Rare Earth

From the March 2000 Trumpet Print Edition

Two prominent scientists have just stepped forward to say that the search for aliens is likely to fail. With new findings in astronomy, geology and paleontology, they say the Earth’s ability to sustain life is much more rare—and unique in the universe—than previously thought.

To summarize the view put forth in their new book, Rare Earth, “Almost everywhere else, the radiation levels are too high, the right chemical elements too rare, the hospitable planets too few and the rain of killer rocks too intense for life ever to have evolved into advanced communities” (International Herald Tribune, Feb. 9).

One of the authors, a noted nasa scientist, astronomer and professor, said, “Almost all environments in the universe are terrible for life. It’s only Garden-of-Eden places like Earth where it can exist.”

The book has enraged groups such as seti, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, who are afraid funds for their space probing could dry up.

Searching outer space for life has only been done since about 1960. The effort is fundamentally based upon a belief in evolution: If life evolved here on Earth, surely it must have evolved elsewhere in this vast universe. Every hint of hope that has emerged from these searches, some of which have been vast projects costing multiple millions of dollars, subsequently has been proven false. Yet the dogged search continues, because scientists are so determined to prove evolution correct.

That’s what makes Rare Earth such a rare book. One noted astronomer called it “courageous.” “It’s rare in literature and science that a stance goes so far against the grain,” he said.

But as much “against the grain” as the book’s argument is, it agrees with God’s view, put forth in the Bible, that Earth is a project utterly unique in the universe—as is the intelligence of the human race. God specially designed each for a specific purpose.