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Dyson’s Fantasy

Dyson’s Fantasy

Have you ever heard of a Dyson Sphere? A Dyson sphere is a hypothetical structure that completely surrounds a star and captures solar power in order to then transfer it to a planet where its inhabitants can use it. This concept was conceived in an attempt to explain how a spacefaring civilization could meet its own planet’s energy requirements once the planet could no longer generate enough energy to support its population. The idea is that since only a tiny percentage of a particular star's energy emissions reach the surface of any given planet, building a structure that surrounds its star would enable a civilization to harvest more energy.

This concept was first imagined by the science fiction writer Olaf Stapledon in his novel Star Maker, written in 1937. The idea was later popularized by Freeman Dyson when he wrote a scientific paper in 1960 called Search for Artificial Stellar Sources of Infrared Radiation.

Well, this is obviously the stuff of science fiction. Building a megastructure big enough to surround a star is pure silliness. Still, there are some people who not only believe it is possible for an advanced civilization to do this, but also believe finding these structures is the key to discovering advanced civilizations out in the universe – no kidding.

Enter Ben Zuckerman. Zuckerman is an emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). Zuckerman’s theory is that if an advanced civilization wanted to harness the energy output of their home star, they would have to build such a megastructure to capture it. He contends that such a structure would, necessarily, block out at least some of the star’s light.

Now Zuckerman is not proposing that earthlings try to do that. What he is proposing, though, is that there are possibly thousands, or even millions, of potential planets with advanced civilizations that could be in a position to create Dyson Spheres. That being the case, he proposes that our search for ET should focus on detecting these spheres, rather than the current use of what he considers less useful methods. His approach is to search for stars where the light is being blocked by the spheres, which would indicate that an advanced civilization had built one.

My response to this is, “Seriously?!” Do we really have serious scientists proposing such a thing? Where do they get this stuff from?

Actually, we know where they get it. These are people who truly believe in a naturalistic worldview, so the probability of the existence of Dyson Spheres would not be an unreasonable assumption for these guys – even though there is no evidence whatsoever of the existence of extraterrestrial life of any kind, much less civilizations advanced enough to build one.

Based on their beliefs, since they dismiss the possibility of the existence of God, there is no other option for the emergence and development of life than from naturalistic evolution. They believe that somehow, inert chemicals got together and formed life, which then evolved to increasingly more complex creatures, until finally there was a life form advanced enough to create an advanced civilization. Since, they reason, it happened on our planet, why would it not also be possible on other planets? The next logical step, then, is to actually assume that it has happened in other places, and to use science to try to prove their theory true. And this is exactly what Zuckerman is proposing. He has no evidence of any kind that this is true, but he is convinced it probably is.

What is most amazing is that Naturalists are constantly dismissing Christians for believing in God without “proof” (meaning scientific proof), yet they believe that the natural universe is all that exists – also with no scientific proof. That is, their naturalistic beliefs are fully as much a religious faith as is Christianity. Interesting, to say the least.

Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.

You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.

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