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Why the Interest in Extra-Terrestrial Life?

It’s bizarre to listen to “scientists” and politicians talk about searching for life elsewhere in the universe. These people who are skeptical of Catholic teaching (or what used to be taken for granted as Catholic teaching) on the teleological centrality of earth in the universe are suddenly open-minded when it comes to something as improbable as there being life somewhere other than on planet Earth.

Why does this interest in extra-terrestrial life exist? What leads people to desire this to be true?

Answer: The irrefutable argument that the exact conditions that allow for plant and animal life on earth leads to the probable conclusion that the universe has an intelligent Creator who had made it just so.

David Hume raised this argument in his “Dialogues on Natural Religion“, in which Cleanthes argued that the skeptical arguments of Philo were irrational and unsustainable. He specially argued that Philo contradicted himself by granting credibility to “scientific” hypotheses while refusing to do the same for religious beliefs. We experience this double standard on a daily basis today.

If someone proposes that there may be millions of universes invisible to us, or that man might one day colonize Mars, it is received with optimism.

If someone suggests that we should recognize that our eyeballs could not have been assembled by chance, it is scoffed at with skeptical demands for demonstration.

One argument, however, that really corners the modern skeptic is the exclusivity of life in the universe. There is no evidence of plant or animal life anywhere but on Earth. One can dismiss the idea that the Earth is the center of the universe (whether physically or morally), but one cannot deny that there is no evidence of life anywhere but here–and that’s a real problem.

So, the selectively optimistic scientists embrace the idea that while Earth may be the only place capable of sustaining any form of life in the known universe, there may be other universes, even millions of them. And, if there are millions, or billions, of other universes, then it becomes less likely Earth should be the only place capable of sustaining life.

As with the need to multiply years into the billions to maintain the theory of evolution, naturalists need to multiply universes as well to get around the challenge of the exclusivity of life on earth.

Of course, the argument that multiplying universes proves that life exists elsewhere has no merit, but for the skeptics, any argument the postpones the demonstration of their error is good enough.

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