Recently, I had an email exchange with someone about the supposed existence of alien-UFOs. This person is a very courteous, highly intelligent, scientifically minded gentleman, who has held various positions within the U. S. space program for many years. He shared with me that several years ago another scientist got him interested in examining what he thought was evidence for the existence of alien-UFOs. While at first skeptical, he now says that he has also come to believe, beyond any doubt, that the earth is in fact being visited by alien beings that are far superior to earthlings in both intelligence and technology. Not only that, but he further speculates that these aliens might be the very cause for man's existence here on earth.
The fact that he believes this should not have surprised me. One Gallup poll in the 1980s supposedly showed that half of all Americans believe in alien flying saucers. While this figure seems high, it is highly likely that more people believe in aliens than many Christians might suspect. Subsequent conversations with unbelievers in my circle of relationships have confirmed this. It seems that a lot of people believe alien-UFOs are visiting planet earth on a regular basis.
When I asked this man what he considered to be proof for such an amazing conviction, he could only cite a few unusual cases of unexplained occurrences (such as individuals seeing lights/objects in the sky while simultaneously losing power to their motor vehicle) and a handful of scientifically investigated areas where there was some type of physical traces left over from what a very small number of witnesses reported as a UFO that had touched the ground. In short, these few instances made up the evidence that he needed to conclude alien-UFOs not only exist, but these aliens are also probably among us, going about whatever activities they wish.
What is ironic in all of this is that he is both a non-Christian and a professed empiricist. In rejecting the authority of God's word in Scripture, his replacement standard as the ultimate test for truth is found in what scientists observe. In his mind, unless science can observe something, then it either doesn't exist or cannot be known to exist.
This fellow knows that I am a Christian, who holds to the authority of Scripture based upon its own self-attesting authority. I believe that the Bible must be taken to be God's word on the basis of its own testimony and that the evidence for its being what it claims to be is inherent within it. As Cornelius Van Til said, Scripture bears the “marks of divinity”— indicia divinitatis . This scientist, of course, thinks that believing such things about Scripture is “blind” faith. He supposes Bible-believing Christians such as myself accept the Bible's teachings in absence of true evidence. In his opinion, the Bible was merely written by men, apart from any divine influence, and Christians are simply adopting the opinions of ancient Middle Eastern peoples, who couldn't possibly know any more about "God" than what any of us could presently know, since God's Being cannot be empirically tested and validated by science.
I first pointed out to him that empiricism, as a standard for truth in itself, fails its own test. Since empiricism is a belief, which is both abstract and immaterial, then it cannot be "observed" or “tested.” It is merely an adopted standard for knowledge held to be true by those who hold a materialistic view of reality. It is ultimately a standard that reflects a view of reality materialists themselves hold to by faith.
The point about empiricism aside, I then tried to show him that the evidence for alien-UFOs is nonexistent based upon his own empirical standards. Why are there no worldwide alien/UFO-appearances like those in the movies Independence Day and Signs ? Where is an example of the kind of circumstantial physical evidence demanded for such a claim, such as maybe an alien-UFO “muffler” that has been left behind from one of its travels? If a physical object were ever recovered from a UFO sighting/site and was widely examined by the scientific community bearing clear indications of materials or construction methods unknown to man, then empirical data would exist for speculative alien-UFO theories within this scientist's worldview. But the best any given empiricist could now claim regarding the available evidences used to support the existence of alien-UFOs is that current “evidence” is either scientifically untestable (such as witness testimonies) or inconclusive. Any case for alien-UFOs is based upon pure imagination.
The late astronomer Carl Sagan, who authored the script later made into the movie Contact , publicly stated that no evidence for alien-UFOs existed. In his words, "Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence." What is interesting about Sagan is that if anyone would have had access to "extraordinary evidence" to support a belief in alien-UFOs, it would have been him. Being an atheist, materialist, and empiricist himself, Sagan was also a prime example of someone who searched for the meaning of his own life and existence within the framework of the natural cosmos. A belief in the existence of highly developed alien creatures, whose provable existence might even be an imagined cause for man's existence, would make the universe seem less lonely for many materialists and offer them hope that existential answers might someday be found in something outside of a test tube, microscope, or telescope.
While my scientist-friend acknowledges that most UFO information, especially the kind posted on the Internet, is pure fiction, he nonetheless holds to his conviction that some of it supports his conclusion that the earth is being visited by super-intelligent creatures from outside our solar system and that the collective governments of the world are surely aware of this. He steadfastly maintains this even though he has not personally studied the alleged physical evidence, nor has this evidence been subjected to the scrutiny of the broader worldwide scientific community. I concluded our correspondence by including 10 incredible assumptions that must be made by anyone who wants to imagine the earth is being visited by alien-UFOs. I do not know if these points impressed him at all, but I do know that the next time I hear someone accuse Christians of credulity, I will probably smile just a little bit. The assumptions are as follows:
- It is assumed that macroevolution (the belief that life accidentally began and evolved from simplistic microorganisms to subsequently different [and "more complex"] species of creatures, which in turn evolved over millions of years into completely new species) is probably true.
- It is assumed that alien creatures probably evolved somewhere in the universe, like man on earth, and somehow developed incredible intelligence .
- It is assumed that if macroevolution is not true, then these alien beings possibly came into existence through the creative act of some undefined creator-god (since this particular creator-god would obviously be different from the one who created the universe in 6 literal days as revealed in the book of Genesis within the Bible).
- It is assumed that these alien creatures somehow discovered earth amid the billions of other planets in the cosmos and then subsequently decided that they would visit us for whatever reasons seemed important to them.
- It is assumed that these aliens do not show themselves openly (like in the Hollywood movies Independence Day and Signs ) because they have some sort of secret agenda (either benevolent [such as not scaring us or someday helping the human race join the alien races as fellow intelligent members in the universe] or sinister [such as making plans to take us over or perform certain diabolical experiments upon unwilling human beings]).
- It is assumed that if aliens are visiting us for some sort of benevolent reason, then they have been basically keeping themselves just secret enough (even though they would have no need to fear us as they would be far technologically superior to earthlings) so as not to scare us human beings because they have a moral code (i.e., the aliens are moral beings with a morality somehow like ours).
- It is assumed that these aliens were able to somehow overcome the vast distances between planets , solar systems, and galaxies (many, many light years) in order to visit earth.
- It is assumed that to nullify the vast distances of time and space required for space travel, alien beings possibly utilize “wormhole” or stargate types of interstellar space travel even though right now there is no scientific proof that either wormhole/stargates or the technological capabilities to navigate them exist.
- It is assumed that if these aliens are not from within our own three-dimensional universe, then they may be visiting us from extra-dimensional or parallel universes , even though no such universes have yet been proven to exist.
- It is assumed that there is probably a massive secret conspiracy being participated in by the collective governments of the world to prevent the information clearly demonstrating alien-UFOs do exist from ever reaching the mass public media.
Perhaps alien-UFO enthusiasts who claim to be empiricists may want to ask a mathematician sometime, “What are the odds?”