I originally wrote a huge multi-post response to your Alien hypothesis. But after hearing a lot of complaints about multi-posts, etc... I decided to not send it. Instead, I paused for awhile and tried to think how I could more effective and concise in rebutting your contention that the Alien Hypothesis, as a natural explanation, was more reasonable than the Resurrection Hypothesis for the FMF.
It took me awhile because it was a real puzzler. I'm not a very bright person so it sometimes takes me a little longer to think things thru than others in here. But then I saw something you wrote that gave me a clue as to what might be the best way to respond to you. You wrote: So our incredible elements are "extraterrestrial life", and "supernatural". These are the two elements we must compare to determine the "most reasonable" solution between the two.
I completely agree. Although, to be a little bit more precise and careful, I think the comparison is actually between "extraterrestrial life" and "God"... specifically the "God of the Bible". Because we are after all comparing two entities that can make decisions regarding the suppossed resurrection of Jesus. Both of our hypothesis' depend on an entity which made the Resurrection appear to happen.... whether by earth moving machines or miracles. For your alien hypothesis to work, your aliens must come from an technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization.
Therefore, if i can demonstrate that the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial life is less reasonable than the possibility of the existence of the God of the Bible, then I have effectively shown that the Resurrection hypothesis is more reasonable than the alien hypothesis (as you have set it up).
With that in mind, less first look at the possibility of the existence of extraterrestrial life. How likely is it that technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exist?
The first red flag I see is the fact that although your alien hypothesis may be heard on a popular level, it is never raised in any serious scholarly context. Period. Not so with the Resurrection hypothesis. I think there is a very good reason for this, and below we will begin to see why.
The supposition that life exists in the universe outside Earth is questionable. The scientific evidence from astrophysics within the past 35 years makes it seem increasingly improbable that ilfe exists anywhere else in the cosmos.
Cosmic constants are factors in our universe that if altered just a little, would make life impossible. Many factors must be within an extremely narrow range in order for a planet to meet just the most basic criteria for sustaining life. Constants relate to planet-star relationships... planet-moon relatonships... the degree which a planet rotates on its axis... and many other conditions.
It is frequently stated that there must be life somewhere else in such a vast universe. Even if cosmic constants require that a planet meet an extremely narrow range of conditions to support life, given the immensity of our universe and the number of planets, wouldn't the existence of life elsewhere be probable? The estimated number of galaxies in the cosmos is a little fewer than 1 trillion. Each galaxy has an average of 100 billion stars 10(22).
Note: I don't know how to type the usual "to the power of". It usually are the little numbers located in the upper right corner of the main number. And so for this post I'm putting the "to the power of" numbers in paranthesis. So 10(22) would mean 10 to the power of 22.
An average estimate of the number of planets is one planet per 1,000 stars 10(19). The existance of 10,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets would seem almost to require that the conditions for life to exist must come together somewhere other than Earth. Or does it?
The required constants for planet-star relationships themselves would eliminate 99.9 percent of all potential planets. When additional constants are considered, the odds of the existence of a planet capable of sustaining life are 1:10(25). Since the total estimated number of planets in the universe is 10(19), it seems that we would not expect life to exist on even one planet, much less any others.
Indeed, this would be one reason why we find that there is absolutely no evidence for advanced extraterrestrial civilizations existing somewhere in the Universe. This incredible fact is called the Fermi Paradox. Simply stated it goes like this: "The apparent size and age of the universe suggests that many technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization ought to exist. However, this hypothesis seems inconsistent with the lack of observational evidence to support it" (Wikipedia).
I would invite you to read about this paradox found on Wikipedia because this seems to go the very heart of your alien hypothesis. Because after all, you did write: In every case, what is "most reasonable" is, to me, the explanation that requires ZERO elements outside of those we know exist.
Well, the plain unvarnished fact is this: there is absolutely no evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial lifeforms... let alone the kind of technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations you would need for your alien hypothesis to work. So your hypothesis does in fact REQUIRE at least ONE element outside of those we know to exist. Which is an actual technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilization. So right away we can see that your alien hypothesis does not even rise to the level of reasonableness you have set for it.
And to not put a too fine point on it, the numbers above indicate that we shouldn't even expect life to exist beyond our own anyway.
