UFOs, extraterrestrial life,
THE HEADLINE in a 1997 edition of Women's Weekly screamed out loud and clear: "I talk to the aliens… and they are coming!" According to the article, Sydney couple, Brian and Johann, claimed that life as we know it would soon cease to exist. Instead, our bodies would start to vibrate at a higher frequency, we would rely on light instead of food and drink for our daily nutrition, and we would all be suffused with a sense of extraordinary energy.
Simultaneously, three hundred million unearthlings would drop in on us; friendly ones, thankfully, who would carry a gospel of love and light and would help usher us into new dimensions of space. They would also bring with them a 17-year period of total daylight, and power to attain higher levels of consciousness. Catalyzing all of the above would be earth's passage into the Photon Belt. Entry into the Photon Belt and arrival of the aliens were scheduled for late 1997 to early 1998. But something went wrong. The visitors, it seems, were scared off at the last minute.
Staggering stories are constantly churned out about visiting aliens in various new age publications. Robert Stanley writes:
In 1952, during the month of July, many of the world's newspapers reported that dozens of strange, spherical, glowing, unidentified aircraft were sighted by hundreds of eyewitnesses above the nation's Capitol. These objects had registered on radar as they flew over Washington, DC, and F-94 jets were scrambled to intercept but they were easily outmaneuvered by the UFOs. The UFOs reportedly were loitering in the area for many hours through the night on at least two occasions and were able to appear and disappear mysteriously at will (2005, p. 61).
He adds that exactly fifty years later, in July, 2002, they returned for an anniversary visit. He says, "… on July 16, UFOs encircled and landed on the Capitol Building roof and the surrounding park area late that night!" He even claims that one UFO "entered the Reflecting Pool and submerged".
The hunt is on
Such bizarre views about life "out there" are enough to give a bad name to the more sober, measured view that advanced civilizations dot the universe. And untold numbers of honest, ordinary people who have seen UFOs with their own eyes don't wish to be tarred with the same brush as those who make wild, sensational assertions of personal contact with "Ascended Masters" and such like. Issue after issue of popular new age magazines, such as Nexus, claim that US and other government agencies know all about alien visitors, but actively cover up what they know out of fear of the public's reaction should it find out the truth. The December 2004- January 2005 issue blares the racy headline, "Australian government UFO files revealed!". Fatuous yet entertaining movies such as "Men in Black" inadvertently preach the gospel of visitations by extraterrestrial visitors, most benign, but some bent on hostile pursuits. (I still chuckle thinking about the comical malevolence of the visitors in "Mars Attack".)
Believing in the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrials is akin to believing in the existence of deep sea monsters, such as Nessie. Neither belief can be easily disproved, and both beliefs are backed up by the testimony of eyewitnesses.
Both beliefs also seem reasonable enough in the modern world. In the case of monsters, the notion that some hidden lair in some far-flung corner of the globe harbors a left-over from the age of dinosaurs seems mighty appealing. By the same token, modern evolutionary ideas about spontaneous generation followed by genetic modification and the creation of new species make belief in distant civilizations downright logical, if not inevitable. In fact, the majority of scientists today cannot imagine it any other way. To them, the proposal that we are alone in this universe is too shocking to contemplate.
The recent, highly-publicized discovery of life-like microscopic specks on space rock that had crashed into earth thousands of years ago makes such notions more believable. If simple life can be found that close to home, surely more advanced forms must exist somewhere. Many sound-minded, sober scientists and government officials are hooked on tracking down the alleged extraterrestrial quarry. Even NASA is in on the game. The search for ETI (Extraterrestrial Intelligence) is on in earnest.
But the reasonableness of a position doesn't make it automatically true. Does life-primitive or advanced-exist out there anywhere, or doesn't it? Do alien visitors regularly show up in our skies, occasionally even temporarily spiriting away hapless innocents? For those who put stock by the Bible, does it provide any insights to help answer these questions?
