Monday, December 9, 2013

Book Review: There Are No Space Aliens! by David J. Gonzalez

When I saw this book, my thought was, "This is either going to be awesome or this is going to be really, really bad."  Being a devout Christian and a mathematician, I get very frustrated with logical inconsistencies in people's theology.  I'm not talking about things like the Holy Trinity which are genuinely beyond our earthly comprehension.  I'm talking about simple p implies q statements and confusion when arguing from specific to general instead of general to specific.  While I agree with the author's obvious premise, that space aliens, or at least extraterrestrial intelligent life, doesn't exist, this book full of logical fallacies that are so flagrant that they at times prove the opposite of what he is saying.

I feel like if I am going to give a review this negative, I should do a thorough analysis of every issue I have with the book.  Unfortunately, I don't think the blog space that it would take up would is worth it.  Here are a few of the main issues I have with Pastor Gonzalezs' book.

1.  He claims credit for commonly known scientific work.  The most egregious place is on page 57 at the end of reason 4.  I've seen similar lists on what is required for life to exists from many, many secular scientist.  Gonzalez claims this list as "his list" and that is utterly ridiculous.  While under normal circumstances I may quietly grumble and move on, there are several other places in the book where he either takes credit for another's work or takes a tone where we are to assume that the research and ideas are his.  Not a good start for someone who is presenting themselves as a man of God.

2.  His definition of "aliens" is bizarre.  I'm guessing again he is referring to extraterrestrial intelligent life, but this time he must be assuming that an alien is of the level of human intelligence or higher.  A chapter clearly explaining what he considers to be an alien would have helped this book tremendously.  Arguing that there is no human like life on other planets is different than arguing that there are not unicellular organisms, algae, etc. growing on other planets.

3.  Many of his twelve reasons he gives are easily explained away, or simply not relevant to the discussion. .  Reason 5, that God has made no provision for aliens in scripture at all, is easily explained away by applying that same logic to other things that do exist, but that are not mentioned in scripture.  I'm typing on a laptop right now.  There is not a provision in scripture for laptops that I know of.  Yet it exists, so reason 5 is not an adequate axiom for the case against space aliens.  Reason 7 is that Jesus was given by God to die only once.  That has nothing to do with this argument.  Let's just say for a second that there were human like space aliens.  Could God possibly see them as He would a dog or cow or bird...a creature He created, but that Jesus didn't die for?  The better issue to address here is whether or not a human like alien would be able to be saved, not that Jesus will only die once.  And honestly, if the issue about whether or not human like alien life forms can ever exist in space is adequately addressed, there is no need to even contemplate the salvation question.

4. If he wants this book to be the basis for an argument against extraterrestrial life forms, he needs to clean up his logic and he should start with a basic understanding of the difference between an axiom and a postulate.  He sets his book up as each chapter supposedly addressing a different axiom.  Then, if he wants to discuss potential postulates, he would do that in the chapters.  Or, if he wants to start with a handful of axioms and create chapters based on postulates that can be derived from those axioms, that would work as well.  Unfortunately, Gonzalez makes a mess of this logic by an undisciplined approach to the axiom/postulate model.  Reason 3, that death and dying can be spread to the whole cosmos because of Adam's sin, is easily derived from reason 2, that sin has now spread through the entire universe, and a basic understanding of the gospel, part of which tells us that the effect of sin is death.

5.  Many of the scriptures he uses to show that our Biblical truths apply to the entire universe actually say "and on the EARTH...".  He seems to ignore times when scripture talks about things happening on the earth specifically.  Now, do I personally think that things that happen on the earth apply throughout the universe...yes!  But the author is making such a big deal about the earth being the center of the material universe and that extraterrestrials aren't possible because God created people in His image on Earth, that these verses could easily be used to support the other side of his argument by saying that the Bible says these truths only apply on earth and not the rest of the universe.

Overall, this book is garbage.  And I hate to say that about another Christian and their writing, especially when I agree with their main premise and it is not a critical salvation oriented issue that they are dealing with.  But in the case of this book, there is absolutely no value in reading it and in fact, would just further the atheistic notion that Christians operate outside the sphere of intelligent thought.  This author could use some serious coursework in the logical and rhetorical disciplines.  Secular science creates more of an impression in me that intelligent life on other planets is not possible than the slap dash opinions and over stretched Bible verses put in this book.  If the author wants to make another go at putting out this book after some serious structural work and an intellectually honest approach to his arguments, this book could be something unique and valuable in the publishing market today.  But as it is, it is a waste of paper.

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