Saturday, 19 April 2014

Most earth like planet found & extraterrestrial life?

Hi All,

This was one of the most fascinating discussions we had at our Shabbat table yesterday, following the latest announcement that the 'most earth like planet yet' has been discovered. It's called Kelper 186, slightly larger than earth, but apparently large enough to hold water and close enough to the planet's star, it could be like earth and therefore it could have extraterrestrial life and apparently might look like this : 

Artist's impression of Kepler 186f

I've always taken such issues in my stride, for suggesting some form of extraterrestrial life does exist is perfectly logical. Our own galaxy has around 200 billion plus stars (suns) - if only 1% of these (an extremely conservative %) had a planet similar to our own that is 2 billion potential earths; if only a further 1% had any life on it that would be 20 million planets and say a further 1% had intelligent life that is 200,000 civilisations. With mathematics like that, I think it is certain there is indeed extraterrestrial life out there.

But that is the secular science. What does Orthodox Judaism say about this? From my own research, I do believe that there was Orthodox Rabbi (who was also a physicists) Aryeh Kaplan, who was quite comfortable with this idea, an argument of his is here. It also seems that the Lubavitcher Rebbe, had no such problems with the idea of extra terrestrial life. Such are the arguments from the more mystical ends of the Orthodox Jewish spectrum, but does anyone from the rationalist Orthodox school have a view on this? To me I read that in Genesis G-d creates the stars and the universe. Why should extraterrestrial life, therefore, be in contradiction to the Torah?

But what do readers think ? Is this idea Biblical and in line with Torah or this heresy? And if life does exist on other planets, are the other 'chosen' people out there? Or would alien life forms be required to follow some form of the seven laws of Noah?  As we are continuing to celebrate Passover- itself an intervention of the divine- and in particular as we remember the parting of the red sea- is there not room for one further revelation or miracle of creation ? [these were some of the things we ended up discussing at midnight last night!]

I'll leave people to think and comment.


  1. Samuel Kavanagh19 April 2014 at 23:46

    Hey Hannah ,

    Nice to pop over to see two of my younger sisters, i.e. you and Rach & your housemates for yesterday's Shabbat meal. As I said to you then, will the ET's have 2 sexes and if so will the women have 3 knockers & blue skin? Or is that just a stupid fantasy? LOL!

  2. Shoom,

    Yeah and what happens if men have 3 willies??

  3. Antipodean Jewess20 April 2014 at 08:29

    Isn't this like star trek gone mad? Any civilization that we met would be way more powerful than us- it wouldn't be pretty if we ever encountered ET, so why hope that such life exists?

  4. Atheist Shrugged20 April 2014 at 08:35

    If we ever colonized the universe I get you'd get the Zionists claiming it was originally all of theirs to begin with!

    5 things to know-

    (1) It is too far to travel in a humans lifetime
    (2) It would be too expensive to travel there even if we could endure the years of travel
    (3) We cant get along with the people that live next door to us in a lot of cases what makes you think we would look for peaceful relations
    (4) This would take a major commitment and investment and our government cant even commit to an annual budget.
    (5) If you don't like what you see here "Get The Funk Out" OK the last one is playing as I write but its nice to dream but not in our lifetime folks Sorry

    1. Atheist- Martians or Mr Spock would probably be more bloody reasonable than that Arabs/ Jihadists

  5. Samuel Kavanagh20 April 2014 at 08:50

    "We are the atheists. Abandon your morality and surrender your beliefs. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile."

  6. Dorium Maldovar20 April 2014 at 08:51

    Could aliens convert to Judaism?

  7. Hannah,

    You do seem to have lively Shabbat meal discussions!!

  8. London's Willy20 April 2014 at 09:56

    As an atheist for over half a century, I think that perhaps atheists should be less anti-religious and more pro-reason. Faith is quite immune to reason admittedly, but reason coupled with factual evidence can be, to some extent, persuasive in the long term.
    For example, there is no historical evidience that Bethlehem even existed at the time of the birth of Jesus in 4 BCE, and until 400 CE there is no extant archeological evidence whatsoever.
    A stone "bulla" measuring about 1.5 cm and holding part of an ancient inscription was recently found at the site but, as someone points out:-
    ."........ a discovery of this claimed magnitude should have been subject to peer review. It was not, and all mention of the discovery was removed from the official website shortly after the single press release. The area was covered and built over so now, no independant verification is possible."
    Bethlehem was intended to fulfill a prophecy in any case, and was not necessarily intended as a form of historical record. Neither is there any evidence whatsoever that Jews had to go to their home-town to participate in a Roman census. Non-Romans were not requested to take part in a Roman census anywhere in the empire.
    Facts are what should matter to atheists! They are the most dangerous. Not virilent anti-religious texts.

