I’ve seen this guy on the news lately talking about some space craft being sent or already sent that has the goal of identifying planets that might have intelligent life. This gent is utterly convinced there are, suggesting it would be arrogant and hubris to think we are alone in the universe. This is a fairly common sentiment among atheists (I don’t know if this guy is an atheist) dovetailing into weird arguments like “There can’t be a God because why would he care about us, we’re like ants to him.” This would be like an ant in an ant farm denying our existence because they actually are ants to us. The other weird thing is that whether we are alone in the universe or not, it seems the atheist thinks this proves there isn’t a God. But I digress somewhat.
What I really wanted to address was the ramifications and implications of discovering conclusive proof of an extraterrestial intelligent agent relative to Christian theism.
Already you should be chuckling, because if the atheists are to be believed, it is not scientifically possible to reliably detect intelligent agency. Intelligent Design, we are assured, is pseudoscience at best and closet creationism at worst. On this view I suppose space aliens could land in Richard Dawkins lap at which time they begin wheeling out some of their rumored probes, and Mr. Dawkins would be unable to recognize that something out of the ordinary was happening. Anyway, as funny and as fun as that thought is, I have no doubt that hard core philosophical naturalists will have little trouble ‘reliably detecting intelligent design’ when the chips are down.
I think this is because they will expect these little green critters with big skulls to support them in their atheistic worldview. But I think that will be the atheist’s undoing. They would have been safer denying that a sentient being is conversing with them because what that sentient being actually says might compromise the atheist’s philosophical foundations.
Our expectations about an encounter with intelligent space aliens are highly colored by science fiction popularizers, and these are almost always atheists. Example- the ‘big skull’ we are informed is the product of evolutionary processes because as we all know bigger brains means smarter entities. This is proved by the huge warehouses of the sixties required to house that generation’s computers which had less computing power than your Iphone you hold in your hand. Wait, I just made the opposite point. My bad. 😉
My point is that our expectations are skewed. The discovery of ET offers a really interesting opportunity to test rival earthling theories. Dawkins insists that the first thing our little martian friends will ask is, “Have they discovered evolution yet?” I would like to see Dawkins’s face when instead they ask, “How have things been since the Flood?”
Actually, I don’t personally think the aliens would ask that, but it would be funny. If it turns out that the Christian world view is correct and aliens arrive, there are two basic classes that these aliens will fit into. They can be a fallen race, like our own, or they could be unfallen. If they are unfallen and just coming across our race they will probably leave as quick as snot before we can capture them and use our probes. If they do stick around they will be more interested in why our race is so utterly hostile to God and to each other and they will be profoundly confused by the unwillingness of some to accept what appear to them- and are in reality- straightforward arguments.
It would be at this point that the emissaries sent by our grand leaders- Dawkins, Dennett, Barker, Harris- remember that it is impossible to reliably detect intelligent agency and they will explain the whole thing as a delusion or a hallucination, gesturing wildly in an attempt to deny what is plainly before their eyes.
In short, an encounter with space aliens may very well be a vindication for Christianity, not atheism.
Even if the aliens are fallen this could be a vindication for Christianity, because it would follow that God had put in place some plan for redeeming the aliens, too. When we begin comparing notes with the aliens we may find some disconcerting similarities.
Of course you can say here that on these terms the discovery of aliens has as much chance as demonstrating Hinduism as Christianity and I won’t quibble over it. My assertion is merely that the atheistic Myth which we have been led to think is the only possible outcome if aliens exist simply isn’t warranted. In fact, the encounter might prove radically different than we have been led to expect.
So you want to know- do I believe in space aliens? I wouldn’t go that far. There is nothing in Christianity that I am aware of that would preclude their existence and I personally wouldn’t be too surprised if some popped up. To tell you the truth, if there are aliens my gut is that they are unfallen and know quite well what is going on here on earth and mean to keep their discrete and definite distance.
Under that scenario, we’re probably lucky they haven’t put a galactic nuke down our gullet already. Or unlucky, depending on your perspective.