Every year, thousands of people around the world see strange goings-on in the sky, or even close to the ground. Rosemary French, a grandmother from Berry Springs, Northern Territory, is a typical example. As reported in a 1997 Women's Weekly, on Friday, April 21, 1997, she and her husband, Michael, spotted two orange lights hovering directly over the local school while they were motoring near their home. "We were fascinated, but thought it may have been a helicopter," Rosemary said. "So we stopped and turned the car's engine off so we could hear it, but there was absolutely no noise. Another motorist stopped, too. We all stood there staring at the lights for a few minutes before they disappeared."
One might easily dismiss such accounts as just racy sensationalism. But if you doubt their testimony, bring up the subject at any social gathering and you'll be surprised at the number of people who have seen some inexplicable phenomenon in the sky, often in the form just described of hovering colored lights.
Ron, a beekeeper friend of mine as honest as a KPMG accountant, travels a lot at night carting bees from pasture to pasture. He has seen a number of bright colored objects over the years. One evening, while traveling along a low-lying road near the base of the tiers leading up to Tasmania's Central Plateau area, Ron spied an extremely bright light hovering high above the top of the tiers. It was spinning fairly rapidly, every second or so changing from red to green, radiating a beam as it turned. Ron knows about twinkling stars changing color, and says this was nothing like that. The source of light was much bigger and brighter. Over the course of about thirty minutes it gradually faded, looking as if it was heading west to boot. At one stage it was covered by a cloud; when the cloud moved off, the object seemed considerably further away.
So what are these strange phenomena? Do they constitute evidence of visiting aliens?
Where are the aliens?
According to virtually all scientists who believe in the evolution of extraterrestrial life, our skies should be teeming with visitors by now. Aliens should be seated beside us in our restaurants, buses and theatres; the argument goes like this.
Our earth is roughly 4.5 billion years old. Life spontaneously developed on it less than one billion years after it formed. Our Milky Way galaxy is much older-roughly ten billion years old. Untold billions of stars out there are much older than our sun. Perhaps many have planets similar to earth revolving around them, which are billions of years older than earth. Since life sprung up on earth so easily (so the story goes), the same thing must have happened on many of those planets. And since they are much older than earth, their civilizations have had billions of years to progress. Logically, assuming they can avoid self-destruction through war (a big ask!), they will be light years ahead of us in space exploration.
The argument continues. Some of those advanced civilizations would surely have sought to colonize distant planets because of population pressures, or because their life-giving star began to fade. If they could develop a rocket that travels at 1% of the speed of light (our own rockets travel at about 0.005% light speed), they could reach a distant star/planet system in approximately 500 years. Assuming they find a habitable planet that keeps them happy for another 500 years before some of their descendants are then forced to look for greener pasture elsewhere, you have a 1000 year cycle of waves of colonization. Which means, on average, that pioneers travel away from their original home in all directions at ½ of 1% of the speed of light.
Assuming the colonization effort was sustained, then the time required for any one civilization to expand into every planetary nook of our galaxy would amount to a mere 20 million years—a wrinkle in time compared with the age of the galaxy. They should be everywhere by now.
The Fermi Paradox
Our empty skies and alien-less restaurants, buses, and theatres have played on the minds of ETI (extraterrestrial intelligence) believers. Some of history's most famous insights have come at most unexpected moments—Archimedes's flash of inspiration while soaking in the bathtub comes to mind. In 1950, famous physicist Enrico Fermi was munching on his lunch at Los Alamos National Labs when he posed a striking question that ETI-searchers have been trying to answer ever since; "Where is everybody?" Based on standard assumptions, our skies should be alive with alien makes of spacecraft.
Nobody, it seems, had thought of that question before. The problem illustrated by Fermi's simple question has been dubbed the Fermi Paradox.
