By now, I’m sure that many of you have heard about the hullabaloo surrounding Ken Ham’s comments last week about NASA’s search for extraterrestrial life. Now Neil deGrasse Tyson has weighed in with his assessment of what Ken supposedly said; Tyson stated, “That’s messed up.” You know, Neil is right, but not as he meant it.
"Messed Up" Reports
What actually happened? There was a news story about NASA’s search for extraterrestrial life. Kevin Hand, a NASA scientist, predicted that we would find evidence of life elsewhere within 20 years. Ken Ham blogged about this article and stated that the search would be fruitless, because there aren’t any aliens. After this, “news stories” proliferated, claiming various things, such as Ken Ham thinks that NASA ought to be defunded or that aliens are going to hell anyway. Of course, Ken Ham said no such things. The source of this nonsense apparently was the Friendly Atheist, though most of the supposed news outlets didn’t bother to acknowledge that source or to contact Answers in Genesis for confirmation. This sort of thing happens all too often in news reporting—reporters report on what someone claims someone else said instead of reporting what the person in question actually said. A similar thing happened to me back in March when I reportedly demanded equal time on the relaunched Cosmos TV show. Of course, I said no such thing. So, yes, Neil, the reporting on this is messed up.
Earth-like Planets? There's No Proof!
There are only two possible ways that life can arise: either it happens through purely natural processes or someone creates it. The first explanation is evolution, and the second is creation. Astrobiology as a recognized discipline is relatively new. It is the study of life (elsewhere) in the universe. Recent meetings of the American Astronomical Society have had sessions dedicated to astrobiology. There is even a peer-reviewed journal called Astrobiology. Apparently, it’s escaped the notice of most people that astrobiology is a science for which there is no data. Much of the discussion about astrobiology concerns the habitability of extrasolar planets and how the chemistry might have brought about life. It’s rife with speculation and computer simulations, but not data.
If creation is true, then the question of whether life exists on other planets is a theological one, not a scientific one, at least until life is actually found. As such, one must approach the question by asking why God might have created life elsewhere. That is exactly the sort of question that Ken Ham raised and answered with biblical thinking. For years, skeptics have mocked Christianity by concluding that if the Bible is true, then Jesus would have been born, died, and rose again on countless worlds to redeem the various races of aliens. Now Ken made much the same point regarding the problem with the existence of aliens, albeit seriously and respectfully, and he is mocked for that. You can’t win with these people.
Nor are we creationists alone in the belief that life is exceedingly rare or unique to Earth. The late Sir Fred Hoyle understood the tremendous complexity of even “simple” life. He realized the improbability of life arising by chance. This is why he adopted panspermia as the source of life on Earth. Panspermia is the belief that life is seeded on various planets by hitching rides on rocks that are blown off planets that have life already. Even Stephen Hawking expressed a similar thought in 2009. Hoyle believed that the universe was eternal, so as improbable as life is, he reasoned that it could have arisen once in the universe. Nobel Prize-winning physicist Enrico Fermi asked the question that if life has developed elsewhere, why haven’t aliens shown up yet? This is known as the Fermi Paradox. Evolutionists who believe in life elsewhere have no definitive answer to this question. Of course, our critics don’t mock these people, even though they reached a similar conclusion to what we have reached, though for very different reasons.
For the record, we at Answers in Genesis welcome the search for extraterrestrial life, as Ken and I briefly discussed in a video. We have made our prediction that there are no aliens, and evolutionists have made their prediction that there must be aliens. Which prediction has been supported so far? For more than a half century, scientists have been looking for alien life, and thus far our prediction has been shown to be true. But science depends upon repeating experiments and observations, so we encourage that this work go on.
Ken published a response to Neil deGrasse Tyson this week. Ken gave a detailed explanation of what he meant by his comments about aliens and what is truly "messed up" about the media situation surrounding his views on ETs and UFOs. You can read the full article at AnswersInGenesis.org.
By the way, when all of this excitement blew up recently, we already were planning a new planetarium show at the Creation Museum for next year. It will address the question of aliens and UFOs in an entertaining way, so stay tuned.