by Bert Thompson, Ph.D.



There can be little doubt that the prospect of intelligent life

existing in outer space has intrigued evolutionary scientists for

generations. Pick up almost any evolution textbook, and you'll find a

reference to, brief discussion of, or whole chapter on,

extraterrestrial life.


Some years ago, Dr. Carl Sagan, the eminent astronomer of Cornell

University, raised private funding for a radio telescope which would

search the skies for a message coming in to us from supposed

extraterrestrial beings. Dr. Sagan, and Dr. Frank Drake, were asked by

the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to design an

interstellar communication specifically aimed at extraterrestrials, in

hopes of letting them know that we are here. Consequently, attached to

NASA's Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11 spaceprobes (1973) were identical gold

plaques, inscribed with pictorial messages sent across the light-years

to tell about Earth's civilization. Since that time, various other

attempts either to accept communications from alleged

extraterrestrials, or to communicate with them, have been made.


One might ask: "Why all the interest in the possibility of

intelligent life existing in outer space?" There are several answers to

such a question.

First, there are some who firmly believe in the existence of

intelligent extraterrestrial life because they are convinced that, if

life evolved here, it not only could have evolved elsewhere, but must

have done so. Dr. Sagan is but one example of evolutionists who follow

this line of reasoning. In an interview in January 17, 1980 issue of

`New Scientist' magazine, Dr. Sagan made the following points:

1. There are something like 10(ýý) stars in the universe, and as

about one in a million of these stars is a yellow dwarf star like our

Sun, this means there are about 10(16) Sun-type stars in the universe.

2. Now one in a million of these Sun-type stars probably has a

planetary system similar to that of our Sun's. Therefore there are

about 10(10) planetary systems in the universe.

3. One in a million of these planetary systems must have a planet

similar to that of Earth, and life must have evolved on those planets

in the same manner in which it has evolved here on Earth. Therefore

there are at least 10,000 planets in the universe that have life on


Dr. Paul Davies, the renowned physicist and cosmologist, has stated in

his book, `Other Worlds':

Our galaxy, the Milky Way, contains about 100 billion

stars grouped together in a gigantic spiral assembly

typical of the billions of other galaxies scattered

throughout the universe. This means that there is

nothing very special about the Earth, so probably

life is not a remarkable phenomenon either.

would be surprising if life were not widespread

throughout the cosmos, though it may be rather

sparse (1980, p 151).

Sir Fred Hoyle joins such thinkers. In his book, `Lifecloud', he says:

"With so many possible planetary systems, should we not expect

inhabited planets to be moving around some of the nearby stars? We

certainly should..." (1978, pp 145,146). It is evident, then, that

evolutionists believe intelligent life exists on other planets simply

because evolution must work that way.

Second, there are some who believe life will be found in outer space

because life simply could not have "just happened" here on the Earth.

However, far from invoking a Creator, their intended point is simply

that the available evidence indicates that life is too complex to have

occurred here on the Earth by purely naturalistic processes. So, life

must have evolved somewhere in outer space and been planted here. This

is the view of Sir Francis Crick, in his volume, `Life Itself':

If a particular amino acid sequence was selected by

chance, how rare an event would this be?... Suppose

the chain is about two hundred amino acids long;

this is, if anything, rather less than the average

length of proteins of all types. Since we have just

twenty possibilities at each place, the number of

possibilities is twenty multiplied by itself some

two hundred times. This is approximately equal to

...a one followed by 260 zeros.... The great

majority of sequences can never have been

synthesized at all, at any time (1981, p 51).

Dr. Crick then makes the following fascinating admission: "An

honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could

only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment

to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had

to have been satisfied to get it going" (p 88, emp. added). But, while

acknowledging the impossibility of the accidental formation of life

here on the Earth, he refuses to accept the idea of an intelligent

Creator, and instead opts for "directed panspermia"---the idea that

life was "planted" on the Earth by intelligent beings from outer space.

Dr. Crick is not alone in this viewpoint. The same year in which `Life

Itself' was published, Sir Fred Hoyle authored `Life from Space', in

which he takes essentially the same position.

The likelihood of the formation of life from

inanimate matter is one to a number with 40,000

noughts after it.... It is big enough to bury

Darwin and the whole theory of evolution. There

was no primeval soup, neither on this planet nor on

any other, and if the beginnings of life were not

random, they must therefore have been the product

of purposeful intelligence.

