# Ken Ham calls U.S. space program a waste, since the Bible tells us that alien life doesn’t exist (and would be damned anyway)

July 22, 2014 • 8:15 am

Young-Earth creationist Ken Ham has said plenty of dumb things when it comes to evolution on our planet, but in a new post on his website,  Around the World with Ken Ham, he’s extended his lunacy to studies of the solar system and Universe. The U.S. space program, says Ham, is fruitless, for it has as its aim the discovery of terrestrial life, and the Bible has simply ruled that out!:

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!

A UK news site recently reported, “Aliens are out there. We’ll find a new earth within 20 years.” Recent technologies have developed new space telescopes that will be used to study exoplanets (planets orbiting other stars) with the hope of discovering habitable, earth-like worlds that might contain life—at least that is what they hope for!

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.

The Bible, in sharp contrast to the secular worldview, teaches that earth was specially created, that it is unique and the focus of God’s attention (Isaiah 66:1 and Psalm 115:16). Life did not evolve but was specially created by God, as Genesis clearly teaches. Christians certainly shouldn’t expect alien life to be cropping up across the universe. (There are other theological problems with intelligent alien life that you can read about here).

Well, the Bible said it, Ham believes it, and that settles it.

But in his diatribe Ham conflates “life” with “intelligent life.”  If life didn’t evolve, but was created by God on Earth alone, then we shouldn’t even find microbes on other planets, much less brainy creatures capable of apprehending and worshiping God.

The thing is, the vast bulk of money in the U.S. space program is not spent looking for extraterrestrial life, but simply exploring outer space and seeing what it’s like on other planets or in other galaxies, as well as unravelling the history of the Universe. Yes, Rovers have features that enable us to look for life, and people get excited about the possibility of life on Mars or even the moons of Saturn. But that wasn’t why the space program was created, or even its main goal. It’s very unlikely we’ll find life in our solar system.

It gets worse, even by Ham-ian standards. There can’t be aliens—at least smart ones—because they’d be damned to Hell!

Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space.  I certainly suspect not. The Earth was created for human life. And the sun and moon  were created for signs and our seasons—and to declare the glory of God.

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. [JAC: does the Bible actually say this? If so, where? Ham doesn’t quote a verse from scripture, which makes me suspect he’s dissimulating about the universality of Adam’s sin.] 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. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

I thought sin came from being one of Adam’s descendants, who received the sin as if it were genetic. How do aliens, which couldn’t be related to the fictitious Adam, get afflicted by sin? Perhaps a reader can help me here.

Ham goes on, producing a hilarious passage:

Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”!  Only descendants of Adam can be saved.  God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word).  To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.

. . . An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

This is bordering on lunacy—the sheer waste of a human mind speculating about meaningless questions. But it puts Ham in a difficult spot, for if we do find life elsewhere in the universe, what will Ham say? Will he admit that the Bible is wrong?

Although garden-variety theologians might say that life elsewhere was just part of God’s plan to be “creative” and “artistic” (yes, they have said stuff like that about God), they’d still face the question of “Why did God create any life at all if it couldn’t be saved by God? What would be the point?” And that question also goes for all the products of evolution that are of no use to humans, like obscure bacteria under the Antarctic ice cap. If we’re the object of God’s creation, and God created everything, and no species besides us can be saved (i.e.,no d*gs in heaven), why the vast superfluity of life?

Michael Ruse, the atheist philosopher who likes to tell religious people how to preserve their faith in the face of science, has written at length about how alien life could be saved. I mocked his answer when I reviewed his book Can a Darwinian be a Christian? in the Times Literary Supplement:

[Ruse] has to muster all his rhetorical and intellectual skills to herd every stray Christian belief into the Darwinian fold. Indeed, the book is a splendid example of how a trained academic can extract himself from a philosophical thicket through the relentless chopping of logic. For example, in a chapter on ‘Extraterrestrials’, Ruse wrestles with the implications for Christianity of life having evolved elsewhere in the Universe. Would this life be human-like and blighted with original sin? If so, who would save the fallen aliens? Ruse floats the possibility of an ‘X-Christ’, who could redeem sinners throughout the Universe – an intergalactic Jesus shuttling between planets and suffering successive crucifixions. ‘One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that,’ George Orwell wrote (in a quite different context). ‘No ordinary man could be such a fool.’

I would love to see Ruse debate Ham on this issue! For, indeed, Ruse often acts—as he did in the book I reviewed—as a theologian. Here we have two theologians manqué giving different answers to the same question.

Further, to those who say there is no conflict between science and religion, how do you respond to Ham’s claim that there can be no extraterrestrial life because scripture rules it out a priori? (Of course, the mere existence of religious creationism disproves that NOMA position from the outset, but Gould, in a breathtakingly evasive move, didn’t regard creationist religions as “proper” religions.)

Finally, Ham claims that salvation through Jesus answers all of life’s questions, apparently including my science questions:

The answers to life’s questions will not be found in imaginary aliens but in the revelation of the Creator through the Bible and His Son, Jesus Christ, who came to die on a Cross to redeem mankind from sin and death that our ancestor, Adam, introduced.

And the footnote to his piece says this:

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s [Answers in Genesis’s] research team.

What “research,” I wonder? Finding the relevant Biblical verses?

## 190 thoughts on “Ken Ham calls U.S. space program a waste, since the Bible tells us that alien life doesn’t exist (and would be damned anyway)”

1. NewEnglandBob says:

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.

I guess Ham’s god is limited in the scope of his powers. What a little god he is then.

1. NewEnglandBob says:

I put that first paragraph under blockquote but failed somehow.

2. If Ham had only read “The Streets of Ashkelon” he’d know that aliens weren’t tainted by original sin … until the missionaries came.

/@

2. Didn’t CS Lewis suppose that the Fall (or not) was reenacted on every populated planet?

1. GBJames says:

With faith, all things are possible.

2. Dominic says:

I think that must have influenced the Sydney Carter hymn I mention below…

3. JonLynnHarvey says:

Quite the opposite of that. In his science-fiction trilogy, Mars is an unfallen planet whose inhabitants are not affected by original sin. As a story, it is reminiscent of James Hilton’s “Lost Horizon” with Mars functioning as Shangri-la, and it seems to have influenced secularist/atheist science-fiction writer Ursula K. LeGuin’s novel “The Word for World is Forest” which in turn influenced Cameron’s film “Avatar”

1. ” In his science-fiction trilogy, Mars is an unfallen planet whose inhabitants are not affected by original sin. ”

That’s what I meant when I said “… Fall (or not) was reenacted “….the inhabitants of Mars had the chance to fall, but didn’t.

2. On the other hand, Narnia seems to have “suffered with sin”, and Charn – the other world mentioned in the Narnia stories beyond Narnia and Earth. I am not a fan of them, but I did find the idea of the “wood between the worlds” (in _The Magician’s Nephew_) much more interesting than some of the other stuff.

1. John Scanlon, FCD says:

The WBTW is one of my favourite places. I think of it as my native country.

3. Latverian Diplomat says:

In the Silent Planet Trilogy, Mars didn’t fall though it was physically attacked by Satan resulting in the ecological damage that required the canals to be built (in 1938, the canals were still a thing many non-scientists thought could be real, though I think the scientific consensus was against their existence by that point).

