Sunday, July 13, 2008

Aliens and Counting Planets

In the last couple of months I've been challenged in anonymous comments (from their style I think they're all from the same guy) regarding Scientology and "Aliens".

I've already said a couple of times that Scientologists don't believe in "Aliens" but this doesn't seem to satisfy Mr. (or Ms.) Anonymous.  So let me try for a definitive answer.

Let's start by examining the scientific view of aliens.  In our galaxy there are an estimated 100 billion stars and 30 billion Earth-like planets.  There are an estimated 200 billion galaxies in the observable universe.  So that means there are about 6,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 Earth-like planets in just the observable universe.  (That is 6 sextillion, if my arithmetic is right and I didn't mistype any zeros.) 

Even if the odds of life forming on such a planet are one in a billion that still leaves a lot of Earth-like planets with life on them out there.  So I think the chances of there being life on other planets are pretty good. Someone else did a similar calculation here: Is there any other life in the Universe?, and, using the Drake Equation, Frank Drake came up with an estimate of 10,000 technological civilizations in our galaxy alone.

So, do I believe in that sort of alien?  Sure and I'm in good company: The SETI Institute.

Now let's move on to the "space alien" theories that you can find around the Internet.  I'm not very familiar with them, but I did read a book a couple of years ago that was supposed to be historical but by the end it was telling me all about the "Twelfth Planet".  It was very entertaining and would make a great sci-fi story but there are such obvious gaping holes in the theory that I am amazed that so many people take it seriously.

So, do I believe in that sort of alien? No.

Now what about the "UFO Religions" which cover such movements as Raelism, Zetatalk and the Aetherius Society.  Such movements have belief in the existence of extraterrestrials and/or UFOs as a central component of their belief system.  In order to write this article I took a quick look at those three so that I could answer the question:

So, do I believe in that sort of alien?  No.

So, if I, a typical Scientologist, say I don't believe in aliens (except in the first example above) and I insist that other Scientologists don't either, then why are there claims around the Internet that we do?

Stay tuned and I'll tell you tomorrow.

9 comments:

Jim Gatos said...

Grahame,

Just because I personally believe there is life, and yes, intelligent life, and yes, less intelligent AND more intelligent life, doesn't mean I believe they should be worshiped. NO MATTER how far advanced they are from us, who said they should be worshiped as Gods.. Look, L. Ron Hubbard was regarded by many as a very very intelligent man. And "enlightened". And that's not even the issue here. Unless I'm mistaken, I don't think 'Ole L.Ron ever said he was to be worshiped. That's the problem with "hate mongers".. They put words in other people's mouths that never were even there to begin with. Respect and worship are two different things, and, oh, by the way, there's NOTHING wrong with either of them..

Grahame said...

Hey Jim,

The post was about the "they believe in aliens" thing that we get accused of.

If there are people out there who say we "worship" L. Ron Hubbard then they are even further off than the "they believe in aliens" thing.

LRH was a guy like the rest of us. He never claimed to be anything else.

Grahame said...

I just got this from Jeff Barea:

Ok crazy girl.

First, even Christians believe in aliens. Some weirdo holy trinity thing where one alien is three aliens and live at the center of the universe or whatever.

So the defense of aliens or no aliens thing is bogus.

The problemmatic thing is that your corporation hides things until you pay money.

Doesn't matter what is being hidden, silly girl.

It's the reason the Fair Trade Act was passed.

Would these people give their money if they knew the hidden things? That's the question.

See, Christians are upfront about all their wacky ideas. Amazingly people still believe them.

But to wait until the check clears?

Not cool.

Your turn babe:
Jeff Barea
so not even closely related to anonymous


So Jeff, I'll assume you are merely misinformed and will try to give you the benefit of the doubt.

First, "Grahame" is a man's name, so next time try "dude" rather than "babe".

Second, 99% of Scientology is available to anyone. There are a few things that aren't. The reason they aren't is because we believe they could harm a person who is not ready for them.

Third, to get these "hidden" things, as you call them, you have to show that you are a person of high moral and ethical standards. The cost is simply the cost of the course and it is no greater than the cost of other courses of similar length that contain materials that are not "hidden".

Fourth, if a person is dissatisfied with their Scientology services then they can get a refund. So your "Would these people give their money if they knew the hidden things?" question doesn't apply.

