How common might Earth-like planets be in the universe? Even if only 1 percent of all stars were circled by a planet like our own, that would still mean there are billions of other earths waiting to be discovered.
And according to this article and Alan Boss, an astronomer with the Carnegie Institution and author of the book “The Crowded Universe: The Search for Living Planets,” he indicated:
There may be 100 billion Earth-like planets in the Milky Way, or one for every sun-type star in the galaxy.
And to quote the article:
Boss said that if any of the billions of Earth-like worlds he believes exist in the Milky Way have liquid water, they are likely to be home to some type of life.
“Now that’s not saying that they’re all going to be crawling with intelligent human beings or even dinosaurs,” he said.
“But I would suspect that the great majority of them at least will have some sort of primitive life, like bacteria or some of the multicellular creatures that populated our Earth for the first 3 billion years of its existence.”
So, notwithstanding basic organisms, what about intelligent life?
Other scientists are taking another approach: an analysis that suggests there could be hundreds, even thousands, of intelligent civilizations in the Milky Way.
Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland constructed a computer model to create a synthetic galaxy with billions of stars and planets. They then studied how life evolved under various conditions in this virtual world, using a supercomputer to crunch the results.
In a paper published recently in the International Journal of Astrobiology, the researchers concluded that based on what they saw, at least 361 intelligent civilizations have emerged in the Milky Way since its creation, and as many as 38,000 may have formed.
That’s just in our own galaxy. The picture to the right shows 10,000 more.
As I’ve said before, the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe would seemingly create huge problems for young Earth (Actually, astronomy and astrophysics has already disproved young Earth theories) creationist theories about how life began here and, indeed, about existence in general, since the book of Genesis seems to indicate that there is only one planet on which life exists and its at the center of, well, everything that’s relevant.
The following blogger and other apologists suggest that the discovery of life on other planets would not shoot holes in the creation theory.
The discovery of alien life would not disprove Christianity anymore than it would prove evolution. In his book Darwin’s Black Box, Bio-Chemist Michael Behe astutely pointed out that understanding how something works or exists now does not prove we know how that came to be the way it is. Applying that to this discussion, it is reasonable to say that even if evolutionary scientists announce the presence of alien life in a far corner of the cosmos, this does not prove that evolution was the means by which it got there. God could just as well have supernaturally created that life apart from earth according to his divine will. So Christians need not fear any negative implications regarding how their Creationist position might be affected by the discovery of alien life. They must simply be ready to say that God can choose to create life where he chooses. — astuteness.wordpress.com
This apologist site attempts to clarify matters for us, suggesting that any extraterrestrial life that exists cannot be intelligent because the only intelligent beings God created were animals, man and angels (Of course, since the word “animals” includes both multi-and single-celled organisms, they may or may not be “intelligent.”) But looking outside of pages written in Bronze-age Palestine, what are the chances that no intelligent life exists anywhere in the universe? Given the number of possible galaxies (not to mention the number of possible Earths inside those galaxies), the chances would be infinitesimally small. And this question only assumes that intelligent life needs Earth-like conditions to exist. In fact, no rule says that intelligent life absolutely needs human conditions (oxygen, ideal climates) to exist. Who’s to say that a civilization can’t exist given a totally different set of parameters? So, take “infinitesimal” and multiply it by two, and that’s more like the actual chance that intelligent life doesn’t exist somewhere else.
As per its biblical charter, the same site says that the future of the universe is “forever linked to God’s timetable for mankind and the Earth.” And what bearing does this plan have on any potential life elsewhere?
If God had created intelligent life on other worlds, it is hard to imagine that their lives would be calibrated by the failures of Earth’s inhabitants. It seems unlikely and unfair that their distant planets would be destroyed by God because of His plan for Earth [If so, I guess that would make them doomed to eternal fire by proxy]. The implication of Scripture is that there are no other intelligent beings besides man, animals, and the angels.
It’s also hard to imagine that adults in Africa, who may have never heard about Jesus, will go to hell simply because of their ignorance of scripture, so we don’t have to look beyond our atmosphere for instances of unfairness. But these types of arguments are really the only way apologists can right the ship: to subvert what we know about the universe and to claim that any theory (evolution, the big bang, gravity!, etc.) doesn’t square with scripture and should, thus, be discarded. And when things don’t make any sense at all (For instance, the problem of extreme suffering and/or the fall of man under the auspices of an omnibenevolent, omnipotent god who knew about the whole tragic scenario before he set it in motion)? Just tout our lowly ignorance versus God’s omniscience.