Big Science only forbids some religions, like those with evidence. The wacky ones pass right by the censors.
Defining “religion” is hard, but to Big Science, it generally means matters of faith unconstrained by evidence. Materialists don’t take Christian evidences seriously, such as the empty tomb of Jesus; those can be explained away by various rescue devices. Some unconstrained beliefs, though, have no problem getting published in scientific journals and on science news websites. One of the most bizarre is SETI: the belief in intelligent space aliens. Recent articles take that belief to new extremes. Let’s go from mild cases to what could only be described as paranoid.
Giant Telescope in China Joins International Hunt for Extraterrestrial Life (Space.com): No real problem here. Data collection is defensible. Of course, nothing has been found for sure yet, but no harm in looking (as long as we don’t have to pay for it). Billionaire Yuri Milner forked over the dough for this latest project. He can waste his money if he chooses.
Are aliens trying to tell us something? Brightest burst of radio waves detected (The Conversation): Carole Mundell takes a step beyond observation, wondering what certain radio waves are “telling us.” That depends on whether they emanate from sentient beings. Even advocates of intelligent design apply the Design Filter in these cases, giving preference to natural or chance causes before inferring design. Mundell speaks mostly about possible physical causes for the mysterious bursts, but ponders: “Nobody knows what causes these powerful bursts, but some have even speculated that the signals could be transmitted by distant alien civilisations.” The word could is a faith word.
If we find ET, don’t talk to it, says the man who wants to find ET (The Conversation, Update 11/21/16): In this article, astronomer Charley Lineweaver and his friend Stephen Hawking speculate about the moral and intellectual traits of space aliens they have never seen. Judging from his beliefs about evolution, Lineweaver thinks aliens would most likely have evolved millions of years beyond us and would probably be hostile. His alien religion requires a kind of genuflection. He notes that Hawking thinks humans should keep their head low; “in the spectrum between, paranoia and unjustifiable fear on one side, and reasonable caution on the other, where does keeping your head low fit in?” Lineweaver concludes, “even if there aren’t any advanced alien civilisations elsewhere in the universe, keeping your head down is probably a good exercise in humility.”
Why Our First Alien Encounter Could Happen Soon (National Geographic, Update 11/22/16): Ben Miller gets a pass by a friendly interviewer at NG in this article while he shares his religious beliefs about aliens. He thinks they will be discovered very soon, perhaps in 10 years. Why? Because “Once we find life out there, you have to think that other intelligent life-forms and civilizations exist as well.” Technically, that’s a non-sequitur. Bacteria on an exoplanet does not necessitate intelligent life elsewhere, unless one believes that intelligence is a necessary consequence of Darwinian evolution, given enough time. While Miller admits the possibility that humans are alone in the universe, he thinks his faith in aliens will end up evangelizing all the world’s religions:
At the moment we are in this extraordinary position that our planet may be the only thing in the entire universe with life. So we would be taking a closer step to one of two extraordinary results: that we are the only life-form in the universe or that we are not alone. Either will be species defining. It will change the whole way we view ourselves: religion, politics, our individual psyches, everything.
Aliens are everywhere, says Ivy League professor (Fox News): This one takes the cake for wildest speculation we have ever seen concerning space aliens. Columbia astrophysicist Caleb Scharf is floating the idea that aliens have evolved so far ahead of humans, they have transmogrified themselves into the laws of nature and even subatomic particles that surround us.
The theory helps to explain the great mysteries of the cosmos and also answers why we are yet to find intelligent life beyond our planet, Professor Caleb Scharf says.…
“Perhaps hyper-advanced life isn’t just external. Perhaps it’s already all around”, he said.
“It is embedded in what we perceive to be physics itself.
“In other words, life might not just be in the equations. It might be the equations.”
He even thinks that we are the products of an alien 3-D printer. No wonder we haven’t found space aliens, he explains; “We don’t recognize advanced life because it forms an integral and unsuspicious part of what we’ve considered to be the natural world.” Scharf is a respected astronomer at an ivy league university. But if he takes his speculations seriously, he cannot differentiate inner and outer worlds. He has become a space alien himself.
This “expert” would look good in a white lab coat, particularly one that he cannot get out of easily. Where are the censors? How come this “radical new theory” gets a pass, but intelligent design does not?
The difference between Scharf’s alien-is-everything and the Christian doctrine of God’s omnipresence must be understood. To the Christian, God is the eternal first cause. Omnipresence is one of his attributes. To Scharf, material particles evolved into minds that took over. It’s the exact opposite: evolved materials turning themselves into masters of the universe. It’s the latest iteration of Satan’s old lie, “you shall be as gods.”
Big Science should be consistent. If it cannot endure religion within its holy domain of “science,” it should repudiate Satanism, too.