RE: extraterrestrial intelligence

Tue, 13 Apr 1999 10:50:39 +1200

Vandergraaf, Chuck <>

> Having said this, I wonder what drives people to search for extraterrestrial
> intelligence. Are they that lonely?

As a science fiction buff I might be able to shed some light on that:

So far I have come across a few trends:

1. some people believe they will understand mankind better when
they discover life elsewhere in the universe.
2. many of them might prefer to be oblivious of God.
3. many do not accept purpose in life and existence of lifeforms
elsewhere might prove that.
4. many seem determined to prove we are the result of an accident
and similar life elsewhere in the universe might prove them right.
5. they believe all religions, especially christians will obliterate
themselves by loosing their faith en-masse, when extraterrestrial
life is found, because they believe that we think mankind is alone
and unique and there isn't anything else out there. I don't know how
they come to that conclusion, but I get the impression that they
think the existence extraterrestrial life will proves us wrong.

The number of 'sane' people (with ph.d.'s) who encounter aliens
seems to be increasing, which means there must be something
out there, to many people's minds. In ages past people reported
seeing angels or fairies or leprechauns. Today it's spaceships,
strange lights and ET look alikes.

As an Science Fiction buff I have found that many people in this
field, though not all, reject religion. If they write about religion it's
usually to mock it. If anyone writes sf as a christian (CS Lewis) it
is rejected as religious propaganda. I can think of at least one high
profile person in the sf field who would, if time travel existed, risk
everything to be able to go back in time just to get rid of CS Lewis.
He hates his guts.
Problem is: Lewis's Space Trilogy is kind of a classic in the field,
which means he is a person they cannot quite afford to ignore. It
would have been a true classic if his religious motivations had not
been so obvious.
Many seem to think sf and religion, as they call it, do not go
together. Mind you, they always talk about religion, never about a
personal faith. I don't think they have ever met anyone who had
that. Too many may have had too many bible bashings.

Not everyone does reject the link. Orson Scott Card is a christian,
that's very obvious from his writings and he has written a thing or
two re. sf and christian faith. I think people interested in sf and
space exploration have a lot in common with christians, but if you
combine the two you are kinda odd. We share the sense of
wonder, adventure, exploration, that life is exciting and that you
can make a different, for instance.

These are some of my observations, anyway.

Janine Baalbergen

Janine R. Baalbergen
Student Master of Arts
School of Communications
Auckland Institute of Technology
State Insurance Building rm 1414
Wakefield Street
Auckland New Zealand
Ph. 64 9 307 9999 ext 8406