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Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Mon Aug 07, 2017 8:03 pm
by jonperry
Recently there was a new alien mummy hoax that popped up in Peru. Using my understanding of anatomy, I did a few videos on it, showing how the mummy was likely made. Here's a video where I "debate" an alien believer and explain things in detail. She's the one that brought the mummy to my attention:

Ever since I bah humbugged the alien, I've been getting hate mail from alien believers. Several people accused me of being a Christian (I'm not a Christian) and saying I must just be afraid of aliens because aliens will ruin my faith.

I'm curious what the Christians here think about alien life or the possibility of it. Are aliens actually a threat to Christianity if they're real? The accusation seemed odd to me. Susanne in the video believes in aliens for spiritual reasons. Is alien spirituality something Pastors are having to compete with? I was, for the most part, unaware of it till I started debunking this mummy hoax. Crazy world!

Re: Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 4:52 am
by mattrose
I personally don't think there's much at stake for Christians when it comes to whether or not aliens exist

If they do, I wouldn't be surprised.... because the God of Christianity loves life and may have created lots of it all over the universe

If they don't, I wouldn't be surprised... because I believe all life is God-caused and we aren't told of any other special creation in the universe

So the discovery of non-discovery of 'aliens' seems like no threat to my faith at all.

Re: Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 7:18 am
by Singalphile
I don't recall ever hearing a Christian sermon regarding aliens in my 38 years in various conservative Christian groups, but it's been discussed here and there.

It would depend on the circumstances. There might be non-Earth animals/creatures out there. That would not matter at all, as far as I can imagine. If there were intelligent life like us, then they could possibly have information that would prove Christianity false. On the other hand, they might have information that confirms Christianity or that proves that atheism is false. So they might be a threat to atheism or Christianity or who knows what. It's just science fiction at this point, I suppose.

Re: Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:40 am
by TK
My impression when I discuss this with other Christians is that they do not believe (or desperately hope) there is no alien life because they wouldn't know how to deal with it. It raises too many questions (does this mean evolution is true, did Jesus die for them too etc etc).

I think it is very highly likely that there is some form of alien life- at least microbes and lichen.

It doesn't bother me personally because my position is simply if it is there it is because God created it for His purposes.

I do think Christian leaders should begin to discuss this issue so as to prepare folks for the possibility and perhaps probability of alien life being discovered in the near future. It is unwise to simply take the position that there simply is no alien life.

My gut feeling is that alien life has already been discovered, just not yet announced.

Re: Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 2:36 pm
by jonperry
What if the aliens are Mormons? I'm just kidding ;)

I think that if we find microbes on Mars or elsewhere in our solar system, it's likely that they will be related to Earth life. There is reason to believe that, via normal weather processes, bacteria are ejected from our atmosphere on a fairly regular basis. Species capable of going dormant could, under extremely rare circumstances, end up on another planet and possibly survive the trip.

What would be interesting would be to find microbes on Mars that don't use RNA or DNA. We currently have no model for such life, in fact, it defies most of our current definitions of life except for the one put forth by NASA: Life is a self-sustaining chemical system capable of Darwinian evolution.

Re: Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:15 pm
by TruthInLove
TK wrote:I do think Christian leaders should begin to discuss this issue so as to prepare folks for the possibility and perhaps probability of alien life being discovered in the near future.
Hi TK,

I agree with you on this point. Just curious what you think an effective approach along these lines would look like?

Personally, rather than educate people on the topics of the origin of life and intelligence, I think we need to deemphasize the importance of these specific questions and pursue a different approach altogether. These are hot button issues which seem to me, at best, a major distraction from the major phenomenon that science cannot explain at all.

That is the origin and nature of consciousness/awareness. It seems likely to me that if more people really understood how consciousness is distinct from and independent of physical complexity and intelligence, these other issues would become much less relevant and much less of a threat to one's faith and therefore, less contentious.

What do you (or anyone else) think?

- Carmine

Re: Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:00 am
by TK
Hey carmine-

I'm too dumb to exactly understand your last paragraph- can you expand what you mean just a tad?

Re: Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 4:04 pm
by TruthInLove
:lol: Sure TK. Honestly, it's something we are all "too dumb" to understand. Nobody "understands" it but that's why I think it's so compelling. In fact, for me, this topic is what renewed my faith nearly 10 years ago and continues to do so daily.

Here's a quick 12 minute overview by Dr. J.P. Moreland regarding this.

One of Hank Hannegraaf's research consultants referred me to Dr. Morelands work years ago.

Essentially, he points out and explains that regardless of where our physical bodies came from or what that process may have looked like, no naturalistic explanation of life's physical origins can account for consciousness of the self.

