Saw this article today on the BBC. Very interesting. One criticism I have is that there is an assumption that on planets where the conditions would allow complex, intelligent life to develop, such life-forms would appear. I don’t think this is necessarily the case, though I’m not denying that it could be. However, put in more moderate terms, this article suggests that there are at least 361 other planets in our galaxy alone that could possibly support an intelligent life-form such as ours.
I am still trying to think about the theological ramifications of this possibility. I don’t think there is necessarily a direct challenge to Christianity here, but I do think that this dramatically alters how Christians often do apologetics.
One of the major arguments presented in defense of Christianity (or more generally, of Theism) is called the Fine-Tuning Argument. Basically, it says that the conditions necessary for life, especially intelligent life, to form are very specific and that the universe could not possibly have produced such conditions randomly. Very frequently, this is done in terms of describing the conditions that allow our planet specifically to support such life. The assumption seems to be that we are unique. This research completely shatters that assumption, demonstrating a serious problem for many apologetic arguments: they are subject to being rendered irrelevant by new scientific discoveries. Christianity needs a different kind of apologetic argument.