Some desperate believers have answered that question admirably simply; "They are here". They aren't on our buses or in our restaurants, maybe, but they are here nevertheless. In droves, in fact. But their secretive, shy, maybe even timid natures prevent them from giving themselves away. These incredibly brave colonizers from distant regions just refuse to show their faces except, of course, to a privileged few.
How reasonable is the idea that LGMs (Little Green Men) regularly visit our planet, lighting up the black vault of night with decorative Christmas-like lights? Let's apply a dose of simple clear thinking to the whole visiting-aliens question.
The colonization hypothesis
Is the colonization thesis logical? What sounds at first blush like sound theorizing should in fact make its proponents blush. Necessity may be the mother of invention, but not of miracles. No matter how urgent the need to find somewhere else to live, the notion that a thriving colony of beings could survive a 500 year long journey through space is laughable, no matter which way you look at it. Take the simple matter of food, for example. No space ship could possibly get off the ground with the incredible weight of a 500 year supply of victuals necessary for a colony of pioneers large enough to provide sufficient genetic material for future generations.
We've all heard of the disastrous consequences of a nuclear winter. Can any group of biological organisms survive 500 years of pitch blackness in the near absolute zero temperatures of interstellar space cooped up in a mechanical cubicle? Advanced civilization or no, they still have to have food, light and warmth.
Oh sure, one can counter that most are in cryogenic suspension or induced hibernation, that they grow their own food on the way, that they carry extra stores of DNA in test tubes to be injected into the embryos of incipient babes (after all, they've been doing it as a matter of course for a billion years or more), that they have an entire nuclear power plant (lightweight, of course) on board for warmth, etc. Move over Hans Christian Anderson.
Even famous believers in ETI, such as Frank Drake, of whom we will hear more later, have acknowledged that the difficulty of interstellar travel is too great for colonization to have occurred. Above all, the staggering energy costs involved in hurtling large numbers of people with all the accoutrements of life into the depths of space, even if it were possible, precludes it ever happening. In space, the brutal tyranny of distance reigns supreme.
For some strange reason, people don't want to let go of the hope that man will one day explore distant regions of our galaxy. During your next dinner party, dare to suggest that mankind will never, ever go to the stars. The response will be lively.
Evidence for visiting aliens
Does any evidence support the notion of aliens picnicking in our skies? Only human testimony. Is such evidence convincing? Only if one also accepts that sightings of Nessie testify to her existence.
Untold thousands of people every year witness amazing light shows in the sky. A much smaller number has experienced a rather bizarre event—the breakdown of a car in the presence of some strange object or light. A smaller number of people claim to have actually seen, as plain as can be, a flying saucer or your actual aliens in the flesh.
Investigators of car stallings have found that virtually no cases are ever accompanied by any physical evidence to even suggest, let alone prove, that the event had really happened. No evidence of partial melting has ever been found. Total breakdown is almost non-existent. Temporary electrical shorts, under the influence of strong electromagnetic fields which might accompany certain atmospheric disturbances could explain short-term car trouble.
If the colored lights that so many people have seen emanate from the portholes of contraptions with LGMs inside, why hasn't so much as one single saucer from the thousands seen up until now landed in a public place? After all, if they had enough curiosity to leave kith and kin for years just to visit us, or if they are on a desperate search for somewhere to settle, they would unquestionably want to make contact. Even if they had a rigid policy not to make their presence known for some ridiculously inexplicable reason, by now at least one delinquent would have been incapable of reigning in his or her curiosity and would have made direct contact in a public place.
Why haven't any flying saucers crashed? Occasionally one hears of reports that just such a thing has happened. In every case, of course, the object is conveniently whisked away under a cloak of total secrecy by the military and kept under lock and key somewhere. Or at least that's what some people believe.
If these objects are spacecraft, they must surely be communicating with one another and with home base. Why haven't we yet picked up any signals from somewhere nearby containing patterns of pulses that suggest an intelligent origin?