Naturalism attempts to define humans as very sophisticated machines comprised of trillions of nano-machines that operate in conjunction with each other at a molecular level. Molecular machines, if you will. Our brains being the machine most reponsible for distinguishing man's capabilities from those of the animals. And in general, people have accepted that. Our complexity is what gives rise to our intelligence. That's what appears to make man capable of reasoning and thinking in ways that animals cannot. I don't see any harm necessarily in holding such a view except for the fact that too many people buy into the idea that intelligence is the ONLY differentiating factor of consequence between us and the animals. If intelligence is explainable in purely naturalistic terms what need is there for God in this whole existence?

While I think origins is an interesting topic, unfortunately the role intelligence played in our creation and dominion of the earth is assumed to be and often presented as the topic that matters most. I don't know that pursuing this tract is necessarily giving us the biggest bang for our Kingdom bucks.

The other topic in the origins debate that is virtually ignored is the origin of conscienceness. People often assume consciousness and intelligence are the same. Science seems quite content to allow this belief to pesist. However, they are not the same and I think it's critically important for people to be aware of this. The centrality of intelligence to the origins debate is a red herring too many are all too eager to get caught up in pursuing. However, the origin of consciousness, not intelligence is the real nail in the coffin of phylisophical naturalism.

Natural material processes can at least conceivably account for intelligence. Consioussness, being aware, or being able to perceive is a much different story. Our brains are not our minds, our souls or our spirits.

They can't be. Here's my attempt to explain in simple terms one simple reason why consciousness cannot be explained in terms of the physical.

Just to paint an initial picture here, if intelligence of an organism implied conscienceness, this suggests that at some point, as civilization's techology advances, we may be able to create Artificial Intelligence that surpasses our own. When, and if that ever happens, at what point can we say that the Artificial Intelligence has become aware or conscious? Can it ever? If it can't, is consciousness really related to complexity in the way intelligence seems to be?

Further, for all our complex anatomy and the complex chemical, electrical, and mechanical bustle going on in our bodies, in the end, all these systems are basically just collecting energy from outside of themselves, passing it around internally for a while, converting it from one form into another until at some point, the energy finally leaves them and eventually our bodies as a form of heat.

The question for naturalism is, at what point during any of that does that energy get perceived? What part of us is responsible for making us aware of it?

Most would say somewhere in our brains. But if so, can we pinpoint where exactly? Is it in a gland? A cell? A molecule? A proton? An electron? The fact is nobody knows. But, assuming it is any of those things, they are all less complex than our complete self. Supposedly though, our complexity is what gave rise of our consciousness, at least according to popular belief.

Whatever that supposed "somewhere" is, it itself just passes the energy it receives on to some other "something" and on and on until the energy just leaves our body as radiation. For reasons like this, conscienceness and perception are an enigma to naturalistic explanations of the universe.

Here's why I think this so powerful though. While noone can explain it, we can regularly and repeatedly confirm that this perception of things is really taking place, in some form or another (whether the form we experience corresponds to the absolute reality or not is a question Epistemology attempts to explain, and a different topic all together). Although neither I nor anyone has physical access to that part of who I am, I know it's there. It's the most readily provable supernatural phenomenon in our individual existences. It's that ellusive part of who we each are that we are refering to when we speak about our spirit and our minds.

So while this idea doesn't address where we physically came from, every time debates get stirred up about the origin of life and whether alien life might exist, I'm reminded of the Architect's words to Neo in the epistemically themed move The Matrix Reloaded
Concordantly, while your first question may be the most pertinent, you may or may not realize, it is also the most irrelevant.
I wonder if our Architect would say the same about our interests.

Education about the nature of consciousness and it's supernatural origin seems to me to be the most accessible, simplest and most dramatic way of bringing the population as a whole to the realization that the supernatural must exist and it had to have had a supernatural origin. No matter what our physical origins are or if other intelligent life exists besides ourselves, it still poses no threat at all to the evidence for a supernatural conscious Creator. We are all experiencing the very essense of this in a very vivid, verifiable and yet inexplicable way every second of every day. Most don't even realize this. If such a realization could be made en masse, I think the conviction to persevere in the faith and testimonies for Christ would be incredibly effective. It has been for me.

- Carmine

Re: Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 12:07 pm
by TK
Thanks Carmine- that helps.

Would you say that higher primates (like chimps and orangs and gorillas) or sea mammals like dolphins and orcas do not have consciousness as you are defining it? Is this something you can know, or only guess about?

Re: Is this where I should post about aliens?

Posted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:26 pm
by TruthInLove
Perhaps they do. Perhaps they don't. That's something we can only guess at. I personally can't even say whether other humans have consciousness. All I know for sure is that I have it. All any of us can say is that we have some sort of awareness. For all I know, I could be the only conscious being in the universe. Everything else could be just complicated machinery. It may not exist at all. I don't happen to believe that but I can't honestly say I know that either.