The Copernican Principle, that Earth is not an unusual planet, is asserted as everyday science even when it anchors unlikely speculation. New Scientist informed us in 2008 that
There’s nothing special about the Sun that makes it more likely than other stars to host life, a new study shows. The finding adds weight to the idea that alien life should be common throughout the universe.
Are doubts “anti-science”? Certainly, faith is urged on us as a duty. We read, “Finding planets outside our solar system that can sustain life should be made a top priority, say Australian astronomers,” because “Life, by managing its own environment, makes a planet habitable. It has produced adaptive features as a result of Darwinian evolution to live in colder and warmer environments.”
And the essentially religious character of the quest is unmistakable. More.
If it isn’t a religious quest, what would you make of this, from MSNBC?:
The discovery of intelligent aliens would be mind-blowing in many respects, but it could present a special dilemma for the world’s religions, theologians pondering interstellar travel concepts said Saturday.
Christians, in particular, might take the news hardest, because the Christian belief system does not easily allow for other intelligent beings in the universe, Christian thinkers said at the 100 Year Starship Symposium, a meeting sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to discuss issues surrounding traveling to other stars.
These Christian thinkers (names don’t ring a bell) are talking nonsense, of course.
For the record, as better informed Christian thinker C.S. Lewis put it,
We know that God has visited and redeemed His people, and that tells us just as much about the general character of the creation as a dose given to one sick hen on a big farm tells us about the general character of farming in England.…It is, of course, the essence of Christianity that God loves man and for his sake became man and died. But that does not prove that man is the sole end of nature. In the parable, it was one lost sheep that the shepherd went in search of: it was not the only sheep in the flock, and we are not told that it was the most valuable—save insofar as the most desperately in need has, while the need lasts, a peculiar value in the eyes of Love. The doctrine of the Incarnation would conflict with what we know of this vast universe only if we knew also there were other rational species in it who had, like us, fallen, and who needed redemption in the same mode, and they had not been vouchsafed it. But we know of none of these things. – “Dogma and the Universe,” from God in the Dock: Essays on Theology and Ethics, ed. Walter Hooper (New York: Ballantine Books, 1990), 14.
That’s more the usual line of reasoning (so MSNBC and friends sent it back to the script doctor, right?).
In any event, traditional Christians appear unaware of the dire supposed threat, in part because they are less likely than others to credit claims and speculations about them.
Is that just more evidence that Christians are anti-science? And that a firm belief in space aliens is pro-science? Why?
See also: What has materialism done for science?
Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train
Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.
“Behold, countless Earths sail the galaxies … that is, if you would only believe …”
Don’t let Mars fool you. Those exoplanets teem with life!
But surely we can’t conjure an entire advanced civilization?