Conor Friedersdorf, a staff writer for The Atlantic, posted two weeks ago his list (with links) of the 101 best journalistic pieces of 2011. One of them is by Charles Krauthammer, who opines wisely on politics but misses a likely solution to the mystery he spotlights in a Washington Post column, "Are we alone in the universe?"
Krauthammer does the math and figures that in a gigantic galaxy with lots of planets where intelligent life could exist, we should by now, after decades of diligent searching, have found some evidence-signals or radio waves-that intelligent life does exist.
He writes, "The search betrays a profound melancholy-a lonely species in a merciless universe anxiously awaits an answering voice amid utter silence. That silence is maddening. Not just because it compounds our feeling of cosmic isolation, but because it makes no sense."
Krauthammer then tries to make sense by proposing, as did Carl Sagan, "the high probability that advanced civilizations destroy themselves." He points to the growing likelihood of biological warfare and nuclear proliferation, and uses those dangers as evidence of the importance of … politics: "We grow justly weary of our politics. But we must remember this: Politics-in all its grubby, grasping, corrupt, contemptible manifestations-is sovereign in human affairs. Everything ultimately rests upon it."
I beg to disagree. If God exists-and that's the most important question we ever face-then everything rests ultimately on Him. The silence makes no sense if we believe in evolution, but it may be an indication that God does exist and that He created life here and nowhere else.
God could have, of course, created life elsewhere-C.S. Lewis wrote a space trilogy based on that idea-but right now it seems that the sounds of silence have given us one more indication that creation is more likely than evolution.