Sci-fi Televangelism – Part 3: Alien Gods

We have been reviewing a presentation called “Science Fiction: Televangelism for ET Religion” given by fellow science fiction author Dr. Michael Heiser gave  at the 2017 Roswell UFO Festival. Basically, Heiser has set out to demonstrate that sci-fi is isn’t just escapism entertainment but is “deeply theological.”

To do so, he has set out to give us the elements of an ET Gospel that seeks to replace traditional creeds which he claims is informed by a Canon that includes speculative science and speculative science fiction about extratetrestrials. It does sound like a conspiracy theory when you summarize it, but he’s essentially talking about the possibility that a new ET-informed worldview paradigm is potentially coming into its own in a post-Christian era.

Heiser next speaks of ET as a replacement for God. He begins with a quote from Arthur C. Clarke:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

That’s actually known as Clarke’s Third Law. Heiser then introduces us to what Michael Shermer calls Shermer’s Last Law:

Any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God.

Shermer’s argument is that since “Biological evolution is glacially slow compared to technological evolution” and “The cosmos is very big and space is very empty, so the probability of making contact with an ETI is very remote”, therefore “The probability of making contact with an ETI who is only slightly more advanced than us is virtually nil.” Extrapolating this evolutionary nonsense along millions of years, Shermer concludes:

What would we call an intelligent being capable of engineering life, planets, stars, and even universes? If we knew the underlying science and technology used to do the engineering , we would call it an extraterrestrial intelligence, if we did not know the underlying science and technology, we would call it God.

Heiser himself has objected to this analogy, stating that jn order for any extraterrestrial intelligence to be equialent to God, it must not inly be advanced but alsi prove that:

  • (a) it can create matter itself, from nothing
  • (b) that it is the entity who did so aeons ago
  • (c) that (in connection with the “aeons” claim) its species no longer dies (or at least is not capable of death)
  • (d) it is not part of the material creation

Which makes me wonder why he includes this argument as part of his presentation at all? I mean, did Shermer have a point or not?

Of course not. Shermer’s Last Law is crap. 

As I wrote in Strangers and Aliens:

“The entire concept is an assumption that God is not supernatural so much as sufficiently advanced as to appear so. While some Ufologists and UFO cults have suggested that God is in fact an extraterrestrial, this is hard to support from a purely Biblical perspective. If God is merely an advanced alien, he must also be a time traveler, for the Bible is rather big on fulfilled prophecy. A bigger problem with the notion of God as an alien is that he would be bound by the laws of the universe, including the space-time continuum, which would mean He is not eternal, as the Bible claims.”

I would add that Ancient Aliens has done us a favor here. If nothing else they’ve allowed us to recognise that any advanced extraterrestrial that came calling claiming to be gods would still just be… advanced extraterrestrials. 

After all, in the words of Captain James Tiberius Kirk in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), “What does God need with a starship?”

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