In the second book of the series, the protagonist travels to Venus to prevent their potential fall. It’s more or less stated that the Fall required a Rebel Angel to serve as tempter, and only Earth’s designated Angel rebelled, so that only happened here.

Bear in mind that the scope of the books is quite small. It only addresses the solar system, and God is identified with Sol, not the whole universe. It’s peculiar in that way.

4. eric says:

Growing up I was more of a sci-fi fan than a fantasy one, so I picked Lewis’ space trilogy to read first. But it was so awful that I skipped the Narnia series altogether.

Man, what dreck (the OOTSP series). When it’s so bad that it turns a 12-year-old sci fi fan off, you know you’ve got a problem.

1. Man, what dreck (the OOTSP series). When it’s so bad that it turns a 12-year-old sci fi fan off, you know you’ve got a problem.

Hm. I thought it was pretty good stuff when I was 12. It was only when I tried to reread it at the grand old age of 18 or 19 that I had difficulties.

Same sort of thing, I suddenly realize, as the fact that I thought Atlas Shrugged was pretty good at the age of 12, but soon grew out of it.

1. I thought I was nerdy for reading encyclopedias, the dictionary, and novels from Dickens or R. L. Stevenson when I was that age.

Atlas Shrugged is in a completely different league.

1. Atlas Shrugged is in a completely different league.

At the time I would read anything with “SF” on the cover, without consideration for quality. A 1000-page SF novel? That was for me, oh yes.

1. microraptor says:

I tried Atlas Shrugged several times when I was in high school.

But every time it quickly became apparent that it would be more fun to reread some Star Trek novels instead.

2. I was reading it a bit before Star Trek arrived, Jim.

3. Jeffery says:

Her novels ran that long because she was a Dexedrine addict!

2. I also tried reading that trilogy, got about halfway through the third book before I gave up in disgust. It’s so bad that I couldn’t bear to finish the trilogy after having put in that much effort. I might still have the books as I didn’t want to give them away or donate them to a library booksale for fear someone else might be subjected to them and I couldn’t bring myself to destroy books, even those. Never read Narnia, saw the first movie, which is pretty bad.

1. GBJames says:

The only thing by C.S. Lewis I ever read was The Screwtape Letters. Gack. Talk about your manipulative apologetic dreck! The only saving grace was its brevity, although looking back, it was far longer than I would have preferred.

How anyone takes such an author seriously dismays me.

1. JonLynnHarvey says:

I enjoyed the Narnia books a great deal, but also found Screwtape rather cumbersome and heavy-handed.

2. eric says:

I liked Screwtape a lot more than the OOTSP series. I also liked The Great Divorce, which is just as religiously heavy-handed as Screwtape, but is at least relatively short and to the point.

I think in both cases, expectation management played a part. I was okay with the heavy-handed theology in Screwtape and Divorce because I expected those books to be “social commentary first, story second.” So when the story itself was bad or lacking, I was okay with that. But with OOTSP, I expected a decent sci-fi story (first) with some social commentary second, and IMO the trilogy failed to deliver a a decent sci-fi story.

It’s not just Lewis or Christianity where this is the case. I’ll make the same criticism of authors who put social commentary ahead of story even for social causes I agree with. Sherri Tepper is a good example; when she puts the story first, her books are good. When she puts her priority on the social message, her books go to crap.

I suppose one could also extend this observation to music too, but no examples immediately spring to mind.

1. microraptor says:

People tend to say Men At Work went downhill as a band when they started getting more socially active with their music.

4. Not exactly, but he’s one theologian of sorts (who is very popular amongst fundies, too, despite his more mainstream views) who thought that there could be extraterrestrial life of various sorts, or at least had no trouble with it in his fiction.

5. Fry says:

NASA should investigate this one. The life detection systems installed on their rovers and orbiting probes should be recalibrated to search for talking snakes.

3. Dominic says:

I immediately thought of the modern hymn by Sydney Carter (he also did Lord of the Dance)
http://www.musicanet.org/robokopp/english/evrystar.htm
(I sang it as a chorister)
“Who can tell what other cradle?
High above the Milky Way;
Still may rock the King of Heaven,
On another Christmas day.”
So I guess some ecumenical modern christians in the CoE at least, would say Kenny is one slice short of of a Ham sandwich.

1. JonLynnHarvey says:

The X-Christ of Michael Ruse appearing on many planets is the assumption of a short story by science-fiction writer Ray Bradbury.

1. HaggisForBrains says:

Can you give me the title, and if possible the anthology? I love Ray Bradbury’s work, and don’t remember that one (then again, I don’t remember much these days).

1. Dominic says:

It was called “The Messiah” & was in
Bradbury Stories: 100 of His Most Celebrated Tales
Long After Midnight

1. HaggisForBrains says:

Thanks!

2. Mark Sturtevant says:

This reminds me of Yeats, although I do not think it refers to anything extraterrestrial:

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

4. Ian Hewitson says:

I’m a slightly jaded 51 year old who’s not shocked by much these days. But I’m shocked by what I’ve just read. It’s just so mindblowingly f**king incredible that an intelligent, well educated human being could actually open his mouth and spout such shite – which will presumably be lapped up by his equally f**ked up followers.

Hell bound aliens tainted with original sin. For f**k’s sake, get me out of here…..

1. Dominic says:

2. NewEnglandBob says:

:…an intelligent, well educated human being…”

There is where you went wrong.His bible belief over realty shows that he is not well educated, and his blind faith in fairy tales shows he is not intelligent.

1. But but but … his Scientific Research Team helped him with the article!

2. Rod says:

And yet, during his debate with Bill Nye, he use an Apple laptop…. how does he reconcile this technology, and happily use it, with his adherence to thousands-year-old views of the world?
Unbelievable!

3. rickflick says:

I have often reflected upon the strangeness of it all. How can there be two types of people: one who respects reason and science, and the other who doesn’t at all. Something weird going on. I know there are many reasons given, but, still…its just weird.

1. Mark Sturtevant says:

Yes, but his is a sample of the plasticity of the human mind. For every Ham there is a Dawkins.
I kinda enjoy having Ham around, although I acknowledge that he does some damage. So much stupidity concentrated into one head, and that head insists on publishing its drivel. It does make it fun for us to point and laugh.

5. Dave says:

We really have no need to worry about Adam’s sin corrupting the entire universe. Assuming the Fall took place about 6,000 years ago, according to Einstein’s theories a sin “bubble” radiating out from the Earth at the speed of light could only have a radius of about 6,000 light years by now. Hardly a pinprick in the vastness of space. Any aliens in distant star systems beyond that would still be living in a blissful state of innocence. Unless they’ve sinned too, of course, in which case we have to imagine a kind of Swiss-cheese universe riddled with multiple expanding bubbles of iniquity.

See, I can do this space theology stuff. Maybe I can get a job writing for Answers in Genesis?

P.S. 5th line down from the start, I think should say”extraterrestrial life”

1. Ian Hewitson says:

Creationist schoolboy error. You’re forgetting about AiG’s easy explanation of pesky far-away stars. In the old days (6000 years ago, light travelled faster than it does now. Much faster.

