Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Drake Equation and Atheisim

As a young geek I saw Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov propound their theories on life on other planets. The Drake equation was a big deal in those days even though it always seemed non-sensical to me given the almost entire lack of knowledge about conditions outside our solar system. There is one thing I find unusual however, given that there seems to be no logical connection between the two things. The more sure these guys were that there was a plethora of life on other planets the more likely they were to be atheists. The SETI project was beloved by Sagan and Asimov as well.

At about the same time John Paul II speculated that the incarnation would apply to remove sins from other sentient life forms and Ronald Reagan posited that an attack by these life forms would unite the Soviets and us against them. Neither man thought it would eliminate the proposition of God.

Two questions-Am I right about the direct relationship on view on the abundance of life elsewhere and atheism and if so why is that so?

1 comment:

Dave S. said...

The Drake equation was understood to be based on guesswork on cosmic conditions and merely an approximation. Dismissing it as nonsense seems rather churlish and our new alien overlords will have words with you upon their arrival.

JP2 just may have had a vested (vestmented?) interest in maintaining the proposition of God.

Extrapolating the presence or absence of faith in scientists using Asimov and Sagan as your data set would seem to skew the results, but it makes perfect sense that scientists would be more skeptical than the population at large, given that rational inquiry and explanation is in their job description rather more than "Because God, that's why."

So, to sum up and answer:

1) Maybe, but it's science in general more than just ET life
2) Back off, man, we're scientists.