Is Life on Earth Unique?

Is Life on Earth Unique?

Colson Center President and Summit faculty member John Stonestreet brings to our attention some interesting new research about the uniqueness of life here on earth. Stonestreet cites a recent paper by researchers at Oxford that highlights how life on other planets may not be nearly as likely as many people think.

Why is there so much interest, especially in the scientific community, about whether or not there is intelligent life in other parts of the universe? Could it be that many of the people doing research in this field actually want there to be extra-terrestrial life? Why would that be?

Proponents of the secular worldview like to point out that we are nothing special. If, as they believe, the natural world is all that exists and we are the product of the mindless, unguided process of evolution, then they may be right that we are nothing special.

However, if this unimaginably big universe is home to only one intelligent life form, does that not make us special?

Given this line of thinking, it is understandable why those who are previously committed to the secular worldview might seek out life on other planets to confirm their belief that we are not special creatures. While this is certainly an interesting topic to study regardless of worldview, it is arguably more interesting that a body of researchers made up of primary materialists would overestimate the likelihood of life in other parts of the universe. It’s almost as if their worldview presuppositions are leaking into their scientific ideas. Could it be that science isn’t always the trustworthy, facts-based discipline that it makes itself out to be?

Extra-terrestrial life is not necessarily a problem for those who hold to the Christian worldview, but the lack-there-of has clearly caused many people of other worldviews to become antsy.

John writes:

“Of course, the Scriptures don’t necessarily teach that God didn’t create life anywhere else in the universe. That possibility—however remote—shouldn’t bother us at all. But for the materialist, who sees all of life as a cosmic accident, there are few things scarier than the thought that our planet is the only place ever to play host to an intelligent species—not because they’re afraid of a quiet universe, but because of how loudly such a universe would proclaim that Someone actually put us here.”