In the May 6th broadcast of Spotlight on the Sound, Michelle Mendoza interviews David Klinghoffer with Seattle’s Discovery Institute, and contributor to Evolution News concerning the recent discovery of the Trappist 1 planetary system.
This discovery made a rather disproportionate media splash – which is not unusual. A rather unseemly hyperventilation generally accompanies exoplanetary discovery; ecstatic musings that betray a desperate hope of intelligent (or even dumb-as-a-box-of-rotifers) life out there… somewhere… please, maybe? The announcement regarding the Trappist 1 planetary system so stirred the media-sphere as to prompt a Google doodle animation featuring an inquisitive Earth telescopically probing the stars, when suddenly discovering a happy cadre of earth-like planetary neighbors frantically greeting him from light years away (never mind of course the laws of nature, which effectively render these red dwarf off-cast rocks a series of sterile, hellish, tidally-locked orbs of ice and fire- because after all, they’re planets… and Earth’s a planet… thus we have inhabitable neighbors! (and one very ill-conceived syllogism).
In his Cosmos series, Carl Sagan gave a synopsis of the Drake Equation– a mathematical tool for estimating the planets in our galaxy which may contain advanced civilizations – a number Sagan theorized could be in the millions. But like most ‘sciencey’ fictions, the numbers he plugs into the variables are founded on speculative ignorance about what is actually required to thread the unfathomably fragile complex of life – much less intelligent life – through the mind-bendingly hostile needle of space. Sadly, the steady cultural ingestion of sci-fi fairy tales has altered our collective perception of reality to the degree that an honest estimation of feasibility plays no actual role in reckoning the ascent of alien civilizations.
In his book, Improbable Planet, astrophysicist Hugh Ross makes the compelling case that planet Earth is no accident – but the carefully crafted end-product of an extra-cosmic intelligence, finely tuned throughout every aspect of existence – from the explosive birth of matter and energy, to galactic expansion, to the development and dynamics of the solar system, to the preparations of geological ages and careful distribution of essential elements, to produce one glimmering blue orb in the Milky Way backwaters as the home of beings created in His image.
That contention, however, is unacceptable to the vast majority of journalists weighing in on scientific discoveries today. Their bias heavily rests on the authority of researchers with a superhuman capacity to deny the obvious. As British scientist Francis Crick, put it, “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” Sadly, some delusions are created and preserved in the heart – and no amount of evidence to the contrary will touch them. So be looking for more planets out there to add to our veritable neighborhood of inhabitable worlds, because, you know, Star Trek… I mean… science.