Dr. Hoyle opts for a kind of pantheistic intelligence which created

life spores in other parts of the Universe, with these spores

ultimately drifting to Earth to begin life as we know it. Because of

the tremendous (and impressive) complexity of life---and the obvious

design behind it---other scientists are opting for this viewpoint as

well. Dr. Leslie Orgel, one of the heavyweights in origin-of-life

experiments, is on record as advocating this position (Orgel, 1982, pp


Third, there are, without a doubt, some evolutionists who are

determined to believe in some form of intelligent extraterrestrial life

because they are convinced this will somehow nullify creation. For

example, Ian Ridpath, in his book, `Signs of Life', has suggested:

"Religions which contend that God made man in His own image could be

severely shaken if we found another intellectual race made in a

different image" (1975, p 13).

Jonathan N. Leonard has likewise shown his disdain for the concept

of creation in his classic essay, `Other-Worldly Life':

Scientists point out that there is nothing miraculous

or unrepeatable about the appearance of life on earth.

They believe it would happen again, given the same

sufficient time and the same set of circumstances. It

would even happen under very different circumstances.

There is no reason to believe that conditions in the

atmosphere and oceans of the primitive earth were

modified by any outside power to make them favorable

for the development of life. They just happened that

way, and it is likely that life would have appeared

even if conditions had been considerably different

(1984, pp 186,187).

Such writers make it clear that they believe if extraterrestrial life

were to be discovered, it would somehow "disprove" the existence of a



What response should the creationist offer to these various

evolutionary positions on the existence of intelligent life in outer


First, let it be noted that any claims made concerning the

existence of life in outer space are just that---claims---and nothing

more. In their more candid moments, even evolutionists admit such. Dr.

Michael Rowan-Robinson of the University of London has observed:

From the almost imperceptible wanderings of several

nearby stars we can deduce that they have small

companions, but the masses of the companions deduced

in this way are, with one exception, one or two per

cent of our Sun's mass, that is 10-20 times the mass

of Jupiter. Such objects could in fact be tiny stars,

rather than planets, for they may be undergoing

nuclear reactions in their core. This one exception

is Barnard's star, the next nearest to the Sun after

the Centauri system, five light years away. It has

been claimed that this star has one or two companions

of mass about that of Jupiter. This is still a matter

of dispute between astronomers. It is an act of faith,

based on rather shaky probabilistic arguments, to say

that other planets like Earth exist in the Universe

(1980, p 325, emp. added).

Dr. Freeman Dyson, in his classic text, `Disturbing the Universe',

speaks eloquently on this very point:

Many of the people who are interested in searching for

extraterrestrial intelligence have come to believe in

a doctrine which I call the Philosophical Discourse

Dogma, maintaining as an article of faith that the

universe is filled with societies engaged in long-

range philosophical discourse. The Philosophical

Discourse Dogma holds the following truths to be self-


1. Life is abundant in the universe.

2. A significant fraction of the planets on which life

exists give rise to intelligent species.

3. A significant fraction of intelligent species transmit

messages for our enlightenment.

If these statements are accepted, then it makes sense to

concentrate our efforts upon the search for radio messages

and to ignore other ways of looking for evidence of

intelligence in the universe. But to me the Philosophical

Discourse Dogma is far from self-evident. There is as yet

no evidence either for it or against it (1979, p 207, emp.


These two evolutionists have an excellent point---there is no evidence

for any of these grandiose claims regarding "habitable planets."

Second, let it be noted that the claims being made are often

blatantly contradictory. For example, consider the following. G.E.

Tauber, in his work, `Man's View of the Universe' (1979, p 339), says

that there are "about a billion possible candidates in the galaxy

alone" where intelligent life could exist. That's one billion planets

just in our own Milky Way galaxy. Yet listen to this estimate by Sir

Fred Hoyle, who says:

Of the two hundred billion or so stars in our galaxy,

about eighty per cent fail to met the conditions

discussed above as being necessary for life. The

remaining twenty per cent are not in multiple star

systems and have masses in the appropriate range,

three-quarters to one-and-a-half-times the mass of

the Sun. The grand total of planetary systems in

the galaxy capable of supporting life is therefore

close to forty billion (1978, p 145).