1. Dave says:

“In the old days (6000 years ago, light travelled faster than it does now. Much faster.”

How do you know? Were you there???!!!

1. NewEnglandBob says:

Faith is what slowed down light. And wishful thinking.

1. Larry Cook says:

I love that sentence, “Faith is what slowed down light”.

2. And, of course, the chemistry of gold and mercury were different then. Gold was not quite as noble and mercury wasn’t even a liquid.

1. microraptor says:

Also, the Dead Sea was only mildly ill.

3. Amusing that fine-tuning pretty much goes to hell if you speed up light like that.

1. rickflick says:

No, not at all. Fine-tuning is just fine. God just got a little behind…like when you have a number of errands to run and by the end of the day, you know you’re going to be late for bible study and you jump on the gas.

4. Kevin says:

I am not sure that fast or slow light would make a difference. If light were to travel 10^-10 m/s all physical processes would slow down. We would not notice a thing. Likewise, if light were to speed up 10^10 m/s, we would not notice, because everything would be communicating faster.

If c(t) fluctuated homogeneously, I am not sure you could every notice, i.e., all clocks affected the same. If c(t) was in homogenous then the effect could be measurable, not to mention, fine-tuning problems with other constants.

1. Heather Hastie says:

In the Middle Ages monasteries had clocks where you could adjust the length of an hour. This was because according to the Bible, night and day were each 12 hours long. This didn’t match reality, of course, so clocks were adjusted seasonally. This made sure the monks were doing their praying at the appropriate intervals e.g. nones, tierce etc, which had to be said at a particular number of hours since sunrise.

1. Kevin says:

As

$prayer /rightarrow duty$

then

$c /rightarrow /infty$

and consequently

$life /rightarrow hell$

1. Heather Hastie says:

I just think it was a way to make sure they could sleep in in the winter! Prime was an hour after sunrise, winter or summer.

2. stuartcoyle says:

You are right. Changing the speed of light by itself does nothing to perceived reality. You need to change it relative to some other constant. Only dimensionless constants mean much that way. Change the fine structure constant or Planck length or something instead.

2. darrelle says:

Sin is instant. At the very instant that his teeth broke the skin of the apple, sin was quantumly teleported (or was it tunneled?) throughout the entire universe. Deepak can explain it all better than I can, he’s the expert on this stuff.

1. stuartcoyle says:

I think it must have been the moment that she swallowed. To bite is not to eat. I’m sure the bible uses a phrase something like “don’t eat of the fruit”, I really couldn’t be bothered looking it up. If Ken can’t be bothered to read anything to back up his statements, I’m not about to.

6. If alien life is ever found, it would become the mission of fundamentalists to save their souls, much as Europeans undertook that task when the Americas were discovered. Perhaps that’s the solution to getting NASA funded?

1. Dave says:

I think the Mormons need to get their act together and set up their own space programme. I foresee multiple 2-man missions crewed by clean-cut young chaps in white shirts and ties, bringing the Good News to the tentaculate amoeboids of Cygnus-X1.

1. NewEnglandBob says:

Brigham Young, second prophet/president of the Mormon church, announced the following two gems of wisdom:

Mankind are here because they are the offspring of parents who were first brought here from another planet, and power was given them to propagate their species. Journal of Discourses, Volume 7, Page 285, 1859

2. microraptor says:

You two are trying to provoke an interstellar war, aren’t you?

3. eric says:

You bring up a scary possibility, which is that if an alien ship ever does appear above our skies, it may not contain the best representatives of their race/civilization… First contact and it turns out to be alien evangelists. Gaah.

4. Filippo says:

I’m reminded that during the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign debates between and among Republicans, English major – MBA/JD – venture capitalist Mitt Romney said words to-the-effect that he’d “fire” anyone (meaning like history Ph.D. Newt Gingrich) in his administration who had grandiose/off-the-wall ideas about investing billions in moon colonies/space exploration.

I gather that Romney knows an off-the-wall idea when he sees one.

5. gravelinspector-Aidan says:

2-man missions crewed by clean-cut young chaps in white shirts and ties, bringing the Good News to the tentaculate amoeboids of Cygnus-X1.

Do the tentaculate amoeboids of Cygnus-X1 have a taste for gristly human meat? Can we cultivate such a taste?
And the inevitable, “What could possibly go wrong?”

2. Kevin says:

Consider the alien perspective: “Yes, we once had misguided folk among us too. Thankfully we grew up.”

7. darrelle says:

So, I’m confused. Does Ham think Adam is awesome, i.e. “only the Adamic race is saved”? Or does he think he was a wretch, i.e. “Adam’s sin affected the whole universe”?

Ham is really grasping at straws here. If there were intelligent aliens, and they were not descended from Adam, the most reasonable conclusion is that they did not inherit Adam’s sin, and therefore don’t need to eat Jesus.

Poor Ham desperately needs to be special in a big way. I sort of feel sorry for him, but damn, he is one scary dude.

1. Rikki_Tikki_Taalik says:

Does Ham think Adam is awesome, i.e. “only the Adamic race is saved”? Or does he think he was a wretch, i.e. “Adam’s sin affected the whole universe”?

Yes.

1. darrelle says:

Yes indeed. Christians do seem to think wretchedness is awesome. Can I get a sacrifice?! I need a really really good one to counter all this sin!

1. I seem to remember reading about a heretical priest in the middle ages who went around making sure young women had really good sins to confess …

1. Mark Sturtevant says:

That sort of thing still goes on.

2. I like your use of, “wretch” as that was the epithet often given to Frankenstein’s nameless creation that Mary Shelley wrote about. The parallel is apt.

8. Except in a culinary sense, it’s difficult to tell Ham from Onion.

1. Susan says:

That’s a rye observation.

1. NewEnglandBob says:

Baloney. That is a cheesy thing to say.

1. Barry Lyons says:

I would like to contribute to this punnery, but I’m at a loss to think of anything — probably due to me loafing around.

1. darrelle says:

You are sooo toast.

2. Jesper Both Pedersen says:

Why even butter?

3. These puns have too many layers. Choice don’t know where to start!

4. Oops choice is supposed to be chive. Chive don’t know where to start. Damn ipad ruining my wit!

1. Mark Sturtevant says:

You people are so Gouda at spreading the cheese. I Swiss I could do that!

1. When you’re feeling Bleu, nothing’s breader than a little *levity*.

2. gravelinspector-Aidan says:

Before I join in, I’ll need some Dutch Courage.

9. The idea that the whole world was corrupted by sin seems to be very central to a continuing young-earth creation position which I’ve heard multiple denominations propose – including RCs & JWs. The concept comes, as I understand it, from a belief that the “lion laying down with the lamb” prophecy is the undoing of original sin – so by extension the lion must have laid down with the lamb before Adam sinned. This is why Ham’s creationist museum proposes herbivorous Tyrannosaurs & other nonsense to make it fit. I don’t doubt they also quote mine Brian Cox nowadays when he said that rubbing your hands together alters the entire universe. I don’t think there’s a direct quote in the bible that says it but since when did the bible do anything direct?

