Are We Alone In The Universe?
Many atheists refuse to consider the evidence for God’s existence, insisting that "faith" and reason are opposites, and that matters of faith and matters of science occupy separate and non-intersecting fields. Getting them to see the flaw in this thinking can be the first step in getting them to consider the truth claims of Christianity.
In my last post, I offered some analogies that might be useful in showing how reason allows us to infer "someone is there" from the evidence he left behind. The evidence in the universe of exquisite order and complexity, the information embedded in life, the existence of consciousness, morality, music and math, all bear witness to the Designer’s hand. But, the atheist objects, we already know people exist, so proving, for example, that someone walked in the sand – by his footprints – doesn’t really translate into proof that God exists.
But this challenge can also be met, by using an example from a modern scientific endeavor. All around the globe, radio telescopes are probing the distant reaches of space, hoping to pick up the telltale signals of intelligent life. Frequency ranges have be devoted to this pursuit by international agreement, so as to increase the chance that signal pollution from Earth bound sources do not interfere. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been have been committed to this effort to find what no one definitively can say exists – life in the cosmos. The effort is called SETI – the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence.
These are not religious fundamentalists at work; they are highly educated and trained scientists who know what so many in academia refuse to acknowledge – that reason can be employed to conclude that "something is out there." What are these scientists hoping to find? Because they believe they can distinguish random noise – things naturally occurring – from signals that are specified and complex, they believe they can see the blueprint of intelligence in signals that are not random but instead designed to convey information. They look primarily for mathematical equations, trusting that universal laws will be knowable to any sentient being and will be a means to communicate, even if our spoken languages are different. NASA did something similar with its deep space probes Pioneer and Voyager; information encoded in the universal language of math and music even now hurtle further into the abyss, awaiting, perhaps, discovery by some advanced intelligence.
Now, let’s suppose that these scientists begin receiving a coded message. With effort, they eventually decode the language, finding that it consists of four letters. These four letters are arranged into billions of lines of code, which the scientists ultimately realize constitute a blueprint to build an extremely complex machine – a self-replicating machine with thousands of interdependent parts that must assemble themselves, correct errors as they occur and continue functioning in harmony decade after decade. What if scientists could begin working with this code to make changes and to alter the natural order of things? Would this not be enough to convince even the most skeptical that "something" highly intelligent and highly powerful was out there? That we are not alone?
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