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The ETI Myth: Idolatrous Fantasy or Plausible Inference?

The ETI Myth: Idolatrous Fantasy or Plausible Inference? Abstract Although we have yet to confirm the existence of even microbial extraterrestrial life, some scientists portray extraterrestrial civilizations as ancient utopian societies where wise and benevolent immortals dwell in peace and prosperity while eagerly awaiting the opportunity to help fledgling societies such as our own. Recently, Ted Peters argued that, despite reassurances to the contrary, religion and myth are the bases for these scientific speculations. Whereas it is not possible to disprove his thesis, there are alternative paths to such optimism. The longer a civilization persists, the more likely it will overlap our civilization in time and thus be detected by us. Over the centuries, terrestrial societies have become more inclusive, more democratic, more peaceful, and more altruistic, and I propose that these trends reflect deep natural processes that would affect all societies everywhere. Societies following these trends endure, while those that rely on threat and coercion shine but a brief moment in historical time. Although religious response would be varied, the best available evidence refutes the claim that the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence would constitute a triumph of science over religion. Theologians and religious leaders help with the search by broadening and deepening the discussion, engaging the public, strengthening our sense of humanity, and fostering hope. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Theology and Science Taylor & Francis

The ETI Myth: Idolatrous Fantasy or Plausible Inference?

Theology and Science , Volume 8 (1): 17 – Feb 1, 2010
17 pages

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References (37)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
Copyright Taylor & Francis Group, LLC
ISSN
1474-6719
eISSN
1474-6700
DOI
10.1080/14746700903475114
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract Although we have yet to confirm the existence of even microbial extraterrestrial life, some scientists portray extraterrestrial civilizations as ancient utopian societies where wise and benevolent immortals dwell in peace and prosperity while eagerly awaiting the opportunity to help fledgling societies such as our own. Recently, Ted Peters argued that, despite reassurances to the contrary, religion and myth are the bases for these scientific speculations. Whereas it is not possible to disprove his thesis, there are alternative paths to such optimism. The longer a civilization persists, the more likely it will overlap our civilization in time and thus be detected by us. Over the centuries, terrestrial societies have become more inclusive, more democratic, more peaceful, and more altruistic, and I propose that these trends reflect deep natural processes that would affect all societies everywhere. Societies following these trends endure, while those that rely on threat and coercion shine but a brief moment in historical time. Although religious response would be varied, the best available evidence refutes the claim that the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence would constitute a triumph of science over religion. Theologians and religious leaders help with the search by broadening and deepening the discussion, engaging the public, strengthening our sense of humanity, and fostering hope.

Journal

Theology and ScienceTaylor & Francis

Published: Feb 1, 2010

Keywords: ETI; Astrobiology; Evolution; Contact Planning Group

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