SETI: The Darwin Connection
Secular materialists looking for space aliens have a philosophical kinship with Darwinists.
“What Darwin Can Tell Us About Aliens”
That’s the headline of an article by Stephanie Pappas on Space.com, complete with a close-encounters type alien in embryonic form. Here’s the rationale for thinking space aliens will look similar to humans:
A new theory says yes, we would. In fact, life on other planets (or moons, or asteroids) might look surprisingly similar to life here on Earth, University of Oxford scientists wrote in a paper published in the International Journal of Astrobiology on Oct. 31. That’s because life on other planets would likely be subject to natural selection, just like life on Earth is. And if life is subject to natural selection, it is likely to share similarities, even if it isn’t carbon-based, for example, or codes its operating instructions in a way entirely different from DNA.
As we saw in the case of planetary systems (7/05/14), it’s risky to build a case on a sample of one. There are evolutionists who disagree with the idea that Darwinism always leads to similar organismic forms. Stephen Jay Gould, for instance, argued that if you replayed the tape of life on earth, very different organisms would probably form. That’s not what Samuel Levin believes:
“Living things are adapted,” study co-author Samuel Levin, a doctoral candidate in zoology at the University of Oxford, wrote in an email to Live Science. “They appear to be ‘trying to do things’ like eat, survive, grow, reproduce.”
The only way to adapt, Levin said, is through natural selection, the process through which hereditary variation among individuals leads to differences in success, and ultimately survival of the fittest.
“Anything that will stand out to us as alien life will have undergone natural selection,” Levin said.
This line of thinking apparently comes from the University of Oxford, which posted a standard “ET” type image of a space alien in its press release. In this article, Sam Levin poured on the philosophizing without any shred of observational evidence:
Sam Levin added: ‘We still can’t say whether aliens will walk on two legs or have big green eyes. But we believe evolutionary theory offers a unique additional tool for trying to understand what aliens will be like, and we have shown some examples of the kinds of strong predictions we can make with it.
‘By predicting that aliens undergone major transitions – which is how complexity has arisen in species on earth, we can say that there is a level of predictability to evolution that would cause them to look like us.
‘Like humans, we predict that they are made-up of a hierarchy of entities, which all cooperate to produce an alien. At each level of the organism there will be mechanisms in place to eliminate conflict, maintain cooperation, and keep the organism functioning. We can even offer some examples of what these mechanisms will be.
‘There are potentially hundreds of thousands of habitable planets in our galaxy alone. We can’t say whether or not we’re alone on Earth, but we have taken a small step forward in answering, if we’re not alone, what our neighbours are like.’
“Levels of predictability” include the ground level at zero. How could Levin know which level he is on? It’s easy to predict something you know you have almost no chance of ever finding. What this implies is that the “examples of what these mechanisms will be” are nothing more than cartoons.
Honoring a Failure
The number of space aliens Jill Tarter has found is: Zero. Zilch. Nada. In honor of her pristine record, Nola Taylor Redd at Space.com devoted a lengthy column to her life and work. Since no extra-terrestrial ‘intelligence’ has ever been found, the SETI Institute for which Tarter wrote the Charter has diversified into astrobiology, which is also devoid of evidence for its key belief in life beyond earth.
Today, the SETI Foundation not only hunts for signals from alien civilizations but also studies newly discovered exoplanets, hunts for hardy extremophiles on Earth that could give clues about how extraterrestrial life could evolve, and even studies our own planet.
The Darwin connection is clear in this article: “how extraterrestrial life could evolve” is the tip-off. Studying earth life is worthwhile, no one would deny. And yes, planets have been found around other stars. But her record for finding extraterrestrial life of any kind, even microbes, is also: Zero. Zilch. Nada. Ditto for clues about how it could evolve.
We’re not really trying to get you to laugh. We’re not trying to mock the worshipers of the Bearded Buddha and joke about their invisible friends. All we are doing is quoting their own words. If you choose to laugh, well, you can classify yourself among the sensible.
Unfortunately, that means you will never get equal time on Space.com and the other secular evolutionary media outlets.