Research Programs and Religion

But how it is it philosophically consistent?

For example, I see no reason to search for extraterrestrial life - it’s a waste of time and money from my POV because there’s no indication from the Bible that it exists. Why would I actively encourage it? I could see that it could happen “accidentally” but I see no point in doing so when other science could lead to more knowledge.

There’s also no indication from the Bible that bacteria or viruses exist, so one presumes you see no reason to search for them either. Does the Bible know about fungi, or Australia, or the Northern Lights, or any one of billions of phenomena the ancient Hebrews were unfamiliar with? It’s a sad version of science that limits itself to what’s found in the Bible.


The Bible isn’t a science textbook. I’m referring to the fact that the search for ET life seems to be related to the need to explain that the Earth is not unique. I can’t find the right word for that - anthropocentrism? I know it has a specific name in cosmology. It’s not coming to me.

The Copernican Principle.

Also often referred to as “The Principle of Mediocrity.”

But that isn’t a fact, barring the word “seeming”, which merely expresses your capacity to see things that might not be there. Perhaps people want to know whether the Earth is unique or not in harboring life, and even if they want to prove or explain that it is not, there’s only really one way to find out in the end.

Either way, the idea that the Earth either is or is not unique, is and remains an assumption, and we simply haven’t explored enough planets to be able to say we have anything approaching a statistically significant sample. Mars is being probed harder than drifters in Roswell, New Mexico, and we’re still not even remotely sure whether it’s lifeless or not.


If we stopped looking for the things not found in the Bible then we would be far more ignorant of the universe than we are today. No black holes in the Bible, so why look for them? No galaxies in the Bible, so why look for them? No other planets in the Bible, so why look for them?


John 10:16 - 16 And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.

John 18:36 - 36 Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.”

(Being funny…I know what they mean before you get all riled up…)


I appreciate a sense of humor :wink:

Don’t the Mormons use this verse? I guess antipodeans are sort of like aliens. :joy:

Yes, but my beliefs say the Earth is unique. Therefore, why would I go against my own beliefs and endorse public money being spent on that when we could cure a disease? I would rather help the sick.

That’s quite different. All of the universe praises God; increased knowledge is increased amazement of how God made the world.

Proverbs 18

An intelligent heart acquires knowledge,
and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.
16 A man’s gift makes room for him
and brings him before the great.
17 The one who states his case first seems right,
until the other comes and examines him.

Last verse sounds like science, doesn’t it? :grinning:

What I’m describing is more of a judgment call about a moral choice about what kind of science to invest in. If there were no limits, sure, go check for other life. When God makes all things new, there will be no limits to exploration or knowledge.

God considers is it to be good to ask for wisdom and knowledge.

2 Chronicles 1

In that night God appeared to Solomon, and said to him, “Ask what I shall give you.” 8 And Solomon said to God, “You have shown great and steadfast love to David my father, and have made me king in his place. 9 O Lord God, let your word to David my father be now fulfilled, for you have made me king over a people as numerous as the dust of the earth. 10 Give me now wisdom and knowledge to go out and come in before this people, for who can govern this people of yours, which is so great?” 11 God answered Solomon, “Because this was in your heart, and you have not asked for possessions, wealth, honor, or the life of those who hate you, and have not even asked for long life, but have asked for wisdom and knowledge for yourself that you may govern my people over whom I have made you king,

I don’t know, He’s referring to Gentiles…I like to think “Gentiles” includes non-human sentient aliens, but I like Science fiction too, so not quite theology that I would hang on to.

So why couldn’t that include intelligent alien species on other planets?


Maybe you also want to find out whether your already held beliefs are actually true? Why would anyone jump on a boat and sail out into the Atlantic ocean to discover what’s on the other side? Why would we go to the Moon? Or the bottom of the ocean?

And money for helping the sick can come from innumerable other directions. Why of all things should money be taken from people studying the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe just because you’ve decided you believe, on nothing but blind faith (your holy book doesn’t say God only created life here), that there is none?

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I have, by studying the resurrection, as well as Islam.

I’m fine with that. It’s research that is purposed to find life specifically I would not be for. Yes, explore wherever else.

So can the search for ET. Get private funds.

It seems to emphasize it. It’s obvious from the book we’re supposed to be special in the universe. We haven’t found a similar planet yet, have we?

Because Genesis tells us humans were created as adam (Humans) from adamah (the earth). And the Bible gives us fairly extensive knowledge of angels - different types, their interactions with humans, etc. If it was really important to know there was life on other planets, I would assume it would be included in the Bible.

Therefore, if you gave me a choice, I’d never support public funding for that, and would put the money elsewhere where it would do more good. If you want to as a private citizen, go ahead. I think studying our immediate surroundings in the solar system is awesome, as well as the rest of the universe. Like I said, it could happen accidentally. But research that’s purposed just for finding ET, no thank you.

It’s the opposite of anthropocentrism. You may be referring to the principle of mediocrity. I see @pnelson has already mentioned it.

Then why do you keep trying to use it as one? And what does your opposition to SETI have to do with the bible?

What do your beliefs have to do with the bible, or with reality for that matter?


That’s always my issue with the ‘funding space research’* discussion: take some from the billionaires so they can only avoid 3 x 100 million dollar yachts instead of 5. Or from the military budget! Or any of a huge number of other places. Rather than from medical care or support for the most vulnerable.

*and the vast majority of space research is not the search for ETs anyway… we learn an enormous amount in science and technology from the attempt that is beneficial for life on Earth

Not that it’s an uninteresting discussion…

…but aliens seem to have abducted the discussion of the naturalists/supernaturalists language. :wink:

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That’s a very dangerous precedent. Especially with medical research

There’s already way, way more money spent on medical research than almost anything else except maybe defense research. The budget for the National Institutes of Health is for example about $40 billion per year. There’s also tons of private funding as well as medical research by pharmaceutical corporations into. In contrast, most of the pure research on searching for ETs (e.g. SETI) is funded privately, although the NSF (I think) does fund astronomical research studying planets that may be habitable, but it’s nowhere close to $40 billion per year.

Well, one of the big questions is whether there could be life hiding in our solar system, such as in the oceans of Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter. Studying the planet is part of NASA’s grand plans in the next decade.

Why would life on other planets in a distant galaxy be important to be written in the Bible? After all, the main reason for the writing of the Bible is to reveal God’s plan of salvation for humanity on Earth. Even if there are rational beings in some galaxy far away, that doesn’t change the validity or efficacy of that message.

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One of the funnest lectures I do to my classes of beginning science teachers is “Where might we find life in our Solar System?” There are at least 4-5 candidates… and to date Venus had not been one of them, but the recent discovery of phosphine may mean I need to change my notes!