But this doesn't stop you, because you then want to look at things that exist in our own world, and postulate that it is probable that all the technology needed for your alien hypothesis to work, will likely come into existence if we just wait long enough... because science is always progressing and advancing and discovering new things. But to me, there are a couple of fatal flaws in your argument. The first is that you're essentially commiting the classic Argument To The Future Fallacy which argues that evidence will someday be discovered which will (then) support your point. Secondly, your argument is like the "Hopeful Principle" i've seen being employed in scientific treatsies on the use of Proton (beam) therapy used in an attempt to destroy cancer cells. The roots of these fallacies are to be found in an overly optimistic attitude towards technology and progress.
So let's look at what we have so far: Your alien hypothesis rests on the fact that there is absolutely no evidence that technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exist. This is confirmed by the Fermi Paradox. Your alien hypothesis also assumes that the conditions for life to exist must be likely in our vast universe, even though the math says otherwise. Your alien hypothesis rests on an overly optimistic attitude towards technology and progress and so essentially commits the Argument To The Future Fallacy. And finally, your alien hypothesis does not even rise to the level of reasonableness you granted it as evidenced by your earlier statement: In every case, what is "most reasonable" is, to me, the explanation that requires ZERO elements outside of those we know exist. We don't know that aliens exist... because there is no evidence for them... and yet this is ONE element required for your alien hypothesis to work.
Basically all you bring to the table is that it is possible that aliens can exist and that it is possible that the kind of technology needed can also exist. That's all you have. You have done nothing to substantiate with any kind of evidence that aliens even exist in the first place. Your argument is not any different than saying because it is possible that pink elephants might exist somewhere in the universe... then we can't say they don't exist. And then you use that as the foundation for your entire alien hypothesis.
But we are not done with your alien hypothesis yet.
We observe that the life of Jesus differs substantially from typical alien accounts. For example, the usual report of an encounter with aliens describes them as abusive and inspiring fear, but the Jesus in the Resurrection story was loving and compassionate.
The religio-historical context for the resurrection is not present with UFO's as it was with Jesus. The Resurrection of Jesus fits into a context charged with theological significance that increases its evidence as well as explanatory power. Jesus predicting his resurrection... Jesus claiming divinity... Jesus performing deeds that appear miraculous, performing phenomena regularly breaking the laws of nature... the talk about the Messiah before and after the resurrection... all this and more is far more consistent and was present within the religio-historical context for the resurrection and for the God of the Bible, at that time, than for any alien hypothesis.
Eyewitness testimony of alien activity is often questionable on its own grounds. Plausible opposing theories abound to account for the phenomena (e.g, weather balloons, military aircraft, hallucinations, and poor reporting techniques). Indeed, the fact that these same UFO testimonies frequently attest that these phenomena regularly break the laws of nature requires a rejection of material entities, as concluded by scientists who have researched this phenomenon. This observation fits better with a hypothesis that considers God in its equation, rather than a hypothesis that is considering techonologically advanced extraterresterial civilizations.
So to sum up:
You have put forth an alien hypothesis with no attempt to substantiate that techonologically advanced extraterresterial civilizations exist in the first place. Now... I understand why you have made no atempt to do so, because there is absolutely no evidence for such civilizations. This is confirmed by Fermi's Paradox. Also, the math shows that the possibility of such civilizations is extremely unlikely due to the very narrow cosmic constants required for a planet to meet just the most basic criteria for sustaining life.
But even though the math shows that it is very unprobable that these civilizations occur, you still want to argue that it is possible that the technology required in your hypothesis could exist... even though there is no evidence that it does or that it ever will. Such thinking is an example of a "Argument To The Future Fallacy".
Your hypothesis does not even begin to fit into... or is consistent with the religio-historical context surrounding the Resurrection at the time.
Your alien hypothesis requires a certain type of an alien encounter which differs substantially from typical reports of alien accounts (abuse and fear rather than love and compassion).
Your alien hypothesis does not rise to the level of reasonableness you set for yourself. You had written: In every case, what is "most reasonable" is, to me, the explanation that requires ZERO elements outside of those we know exist. And yet we do not know that technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations exists (see Fermi's Paradox). So your alien hypothesis requires at least ONE element outside of those we know exist. That element being technologically advanced extraterrestrial civilizations.
Your alien hypothesis may be heard on a popular level, but it is never raised in any serious scholarly context within the Jesus resurrection debate.
The typical observations made by UFO eyewitnesses in which UFO's are described as regularly breaking the laws of nature argues against the material nature of UFO's and purely natural explanations (of which you are trying to postulate). Your alien hypothesis requires aliens and alien technology to be material in nature... not visions or hallucinations... for your natural explanation to work at all.
Your entire alien hypothesis rests on blind faith. Not even on reasonable faith at the very least. But it simply rests on complete blind faith.
PART TWO FOLLOWS: