Sunday, April 3, 2011
Prolegomena for Extraterrestial life - ET
Astrobiology studies life in our solar system and in outer space and is becoming an increasingly significant field of research about the origins of life on our planet. The Titan expedition was trying to find out conditions that could resemble earth some three billion years ago when the crust of our planet began to be cool enough.
This blog is not about Astrobiology but Astrotheology, Space Theology, yet I do propose some indications about what biological extraterrestial life might be. You are welcome to join in the discussion and propose additional prolegomena to my list!
1. All life originates ultimately from a single source
Creator of the entire Universe, God of Israel, is the only one who gives life. His universe is full of life.
Life cannot be generated artificially; only life begets life. Therefore modern biologists consider that the various life forms upon Earth have single point of origins.
Astronomer Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001) gave prominence to the Panspermia theory according to which particles of life are flying in the interstellar space in asteroids and meteroids. Such rock has hit our planet over 2 billion years ago starting life for the first time here when the environmental conditions were ripe. Additional "impregnations" may have happened since the beginning causing perhaps multiple beginnings of life or, for example, bacterial epidemics, macro evolutionary changes or have in other ways affected life on our Tellus.
Panspermia theory does not explain the origins of life - it only moves the riddle further to the deep space. Logically reversing the Big Bang of Life we can propose that all living beings in the entire Universe do originate from a single source of life.
We humans have about as good chances to explain more closely the Origin of Life as we have in explaining the state of the Universe just before the Big Bang.
2. Extraterrestial soul and intelligence is recognizable to us
According to the self-revelation of the Creator of the world in the Hebrew Bible, man and woman are together an image of the hidden and invisible God. Since all extraterrestial life having sufficient level of consciousness to communicate with the Creator is also image of God, the extraterrestial soul and intelligence is recognizable to us. So is the presence of male and female ETs!
Science-fiction tends to fill the space with human devouring alien monsters. Well - these products of human imagination are rather in the image of the adversor of God upon planet Earth, who loves to make us to murder each other in different ways.
The Search for Extraterrestial Intelligence (SETI) of the University of Berkeley is not a bad idea. It is just a very difficult attempt of finding intelligence in outer space because of the level of noise in space and the immense distances between stars and galaxies.
The Kepler space telescope has reportedly already collected data about 1200 stars that seem to have planetary system similar to our Sun. It is probable that many millions of stars even in our own Milky Way, not to speak of Andromeda, have intelligent life. And these life forms are recognizable to us and can communicate with us - maybe with Spielberg type music of close encounters - because the same God has created them who created us.
3. Biodiversity in the cosmos is beyond our imagination
Our rapidly evolved brains separates us from the rest of life upon Earth. We humbly call ourselves homo sapiens sapiens exactly for this reason - without being there we can even calculate in our brains what probably happened during the first milliseconds of Creation in the Big Bang (if there was one...). We are able to understand the strange mathematics of atomic particles and the electronic orbits and antimatter. Maybe someday we will figure out what is dark matter and energy.
Yet our imagination is limited to painting images on what we have, images that our brain is capable of producing from the input of memes and memories and observation and imagination.
God has demonstrated such immense richness of imagination when creating the biodiversity upon this planet (which we are quickly destroying in our greed for rapid and constant economic growth) that there must be myriads of life forms in the Universe that are totally beyond our imagination. Once we see one of them, we can imagine others like it.
Update June 3 2012. Highly focused technique for search of intelligent life BBC article