there any religion on the planet that states as a dogmatic certainty that aliens do not exist? Those people might be worth a quote. Instead, we read
This is not just an idle fantasy: many scientists would now argue that the detection of extraterrestrial life is more a question of when, not if.
There are several reasons for this confidence, but a main one has to do with the speed at which scientists have been discovering planets outside of our own Solar System.
The fact is, this can has been kicked to elementary particles and back again and 1) we have no evidence of aliens 2) none of those planets is habitable by life as we know it.
Oh yes, some will argue, but what if exoplanets are inhabited by life as we don’t know it? They may be, of course, but then how will we know what to look for? Aren’t we looking for something that, if we found it, we would knw what it was?
Plus, we read,
The third, the mediocrity principle, claims that there is nothing special about Earth’s status or position in the Universe. This could present the greatest challenge to the major Abrahamic religions, which teach that human beings are purposefully created by God and occupy a privileged position in relation to other creatures. More.
Well first, there is massive evidence for the fine-tuning of Earth for life, so much so that evidence-free concepts like the multiverse are invoked to counter the evidence.
And so far have we haven’t found a single live cell beyond Earth. Mightn’t it be best to find one at least, before wondering what “the Abrahamic religions” think?
Better still, how be we do the usual science thing and amass a lot of data on ten thousand such planets and come up with something more concrete than a headline and a theological speculation?
The notion that other heavenly bodies are inhabited is actually common and normal in belief systems worldwide. But you’d have to look that up on the internet to find out.
I have now read about twenty-five iterations of this basic type of article over the last twenty-five years, rehashing the same old nonsense. The science writer is not expected to ask penetrating questions or critique worn-out assumptions. Maybe there is some kind of rule against it now. Union or management?
Pity the Brit taxpayer who funds this stuff. – O’Leary for News
See also: NASA cares what your religion thinks about ET
PhysicsWorld: Proxima B in editors’ list of physics breakthroughs of 2016
Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.
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