1. Latverian Diplomat says:

To some extent, it’s an attempt to deal with the problem of natural evil. That’s Adam’s fault, not God’s.

Of course, God made the rules that one tiny act by Adam and Eve have such terrible consequences, so He’s still not off the hook, if you ask me.

10. rwilsker says:

In this context, you may be interested in looking at James Blish’s famous (and Hugo winning) 1959 novel, “A Case of Conscience”.

It tells the story of Father Ruiz-Sanchez, a priest and scientist who is part of an expedition that finds a planet inhabited by an intelligent race of beings. They have none of the seven deadly sins – and also no concept of religion or of gods.

Of course, the good father is terribly upset by this. How could the inhabitants be good and moral without the guidance of God? Is this planet perhaps a creation of the devil, put there to test the faith of mankind? (Probably the reaction our esteemed Mr. Hamm would have…)

1. darrelle says:

Not an uncommon plot line in scifi, but a very good example of it.

Another that comes to mind is The Mote In God’s Eye by Niven & Pournelle.

1. Mark Sturtevant says:

Another Niven and Pournelle book was Inferno, about a person who dies and travels through the circles of hell a ‘la Dantes’ Inferno. It is one of their books on my mental list of books that could be a decent movie.

1. John Scanlon, FCD says:

Maybe Benito’s identity would be too obvious in visual form, but generally I’d agree that they did a very cinematic version of Dante’s invention.

2. Kevin says:

How provincial, shortsighted, and hidebound all of the reverend fathers of earth can be.

3. een says:

Also Harry Harrison’s short story “The Streets of Ashkelon”, in which humans discover a race of intelligent amphibians, living quite happily without any concept of religion. Of course a missionary (Christian) arrives soon after, and gives them the message about sin, and how Jesus saved humans from sin with the crucifixion. The amphibians get the message a bit wrong, and wanting to be saved themselves, crucify the missionary. When the non-religious protagonist explains, they realise that now they really have sinned, guilt and shame follow.

Kinda depressing, but a very nice allegory.

1. Mark Joseph says:

Harrison’s story is awesome.

2. darrelle says:

Sounds like the alien amphibians got the message exactly right. Not their fault that the message sucks.

3. Related to the story about the Inuit elder (which may be apocryphal) and the missionary … though more bloody.

4. Ah. I was very late with my comment above.

/@

PS. Obviously the hallmark of a great story, that it is clearly remembered by so many.

11. Gordon Hill says:

Didn’t Cain and Abel find wives in the land of Nod? Where was that?

12. Talk about a guilt trip: Adam’s sin affected the entire universe! Now that is must be the original sin. I mean, compared to a sin like that, the mass murder of almost everyone the planet pales in comparison.

1. The big scientific question: does the effect of sin travel faster than the speed of light?

1. microraptor says:

Yes, but it’s still not as fast as bad news or improbability.

2. Michael says:

You made me think of an insane Hamster, endlessly running on his little wheel desperately trying to stay in his fantasy world as it falls apart behind him, running for all his life as reality nips at his heels.

3. Latverian Diplomat says:

So a whole universe of ET’s had sin, death, and suffering suddenly thrust upon them for no apparent reason.

Let’s hope they don’t trace the origin of the problem back to Earth and come here looking for some payback.

1. Nah, we’ll just reassure them that Jesus agreed to take the blame and all they’ve got to do is slobber over him and his dad once a week, throw out their graven images, renounce their own silly demonic deities, stop taking the name of our Lord(s) in vain, stop sassin’ their progenitors (or devouring them soon after hatching), keep their feelers off their neighbors’ glorks – and stop coveting them too, stop misappropriating their neighbors’ glurbs, and only lie for Jesus.

13. I think we can safely classify the Hamster as insane. Even if the result of self-delusion, he’s operating with so much conspiracy theory so far outside the bounds of reality that there’s just no way to consider him rational. Or even coherent, for that matter.

b&

1. bobkillian says:

Fundraising from the base is not insane. It’s business.

2. colnago80 says:

You are assuming that the Hambone actually believes this crap. IMHO, he is just another grifter who doesn’t believe a word of it. It’s a pretty lucrative grift as there are millions of sheeple around the world who do believe it and will send him money.

1. There comes a point where it matters not whether the insanity is “real” or a cynical act for manipulation and profit. The cost to society for promoting such insanity on such a widespread scale far outweighs any gain Ham personally gets from it…and he’s still gotta spend his whole life wallowing in that shit.

b&

1. Heather Hastie says:

I agree completely. People like him are actually dangerous. They come in a less physically violent form than people like ISIL, but that peaceful veneer makes them able to infiltrate easier.

1. Tulse says:

It’s weird — Ham seems to think that he has provided a rebuttal, but his actual piece just reinforces what both the HuffPo and Jerry said about his position.

1. Kirth Gersen says:

Yup. By dint of mighty efforts over the years, Ham has focused his powers of cognitive dissonance to a near-nuclear intensity. Sometimes he can hold five or even six mutually-cotradictory ideas in his head at the same time. Tell him “hello” and, without missing a beat, he answers, “purple.”

14. Mark Sturtevant says:

Of course the aliens can be saved from Hell. This is proven in the famous Alien Crucifixion painting by the great sci fantasy artist, Frank Frazetta.

15. michaelfugate says:

This is bordering on lunacy….

Only bordering? Didn’t Ham cross that line long ago?

16. alexandra says:

woo = whacko

17. Michael says:

“Well, the Bible said it, Ham believes it, and that settles it.”

Ken Ham is the very definition of a fool:

fool
1.
a person who acts unwisely or imprudently; a silly person.
“what a fool I was to do this”
synonyms: idiot, ass, blockhead, dunce, dolt, ignoramus, imbecile, cretin, dullard, simpleton, moron, clod;

verb
1.
trick or deceive (someone); dupe.
“he fooled nightclub managers into believing he was a successful businessman”
synonyms: deceive, trick, hoax, dupe, take in, mislead, delude, hoodwink, sucker, bluff, gull;

There is a good evidence for a higher probability of alien life in the universe then for God. Even for intelligent life.

We have evidence of life on a planet. We have evidence of intelligent life, in fact that intelligent life built space ships, and one has left the solar system. That planet is Earth, that intelligent life is us. The space ship was Voyager.

There is no evidence for God or Gods, or at least certainly not for the God of the Bible, the all powerful all knowing all loving God. No evidence at all.

Therefor the best odds is for other life in the universe and a lack of Gods.

1. darrelle says:

Getting closer to the base of the problem is that from the believer’s point of view there is good evidence. The bible, their feelings, how long and how many people have believed, etc.

Hard to make headway when people aportion more creedence to evidence like that compared to what, for one example, would be considered good evidence in science.

18. Michael says:

BTW, if there is intelligent alien life watching us, Ken Ham and his ilk are the reason why they never call.

1. John Scanlon, FCD says:

and that’s why we can’t have nice things.