Notice that these two men are both discussing the same thing---

potentially habitable planets in the same galaxy (the Milky Way). Yet

one places the number at one billion, while the other sets it at forty

billion. And their books were published within one year of each other!

Mark Twain was, by all accounts, correct when he observed in `Life on

the Mississippi', "There is something fascinating about science. One

gets such a wholesale return of conjecture for such a trifling

investment of facts." How can we be expected to accept, as credible,

figures as vastly different as these?

Third, those who wish to convince us of a "directed panspermia" via

some intelligence in outer space have apparently failed to understand

that they have not addressed the issue at-hand; they have only moved it

to another planet. Creationists are not the only ones who see this as a

problem. Fox and Dose, two evolutionists who figure prominently in

origin-of-life research, have commented: "Another criticism that has

been voiced is that moving the origin of life to an extraterrestrial

site also moves the problem to that locale. Only by the broadest

interpretation invoking organic chemical precursors can the site be

stretched to such a distance" (1977, p 324). The question obviously

arises: "Did the intelligence which allegedly directed the panspermia

evolve, or was it created?" And we find ourselves right back where we

started. Whether there is intelligent life in outer space or not does

not answer the basic question of where that life, or life on Earth,


Fourth, there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for life on

other planets. Scientists have little choice but to admit this fact, as

the following quotations clearly indicate.

(1) Dr. Ervin Laszlo, in his book, `Evolution: The Grand

Synthesis', has observed: "The search for life, especially

intelligent life, outside the confines of our home planet has

always fascinated poets and scientists; in recent years it has

motivated major research efforts. Alas, these efforts have not

brought positive results" (1970, p 122, emp. added).

(2) Paul Davies notes: "Although we have no supportive evidence at

all, it would be surprising if life were not widespread

throughout the cosmos, though it may be rather sparse" (1980, p

151, emp. added).

(3) Dr. Theodosius Dobzhansky and his co-authors, in their text,

`Evolution', state: "The subject of extraterrestrial life,

exobiology, is a curious field of science, since its subject

matter has never been observed and may not exist" (1977, p 366,

emp. added).

(4) Dr. Isaac Asimov, in reviewing several books for `Science

Digest', offered his comments on one by I.S. Shklovskii and

Carl Sagan (`Intelligent Life in the Universe'). In his review,

Dr. Asimov said: "There are so many books on extraterrestrial

life (I have written one myself) that they would almost seem to

be a cottage industry. This is in a way surprising, since we

have absolutely no evidence that any such phenomenon as life on

other worlds exists" (1982, p 36, emp. added). When Dr. Asimov

says we have "absolutely no evidence" of extraterrestrial life,

his statement, and the conclusion to be drawn from it, could

hardly be any plainer.

(5) Dr. Hubert P. Yockey, writing in the `Journal of Theoretical

Biology', remarked:

Faith in the infallible and comprehensive doctrines

of dialectic materialism plays a crucial role in

origin of life scenarios, and especially in exobiology

and its ultimate consequence, the doctrine of advanced

extra-terrestrial civilization. That life must exist

somewhere in the solar system or "suitable planets

elsewhere" is widely and tenaciously believed in spite

of lack of evidence, or even abundant evidence to the

contrary (1981, p 27, emp. added).


Some will ask what, if anything, the Bible has to say about this

matter. The astute Bible student is aware of the silence of the

Scriptures on this particular matter. The biblical record does not

affirm the existence of extraterrestrial life. [NOTE': The word

"extraterrestrial" is here used to denote beings with physical makeups,

as opposed to spiritual beings such as angels.]

The Bible does make many positive statements about the Earth and

the Universe. And in those statements, it is clear that the Earth has

been appointed a very unique role. For example, the psalmist stated

that "the heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord's: but the earth hath

he given to the children of men" (115:16). The Earth, apparently, was

created uniquely for mankind. Statements made by the inspired apostle

Paul in Acts 17:24-26 echo this same sentiment. It is of interest to

note that many celestial bodies---the Moon, the Sun, and stars---are

mentioned in Scripture, and even spoken of as having definite purposes.

Specifically, the Sun and Moon are said to be useful for marking off

days, and seasons, and years (Genesis 1:14). And, we are informed that

"one star differeth from another star in glory" (I Corinthians 15:41).

Yet no celestial body, except the Earth, is spoken of in Scripture as

being a "dwelling place."

