Extra-Solar Science & Religion

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During the past 60 years we have learned we are destroying the future habitability of our planet by reckless exploitation of its resources in land, sea and atmosphere. Over the same 60 years we have been searching for radio signals from civilizations on planets beyond our solar system and found nothing. It is possible then that the energetic exploitation of resources leading to evolution of civilizations, from stone axes to nuclear power stations, contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction.

If so, in the next 60 years we will continue activities that will extinguish life on this planet. Detection of an extra-solar civilization during this period would then have startling significance. It would mean that one nascent planetary civilization overcame the self-destructive behavior we observe in ourselves. Rather than end in the trash can of the cosmos, a civilization really can go on to discover its role in an eternity of space and time.

Any extra-solar civilization we encounter will probably be very much older than ours. We have not even become a planetary civilization yet. Which cripples our ability to avert planet-wide catastrophes, such as pandemics and global temperature rise. We clearly lack a unified planetary ethic and view of reality. We might expect religion and science to be forces guiding us towards these. But religions that offer guidance on morals and ultimate reality are divided by theological differences and histories of violence. And science, which develops its own system of morals, has a view of reality that usually conflicts with that of a religion. If we contact an extra-solar civilization, our immediate interest will be how they redirected the individual pre-occupations of religions, science and other factions towards survival of their planet's ecosystem.

We cannot wait for such help. The probability of encountering another planetary civilization is low. And while this should not slow our search for extra-solar civilizations, our challenge is to find the path to planetary survival for ourselves. This website is concerned with reconciling the world views of religion and science so that they may work together on a solution. In this, trying to understand how science might have evolved in an older civilization is helpful. It suggests changes in our own science that could modify religion's view of reality by suggesting a single vew of eternity beyond space and time. It also suggests why we are not detecting extra-solar radio transmissions.

Change takes place faster in science than in organized religion. But religions change their views of material reality when scientific discoveries become overwhelmingly accepted. Examples occurred after discovery of the age of the Earth and recognition of biological evolution. So, I will focus on a new path for science that could have similar profound effects on both science and religion.

Revising Space/Time

Our view of reality depends critically how we view space and time. We know this because our view has already changed profoundly. This occurred when Einstein found that space and time are not independent but depend on one another. We now speak of spacetime, a four-dimensional unity, with a time dimension like the three dimensions of space. Time is merged with those three space dimensions to give us the interval between events in spacetime and how it varies with speed. Without this we would not enjoy accurate GPS navigation, or recognitize time's slowing opens a doorway to the stars.

A more fundamental change, in spacetime itself, now appears on the horizon. Spacetime may not be continuous and infinitely divisible, as handed down to us by the Greek philosophers Parmenides, Plato, and Aristotle. They have been a misleading guide to empty space, atoms,  planet orbits, the relative speeds of falling bodies, and the temperature of dragon’s blood. Their view of spacetime is evidently misleading too. Instead of being continuous, it is likely to be quantized, like the matter and energy that exists within it.

If so, we inhabit two universes, not one. The first is spacetime. The second is an atemporal eternity beyond spacetime, like that recognized by many religions. It creates the phenomena of Einstein's relativity. It precipitates spacetime like dew in the morning of the universe, allowing creation of matter and radiation and ultimately the planet we live on. Free of spacetime dimensions, atemporal eternity provides an instantaneous form of communication used in quantum computing and perhaps in spirit communications.

A civilization older than ours is likely to have adopted this quantized view of spacetime and found it changes fundamental aspects of science and religion. We should be prepared for this if they call, otherwise we will find their message confusing. In the meantime, we need to halt the damage to our ecosystem. We need some ethic that nations and religions can agree on, sufficient to change the behavior of the enemy. Which is us.

The basis for such an ethic is discussed next, followed by techniques of survival that are needed to achieve that ethic. Then quantized spacetime is summarized. For science, it suggests the origin of relativity and paradoxical wave-particle phenomena.  For religion it suggests an eternity that precedes creation of the universe and provides a basis for religious visions and  messages of the spirit.


 poetry. . . a state of grace perhaps or like a painting . . .