Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Truth Is Stranger Than Science Fiction

It seems egotistical to believe that we are alone in the entire universe, considering how large it is.
That is one very common opinion that I heard recently while talking to a few friends. I appreciate and agree but can also imagine another perspective:

What if we ARE alone because LIFE is special? What if we are alone because life is precious and to be THAT treasured?

The answer to the question of alien life hasn't been conclusively determined, however we already know that it takes very special conditions for a planet to be able to accommodate life.

Astronomers are just now finding some planets that might be habitable. Scientists have found over 400 exoplanets and can count 54 of them as possibly being in the habitable zone (http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/news/kepler_data_release.html).

Given this sample (admittedly too small to be considered representative), 13% of these planets MIGHT be able to support life. And this is just based upon the distance these planets are from their star and the average temperature needed for these planets to have water to support life as we know it.

This "rare earth" consciousness seems to be a driving force behind the conservationist movement today. The harder it is to find another earth-like planet, the more we appreciate things we take for granted like clean air, clean water and fossil fuels. We are more conscientious of being good stewards of our Earth's natural resources, as we look at life on earth as being the exception within the known universe.

Truth has a habit of defying our imagination.

While it is harder to imagine that we might be alone, this is kind of what I would expect. When men first discovered that the sun rotated around the earth, that the earth was round and that there is this force called gravity, all of these discoveries stretched our imaginations. Einstein's theory of relativity, as it concluded that even time is relative defied our imaginations as we thought about the possibility of flying in space at the speed of light and time slowing down to allow us to virtually travel into the future. Belief in God defies imagination.

Atheism is the failure of the imagination in bridging the gaps between empiricism and reality.

Which statement is easier to prove?

Reason stretches imagination's boundaries.
Imagination stretches reason's boundaries.

From a "God perspective", on one hand it seems very wasteful for Him to have created the entire cosmos and yet only created one little blue dot as the only host for life.

But on the other hand, if He wanted to inspire in us a profound sense of gratitude and thankfulness, what better way could He have done so than by making the Earth the only host of life, in a celestial sea of stars and rocks?

And if the heavens declare His glory, then from a Christian perspective I might ask, "Is the universe large enough?"

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