According to a study conducted by Glocalities.com of 26,492 people from 24 countries, roughly half of the planet believes in the possibility of extratetrestrial life.
The study found that:
- 61% of people believe that there is some form of life on other planets. 17% rule this out and only 22% say that they don’t know.
- 47% of people believe in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe. 26% rule this out and 28% say that they don’t know.
- 25% believe that the first form of life on earth arrived here from another place in the universe. 39% do not believe this and 36% say they don’t know.
- Of the 47% people who believe that advanced alien civilizations exists, 60% say that humans should try to get in contact with these civilizations. 21% say that we should not try and seek contact and 19% say that they don’t know.
Creationist organizations with an anti-alien agenda are not likely to be happy about those numbers. In fact, Brian Thomas of the Institute for Creation Research has already used the survey as an occasion to mock the scientific search for extraterrestrial life. In his article, “Poll: Half of Humanity Believes in Aliens,” Thomas says:
“We apparently live in alien-crazed societies. Where is the evidence that has convinced so many of space aliens?”
He goes on to mock those who believe that alien life is possible by offering several logically fallacious arguments and by citing the Fermi Paradox.
- “First, Scripture shows no direct support for E.T.s.” That’s an Argument from Silence. As I have pointed out many times on exotheology. Org, the Bible does not claim to be an Encyclopedia Galactica (i.e., an exhaustive source of everything that ever existed). Point in fact, it never mentions microbes or planets as such and yet they exist.
- “In fact, the Bible poses a gospel challenge to the existence of intelligent alien civilizations. ICR news wrote in 2011, ‘Extraterrestrial life would also contradict the Bible’s claim that ‘Christ died once for all’ to pay for the sins of humanity (Hebrews 10:10), since to be fair, He would have to die as many times as there are planets inhabited with intelligent life.'” That’s a False Analogy. It’s really sad to have to point this out, but this objection was answered in the Middle Ages by William Vorilong. A full refutation of this oft-repeated falsehood is found in our article, “Jesus Crucified on Countless Alien Worlds?“
- Since the Lord Jesus died only once before His resurrection, He could not have gone to die again on alien planets. Therefore, intelligent redeemable E.T.s must not exist.” This one is called an Appeal to Consequences. This is where you argue that something must be false, because the consequences of it being true would be bad. Exotheology.org’s article, “Alien Salvation: Answering a Cartoon Argument ETs,” refutes this bad argument and pretty much every other “gospel challenge to the existent of intelligent alien civilizations” that folks like Thomas tend to offer.
- “What about support from science? Even secular researchers have refuted intelligent aliens on the basis of a complete lack of E.T. evidence. Nobody has ever detected a single intelligent signal that came from out there.” This is an Argument from Ignorance. This is where rational people have to remind cell it’s like Thomas that an absence of evidence does not necessarily imply the evidence of absence. We have looked for a very short amount of time over a tiny fraction of the universe.
At the risk of tedium, and I do beg my dear readers patience here, the Fermi paradox has been supplied with many possible answers, some of which are decidedly silly and others of which are reasonable, whether or not they are true. The Fermi Paradox is only a problem for folks who believe that aliens exist AND that they came about by all-natural means (i.e., microbes-to-man evolution).
Speaking of evolution, Brian Thomas believes that the reason so many people are compelled to believe in aliens is that
“It does fit right in with evolution’s story of a universe where nature, not God, somehow does all the creating.”
I will readily admit that, statistically speaking, folks who are firm microbes to man evolution are more likely to believe in the possibility of extraterrestrial life; however, it is also true that creationists who believe in the possibility of extraterrestrial life far outnumber creationists who do not believe in that possibility for whatever reason.
The fact that evolutionary theory is compatible with the possibility of extraterrestrial life does not mean that if extraterrestrial life exists, it must have evolved. Christian theologians were discussing extraterrestrial life and its implications long before Darwin and sci-fi ever made their entrance into history. They certainly recognise that, if extraterrestrial life exists, it was created by God. Many Christians, and even creationists, believe in the possibility of extraterrestrial life because the revealed character of The Creator who made microbes and nebula at the beginning even though we would not have the instrumentation to know they were even there and appreciate them for thousands of years suggests that the entirety of the universe may not exactly be a blank canvas after all.