  9. London's Willy20 April 2014 at 09:58

    The following historians, chroniclers and commentators - contemporary with Jesus of Nazareth or living just after in the first century - make no mention of him whatsoever:-
    Apollonius Persius
    Appian Petronius
    Arrian Phaedrus
    Aulus Gellius Philo-Judaeus
    Columella Phlegon
    Damis Pliny the Elder
    Dio Chrysostom Pliny the Younger
    Dion Pruseus Plutarch
    Epictetus Pompon Mela
    Favorinus Ptolemy
    Florus Lucius Quintilian
    Hermogones Quintius Curtius
    Justus of Tiberius Silius Italicus
    Juvenal Statius
    Lucanus Suetonius
    Lucian Tacitus
    Lysias Theon of Smyran
    Martial Valerius Flaccus
    Paterculus Valerius Maximus
    Justus of Tiberius was a native of Christ's own country, Galilee. He wrote a history covering the time of Christ's reputed existence. This work has perished, but Photius, a Christian scholar and critic of the ninth century, who was acquainted with it, says: "He (Justus) makes not the least mention of the appearances of Christ, of what things happened to him, or of the wonderful works that he did"
    Josephus, the Jewish historian allegedly wrote the famous so-called Golden Paragraph ("There was about this time a man.........") but respected biblical scholars have long interpreted this as a forgery, inserted into his Histories at a later date.

    1. London's Willy

      I'm intrigued as to why you feel a desire to log onto a Jewish blog and dispute Christianity with us? I appreciate that we have a Christian following, ironically, but one feels you are wasting your time if it is an argument you are looking for in respect to that...

  10. The expectation of extra-terrestial life is fundamentally rooted in evolutionary dogma. That's why you presented the question in terms of statistics. The unstated assumption is that the origin of life is accurately described as a random process. The problem is that the description never advances beyond a probably curve. A probability curve is descriptive. It is not causal. The bell curve describes the expected result of the throw of the dice. It does not cause the dice to be thrown. In a naturalistic context, the cause of the probability distribution is completely unknown and probably unknowable. The cause is simply assumed to exist by induction. "We exist, and we are the product of immanent randomness. Therefore the immanent cause must exist."

    But what if we aren't the product of randomness? Then there is no necessary reason to formulate the question in the way you did. It does not matter how many stars or planets exist because it is no longer a matter of mathematics. It is a matter of divine intent. If you believe that God created (even in a evolutionary sense) and is the necessary cause then you begin with the question "Why did God create man? What has He revealed to men about that subject?" Those are matters to be resolved by Scripture and not by speculation. We can never begin with ourselves and reason our way to metaphysical understanding.


    1. Hi Carl,

      Genesis vs 14 "HE also created the stars", is a starting point.

    2. Hannah

      But that is also the ending point. To go further you have to make speculative inferences. But the stars have purpose in the created order independent of the existence of any other life They don't necessarily exist to provide light and energy to inhabitable planets. The mere existence of a star does not demand the possibility of a planet containing life.

      The Scripture presents a totalist view of Creation with man being the pinnacle of that creation. There is no indication anywhere in Scripture of a peer to man in the created order. It's simply not there.


  11. Bible and Truth20 April 2014 at 13:28

    Why is Samuel called "Shoom"???

    ET life?? God created US in HIS IMAGE ! Therefore there can be no other life outside of this planet!

  12. Btw. I personally believe that the search for ET life is a de facto search for God's grave. Such a discovery would be presented as the confirmatory evidence that evolution currently lacks; that God is not the necessary first cause. As in "See, there is no divine order in the universe. There is only chaos and cacophony. Creatures dominate and creatures are free." It is the Star Trek vision writ large. It is this vision that so entices the wondering eyes of man.

