Some of you have heard of the fuss over KIC 8462852 aka Tabby’s Star. Back in 2015, the Kepler Space Telescope noticed that the star was flickering and dramatically dimming.
This resulted in immediate speculation that the star’s strange behavior was evidence of an advanced alien civilization that was building a vast solar array that spanned it’s solar system in an effort to capture a maximum amount of solar energy. In other words, something like a Dyson Sphere.
Well, it turns out that a more recent study by researchers at the University of California, Berkley, fits the evidence better. Rather than being evidence of an incredibly advanced and ambitious alien civilization, it appears more probable that Tabby’s Star ate one of its planets some time in the past. This inflamed the star’s outer layers for a while but now it’s cooling off again, a few flare ups from remaining planetary debris field notwithstanding.
Anti-alien creationists are likely to touted this as a “See, I told you so” moment. In all honesty, I didn’t report on this proposed Megastructure before (nor did I cover it in Strangers and Aliens) because I really didn’t think anything would come of it. You see, Tabby’s Star was still missing something rather critical to any scenario involving an advanced alien civilization: evidence of communication. You can’t have an array on the scale of a Dyson Sphere without communication… and we should’ve found evidence of that if aliens were involved.
Even if I had thought Tabby’s Star was evidence of extraterrestrial life, it’s debunking would not negate the possibility of alien life elsewhere. To presume so is to commit an argumentum ad logicum, a type of logical fallacy wherein one claims an opponent’s position is false based on the fact that one line of argument has been refuted, ignoring the fact that there are other arguments that still support that position which have not been addressed
My fear is that the truth about Tabby’s Star will be used by anti-alienists to support the erroneous claim that the Bible predicts that we will not find extraterrestrial life. The Truth is that the Bible is silent on the subject; therefore it makes no predictions on whether alien life exists or not. At present, extraterrestrial life seems unlikely and improbable, but not altogether impossible. Even if we rightly reject an evolutionary worldview, it is not inconceivable that the Creator chose to paint on more than one canvas, so to speak.
Christians who are supposed to be members of the pillar and ground of the truth [1 Timothy 3:15], who follow the One who self-identified as Truth, should be careful about making dogmatic statements about anything that the Bible is silent on.