19. JonLynnHarvey says:

Ironically, while many historians of Christianity argue that Paul did NOT(!!) believe in the Augustinian notion of “original sin” (all humans damned by default due to descent from Adam, hence one must cut the right deal and accept Jesus’ substitutionary sacrifice for sin to be saved), Paul DID believe that Adam introduced some kind of negative dynamic into the workings of the cosmos according to the operative passage “Sin entered the world through Adam”.
Paul thought Adam’s deed introduces fractures into the creation/whole world affecting all human relations (kind of like the Kabbalistic notion of the fractured vessels of the world), although Augustine’s notion of biologically inherited guilt/damnation is widely viewed by contemporary historians as a later gloss on Paul.

A reasonably good survey of the issue by a liberal Christian is The Story of Original Sin by John Toew. Also informative is Elaine Pagel’s “Adam, Eve, and the Serpent”.

But to a scientist the real issue remains the strong evidence for their being no historical Adam or Eve.

1. reasonshark says:

That’s really weird, considering what Paul himself wrote about the issue. His comparison in 1 Corinthians and Romans between Jesus and Adam makes it clear: Adam, and by extension humanity, brought on their own punishment by disobeying God. The Mosaic Law was supposed to be a placeholder to keep the good of humanity aloft during the dark times, and Jesus’ sacrifice was supposed to end all that and so remove sin, rendering the Law no longer relevant. The “punishment” was repaid because Jesus finally paid the bill, and gave everyone an ultimatum: be Christian (and therefore spared from the coming wrath of God) for everlasting goodness post-mortem, or refuse and die in the coming apocalypse.

I don’t know if it’s a technicality thing, but that sounds like original sin to me. It travels down the generations either way.

20. Sastra says:

For example, in a chapter on ‘Extraterrestrials’, Ruse wrestles with the implications for Christianity of life having evolved elsewhere in the Universe. Would this life be human-like and blighted with original sin?

Hey, I just realized that I could be an atheist philosopher who tells religious people how to preserve their faith in the face of modern science! Because this one sounds easy to me.

Think of it this way: the “fallen” state of humanity derives its plausibility from an analogy of rebellious toddlers. Once out of the forgivable incompetency of infancy stage (however short it may be), the very young child immediately fails to live up to the ideal standard of prompt, happy, and unquestioning obedience to parental commands. This is the first rebellion; this is the “fallen” nature. The mother or father says “do this” and the two-year-old suddenly says “no.” Punishment ensues … because that is wrong.

Religion is the narrative which not only holds human selfishness to be wrong but positively unnatural. It’s not how it’s supposed to be, where a child is in a role completely subservient to its elders. Adam and Eve simply play this family scenario out large, with all of humanity standing in for the wayward youngster and God standing in for the Ultimate Parent, with disobedience now assuming cosmic proportions. The atonement only makes sense in an honor culture derived from the role model of authoritarian personal relationships which begin at birth.

So here’s how to remain Christian and accept the possible existence of intelligent aliens: IF such aliens exist, then they will fall into the story in one of two places. Either they will be like a completely innocent and blameless infant … OR they will be like the Perfect Child of which every parent presumably dreams. Or, maybe, a combination of both.

Aliens on other planets don’t have to know about or have a Jesus to reconcile with Christianity. But they would have to know all about God. Every one a natural believer.

And these aliens then would also be different than us in that they wouldn’t have one spark of doubt, self-seeking, or disobedience in their hearts. Instead, every thought would be to praise and to please Him, quickly and eagerly, with joy and gratitude and willing spirit. The sin of pride being absent, no redeemer is necessary.

So Christians can simply think of potential extra-terrestrial intelligent life as the equivalent of the Good Brother or Perfect Sister who can do no wrong. We’re the fuck ups, here on planet earth. In fact, our sin is even highlighted when contrasted to the new standard thrown in our faces. Christian faith would and should get stronger.

“Why couldn’t you have been more like the Pleidians? Absolute religious consensus; no sects, schisms, or splits. Plus THEY were potty-trained in only an hour — and so compliant that they can’t even imagine being disobedient. I never have to ask them twice … nor did I have to send my Son to die in their place, either. Eternal life? Of course they all got eternal lives! You know why I had to take yours away. Yours is earned back; theirs was freely given and gratefully accepted. As it should be.”

Since the odds of finding human-like intelligent life on other planets is miniscule, Christians are free to play this one out in their heads for as long as they please.

21. Mark Sturtevant says:

As near as I can tell, he is even making stuff up about what the bible says. The links to bible verses that supposedly tell us that we are unique and special do not clearly do that. If the earth is God’s footstool, as one quote tells us, then why can’t the planet Zork be God’s seat cushion? Or why cannot there be a planet Zyzrb that is God’s coffee table?

1. darrelle says:

Footstool? That doesn’t evoke a sense of specialness to me. But then, christianity is masochism incarnate. So I guess that could work.

1. Dave says:

That’s one thing I’ve always found hilarious about Ken Ham and his ilk. That people who claim to be biblical fundamentalists, and who will die in the ditch for a strictly literal interpretation of even the craziest nonsense in the bible, have absolutely no hesitation in making up reams of stuff that appears nowhere in the holy book. The non-existence of space aliens, herbivorous tyrannosaurs and so on. You’d think that if god forgot to mention something, it would be presumptuous of mere man to add it, but no, it seems that isn’t a problem for them at all. I don’t know why they don’t publish an expanded edition of the bible containing all the important stuff that god somehow neglected to include first time around.

1. I suppose they sincerely think they follow from other premisses they accept.

They do, in some cases – like the vegetarian tyrannosaurs. Why? Ham, for example, is committed to (a) no death [of animals] before the fall and (b) there were tyrannosaurs before the fall and (c) there was a fall

He presumably also believes (like most of us in this case) that (d) tyrannosaurs have to eat. Consequently, etc.

That (a),(b),(c) are riddled with weirdness and insanity is besides the point; I am only “praising” the deduction.

On the other hand, certain other things (like Jesus having siblings) aren’t in the text at all and have to be infered “probabilistically” or via misreading (“James, the brother of the lord” etc.)

2. Kirth Gersen says:

I liked how Dakwins put it: “What impresses me about Catholic mythology is partly its tasteless kitsch but mostly the airy nonchalance with which these people make up the details as they go along.”

1. Doug says:

I remember seeing a talk show on EWTN, the Catholic cable channel. An “expert on angels” was calmly, matter-of-factly explaining the different types of angels: “Each planet is governed by an angel called a Dominion, and each country is governed by an angel called a Principality,” or some such gibberish. The host just said, “This is fascinating.” No one asked the obvious question: “How exactly do you know this?”

1. When George Carlin said religion is the greatest bullshit story ever told, he was speaking from experience with his Catholic upbringing. I defy you to find a religion with a bigger mountain of bullshit attributed to revelation and theology in general. Without even talking about books by lay people, Papal Encyclicals and the Catechisms throughout the years far outnumber the pages in the Bible. Mountains and mountains of bullshit, and the sophisticated theologians are right, to dismantle the Bible is not to fully dismantle the mountain.

You have to get through the 2000 year old steaming pile of shit, the maggots atop of it, and the layer of excrement about embracing science and PR campaigns upon which they plant a field of grass, a few tulips and a golden cathedral or three. Seeing this, they then try to make you forget that it’s built upon a putrid foundation of bullshit where you need not dig too deeply to unravel the rich history of utterly immoral dogmas and actions.

