Are We Alone in the Universe?

By Wayne Jackson

Mark Twain once quipped: “There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such trifling investment of fact.” I was reminded of that observation after reading the May (1996) issue of Reader’s Digest, under the title, “Are We Alone in the Universe?”

Of course, you and I know that we are not alone—God is there (and here). Evolutionists commonly suggest otherwise. French biologist, Jacques Monod, wrote: “Man at last knows that he is alone in the unfeeling immensity of the universe, out of which he has emerged only by chance.”

But scientists seem intrigued with the idea that we are not alone—though many reject the concept of God. (They do not want the responsibility associated with that idea.) Thus, increasingly, some scientists are suggesting there is life—likely intelligent beings—on other planets in the universe. They are convinced that the happy combination of time and chance has generated such.

Since 1960 a small group of scientists in this country (in cooperation with others elsewhere) has been searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. The enterprise, known as SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), was underwritten with multiplied millions of American tax dollars until 1993, when Congress terminated funding the SETI projects. It continues today with private financing. And so, for the past thirty-five years astronomers have been listening for radio signals from outer space. Thus far, they have not heard one word from “E.T.”

New Planets?

Although it is conceded that none of the planets of our solar system (with the exception of Earth) is capable of sustaining biological life, scientists believe there are planets in other systems within the universe.

In October of 1995, two Swiss scientists claimed to have discovered a new planet orbiting a star known as 51 Pegasi. In December, a couple of California astronomers announced the “discovery” of two additional planets, suggesting that this provides “the first concrete evidence that our planet and its life forms might not be unique in the cosmos” (Lemonick et al. 1996, 106). (Did you notice the word “might”?) In mid-April (1996), yet another “discovery” of a new planet was announced.

The fact is, new planet discoveries are heralded periodically—frequently to be later repudiated. The January, 1996 issue of the prestigious journal, Sky & Telescope, cautioned that the public should remember previous cases of “extrasolar planets that were initially declared with fanfare, then debunked” (MacRobert and Roth 1996, 40).

In the April (1996) issue of the journal IMPACT, published by the Institute for Creation Research, Dr. Don B. DeYoung discussed several of these newly-discovered planets. After a consideration of recent claims, including the very examples cited in the Reader’s Digest article, Professor DeYoung concludes: “In each case, no actual planet has been seen” (1996, ii, iii).

It is mainly by deduction, i.e., observing a “wobble” in certain stars—which astronomers assume is the result of a nearby planet exerting gravitational force—that such opinions are formed. But, as certain scientists have conceded, the wobble argument may be a bit shakey due to the fact that stars—even our own sun—pulse rhythmically “with waves generated deep in their interiors,” making the star surface bulge or sink, thus giving the appearance of wobbling (Lemonick 1996, 54).

And so, based upon preliminary findings, scientists speculate that these new planets exist. What if it can be demonstrated that they actually do exist? What does that prove? Only that planetary bodies exist—of which we were previously unaware. Not a solitary point of biblical theology would be affected by such a discovery.

But scientists suggest that likely there are planets that are suitable for hosting life. Again, there is simply no evidence supporting that. Not even evolutionary astronomers are claiming that the four “new” planets are capable of entertaining life.

And yet, Time magazine published the wild and unfounded statement: “Astronomers have detected water-bearing planets around nearby stars.” Underneath was an artist’s representation of what evolving creatures on these planets might look like. After that sensational caption, a low-key suggestion was made that the planets (near 47 Ursae Majoris and 70 Virginis) “are temperate enough to allow water to exist in liquid form” (Lemonick, 53). DeYoung notes that water has not been found "beyond trace amounts anywhere in our solar system, let alone on unseen, distant planets (iii).

Additionally, scientists argue that, given a suitable environment, it is possible that life could spontaneously generate itself. This notion is completely contrary to every known experiment and observation in science.

Finally, Darwinists assume that a rudimentary form of biological life could eventually evolve into an intelligent form—analogous to a human. In spite of the fact that all material evidence reflects the principle of degeneration, scientists keep searching for some mechanism of progressive organization.

Evolutionist Paul Davies asks: “But what if, in spite of the second law of thermodynamics, there can be systematic progress along side decay?” (1996, 58; emphasis added). If what-ifs were money, skeptics could buy the world. Have you ever seen such a string of baseless assumptions in all your life? And yet Harvard physicist Paul Horowitz says: “Intelligent life in the universe? Guaranteed. Intelligent life in our galaxy? So overwhelmingly likely that I’d give you almost any odds” (Jaroff 1996, 55). Las Vegas would love this gentleman!

The words of G. K. Chesterton are so appropriate: “When men cease to believe in God, they do not believe in nothing; they believe in anything!”

Sources/Footnotes
  • Davies, Paul. 1996. Time, February 5.
  • DeYoung, Don B. 1996. New Stars, New Planets? Impact, April, #274.
  • Jaroff, Leon. 1996. Time, February 5.
  • Lemonick, Michael, Leon Jaroff, and Paul Davies. 1996. Are We Alone in the Universe? Reader’s Digest, May.
  • Lemonick, Michael D. 1996. Time, February 5.
  • MacRobert, Alan and Joshua Roth. 1996. Sky & Telescope, January.
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About the Author

Wayne Jackson has written for and edited the Christian Courier since its inception in 1965. He has also written several books on a variety of biblical topics including The Bible and Science, Creation, Evolution, and the Age of the Earth, The Bible on Trial, and a number of commentaries. He lives in Stockton, California with his dear wife, and life-long partner, Betty.