Numerous fatal flaws can be found in the whole notion of flying saucers regularly visiting earth. (Aerodynamics experts, for instance, will tell you that the classical saucer is a ridiculously ineffective flying machine.) The objections are so overwhelming that even scientists who are diehard believers in ETI reject all suggestions that they are here.
In the 1950s and 1960s the US Central Intelligence Agency and Air Force conducted separate investigations into the UFO phenomenon. Both concluded that we need have no fear that War of the Worlds is imminent. Their reports emphasize that UFOs never leave any physical evidence of their existence — something you could pick up and take to a lab for analysis.
The nature of UFOs
So what should we make of those thousands of sightings every year of strange lights in the sky? Even many of those that believe in visits by LGMs admit that over 90% of UFO sightings can be readily explained by recourse to either natural or man-made phenomena.
Ross Dowe, of the National UFO hotline, who has spoken to thousands of people about their UFO experiences, is quick to point out the distinction between credible reports of unusual sky phenomena on the one hand, and the claims of some people that aliens have tried to abduct them on the other. In his years on the job, he has made a most intriguing observation. In times of political and world unrest, he receives numerous they-are-trying-to-take-me-away calls. When certain prime ministers have made unsettling statements, abduction calls have skyrocketed. Calming prime ministers mean abduction calls virtually cease. When the 1998 India-Pakistan nuclear stand-off was under way, he was inundated with such calls. When the crisis ended, the calls dried up. Hollywood movies on the theme of invasion from space can be relied upon to generate a short-term rash of calls, demonstrating the enormous power of suggestion.
Sightings of colored lights at night, by contrast, remain fairly constant, with up to 30,000 reports made to the Hotline in a given year in Australia alone. (What must it be like in the USA?) This statistic simply doesn't jibe with the alien-visitors idea because it stretches credulity way beyond breaking point to suggest that the number of alien curiosity-seekers is large enough to create such a steady stream of sightings.
Unidentified Luminous Objects
But the steady stream of reports does tally well with the general principle that they are explainable as natural phenomena. The truth is, the vast majority of UFO witnesses do not observe solid "saucers" but blobs and masses of light which behave in strange ways, even appearing sometimes to move about in a controlled manner. About seventy percent of such sightings take the form of colored lights, often orange, sometimes green and red, hovering in one spot or moving, and lasting from seconds to minutes. They can pulsate, perform aerial acrobatics, maneuver parallel to the lie of the land, and do all kinds of weird and wonderful things. UFOs could much more accurately be dubbed ULOs — Unidentified Luminous Objects.
Many UFO descriptions tally perfectly with the phenomenon known as fireballs, which are brilliant meteors that occur singly and generally consist of a luminous head, followed by a comet-like train of light, that may persist for several minutes. Depending upon the angle from which an observer sees a fireball, it may appear as a bright blob moving either fairly rapidly across the sky or, contrariwise, very slowly.
Many can also be explained as manifestations of man-made objects such as helicopters flying in conditions that transform them in the eye of the beholder into something other-worldly.
Earth's atmosphere—a hotbed of intrigue
The earth's atmosphere is a complex structure, constantly undergoing bombardment by electromagnetic radiation both from space above and the earth beneath. Its general role as a vast engine which converts heat energy from the sun into kinetic energy and then distributes it in the form of wind is reasonably well understood. But the constant bombardment of energy, in tandem with lesser-understood aspects of the atmosphere's workings, also results in other natural phenomena, not just wind.
It doesn't take a lot of imagination to suspect that some of the effects will include strange lights. Scientists have been aware for decades, for instance, that an eerie hemisphere of light arcing up into the clouds sometimes accompanies earthquakes—before, during and after the shock. Not until the 1980s, though, did they come up with an explanation for the phenomenon. When rocks slip along the length of a fault, they create electric fields in the air above that produces a "coronal discharge".
