Sunday, July 16, 2017

Humans: The lonely guys of the universe

July 2, 2017

Our ventures into outer space are technically awesome but often conceptually pathetic, with the are-we-all-alone? whine/question. Yes, practically speaking, we are alone, given the distances between planets and galaxies. Unless those UFO sightings reflect something real, in which case aliens are keeping their distance and just find our species of interest the same way we find a Melanesian cargo cult interesting.

The cover story in the July 2 NY Times Magazine (Greetings, E.T. Please Don't Murder Us) about contacting other species in the cosmos got some interesting feedback in today's Times:

We are not convinced of global warming, despite the evidence that it is true. Darwin’s views on evolution are, in the main, fact, regardless of the refinement of the details; and prejudice within our species is nearly genocidal with its impact. We are not eligible as a species or a civilization to make decisions about possible extinction events or issues. 

We need to shut up and get our social, political and scientific houses in order before trying to invite unknown aliens to ‘‘Come on down, y’all.’’ We might end up on the menu or in slave quarters. 

And religious concerns should not even be on the table for any form of consideration because there is not any factual evidence to support any tenet of any religion: They must be taken on faith, and you must believe, despite what the facts may belie concerning those beliefs. 

The whole METI thing needs to be decided based on facts, of which we have damned few, and taking a ‘‘Wouldn’t it be nice if. . .” is hardly a tactic designed to ensure our survival as a species. 

Jay Brown
Seminole, Fla.

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Post Christian

Barna

Like Hemant Mehta, I got a perfect score on the criteria below that Barna used to determine the above. People in a city/area must meet 9 of the 16 criteria. 

I bet Mehta would agree that for him the qualifying phrases---"in the last week, "in the last 6 months," etc.---could also be changed to "never" for all the criteria, though I once took a Bible as Literature course at San Diego State (the King James version scores high as literature). And in the 1980s I went to a couple of Buddhist meditation retreats organized by the Insight Meditation Society that I found interesting and helpful:

Do not believe in God

Identify as atheist or agnostic

Disagree that faith is important in their lives

Have not prayed to God (in the last week)

Have never made a commitment to Jesus

Disagree the Bible is accurate

Have not donated money to a church (in the last year)

Have not attended a Christian church (in the last 6 months)

Agree that Jesus committed sins

Do not feel a responsibility to “share their faith”

Have not read the Bible (in the last week)

Have not volunteered at church (in the last week)

Have not attended Sunday school (in the last week)

Have not attended religious small group (in the last week)

Bible engagement scale: low (have not read the Bible in the past week and disagree strongly or somewhat that the Bible is accurate)

Not Born Again

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