By Kerry-Anne | 20 July 2015
While Christian Conservatives are unable to question that life on earth stretches back farther than 5,000 years, the world’s greatest thinkers have joined together to answer the question: Is there life outside of Earth?
As TIME magazine reports:
On July 20, a consortium of scientists funded by billionaire investor Yuri Milner announced a $100 million project to scan the universe for signs of intelligent life.
Milner has compiled a dream team of extraordinary breadth and skill to accomplish this challenge. Among the eminent members of this hunt are:
- Stephen Hawking – Professor, Dennis Stanton Avery and Sally Tsui Wong-Avery Director of Research, University of Cambridge
- Ding Chen – Professor and Principle Investigator of the Search for Terrestrial Exo-Planets Mission, Chinese Academy of Sciences
- Ann Druyan – Creative Director of the Interstellar Message, NASA Voyager; Co-Founder and CEO, Cosmos Studios; Emmy and Peabody award winning Writer and Producer
- Lisa Kaltenegger – Director, Carl Sagan Institute; Associate Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University
Together, the elite group have issued an inspirational letter to us all, in which they state:
A mature civilization, like a mature individual, must ask itself this question. Is humanity defined by its divisions, its problems, its passing needs and trends? Or do we have a shared face, turned outward to the Universe?
There has never been a better moment for a large-scale international effort to find life in the Universe. As a civilization, we owe it to ourselves to commit time, resources, and passion to this quest.
And to be clear, in both financial and human resource terms, this program will constitute the largest search for alien life ever conducted. Professor Hawking spoke passionately at the launch of the program, saying:
Somewhere in the cosmos, perhaps, intelligent life may be watching these lights of ours, aware of what they mean.
Or do our lights wander a lifeless cosmos — unseen beacons, announcing that here, on one rock, the Universe discovered its existence. Either way, there is no bigger question. It’s time to commit to finding the answer — to search for life beyond Earth.
We are alive. We are intelligent. We must know.
Milner’s cash injection will go to researchers at Berkeley-based SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence), who have been diligently attempting to answer these questions with scant resources since the 80s. According to the Wall Street Journal, with the billionaire’s funding the team could gather more data from outer space in a single day than earlier projects achieved in a whole year. The billion stars nearest Earth will be surveyed, while researchers listen out for signals from the Milky Way’s 100 nearest galaxies.
“Our search will be 100 times better than any previous search for intelligent life in the universe,” Geoff Marcy, chair of SET, told the WSJ.
While the news has been greeted with excitement and more than a little humor by progressives across the political and business world — it exposes the limitations of the Christian Right, who are not even able to accept the science regarding the history and origins of life on earth.
Organizations like creationist college Liberty University have gained such prominence in Christian Conservative political circles that Ted Cruz launched his presidential bid on the site — and there is not one Republican candidate for the 2016 presidential election who accepts the theory of evolution. In fact, scions of the party now pride themselves on an anti-science platform which threatens to shatter American progress in science and technology should any of them succeed in occupying the Oval Office.
The program serves as a timely reminder of the two strikingly different futures facing America as a result of the impending 2016 election. She can be a progressive, compassionate, world-leading, scientific nation — or relegate herself to a third world theocracy gazing at the Bible while the rest of the world looks to the stars. Let’s make sure America picks the future, not the past, in 2016.
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