22. Shwell Thanksh says:

Ruse floats the possibility of an ‘X-Christ’, who could redeem sinners throughout the Universe – an intergalactic Jesus shuttling between planets and suffering successive crucifixions.

I find it rather more fascinating to consider a mutliworlds theory Schrodinger’s Jeezus — in a superposition of alive and crucified states. And if no one happens to tune into the 114th cable teevee Jeezus channel on a particular day? I guess his holy waveform remains undisturbed.

23. Rebecca says:

I just wonder at the myopic feeling about Ken Ham that he assumes the space program only exists to find intelligent aliens*. While I’m sure I can get to space aliens in six links from my dissertation, at that point, I bet the English students writing about Jane Austen could also.

Then again, I suspect Ken Ham thinks whole branches of science only exist to disprove God. So the myopic feeling is probably not exclusive to NASA.

* As a PhD-carrying planetary scientist, I feel pretty confident in saying that, for the near future, no intelligent life exists in places we can send a robot in a reasonable time frame. I mean, sure, I can imagine that next week Vulcans drop out of hyperdrive around Mars and we can exchange packages with them, but I think we’re about it when it comes to anything complex that lives here.

1. Michael says:

I hope your right. I’m of the “If the phone rings, don’t answer” camp. We’ve seen the kind of damage done to societies when very different cultures clash, never mind the spasms we might see due to religious consequences.

1. If I see a Covenant capital ship coming, I’m heading for the hills.

1. Jesper Both Pedersen says:

I doubt they’ll re-enlist me for defense purposes and I don’t own a gun. So I’d probably grab the cat and head off into the woods.

Maybe bring a kitchen knife and a sharpener just in case I won’t get zapped in the arse before the next meal.

Yippee ki-yay y’all!

2. john frum says:

It’s the Vogons you have to worry about, especially their poetry.

3. microraptor says:

Let’s be careful of any Beacons we unearth.

2. darrelle says:

“Then again, I suspect Ken Ham thinks whole branches of science only exist to disprove God.”

Definitely, and many other believers seem to think so too. It is likely a result of that insatiable yearning for specialness, combined with the love of feeling persecuted, that is so common among the more serious xians.

You could never get them to believe that scientist generally just do not give a shit about disproving god with their work and are only doing science because they like to figure out how stuff works. But if you could, you would break their hearts.

24. I don’t think there’s much intelligent life out there and that we are probably unique in the Universe. If we do colonize other worlds, we will likely be one of the first creatures to do it in the history of the Universe. I just hope that the Great Filter, or Filters, lie behind us and not ahead of us.

1. darrelle says:

Could you clarify a bit what you mean by unique? Intelligence that allows high levels of technology? Bilaterally symmetrical, bipedal quadrupeds, DNA, and a certain mix of amino acids but not others?

1. Capable of high levels of technology. But even cockroaches might be enjoying a level of complexity that is rarely seen elsewhere in the Universe.

We know that there are literally billions and billions and billions of possible starting points for life in Universe. Yet we have no evidence that we have ever been visited by intelligent life, and we have detected no artifacts or evidence of colonization in the Universe. Either we are completely oblivious to the evidence that is out there, or there really are no other civilizations, and never have been.

If it is the latter, then one or more Great Filters exist that make the appearance of creatures with advanced technology almost impossible. And if this is true, then we have either already gone through it, or have yet to approach it. If it is behind us, then it could have been the first appearance of life, or the development of Eukaryotic cells, or multicellular life, or sexual reproduction, or some other highly unlikely evolutionary development (or some combination of these things). If the Filter is ahead of us, it could be the fact that all technological societies eventually destroy themselves before mastering interplantetary travel.

That is why some prominent philosophers have gone on record saying that the discovery of advanced life in planets in our own solar system would be horrible news. The more advanced the life, the worse the news. For if advanced life could develop more than once in our little insignificant corner, then surely it appeared countless times in the Universe. That would push the Great Filter beyond things like the appearance of life or multicellular life, making it more likely that we are heading for a reckoning that few, if any, civilizations have successfully negotiated.

1. The energy budgets for interstellar travel, especially on scales beyond plant-the-flag missions, just don’t work out.

To send a schoolbus-sized payload (such as the Shuttle) to the nearest star on the order of a decade would take at least as much energy as our entire civilization produces for a year — and most of the “interesting” stars visible in the night sky that we’d want to visit are an order of magnitude farther away.

If you want to do space opera types of interstellar colonization — keeping it below the speed of light but close enough that time dilation makes it “practical” — then you need a sizable fraction of the power output of an entire star for your ship. If you can manipulate energy at that type of density, there’s nothing to be found in another star system that you can’t just as easily manufacture locally, save for stellar-scale reaction mass.

If you want to go the “sleeper ship” route, you’re now talking about building machinery that’s going to have to remain operational for longer than the current lifetime of our species. Considering that rubber and plastic alone aren’t likely to last long enough to get you past the Oort cloud before becoming brittle — and thus all your seals and insulation and the like failing — that’s also a non-starter; go passively and you’ll be just some random bit of rich interstellar ore long before you even get close to your destination.

That leaves “generation ships,” and, again, you’re talking about something that’s going to keep happy members of a civilization much more advanced than ours for longer than there’ve been H. sapiens sapiens. Insane energy requirements notwithstanding…if you can survive for that long away from a solar system, why even bother with one save for refueling or the like?

There’ve also been some pretty consistent order-of-magnitude comparisons throughout history with respect to travel for regular people and explorers. Don’t expect manned missions to Jupiter until you can vacation on the Moon. Don’t expect manned missions to Pluto until you can vacation on Mars. Don’t expect the first manned interstellar trips until you can have breakfast on Titan and dinner on Mercury later that same day.

Cheers,

b&

1. NewEnglandBob says:

Why explore far outer space when the inner mind is infinite and accessible?

1. NewEnglandBob says:

Have you watched sci-fi space movies? There are demons all over the place out there. 🙂

2. microraptor says:

Monsters from the id!

2. darrelle says:

I’ve never quite understood how anyone can have any confidence one way or the other when we haven’t looked at any significant portion of the landscape yet. That there is no evidence is no support since we don’t have the ability to gather significant evidence.

There could be life bearing worlds within 5 light years and right now we could not detect it. Given how large the observable universe is, and given that we have every reason to believe that reality operates the same everywhere in it, it does not make any sense to me to think that life is unique to earth. All the arguments in support of that position suffer from having a sample size of one.

Could it be true? Of course, given what we know, it is possible. Given that we haven’t even looked because we have yet to develop the capabilities to look, do we have good reason to think it is a significant probability? I don’t see how.

1. “There could be life bearing worlds within 5 light years and right now we could not detect it.”

Of course. But wasn’t it clear that I was mainly questioning the claim that intelligent life, with space faring technology, exists? If it did, we would expect to see certain things, and we don’t see them. To me at least, it’s not really 50/50 on the question of whether advanced civilizations populate the galaxy.

Either we are completely oblivious to the evidence that is out there, or there really are no other civilizations, and never have been. If it is the latter, then one or more Great Filters exist that make the appearance of creatures with advanced technology almost impossible.

Or, more likely, there is no “evidence that is out there”.

