December 28, 2014

Who Says There's No Good News?: Science Increasingly Makes the Case for God

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by Eric Metaxas Author of Miracles: What They Are, Why They Happen, and How They Can Change Your Life and, among others, Socrates in the City: Conversations on "Life, God, and Other Small Topics"


[An extended excerpt from the Wall Street Journal]

"With such spectacular odds, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, a large, expensive collection of private and publicly funded projects launched in the 1960s, was sure to turn up something soon. Scientists listened with a vast radio telescopic network for signals that resembled coded intelligence and were not merely random. But as years passed, the silence from the rest of the universe was deafening. Congress defunded SETI in 1993, but the search continues with private funds. As of 2014, researches have discovered precisely bubkis—0 followed by nothing.

"What happened? As our knowledge of the universe increased, it became clear that there were far more factors necessary for life than Sagan supposed. His two parameters grew to 10 and then 20 and then 50, and so the number of potentially life-supporting planets decreased accordingly. The number dropped to a few thousand planets and kept on plummeting.

"Even SETI proponents acknowledged the problem. Peter Schenkel wrote in a 2006 piece for Skeptical Inquirer magazine: “In light of new findings and insights, it seems appropriate to put excessive euphoria to rest . . . . We should quietly admit that the early estimates . . . may no longer be tenable.”

"As factors continued to be discovered, the number of possible planets hit zero, and kept going. In other words, the odds turned against any planet in the universe supporting life, including this one. Probability said that even we shouldn’t be here.

"Today there are more than 200 known parameters necessary for a planet to support life—every single one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Without a massive planet like Jupiter nearby, whose gravity will draw away asteroids, a thousand times as many would hit Earth’s surface. The odds against life in the universe are simply astonishing.

"Yet here we are, not only existing, but talking about existing. What can account for it? Can every one of those many parameters have been perfect by accident? At what point is it fair to admit that science suggests that we cannot be the result of random forces? Doesn’t assuming that an intelligence created these perfect conditions require far less faith than believing that a life-sustaining Earth just happened to beat the inconceivable odds to come into being? From the WSJ

Posted by gerardvanderleun at December 28, 2014 4:36 PM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Some days when my faith wavers, I wonder if the universe isn't some colossal, sterile computer. That would make the Earth just a bad sector or a bit of corrupt code. Then the fact that we haven't been overwritten yet restores my faith.

Be fruitful and multiply is the first commandment in the Bible. What if He has set all of the universe aside for us?

Posted by: el baboso at December 28, 2014 5:52 PM

I takes a good deal less supposing to suppose that our sun and it's planets do in fact represent a very common arrangement through the universe. It takes a great deal of supposing to assume that it doesn't.

Zero is zero. Any fraction of infinity is infinity.

Earth does not require an exclusivity on life to be unique. I suspect it is unique and the book is still out on weather that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Posted by: james wilson at December 28, 2014 5:53 PM

reasons.org

Posted by: Scott M at December 28, 2014 8:36 PM

It's like looking for smoke signals when we, I mean aliens, are using radio... Keep banging the rocks together, guys, and maybe one day you'll have something interesting to say to us, er, I mean aliens; and in a method we, um, I mean they can appreciate...

Posted by: Jack Dwyer at December 29, 2014 3:38 AM

People of Faith have a logical idea of what Life is all about.

Posted by: chasmatic at December 29, 2014 5:51 AM

I am a great fan of Eric Metaxes. However, after listening to several of the 'Miracles' CDs in my car, I have to say, I find this book rather laborious and exhausting to follow....so I've shelved it. Instead I'm listening to Tim Keller's book (on CD) on 'Prayer.' It too is complex and can only be taken by me in small bits. But so far, I'm making it a little further. I also love, love, love Randy Alcorn's CD book called 'HEAVEN'. Wow, and double wow! Guess it's all about what draws a person and feels poignant because they're all great Christian writers.

Posted by: Webutante at December 29, 2014 12:20 PM

There has been one signal found that has puzzled radio astronomers, since 1977, Perkins Observatory /Ohio State Big WOW signal. Do the research. Then say at least one signal we know that is not to be natural cause, but with some intelligence.

Posted by: Bernie Porambo at December 29, 2014 10:14 PM

Exactly right, and with every advancement in technology, every far reaching glimpse into the latest discovery, each incremental revelation, it's as if God is saying, "That's good, but can't you hurry up? You haven't seen anything yet.There's so much more I can't wait to show you!"

Posted by: Steve Swinney at December 29, 2014 11:12 PM

in our galaxy alone there's c. 400 billion stars and trillions of planets. At a minimum, there's millions of life-sustaining planets and, at any given time, quite a bit of intelligent life. The problem is: the Nuclear Funnel. Most "intelligent" life-forms get to about where we are now - crack the atom, fooling with their own genetic code - and destroy themselves, i.e. never reach very far into space. The "wow" signal, which was real enough, probably came via a beacon or unmanned probe from a long-extinct civilization; at least we'd better hope so, because we're in no shape to confront genuine space-aliens for a good long time. Might be best to think of it all as...God's Quarantine System

Posted by: WiseCaveOwl at December 29, 2014 11:43 PM

I don't see why life on other planets makes a case for or against God. The complexity of the universe, ok maybe that helps, but it's not a central argument. The key thing is that God (the creator of everything that exists) is not bound by time nor space. Time and Space are things, some of the tools he made, home made tools in his pocket. When we try to impose our limitations (our limitations of understanding, and our limited space and time) upon God, we are playing childish games, playing at being God.

Posted by: Floyd at December 30, 2014 5:06 AM

I won't name names but - "The fool says in his heart 'their is no God'". - Psalm 14:1

Posted by: Denny at December 30, 2014 8:28 AM

I won't name names but - "The fool says in his heart 'there is no God'". - Psalm 14:1

Posted by: Denny at December 30, 2014 8:30 AM

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