Furthermore, the Earth is unique in that Christ's activities are

described as having occurred on this planet. It was on the Earth that

the godhead became incarnate through Christ (see John 1:1ff). It was on

the Earth that Christ died for the sins of men (Hebrews 2:9). It was on

the Earth that His bodily resurrection occurred (I Corinthians 15), and

from the Earth that He ascended to His Father in heaven (Acts 1:9,10;

Ephesians 4:8-10).

There is also another aspect which should be considered in this

light. The Bible clearly states that "God is love" (I John 4:8). Love,

of course, allows freedom of choice, and the Scriptures make it clear

that God does exactly that (see Joshua 24:15;John 5:39,40). Since God

is the Creator of the Universe (Genesis 1:1ff), and since He is

likewise no respector of persons (Acts 10:34), were He to create other

intelligent life, His loving nature would require that freedom of

choice be granted to such life forms. It also follows that since God is

loving, He would offer instruction to such intelligent beings---just as

He has to man---on the proper use of freedom of choice. Creatures

possessing free moral agency, however, are not perfect; they make

mistakes. Such mistakes (violations of God's instructions) require that

justice be administered, since God is not only loving, but just.

Because God is merciful, He institutes a way for those separated from

Him---as a result of their own mistakes---to return. The Scriptures,

however, teach that there is only one way to stand justified before

God, and that is through His Son (John 14:6). [NOTE: The angelic host,

while certainly possessing freedom of choice, was not allowed this

opportunity, apparently due to its completely spiritual (i.e.,

nonphysical) nature, and to the fact that angels had experienced God's

glory firsthand as they stood in His presence. Therefore they were

without any excuse for their rebellion against His authority (Hebrews


The Scriptures also speak to one other important point. The Hebrew

writer stated that Christ died "once for all" (7:27; 9:28). The wording

in the original Greek is explicit, meaning that Christ's death was a

once-for-all, never-to-be-repeated event.

Creatures possessing freedom of choice make mistakes in attempting

to carry out God's will. Forgiveness of those mistakes comes only

through Christ (John 14:6). Since Christ died only once (Hebrews 7:27),

it is a seeming violation of Scripture to suggest that Christ somehow

go "planet hopping" to die again and again as the propitiation for

infractions of God's plan, made by creatures (possessing freedom of

choice) in other parts of this vast Universe of ours. These biblical

principles should not be overlooked in any discussion of the existence

of extraterrestrial life.


The only conclusion which can be drawn currently is that science

has produced no credible evidence of intelligent life in outer space.

There have been many speculations and opinions offered. But empirical

evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life is completely

lacking. A good suggestion might be, therefore, that we spend our time

on more important pursuits.


Asimov, Isaac (1982), "Book Reviews," `Science Digest', March,

1982. The book by I.S. Shklovskii and Carl Sagan, `Intelligent

Life in the Universe', was published by Holden-Day, New York, 1966.

Crick, Francis (1981),` Life Itself '(New York: Simon & Schuster).

Davies, Paul (1980), `Other Worlds' (New York: Simon & Schuster).

Dobzhansky, Theodosius, F.J. Ayala, G.L. Stebbins, and J.W.

Valentine (1977), `Evolution' (San Francisco: W.H. Freeman).

Dyson, Freeman (1979), `Disturbing the Universe' (New York: Harper

& Row).

Fox, Sidney and Klaus Dose (1977), `Molecular Evolution and the

Origin of Life' (New York: Marcel Dekker).

Hoyle, Fred (1978), `Lifecloud' (New York: Harper & Row).

Laszlo, Ervin (1987), `Evolution: The Grand Synthesis' (Boston:

Shambhala Publishing).

Leonard, Jonathon N. (1984), "Other-Worldly Life," `The Sacred

Beetle', ed. Martin Gardner (Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Press; essay

originally published in 1953).

Orgel, Leslie (1982), `New Scientist', April 15.

Ridpath, Ian (1975), `Signs of Life' (New York: Penguin).

Rowan-Robinson, Michael (1980), `New Scientist', January 31.

Sagan, Carl (1980), `New Scientist,' January 17.

Tauber, G.E. (1979), `Man's View of the Universe' (New York:


Yockey, Hubert P. (1981), `Journal of Theoretical Biology', 91:27.


(C) 1991 Apologetics Press, Inc All Rights Reserved

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Montgomery, AL 36117-2752


Index - Evolution or Creation

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