Turtles, aliens and Raëlians
A little old lady stood up at an astronomy lecture to protest at the speaker’s ignorance. The reality, she said, was that the world was resting on the back of a huge turtle. The speaker hesitated for a moment, then asked, ‘And what, Madam, is that turtle standing on?’
‘On another turtle’, she replied.
‘And what is that turtle standing on?’ the speaker asked.
‘Young man,’ said the lady, ‘no doubt you think you’re pretty clever. But it’s no use. It’s turtles—all the way down!’
The story may be apocryphal,1 but I was reminded of the turtle lady’s ‘infinite regression’ argument while reading the news recently. It concerned claims by the Raëlian cult to have achieved the first human clone. This group believes that humans are the result of cloning by a race of alien beings, about 25,000 years ago. (Whether its founder, a former Canadian motorsport journalist now calling himself ‘Raël’, really believes this or simply enjoys the millions reaped from other people’s gullibility is another thing.)
In other words, in Raëlian belief, intelligence is responsible for the origin of the intricate DNA codes of life, including the ones coding for our intelligent brain. Where, though, did those supposed super-aliens come from? Perhaps they were cloned by another group of super-duper-aliens? And those? Unless a belief system falls back on a never-ending regression (‘aliens all the way down’2), at some point it faces one of only two possibilities.
One is creation by an uncreated (eternal) infinitely intelligent being. That is what the God of the Bible claims to be.3 The other—and the only other—possibility is that the coded messages of life arose by themselves, by the inherent properties of matter plus time and chance. In other words, intelligence was either created or it evolved.
Interestingly, Raëlians claim that their religion is purely ‘science-based’, and they do not believe in God. This logically implies that they believe that the ultimate origin of all things is chance evolution. So why not just accept the standard evolutionary view and be done with the intervening aliens?
Because we hunger for meaning, purpose and salvation—because humanity really was created in God’s image, then fell. So the more the church has abandoned belief in the true story of its origins, the more that phony stories arise to fill the vacuum. Raëlianism is not the only alien-based sci-fi fantasy to offer a meaning of sorts (we have creators, or at least overseers; they are very powerful, and may even save us from ourselves). The Raëlian push for cloning is really a substitute offer of eternal life. Even a form of pseudo-resurrection is involved. One couple claiming to have been duped by the cult into handing over a large sum of money says they were promised a clone of their dead baby boy.
Raëlian members quoted in Brisbane’s Courier-Mail4 newspaper say they look to the coming day when people will be able to download their memories into cloned versions of themselves. Eternal life will have arrived, they say.
Meanwhile, when applied to the immensely complex machinery of DNA, true, experimental, observational science screams confirmation of the Bible’s account. Intelligence had to be involved—leave out the aliens, turtles and the rest of the dross, and we are left with the obvious—the God of Genesis.
Our society is obsessed with ‘science’ as the source of salvation, yet is almost totally ignorant of the real science concerning DNA, and the real message of salvation to which it points, i.e. the Bible and its Gospel. That is why we deliberately chose to devote six pages of this issue to Jonathan Sarfati’s brilliant article (on DNA, the molecule that carries intelligence), despite—or perhaps because of—its depth.5 We trust that it, and the rest of the magazine, will help you, and your friends and neighbours, to see that the real world doesn’t just connect to the Bible—it confirms it, and resists an evolutionary explanation. And it is the Bible, not evolutionary fantasies (with or without the interposed aliens, cosmic turtles, or whatever) which gives truthful answers to life’s ultimate questions.
References and notes
- Something like this is said to have happened at a lecture by philosopher Bertrand Russell. Return to text.
- This doesn’t work, really, since even evolutionists accept that the universe had a beginning. (In the discredited ‘eternally oscillating universe’ scenario, the hypothetically regressing aliens series would not survive the ‘big crunch’.) Return to text.
- See Don Batten (ed.), David Catchpoole, Jonathan Sarfati, and Carl Wieland, The Creation Answers Book (Creation Book Publishers, Brisbane, Australia: Creation Ministries International), chapter 1 on ‘Does God exist?’, 2006, and Sarfati, J., If God created the universe, then who created God?Journal of Creation12(1):20-22, 1998. Return to text.
- Raëlians hail brave new world, The Courier-Mail, 31 December 2002, p. 1. Return to text.
- Also because 2003 is the 50th anniversary of the discovery of DNA’s structure. Return to text.