I know that I said previously that I would stay away from the topic of religion because it tends to never produce meaningful or productive dialogue. But after I read this, I couldn’t help but post. Ken Ham, the AiG guy who debated Bill Nye awhile back, wants to defund the search for extraterrestrial life. Not that surprising, really. But this idea that he has is symptomatic of the larger problem of fundamentalism. To read the blog post that he wrote, click here.
Ham’s rationale for discontinuing our search for ET rests upon the gospel, which he sees as definitive proof that life beyond earth is impossible. And even if it did exist, he argues, the bible makes it perfectly clear that since any ETs couldn’t possibly be the sons of Adam there’s no way they could be saved anyway. So since they’re all going to hell, let’s call the whole thing off.
Let’s take the things in this blog as they come, shall we? And bear in mind, I’m quoting Ham directly from his own words here.
1. “Of course, secularists are desperate to find life in outer space, as they believe that would provide evidence that life can evolve in different locations and given the supposed right conditions! The search for extraterrestrial life is really driven by man’s rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution!”
Well, one could make the argument that if secular scientists are desperate to find life elsewhere in the universe to prove their secular scientific theories, religious fundamentalists like Ham are equally desperate to stop that from happening because it would prove everything they believe wrong. Everything Ham has ever asserted would in one instant become patently false. So obviously creationists see a threat in an organization like NASA. “It’s a waste of time and money” is nice pretense, but the crux of the issue is what discoveries by NASA would mean to people who interpret the bible literally.
Because if Ham stopped to think about it for more than ten seconds, he’d actually want NASA to continue its search. One would think that Ham would love it if NASA searched and searched and never once found ANY trace of life elsewhere in the universe, because it would only support his points about the bible. Come on Ken, give NASA a chance to prove you right! Unless of course you’re afraid they’ll prove you wrong.
2. “You see, according to the secular, evolutionary worldview there must be other habited worlds out there. As the head of NASA, Charles Borden, puts it, “It’s highly improbable in the limitless vastness of the universe that we humans stand alone.” Secularists cannot allow earth to be special or unique—that’s a biblical idea (Isaiah 45:18). If life evolved here, it simply must have evolved elsewhere they believe.”
This is pretty typical of someone who does not really grasp the concept of evolution. There is absolutely NOTHING in the theory that states that life has to exist on other planets. It’s entirely possible that life evolved on this planet and nowhere else in the universe. Notice the word that the NASA scientist used: “improbable.” And then notice how Ham takes that to the absolute by using the word “must.” That’s the problem in this debate. Science lives in a world that in constantly changing and updating what we know. Religion lives in a world that is static and absolute. But again, to reiterate, Ham is setting up a pretty egregious gap in logic–that in order to for evolution to be true, it has to have occurred on other planets. That’s a product of Ham’s own personal interpretation of evolution colored by the lens of his faith, NOT a scientifically or logically accurate statement.
3. “Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space. I certainly suspect not [...] And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel. You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation.”
Well, if the bible doesn’t specifically mention it, then all of this is just Ken Ham pulling it from his ass. He even straight up admits that the bible doesn’t make mention of this situation one way or the other. Ergo everything that follows is just his own unique interpretation. He even says, “I do not believe…” Well where the hell is the literal truth in that? There isn’t any. Ham’s just making the rules up as he goes along here.
I think we can stop there.
This is the danger that fundamentalism represents: close yourself off from the world. No reason to explore anything. Instead of being a place of wonder and possibility, the universe is relegated to mere background status, no more or less than painted scenery on a stage. I almost feel sorry for Ham.