Fifth, it is important to respect other people's religious beliefs. Your sarcastic treatment of the beliefs of Christians gives the impression that you really don't give a damn about other's rights to freedom of thought and belief. It is an important right and it also extends to you. If you don't grant it to others then to that degree you lose it yourself. Just remember that the next time you make fun of someone's beliefs.

Jim Gatos said...

Well Grahame, er... "Dude"... (Just a joke, "smile"... )....

I totally agree with you. My personal beliefs say to me there is nothing wrong to believe aliens exist. If I want to believe they exist now, by accepting data that says that mathematically speaking, life on other planets HAVE TO EXIST, that's my right...It doesn't mean they should be "worshiped" Chances are, they probably would be more advanced. And they should be respected if they knew of our existence and didn't blow us up to smithereens.. if they could... Not because they decided to spare us, but because they have the intelligence to understand the word "mercy" and "non interference"...

"Jeff"s statements are truly bizarre.. I never heard of "Christians" believing that the participants of the "Holy Trinity" were space aliens. That's a new one. I wonder what their planet was called????

You, sad to say, are probably all TOO aware of a lot of the garbage that is being said out there... and the way someone's statement gets twisted around. I am now going to publicly state that I believe in the existance of life on other planets. I am going to publicly state that I believe that, statistically speaking, it is possible, very possible, that alien life is ABUNDANT on other planets. Probably some of that life may be "humanoid".. more or less intelligent. Just because I believe in the Existence of that life does NOT mean I pray to them at all.. That's where it stops; that's where the absurdity of the whole thing begins..Reading Jeff's comment was the first time I ever read anywhere that Christians supposedly believe in aliens. If they do or not is not the issue. His "misinterpretation"; THAT's THE ISSUE...because it seems to "mock" them..

I hope I was able to articulate what I was trying to express.. If not, I will consider "video responses"... LOL...

Grahame said...

I'm with you Jim.

The best comment I have seen about aliens and contact with humans is from Calvin and Hobbes creator, Bill Watterson:

"Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."

LOL!

Aligote said...

"Second, 99% of Scientology is available to anyone. There are a few things that aren't. The reason they aren't is because we believe they could harm a person who is not ready for them."
So 99% of scientology is below the OT levels? Or it's more than that and you won't talk about it? You can see how people walk away with so much misinformation about scientology when they refuse to be transparent.

Grahame said...

aligote,

You say: "You can see how people walk away with so much misinformation about Scientology when they refuse to be transparent."

I am trying to restrain myself from being sarcastic about your comment because it is so far from the truth that it seems to me you haven't even tried to find out the facts.

Here are some facts about the transparency of the Church of Scientology:

The Church has put up thousands of web pages of information on Scientology (Scientology Related Sites.

There is huge book on the subject that has been put on line (What is Scientology?).

The Church just produced over 80 videos to tell people about the subject. (Scientology Video Channel)

The videos where even made available on YouTube. (Scientology Video Channel on YouTube

Much of the Scientology Handbook is on line so people can get a taste of the workability of the subject for free. (Scientolgy Handbook)

A whole set of new books have been produced so people can find out what the subject is all about: Scientology Basic Books.

"refuse to be transparent"??? No one who had actually tried to find out the facts could say something like that.

jfc100 said...

Hi,

There are two numerical naming standards: short and long scale.

Most English-language countries use the short scale, according to Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_and_short_scales#Long_scale_countries

So in most English language countries, 20 billion x 30 billion =

6 000 000 000 000 or 6 trillion.

That would still mean a vast number of earth-like planets in the known universe.

Oh, come on - no life on other planets? Is that because you don't see aliens in front of your face right this minute? There are living creatures on this planet which would quite easily pass for aliens because there are species which live in the depths of the sea which are still being discovered today.

Jim

Grahame said...

Hey jfc 100,

Your calculation is a little off. 20,000,000,000 times 30,000,000,000 is 600,000,000,000,000,000,000.

But anyway, I agree with you that the likelihood of life on other planets is so high that the idea there won't be any is extremely short-sighted. It's like the medieval idea that Earth was the center of the Universe or that it was flat and sailors going too far would fall off the end. It's the same small minded type of idea.