    Star trek flattered men not only by suggesting that creatures dominate the universe but by suggesting that men are among the peer dominants. It placed men near the pinnacle and made those few species above us essentially benign. Which is an interesting choice. If we did encounter an ET life firm he could just as easily relate to us as we relate to a water buffalo - with similar consequences. And that would teach a whole different confirmatory lesson about evolution and our subsequent existence in the naked dead universe.


    1. Hannah,

      I think the problem you'll get when discussing ET life is that it starts to devolve into a discussion on UFO's and conspiracy theories. In principal I can't see why there wouldn't be other worldly life forms out there. But what type and form is an utter mystery and to me best left to the realms of science fiction.

      Of which, Star Trek is more to do with a reflection or hopes of 'liberal' America; the Federation, a inter species/planetary alliance based on liberal democracy, with no poverty or greed, a utopia and that is how American is supposed to be, according to the narrative.. the star fleet is a exploration institution, of the 'final frontier', again a certain mythos which overlooks that America was forged in war as much as peace and bitter division as much as unity.... the other major franchise is similar - the fall of a vast inter racial 'Republic' into an Imperialist Empire, to be saved by the blue eyed boy from Kansas. I prefer Star Wars to Star Trek, though, by a long margin, although neither are necessarily my own favorite of the genre.

  13. George Monkhouse20 April 2014 at 14:30

    Christian sources have concluded that UFOs are demonic. A former Chief of British Defense Staff, Admiral of the Fleet Lord Hill-Norton, says some UFO encounters are "definitely antithetical to orthodox Christian belief." But also, Gordon Creighton, a Buddhist and editor of Flying Saucer Review, has said, "I do believe that the great bulk of these phenomena are what is called satanic."

    Such explanations are uniformly denounced by the greater UFO community as too nice and easy. The article in which Hill-Norton and Creighton are quoted (which can be found in the News Archives section of the web site, received a firestorm of opposition from secular readers. The primary criticism of the aliens-are-demons theory is that it is, to some, too nice and neat. The very essence of UFOs, they say, is that they are unexplained—by which they mean unexplainable. But what if an explanation could be found? Should it be rejected a priori?

    I myself set out on this study intending to disprove "the demon theory" as naiève. I remember sending e-mail to a former professor, informing him I was embarking on this investigation. I told him I wanted to study it seriously and not accept the simple answer I had heard: that aliens were nothing but demons in disguise. The things we say...

    I read dozens of secular books on UFOs. I read Christian books on the subject. I watched programs and read articles. I scoured the Internet. I exchanged ideas with UFO researchers around the world. As I studied, I found certain arguments ringing true, making more sense than others, explaining more of the phenomena. That is the purpose of investigation, is it not?

    After I had surveyed the evidence and heard the arguments, I had to reconsider my views. I could no longer assert that "the demon theory" was irrational. After all, wouldn't it be just as closed-minded to reject the demon theory out of hand as it would be to accept it without investigation? And what if, for once, the most obvious answer—nice and neat though it be—were actually the truth? It is my hope that after you read the arguments below, you will be willing to reconsider your views, too.

    Note: In this document I sometimes express amusement over the claims of these "aliens" or their disciples. Sometimes I say I "like" or "love" this or that. It doesn't mean that I truly approve of these ridiculous assertions, but simply that I am entertained by their bald-faced audacity. I think God laughs at them, too.

    1. Bible and Truth20 April 2014 at 14:33

      George Monkhouse,

      You are correct you could and should see Satan "Alias Lucifer" and his entourage of demons as Aliens, that invaded earth because, God and his "Angels of God" cast them to the earth.

      Isa 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

      Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,

      Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

      Now you will soon get a barrage of arguments that say Lucifer is not Satan.

    2. George Monkhouse

      UFOs are a combination of:

      1. Wishful thinking AND
      2a. Misperceived natural phenomenon OR
      2b. Misperceived man-made phenomenon.

      Watch a "ghost hunter" show and listen to the recordings of the ghost voice. The human mind imposes order on chaos and hears order - especially when it wants order to exist. That's why the ghost hunters always tell you what you are supposed to hear. It leads you to the desired conclusion. This is all "Ufologists" do. They impose order on chaos to reach a desired conclusion.

