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Alien Religions – The Saturday Slant

Written By: Gary on May 22, 2004 2 Comments

This week a Vatican astronomer postulated about the existance of extra-terrestrial intelligence and what such existance might mean to not only human religion but to alien religion–and cross-pollination between the two. The astronomer, Guy Consolmagno, described three scenarios: “We find an intelligent civilization and there’s no way in creation we can communicate with them because they’re so alien to us; we find the intelligent civilization. We can communicate.” And: “We find a dozen civilizations out there, and a bunch of Jehovah’s witnesses go up and convert them all.” An anonymous person on Slashdot then took Consolmagno’s comments a step further: “As agents of free-will, the aliens are self-aware of good and evil, thus convertible to some terrestrial religion. The question of whether an alien civilization might convert Earth to their religion, or become a religion unto themselves, is left unconsidered [by Consolmagno].” I entreat you to explore what the Vatican’s astronomer did not. (From The Saturday Slant )
Extra-terrestrials and religion: what’s your Slant?

I find this particularly interesting, why? Because I was just reading about this a few hours ago. Here we go, back to Robert Sawyer (kind of a Canadian Michael Crichton). He ties a lot of this into his books. In particular a book called Calculating God. Here’s a few pages from the middle of the book and chapter one.

Here is the key part:

A bit of cutting (no pasting) from Chapter one to get the point. It starts with the archeologist answering a question from the alien…
book cover

“There’ve been five mass extinctions in Earth’s history that we know of. The first was at the end of the Ordovician, maybe 440 million years ago. The second was in the late Devonian, something like 365 million years ago. The third, and by far the largest, was at the end of the Permian, 225 million years ago.”

“There have also been five major mass extinctions in the history of my planet,” said Hollus [the alien]. “Our year is longer than yours, but if you express the dates in Earth years, they occurred at roughly 440 million, 365 million, 225 million, 210 million, and 65 million years ago.” I felt my jaw drop. “And,” continued Hollus, “Delta Pavonis II [the other planet we stopped by on the way here] has also experienced five mass extinctions. Their year is a little shorter than yours, but if you express the dates of the extinctions in Earth years, they also occurred at approximately 440, 365, 225, 210, and 65 million years ago.”

“That can’t be right,” I said. “We know that the extinctions here were related to local phenomena.” I shook my head. “I just don’t see how that can be.”     I shook my head in wonder. “I can’t think of any reason why evolutionary history should be similar on multiple worlds.”

“One reason is obvious,” said Hollus. “It could be that way because God wished it to be so. The primary goal of modern science,” he continued, “is to discover why God has behaved as he has and to determine his methods. We do not believe — what is the term you use? — we do not believe that he simply waves his hands and wishes things into existence. We live in a universe of physics, and he must have used quantifiable physical processes to accomplish his ends.”

All (most) of his books provide such a premise and he refers to a lot of books that talk about it from a scientific/philosophical point of view, all of it way over my head. But it’s all made me think a bit about it. Some of his other books deals with evil and good (from an AI standpoint) and a collective consciousness. In his one trilogy Hominids/Humans/Hybrids the piece is that they don’t believe in God on the parallel Earth and it brings up some mighty interesting conversations (and outcomes in their society).

From The Saturday Slant

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2 Responses to “Alien Religions – The Saturday Slant”

  1. lopka says on: 12 June 2004 at 12:41 am

    That takes religion to a whole new level. Not only God made planet Earth and solar system, as also took care of every galaxy in a few seven days. that

  2. Brad Snyder says on: 2 April 2005 at 4:11 pm

    Aliens do exist. They know we are here. They are more evolved in their moral and social interactive methods then we are therefore they are able to accomplish things that are typically out of reach to us due to present moral and social incapacities. The concept of religion, omitting advocation of any specific teaching of our earthly religions, is familiar with them. The premises, however, on which they place their religious beliefs all lie within rational scrutiny unlike our ‘mystic’ religions. In time we[humans] will come to embody a more rationalistic approach to religious belief. This intellectual evolution may take simialar forms within other wordly societies, but that is not to say that some other worldly society may have begun where we have yet to start. That is just the way things are. Every species has their own things to brag about. As far as mass extinction dates falling on simialar dates of history once a common time scheme[the earthly year] is used as a reference point for translation, as a product of a God who interacts with the creation for which he is responsible, which includes the assumption that all species of consciousness are somehow governed by a simialar religious outlook, I would have to leave that open for more debate.

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