What would such purported “evidence” consist of? The large distances makes economies impossible, so there would be very little space travel. Perhaps, if people are adventurous and don’t mind the financial setback with no gain, there would be sparse attempts at colonization.*

Since the Fermi Question is too unconstrained due to the unknown but in the null hypothesis large likelihood of false negatives (i.e. scattered civilizations, but no imprint outside the system), it is useless to make predictions from. E.g. we can’t support “Great Filters”.

*As xqcd once showed by making a log plot of distances, the economical/technological effort due to our exponential resource increase over time doesn’t consist of interstellar travel. The largest effort after going to the Moon will be to go to the Oort cloud.

Since the Oort cloud has all the benefits of other bodies (volatiles for biospheres and fusion energy, minerals for habitats and technology) without the drawbacks (no costly and risky huge gravitational wells – Earth’s well is about as large as we can handle), I assume most civilizations stop there.

Now, the clouds are seamless in that you can see them overlapping at times. So such a colonization will eventually spread over a galaxy. But it would still be completely evidence-less. Since habitats would speciate shortly without having any trade, and why should they, they will pass each other as scattered ghosts in the endless night. A poetic fate awaits the FQ…

1. “What would such purported “evidence” consist of?”

I’d like to ask Rebecca, the planetary scientist from a few posts above, whether a galaxy with a substantial amount of advanced civilizations actively colonizing it would look different than a galaxy with no such civilizations. You are saying that all of this activity would be under the radar, and maybe you’re right, but I’d like to here from her (or any other expert in the field). If you are such an expert, then apologies in advance!

2. Mark Sturtevant says:

It is possible that intelligent life is exceedingly rare in the universe, although I do think it very likely that there is at least a fair amount of life out there.
One thing that puzzles me is the SETI search, which is likely a total boondoggle. Even if there is intelligent life transmitting alien versions of Punkin’ Chunkin, we will not detect it unless it is pretty close b/c the vast distances will weaken the signal by the inverse square law.

1. True, but what puzzles me is that even rudimentary colonization technology, using craft (manned or unmanned) traveling at fractions of the speed of light would only take a few million years to colonize a galaxy. That’s nothing in the timeframe of the Universe. If advanced civilizations were plentiful in our galaxy, we should see evidence of colonization.

1. Mark Sturtevant says:

There are various limitations to how dense the alien probes would be. From something I had read somewhere, so it must be true, it is estimated that it would take about 10 billion years since the big bang for there to be an accumulation of enough heavy elements to make significant numbers of rocky planets. So organic life (and I think that is ~ the only kind of life there can be) could only get started around 5 billion years ago. What is cute about that estimate is that earth got started right on schedule.
Anyway, this means there has not been enough time for very much alien probing. (👽)

I think those estimates are decades old.

Certainly planets were early, the oldest known is 13 billion years old. And rocky planets are most common among stars with the smallest metallicity. (Because else they have mass and time to grow to gas giants.)

Give or take star formation rates, but I expect there would have been significant numbers of habitable planets when the universe were 2-3 billion years old.

That we observe a planet that is ~ 5 billion years old is selection bias. It took that long to develop a species evolving our kind of technology to start to ask the question “how old is our planet?”

That we observe a planet that is relatively old compared to the universe is again selection bias, albeit anthropic such this time. The universe has gotten more complex, more stars and planets. Up to a point when dark energy starts to dilute average star density, spread the galaxies. That happened right about half the current age of the universe, or about 5-6 billion years ago, I think. (Isn’t that what Sean Carroll is on about recently?)

On that last case, I should have said “is likely, again, selection bias” because that is much less obvious.

By the way, if that is the reason why we see Earth’s age in relation the our universe’s age as about half as old, it is evidence rejecting blitz’s Fermi Question. Such a bias depends on the existence of a large distribution of species that can ask “how old is our planet”.

2. That, of course, is the flip side of the question.

If there were a civilization that established its first interstellar colony while T-Rex was still running around, and even if it took them as long to send out a new colony as it’s been since we ourselves first invented writing, we’d still expect the galaxy to be overrun by now.

b&

Why is that a puzzle?

Colonization builds on trade, but there will be no such economy over interstellar distances due to the constraint of the universal speed limit. (Settlements on the other hand may have internal economy only, but that is another issue entirely, see my longish comment on expected density of settlements.)

I see no puzzle here, just what we would expect.

1. Well, some have crunched the numbers, and have come to the conclusion that it would not take that long, relative to the age of the Universe, for galactic civilizations to colonize a galaxy:

“Using what they believe to be conservative assumptions (as low as one chance in four of embarking on a colonising mission in 1,000 years), they calculated that any galactic empire would have spread outwards from its home planet at about 0.25% of the speed of light. The result is that after 50m years it would extend over 130,000 light years, with zealous colonisers moving in a relatively uniform cloud and more reticent ones protruding from a central blob. Since the Milky Way is estimated to be 100,000-120,000 light years across, outposts would be sprinkled throughout the galaxy, even if the home planet were, like Earth, located on the periphery.”

http://www.economist.com/blogs/babbage/2012/01/extraterrestrial-intelligence

So where the hell are they?

1. The math is easy to do.

There are ~300 billion stars in the Milky Way. It only takes 38 doublings to get to 300 billion. Pick whatever number you think is appropriate for how long it takes to establish a new colony, multiply by 38, and that’s how long it’d take to overrun the galaxy.

Maybe it takes a century to establish a new colony? Well, anybody who started about the same time as the Pyramid builders would long since have run out of stars to colonize. A million years to establish a new colony? If the hypothetical interstellar race started colonizing about the time our common ancestor with monkeys lived, they’d have overrun the galaxy long before our common ancestor with chimps lived.

Exponential growth is a real bitch.

b&

SETI isn’t a waste with resources.

For one thing, if it is successful we will know 100 %. All other methods will get a statistical answer. E.g. “from this population of 20 candidates we can conclude with 3 sigma that life exist elsewhere, but we can’t tell exactly on individual planets with 3 sigma confidence”. That may be unsatisfying to some.

For another, if it is unsuccessful we can put a constraint on the likelihood of similar technological civilizations as ours. (Provided we finish such research with putting out some signals ourselves.)

1. Filippo says:

Does SETI send out sequences of prime numbers?

3. I don’t think there’s any possible way to make a judgment one way or another with the current information we have. There are plenty of dead stars in the far reaches of the Universe. It’s not inconceivable that one had a planet with intelligent life in the distant past, maybe even life that managed to get off the planet and establish itself elsewhere.

25. Pliny the in Between says:

actually Ham ignores the most modern theological thinking about extraterrestrial life that would prevent wide spread damnation- The many Jesuses theory.

1. Pliny the in Between says:

sorry this got caught in the queue and I missed the previous iterations of this.

26. To answer Professor J.C’s question about just how far-reaching the effects of original sin are, the apostle Paul wrote

“We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies” ~ Romans 8:22-23

One may interpret that to mean the entire universe is in suffering because of Adam’s sin and eagerly awaits the moment of redemption when Christ returns. At least this may be where he gets the idea.

1. David Evans says:

True, but remember that for most people in Paul’s time “the whole creation” consisted of the Earth and a few lights in the sky.