      The demonic theory is yet one more example of the same impulse. People will reject it precisely because it postulates a transcendent answer and they begin with an assumption of immanence. And how would you prove them wrong? Your investigation can never reach beyond speculation. Demons cannot be stuffed into a test tube or detected with an EMF meter. You can do no more than the true UFO believer himself - arrange the observations according to a predetermined conclusion.


    3. George Monkhouse,

      If there is an idea that ET's are demons of a spiritual realm, why not angels?

    4. Oh, btw, least anyone thinks I'm into the UFO thing I think it is balls myself. I also think that the problem with the UFO 'community' (& those who dabble in paranormal activity) tend to lean toward cults and new ageism, which for Jews, have seen their mystical traditions being hijacked by such buffoons, loons and frauds, with 'holy water' and other ideas, such as the superiority of Jewish souls (bunkem via the standard by which Jews are bound to view the world- i.e. the Bible/Torah/Tanak. The Bible is quite clear about all of this as well as matters such as not reading tarot cards, communicating with the dead and witchcraft. That IS heretical and nothing to do with Orthodox Judaism, let along the mystical tradition.

  14. Happy Easter and Passover!!! Do aliens exist?? I don't know;but as it is impossible for us to reach them and they us a moot point

  15. Are Aliens Not To Be Saved?

  16. Just to be clear I wasn't entertaining the idea of Extra Terrestrials coming to earth or that they were demons or whatever, but there is the possibility of there being other civilisations out there, but who knows at what level. I doubt that there will ever really be any 'star trek' type situation. Any civilization that can travel between stars would be immensely powerful and unlike anything we'd be able to deal with or comprehend.

  17. Just finished watching 'hop'. That's about our level ! (could be worse though, as Jurassic Park II is on ITV2)...

    1. Dominique Vasilkovsky20 April 2014 at 20:39


      But Jurassic Park's got Jeff Goldblum in it !

  18. Dominique Vasilkovsky20 April 2014 at 20:41

    Hi Hannah,

    Let's just hope that aliens NEVER come here or if they do they 'come in peace'. Any space faring race, who can travel between stars would be well, well more technologically capable than us, especially militarily!

  19. Well my lovers, if ET exists, I'm sure he'll love Jews (and Calvinists/Catholics/Anglicans).

    Oh and Star Trek is left wing shit.

  20. I like this explanation on the Chabad site :


    Would the discovery of ETs (extra-terrestrials) threaten organized religion?


    The discovery of ETs would pose no more of a threat to Judaism than would the discovery of a new species of rabbit.

    It would be limiting G-d's power to say that He could not have placed life on other planets. In fact, there is a reference in the biblical Book of Judges (5:23) to an inhabited place called Maroz, which the Talmud identifies as a star.

    But Jewish thought has always believed that the most weird and wonderful creatures are to be found right here on earth. We can explore the remotest extremities of space but still remain alien to our own humanity. The real secrets of the universe lie hidden in the depths of the human soul."

    1. Natasha ,

      I like that answer. Thanks.

  21. Apparently Judaism thinks that aliens won't have free will. I think it's ridiculous to think that intelligent alien life lacks 'free will' or doesn't also view themselves as 'chosen people' of their god. Their god might be the same as our god. Or not. Maybe 'gods' only get one planet each. Maybe intelligent aliens (whether we've met them or not, or ever will...) have written the exact same thing, and therefore view us as creatures with no free will.

    Not to mention...But I will...How does anyone know WE have 'free will'?

  22. Dominique Vasilkovsky21 April 2014 at 23:19

    Beam me up Scotty!

  23. Hannah's friend22 April 2014 at 08:07


    You're not arguing the case very well or not at all! What's gotten into you?

  24. Samuel Kavanagh22 April 2014 at 11:41

    Hey all.

    One thing no-one has yet discussed here is the fact that space exploration has already provided much benefit- from satellites to velcro. I don't see we should stop space exploration for fear or a desire of meeting aliens. The solar system is awash with material (iron, gas, gold, silver, aluminum, water, to name but a few resources), which humans will need as the resources of earth get depleted.

  25. Hi My friend,

    I asked people what they thought. And I gotta a lot of honest answers. Besides which it wasn't my intent to have a debate as such. Merely a discussion.

  26. Hi Shoom,

    That's a good point, but we were talking about Extraterrestrial life, not whether or not we should try and get to other planets per say.


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