I don’t know if anyone else has noticed a seemingly profound, but ultimately silly discussion which is prevalent within popular culture. It’s called the Fermi Paradox and it goes like this: “There are billions of stars out there like the sun. Therefore, statistically there must be billions of planets like earth where intelligent life has developed. Given the vast amount of time and the vast number of possible “other earths” there must be other intelligent life forms who have invented space travel. So where are they?
The stupidity of such arguments is only compounded by the seriousness with which the argument is taken. First there is the problem of what I call size-ism. The materialist is awe struck by the vast size of the universe and the vast amounts of time he believes in. His awe before these vast quantities of time and space is rather like a religion. We all want something big to worship and the materialist, who doesn’t have anything to worship, is in awesome wonder at the bigness of time and space.
However, why should we be impressed simply by size? We do not think an elephant is better than an infant just because it is bigger. The Sahara is big, but it is full of sand and nobody lives there. Antarctica is bigger than Austria, but it is not better because it is bigger. So the cosmos is vast, so what? There may be other intelligent life forms out there, but there is no evidence so far. Furthermore, vast size and statistical musings based on that size do not really mean doodly squat. A supposition based on statistics is still just a supposition. The evidence would suggest that the earth is like an oasis in the Sahara. Just because the Sahara is vast and supports one oasis does not mean there must be another oasis in the Sahara.
There are other assumptions in this way of thinking which are astoundingly small minded, and they are compounded by the fact that those discussing these things invariably think they are being open minded and “thinking outside the box.” Their suppositions are based on the assumption that space and time are all fixed according to the material perceptions of our own space and time. In other words, these materialists are assuming that the rest of the cosmos functions according to the rules of space and time which operate in our own dimension of physicality. This may not be true at all. Their perception of the vastness of the cosmos is determined by their own mortality. For mortals time is limited because their lives are limited. In other words time is limited for mortals because they are mortal.
However, once a person has left this physical and mortal existence time, as we know it, does not exist. I am no physicist, but I believe that distance and space is also determined by time, for distance can only be measured by the time it would take to get there. I hope those who know more about such things will correct me, but wouldn’t it be right to at least surmise that if there were no constraints of time there would also be no such thing as space? If distance is the time it takes to get somewhere, and if there is no such thing as time and we lived in an eternal ‘now’ wouldn’t the seeming vast-ness of space also disappear? I don’t know, but I do suggest that the vast ness of space and time may be an illusion based on our mortality and limited perception.
That brings us to the subject of aliens and spaceships. The Fermi Paradox suggests that there should be other civilizations on other planets that have developed technologies like ours. What! to suggest that other beings (if they exist) would be so primitive as that? To imagine that they would be so crude as to make metal containers to hurl themselves through the sky? Why not imagine that if there are other intelligences out there, that they might transport themselves and communicate in ways that are unimaginably more sophisticated than us? What if they are able to transport themselves by their advanced mental powers? What if they are able to communicate instantly across vast spaces by mere thought? What if they exist in a complex, harmonious and beautiful relationship with one another and with the whole of creation? What if they are advanced beings who exist within the music of love and service to all things? The Christian church has believed in a simple and ordinary way in the existence of such aliens from the beginning. We call them angels.
Finally, those who ponder Fermi’s Paradox would, presumably, shudder at the idea that a theory of the cosmos might be geocentric, or earth centered– yet their perspective, philosophically speaking, is completely geocentric. Continue Reading