Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Beam Me Up

It's not very often that my two favorite fields of science have exciting news for me two days in a row. Today's news, however, is far more exciting: it seems that European scientists have discovered a new planet. Now, I know what you're thinking: they've already discovered over 200 other planets, not counting the 8 1/2 in our solar system. Yes, but--this is the closest thing to Earth they've ever found. Closer in the sense of similarity. They think this planet has a mean temperature of between 0° and 40°C (which roughly equates to 32°-104°F--sound familiar?). Oddly, tho, it orbits its sun in just 13 days. Anyway--scientists think it may have liquid water, and liquid water = life.

The other exciting thing about this is that, if true, it puts us at yet another crazy intersection of science and religion. I don't know if any of you remember, but when Darwin came out with his stuff, one of the hardest parts for religious types to swallow was the idea that humanity could be on the same level as the animals (which evolution claims). Uniquity among the animals was central to their "in the image of God" theology. We've gotten away from that, but a lot of ├╝berconservatives now hold high a new idea that I call "what are the chances?" theology. Basically, some people assert that life is so fickle and hard to sustain that it's almost impossible for life to exist. So close to impossible, in fact, that randomness could not have done it. Ergo, some higher being had to put it all together just right so that life could exist. I don't disagree with the conclusion, but I detest the analysis. What are the chances? Who cares? I think that life is determined to survive: that's what it does. If things had been only slightly different, then life would be slightly different.

If you're going to try to put God and science together, do it well. This new planet will force them to rethink (hopefully) this theory and figure out a much better reason to give God the credit.

That's all I have to say about that.


Anonymous said...

Mikearoni here,

I feel I have to weigh in. I too am fascinated by the prospect of life "out there." probably the result of watching too many science fiction movies/Star Trek episodes when I was a young child. Anyway, I have often also wondered about the nexus between faith and the possibility of extraterretrial life. There are many questions that would challenge many of evangelical Christianity's traditional notions/doctrines in addition to Creation. what about salvation and eschatology? What impact would life on other planets have on the role of Christ himself? Is there sin on other planets? There's probably lots of other questions, as well, these are just a few. interesting. enough of that for now, have a good day studying LAPP.

Craig Pankratz said...

No challenge to my faith.

Mormons have believed from the inception of our Church that there are other planets whose inhabitants are begotten sons and daughters of God and who can be saved by the sacrifice and atonement of Jesus Christ. So this new discovery isn't any shock to me. I've believed there are other planets like Earth for a very long time with people who know and worship God the Father and Jesus Christ, His Son.

Here are two URLs to read a little about what Mormons believe about life on other planets (I know it's not much):

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
avacadojer said...

You may notice that two anonymous comments were deleted (10:57 and 10:59). I deleted them for a very important reason. You are free to disagree with someone's point of view, but you are not free to use my forum to denigrate them or their beliefs in an inappropriate manner.

And by the way, learn a lesson from CP: at least he has the guts to use his real name instead of going by "anonymous." If you had used some identifiable moniker, your comment might still be there.

ALV said...

Sounds scandalous! Sorry that I missed it. ;)

Livingsword said...

While I profoundly disagree with our Mormon friend I am a follower of Jesus, Chuch member and everyday Bible studier I have no problem with life anywhere in the universe or potential multi-verse.

It is ok to disagree but lets not be disagreeable.

Anonymous said...

Mike May here,

looks like fun. Again, I am going to have to stop reading Alico's blog or I am going to fail LAPP.

I would like to disagree and do so in a disagreeable manner. personally I find Pankratz' comment and belief structure without merit. While I agree that we should treat people with respect, I don't feel that a faith system built on a foundation of deceit and illusion is so deserving of respect. Joseph Smith was nothing more than a 19th century snake oil salesman and I find it tragic that people in the 21st century are still being misled by his lies, and the fabrications and misapprehensions of those who came after him.

As to Livingsword, What is a multi-verse? And Whatever life is out there I am sure is glad to hear that you don't have any problem with it.

Well, that's all for now. You guys are free to e-mail me at

Craig Pankratz said...

Sorry, I didn't mean to cause controversy on your blog. I just thought you might enjoy a different perspective. I guess I'll have to be more discrete or just post on my own blog.

And don't worry about those who attack me or my beliefs: I don't get offended that easily. As a Mormon at a Baptist University, you have to have a thick skin.

Hope you did well on your finals.