1. Mark Joseph says:

True, but wejuli is right in saying that that is the passage fundamentalists use to teach that the whole of creation is fallen.

I used to really get into that kind of stuff. Now, it’s just meaningless syllables. I’m much happier.

2. reasonshark says:

Well to put it in perspective, at the time of Paul’s writing that they’d converted the whole world, Christianity had spread from modern Israel to modern Croatia and Italy, and was making its way to Spain.

That pretty much leaves out Africa, the rest of Asia, northern Europe, both Americas, Australia, the Pacific islands, and pretty much everywhere outside of the eastern Roman Empire plus Spain and the capital.

Christianity didn’t even reach Britain (possibly the most remote part of the Roman Empire) until roughly the second century, more than forty years after Paul was alleged to have been executed.

27. Physicists are intrigued by cosmic black holes, but does anyone know a psychiatrist who might want to study the intellectual black hole that seems to be developing in Hambo’s brain?

28. eric says:

The search for extraterrestrial life is really driven by man’s rebellion against God in a desperate attempt to supposedly prove evolution!

Um, yeah, let’s see….

~200: Lucian writes a fictional account of a man riding a balloon to the moon, and meeting the moon’s king.

~1000: Avicenna writes about aliens inhabiting other realms.

1439: Nicholas Cusanus pretty much invents the notion of extraterrestrials, positing creatures inhabiting most of the celestial bodies (including sun and moon), and writing “we will suppose that in every region there are inhabitants, differing in nature by rank and all owing their origin to God.”

1686: Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle writes A Plurality of Worlds, in which he speculates about the inhabitants of Venus.

1770s: William Herschel talks about the moon aliens he saw in his telecsope.

Now, let’s think about what these all had in common. Oh, yeah: they couldn’t possibly be driven by a desparate attempt to prove evolution, because the TOE had not yet been proposed.

1. Mark Sturtevant says:

In 1750, an astronomer named Thomas Wright came pretty close to thinking there was a multiverse, although his speculation was based on early observations of distant nebula and galaxies. This is illustrated by this rather strange image of separate universes, each governed by a Perfect Being.

29. This is bordering on lunacy

No it isn’t! Bordering, that is. It’s well over the border. Too bad, Monty Python just finished their last show – they could’ve just quoted that text. And fished with the universe song: “… and pray that there’s intelligent life somewhere out in space, ’cause there’s buggers all down here on earth!”

30. Daoud says:

Sorry I note one glaring error: you say “This is bordering on lunacy”.

This is definitely not “bordering” it is well within the heartland of Lunacy! 😀

31. penguin0302 says:

“Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space. I certainly suspect not. The Earth was created for human life. And the sun and moon were created for signs and our seasons—and to declare the glory of God.”

First sentence admits the bible itself is inconclusive.
Second sentence states the wishful premise.
Third sentence frames the desired conclusion.
Ergo, the fourth sentence concludes.

Voilà, creationist science!

32. Jonathan says:

Too bad that we have to discuss and comment here. Wouldn’t it be fun it the AIG website actually allowed comments instead of just their “transmit mode?”

Do you suppose Ken Ham sneaks over here periodically to lurk? Maybe he’d like to face some real debate here? 🙂

The whole universe is ‘condemned’ just to make one planetary population eventually happy? Remarkably cruel magic belief Ham supports.

But this, at least, is progress:

The answers to life’s questions will not be found in imaginary aliens but in the revelation

The founders of religion saw reason and evidence as harmful. Ham is merely putting an unsubstantiated hope against the crushing progress of science, a substantial likelihood of putting the age old question “are we alone” to rest within 2 decades..

the sun and moon were created for signs and our seasons

Ham doesn’t seem to recognize that other planets have seasons and “signs” too.

I assume he doesn’t mean astrological signs that would be shared with the closest systems and a feature of any planet’s sky. (A planet far out in a galaxy halo have galaxies as patterns instead of stars.) But solar and lunar eclipses, which happens already on the next planet out. (On Mars by Phobos IIRC, albeit not so complete solar ones as we have.)

34. Keith Cook says:

Ham’s problem is blood flow to the brain, fairly common amongst the dim witted.
So biological constants withstanding, it is his idea of being a theist comic.
As for life being universal but not common in our neighbourhood his little book tells him, something… now back to the blood flow problem.

35. Scientifik says:

“Now the Bible doesn’t say whether there is or is not animal or plant life in outer space. I certainly suspect not. The Earth was created for human life. And the sun and moon were created for signs and our seasons—and to declare the glory of God.”

Don’t want to shock Mr. Ham but there are hundreds of billions other suns and moons in the universe, and they definitely weren’t created for our seasons. He really does seem to believe that everything in the universe somehow revolves around this tiny speck in the middle of nowhere, doesn’t he? 🙂

36. Ham started his essay on fire, he came roaring out of the gate!

His first two hard-hitting paragraphs concluded with exclamation points!

Then he calmed down a wee bit and all his sentences and paragraphs tailed away to punctuation with the ordinary, every-day, plain jane samo samo period. Yawnnn.

Making things even worse, Ham did not throw a single “amazing” in there anywhere, even though he he gave himself ample opportunity. Amazing God, amazing Bible, amazing jeebus, the list could be so long, the amazing AIG he didn’t even write, fer chrissakes.

An amazing letdown, particularly following on the heels of his fellow numbskull Dentist Don’s liberal abuse of the word.

I’m very disappointed.

37. Hypatias Daughter says:

“And the sun and moon were created for signs and our seasons—and to declare the glory of God.”
If so, He sure made a piss-poor job of it, didn’t He?
The Earth takes 365 1/4 days to orbit the Sun. That extra 1/4 day results in a years that gets out of sync with the seasons, unless we make fiddly adjustments, like adding leap years.
The Moon orbits in approx 27.2 days, which doesn’t divide evenly into a year of 365 1/4 days. Cultures that use the Moon to mark dates have calendars that shift from year to year.
And some CreoIDer’s wax ecstatic that the Earth, Moon and Sun were positioned so that ONLY we could have eclipses. While eclipses are awesome to watch, they aren’t crucial to our understanding the Solar System. They occur on other planets and they happen several years apart on Earth. If they were so important, God could have aligned the equators of the Earth, Moon and Sun so we would have them EVERT MONTH.
Celestial mechanics is very complex. Glory, my foot. The Heavens declare that God is the Rube Goldberg of Creators.

1. Jesper Both Pedersen says:

Brilliant.

1. microraptor says:

Which is not something that gets said about Garfield much anymore.

38. In that case, Hell must be an absolutely incredibly humongously large place if it is to accommodate all of the Universe’s aliens on top of all the sinful humans…

1. I can see it now. The heads of all the major transit agencies around the world all get sent to hell within a few generations. The road to hell, though wide, soon needs upkeep and the projects are plagued with delays, corruption and cost overruns. Pretty soon Satan nixes the project due to budget cuts and God has to float loans collateralized by the golden streets in Heaven. Meanwhile, all the heathens show the people up there what they’re missing and when Hell reopens, we have a final book to the Bible: Exodus 2.

39. I never thought, for a second, of connecting SETI with Evolution. That’s completely absurd, even for Ken Ham.