In 1990, unusual electromagnetic phenomena were discovered high in the upper atmosphere, coming in four varieties named sprites, elves, blue jets and gamma-ray events . The last two in particular are very difficult to explain. What other unusual phenomena closer to ground level yet await systematic observation and scientific explanation? As Clarke and Roberts (1990, p. 135) put it, "… there can be little doubt that a number of rare exotic light forms are produced regularly by poorly understood natural forces."
But perhaps the majority of sightings don't require invoking unknown natural phenomena; most can be explained by recourse to phenomena already known, though not always understood, of which the best known example is ball lighting. Though some scientists long disputed even the reality of ball lightning, a core of consistent reports confirms its existence, and it is now almost universally accepted as a genuine phenomenon even though its nature still remains largely a mystery.
It ain't necessarily so
Perhaps even closer to the heart of the UFO phenomenon than the reality of unusual atmospheric goings-on is the nature of human perception. What we actually see, and what we think we see, are often two very different things. Human perception involves a chain of events, and each link in the chain is subject to distortion. The distorting effects of various links can accumulate to produce that stock in trade of psychology textbooks, optical illusions.
Many examples of kinks in human perception are well known. In autokinesis, for instance, a fixed object placed against a monotonous, unrelieved background can appear to move. UFO hotlines receive numerous calls from people who report that the planet Venus is swaying in the sky. We are all familiar with the huge size of the moon on the horizon when rising or setting. Yet this, too, is an optical illusion. "The increase in diameter takes place entirely in our own heads, and is one of the most convincing — and least-understood — optical illusions known" (Australian Geographic, January-March 2005, p. 119). The physiological underpinning of human perception processes provides a favorite topic of research for brain specialists.
In sum, unidentified flying/hovering lights/objects should no longer be stigmatized with the label "unidentified". The vast majority can be explained as atmospheric perturbations, tricks of the brain, or a combination of the two. Those light shows that still remain unexplained should not be put down to alien meddling any more than things that go bump in the night.
The likelihood of extraterrestrial life
But saying that little green men cannot colonize our galaxy and have not visited earth doesn't itself disprove their existence. If one accepts the widely-touted modern version of spontaneous generation and its lap-dog of progress ever upwards and onwards by alleged evolutionary mechanisms of improvement, the general notion that extraterrestrial life forms are out there somewhere in the universe makes good sense. Some scientists induce from the abundance of life on earth that its presence elsewhere must be inevitable. Quoting scientist Penny Boston, National Geographic, January, 2000 (Life Beyond Earth, p. 46), opines,
Lately scientists have found life in all sorts of underground environments, suggesting that Mars could even now host life in wet subsurface pockets. "Life is such a powerful force that anywhere you look you can find it," Boston says.
Ideas as to the nature of alien life forms range from reasoned, scientific theories to the most baroque flights of fancy. Examples of the latter abound. A letter to the editor of Nexus magazine, August-September, 2005, is a good example. Commenting about an earlier article describing extraterrestrials as "bags" or a "mass", the writer says,
I identified this species as Blob Amoebagigas deformis (shapeless giant amoeba); kingdom Animalides; phylum, class, order and family not yet classifiable. This is a giant, one-meter tall, intelligent, amoeba-like exotic species, blue-grey in color with two black dot-like eyes and filled with what looks like blood corpuscles. This species does not possess limbs, and it moves by bouncing.
As for the more reasoned level, we have already outlined in briefest form the basic, plausible-sounding argument for the existence of intelligent extraterrestrial life. In the 1950s, Frank Drake formulated a scientific equation to express the likelihood of our making radio contact with "them". In his formula, N is the figure for the likelihood of radio contact. Drake is so confident of the equation that he is, like Fermi, amazed that we haven't already made such contact. In the early '90s, he was sure that contact would be made by the turn of the century. Seth Shostak, perhaps the most famous of all ETI searchers, places his bet (in 1998) on contact by the year 2010.
