The Kepler space telescope has apparently found 1,235 potential planets orbiting faraway stars. So what’s really new? Simply expanding our knowledge of the universe may be interesting, but is a fool’s game—at least until we find the edge of it. The distances are so completely unbridgeable, it’s about as helpful as finding more pebbles on the beach or more water in the sea.
It seems evolutionary speculation drives the interest. After all, dispensing with a Creator leaves many questions unanswered, so science must provide them. Here is a letter I sent to Maclean’s today in response to its report of the euphoria that has erupted at the latest discovery.
Re: Tracking Down Other Earths, Maclean’s, February 21, 2011
While we may wonder at the technology that is probing farther in to the reaches of the universe, I frankly wonder what all the fuss is about.
If these planets are “a few hundred to a few thousand light years away” (mostly the latter), then we are looking at where they were a few thousand years ago. Who knows where they are now, and if they had life, perhaps atomic warfare or global warming has eradicated it. Even if intelligent life exists, several thousand years is too long to wait on the telephone.
What is even more dismal, we have yet to find life even the size of a grasshopper, or one blade of grass for it to hop to. Every planet seems to be a gaseous ball or a lifeless rock more akin to our moon than our beautiful earth. Perhaps the most the Kepler telescope can tell us is our incomprehension of the Mind that conceived this vast cage we exist in, or the immense Power that flung it all into space.
We need to seek life on earth. Our planet already has aliens on the edge of starvation, facing mutilation, or dying of disease. How will history judge us who have spent billions on seeking drops of water beyond our reach, yet allowed life to ebb away within our walls?
Bryan Norford, Lethbridge, Alberta