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Darwinian Assumptions Leave “No Doubt” About Extraterrestrial Life

Casey Luskin

FoxNews recently published two articles (see here and here) about extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial life. Although skepticism is supposed to be a hallmark of science, one evolutionary scientist quoted, Steven Vogt, boasts that he has “no doubt” that there is life on this newly discovered extrasolar planet:

“Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during a press briefing today.

“I have almost no doubt about it.”

Let me make sure I understand this right. Dr. Vogt has “almost no doubt” that life evolves and exists elsewhere because he knows that it evolves and exists elsewhere. That’s Darwinian logic for you.

The theory of intelligent design certainly has no problem with the possibility of extraterrestrial life, but let’s at least make sure that we’re treating this issue scientifically. Vogt’s logic seems to confirm what Michael Behe wrote in The Edge of Evolution:

“[B]y default, most biologists work within a Darwinian framework and simply assume what cannot be demonstrated. Unfortunately this can lead to the understandable but nonetheless corrosive intellectual habit of forgetting the difference between what is assumed and what demonstrated.”

(Michael Behe, The Edge of Evolution, p. 9 (Free Press, 2007).)

Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and B.S. and M.S. degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.

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