The Drake equation — N=R*fpneflfifcL
Drake's thinking was largely molded by the assumptions that gave rise to Fermi's mental turmoil. It's quite a simple equation, mathematically speaking, coming down to nothing more than multiplying the various factors. If, for instance, there is one chance in ten of life forming on a planet like earth, and one chance in ten that such a planet exists in our galaxy, then the chance of life being found anywhere in our galaxy is one chance in one hundred. The equation became formalized in 1961 at a SETI conference.
The equation contains some huge assumptions. fp, which stands for the fraction of stars that have planets, assumes that fully half of all stars oversee a planetary system. Until 1995, nobody had any idea if a single star held a single planet in train. Now scientists have learned that at least some do. Though they still haven't a clue as to what fraction this entails, ETI believers take great comfort in the discovery of their existence, and will quickly brandish this lucky find in the face of skeptics.
ne, though, amounts to pure hope. It represents the number of planets assumed to be suitable for life in each such system, and is placed at 2. Though ETI lovers can take comfort in the recently-proven existence of other planets, they can take little comfort in the nature of those planets. So far, nearly all the ones discovered (now over 20) are gas giants in close orbit around their mother star — absolutely unsuitable for life! Numerous factors are absolutely critical in making a planet suitable for life, including mass, distance from its star, the presence in the same system of large planets in the right place to sweep the system clear of killer asteroids, and so on.
The most vital part of the equation is the factor fl, which stands for the fraction of suitable planets assumed to give rise to life from non-life. This figure is variously put at between 50 and 100%! Now that's one mighty big assumption! The only evidence that life can spring from non-life is the existence of life on earth. If you don't believe God created earth's living things, you have to believe that life arose from death. Here's the rub. No evidence exists that life sprang from non-life on earth other than the fact that it exists.
Another huge assumption in the equation is based entirely on evolutionary concepts. fi stands for the fraction of planets where spontaneously generated motes of life go on to produce intelligent life. This fraction is generally taken to be about one in ten. That's a mighty optimistic assumption, even for those dedicated to the majestic power of natural selection.
The ultimate question is simply this: can life spring spontaneously from death? If it cannot, Drake's equation becomes totally meaningless, and the search for ETI a complete waste of time.
Does life spring from non-life?
We view ancient Greek and medieval versions of spontaneous generation with patronizing contempt. (Dawn to Dusk's book Jacob's Multi-colored Dream Goats addresses the fascinating question of spontaneous generation, and what the Bible says about it.) Is our modern version one whit better? It requires tremendous faith on the part of its adherents, a certitude that puts to shame the convictions of staunch religionists. In simple terms, it goes like this. Take one spoon full of "simple" chemical molecules bathing in an oxygen-free atmosphere, add one jillion lightning bolts and untold millions of years, and you have a sure-fire recipe for spontaneous generation.
Faith in spontaneous generation is so all-pervasive that the majority of scientists today accept it as a given. An entire speculative "scientific" discipline called astrobiology has been spawned, focusing on the study of extraterrestrial life. Mind you, apart from the now famous Martian meteorite (of which we shall speak shortly), not one stitch of evidence has ever been forthcoming that life does exist outside earth. But faith in the dogma of spontaneous generation, à la 20 th century version, is a powerful force.
An exhaustive discussion of this crucial question lies beyond the scope of this article. Dawn to Dusk takes the position that spontaneous generation is a myth for which no evidence exists other than the fact that life exists. But to take life's existence as evidence of spontaneous generation begs the question. The same fact matches the creation model equally well.
Molecular biologist, Harold Morowitz, "calculated the distance between the inorganic and organic worlds. If one were to take the simplest living cell and break every chemical bond within it, the odds that the cell would reassemble under ideal conditions . would be one chance in 10100,000,000,000 " (Ross 1994, p. 75). And one can ask, what are the chances that all those vital chemical ingredients would ever be in the same spot at the same time to be available to be stitched together spontaneously by some mysterious organizing force? In fact, without even being a biochemist, you can be quite confident that the chances are totally zero that a living organism can arise from non-living chemicals without some intelligent force being involved. Morowitz was an optimist. He assumed that only bioactive building blocks would be concentrated in the active area, without any useless rogue atoms roaming around blocking the life-building atoms from access to one another—an utterly impossible ask.
The Bible and extraterrestrial life
For the past three centuries, the notion that Mars holds life gripped the popular imagination. When, in the late 19th century, the Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli announced that he had seen great lines stretching across the planet's surface, the belief took on a whole new life of its own. However, US and Soviet space probes to the planet in the 1960s and 1970s put paid to wildly popular theories about its canals and civilizations. Thus died one of history's mightiest fairy tales.
Later Martian landers found no evidence of life of any kind. However, the world was stunned when, in August 1996, scientists from NASA and Stanford University jointly announced that unusual characteristics in a meteorite from Mars could be interpreted as the vestiges of ancient Martian bacterial life (Scientific American 12.97, The Case for Relic Life on Mars). Almost three years on, and the case for life on Mars has dimmed considerably. As Allan Treiman puts it (Sky and Telescope April, 1999),
It has been 2½ years since NASA researchers announced possible signs of fossil bacteria in a rock from Mars (below right). Today the jury is still out — and the evidence has grown more cloudy.. no agreement has emerged on whether or not the meteorite was ever graced by Martian life.. Bacteria can infiltrate Antarctic rocks and become fossilized there. Even if researchers find an indisputably genuine fossil bacterium [in the rock], it may be hard to prove that it lived on Mars rather than on Earth.
Weighing in in the debate are many Bible students who claim that the idea of life anywhere other than on earth is totally unbiblical. Are they right?
Analysis of the Scriptures leads inevitably to the conclusion that intelligent life made in the image of God for the purpose of being fashioned further into His likeness can be found only on earth, and nowhere else. Most powerfully, Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ has been crucified, on our planet within our history, once and for all time (Heb. 7:27, 9:12, 10:10, 10:12), never to be repeated. This passage excludes the possibility that the same thing has ever happened anywhere else.
But the Bible's silence on the creation of other life forms anywhere else than on earth cannot be taken as absolute proof that living things do not exist elsewhere. The silence certainly suggests earth is the one and only cradle of biological organisms in the entire universe; but dogmatism on this point cannot be supported biblically.
If one rejects the "God factor" as an explanation for life's endless miracles, then spontaneous generation remains the only logical option. And if it could happen on earth, why not elsewhere? But the facts weigh heavily against that view. Untold laboratory experiments simulating every conceivable mix of conditions have failed to produce life.
In addition, not a single signal from any of the numerous civilizations that should exist if spontaneous generation and evolution were true has ever been received. Why not? If the theories are correct, some civilizations have been around for many millions of years. We should have heard something by now, but we haven't — not a whisper or whimper.
Belief in ETI is not based on a scrap of evidence. Rather, it is based on a grand dose of hope and faith which in turn is based on lack of faith—faith in the only real explanation for the existence of things. We should not be asking, "Are we alone?" We should be asking instead, "Why are we here?"
Wild speculation can be fun. But we can gain a lot more enjoyment and value from examining the universe's certainties, those amazing marvels and mysteries that are clearly exposed to the probing instruments of astronomers. Forget about LGMs. You'll find a lot more enjoyment studying the wonders of God's works as seen in the endless marvels and mysteries to be found in the vasty deeps of our mind-boggling universe.
For a pro-UFO web site, see "UFO DataPage"
References and notes
Basterfield, K. 1997, UFOs, Reed Books, Kew
Clarke, D., and Roberts, A. 1990, Phantoms of the Sky, Robert Hale, London
Donkin, A. 1997, Alien Abduction, Bloomsbury Publishing, London
Ross, H. 1994, Creation and Time, NavPress, Colorado Springs
Stanley, Robert 2005, UFOs on Capitol Hill, Nexus, August-September
Edited and expanded copies of this article, in reprint pamphlet form, can be purchased by going to the reprints order page.