September 29, 2005

It's the Rael thing - 3

In two previous posts (here and here), I discussed how the Raelian theory of how life was far more comprehensive than that of intelligent design creationist theory. So all the arguments used by IDC (intelligent design creationist) advocates for inclusion of their theory in science curricula apply even more strongly to Raelian theory. Furthermore, while some might be able to dismiss the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster as a Johnny-come-lately competitor to IDC doctrine, that charge cannot be leveled against the Raelian model which has been around since the early 1970s and claims over 35,000 believers in over eighty five countries (according to Robert T. Pennock in his book Tower of Babel). So Raelism actually precedes the latest incarnation of intelligent design.

The belief structure of the Raelians is based upon messages sent to Earth from the extra-terrestrial Elohim race through Claude Vorilhon (a French journalist and race car enthusiast) who claims that he was twice contacted by aliens who came in flying saucers and revealed to him the story of how life originated on Earth. Vorilhon is called the "Guide of Guides" by his followers and adopted the name of Rael.

But is the Raelian theory of life science? In a series of earlier postings, I said that for a theory to be even considered as a candidate for science it had to meet two necessary conditions. One was that it had to be naturalistic (and by this I mean methodological naturalism and not philosophical or metaphysical or ontological naturalism) and the second was that it had to be predictive. The latter feature meant that the theory had to have some feature or mechanism that enabled it to be used to make predictions, because that was what made a theory useful to scientists.

I said that IDC failed on both counts, since it had the idea of an intelligent designer who was undetectable and could not be counted upon to act in predictably in a manner that could be tested by any sort of observations.

The Raelians are one step better than IDC theorists in that their theory is materialistic in that the designer who produced the seemingly designed biological species was not a supernatural deity but merely space aliens.

But the Raelian theory suffers from the fact that their theory is not predictive. There is nothing in their theory that enables scientists to do anything with it. All scientists can do is to wait around until the aliens decide to visit us again and show us their latest creations.

This is the problem with all theories that contain appeals to revelation, divine or otherwise. While they may be satisfying an emotional and spiritual need, and appeal to their faithful followers (and there is nothing wrong with that), they simply do not provide science with anything useful to work with.

The scientific community rejects the inclusion of Raelian and IDC theories within the family of scientific theories, not because they are inherently opposed to revelatory notions (after all, many scientists are religious), but because such types of theories have no applications.

The Raelian theory also just pushes the evolutionary question one step away. After all, how did the Elohim come about on their own planet? How did they become so advanced in their technology? Did they too evolve according to some Darwinian model? Or were they created by another alien race? According to the FAQ on their website, the Raelians were created by other extraterrestrials and so on, and that one day the people on Earth will similarly populate other planets. This is, of course, an infinite regression model, but not more difficult than the "who created god?" question posed to believers in a god. As long as you are only interested in how life came to be on Earth, the Raelian model "explains" it well.

But it would be interesting to see how IDC theorists respond to Raelian theory. If IDC theory is accepted by various school boards for inclusion in the school science curriculum because it "explains" some things that evolutionary theory cannot, then I do not see any grounds for rejecting Raelianism. In fact, using the IDC yardstick, Raelianism should actually replace IDC in schools because it "explains" everything that IDC does and some others things that IDC theory does not have ready explanations for, thus clealy being a better theory.

The Raelians have so far not been pushing for the inclusion of their ideas in science classes. But it would not surprise me if, if IDC people succeed in the court case currently underway in Dover, PA, they seize the opportunity to urge that their own program be included in science curricula too. (See here for a blog on the trial maintained by the ACLU which is challenging the Dover school board's decision. Interestingly, Robert Pennock, whose book I have been quoting about the Raelians, testified yesterday.)

Coming soon to a courtroom near you, the case of Intelligent Design v. Raelianism….

POST SCRIPT: Update on the trial of "The St. Patrick's Four"

In the trial of the antiwar protest group referred to in the post script of a previous posting, they were acquitted of the serious felony charge of conspiracy but were found guilty of misdemeanor charges of damage to property and trespassing.


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Why do people keep falling for religions written by professional writers? Battlefield Earth was a great novel. Scientology was scripted by a professional, small wonder entertainers are drawn to it. And it does have the hedonistic-thing going for it, there is that.

But Raelianism? Mr. Rael attributes advanced biblical-era technology to his aliens who claim that their race was the templates for our old gods. We mere humans should be very afraid if Mr. Rael has been speaking with alien beings who claim to be our old gods.

Considering that Mr. Rael claims there is no soul to be lost and that he preaches freedom from basic Judeo-Christian ethics… at the very least he is a soulless (conventionally speaking) opportunistic fraud who has done his homework on UFO sightings and has put together a money-making cult that plies upon the poor, unsuspecting modern-day hedonist. It’s a sixties cult repackaged for the 21st century and being marketed as the cure-all for hedonist-based guilt trips.

However — if the absurdly improbable fact is true that he speaks with aliens who are truly the old gods — then I for one sure wouldn’t want them coming back. No sane person who is the least bit familiar with ancient mythology would. The old gods were said to have ruled mankind. Humans were viewed as inferiors who existed so they could worship and otherwise serve and please the old gods. We have documented accounts of their silly whims, insensitive judgments and vicious atrocities. No, Mr. Rael can keep his old gods. And keep them out of our solar system, thank you very much.

At best Mr. Rael is spokesperson for a race who made humans bow before them. At the very worst… and I add this because Mr. Rael uses biblical events as part of his evidence… he is the biblically promised ‘false prophet’. And the anti-Christ is arriving by space craft:)

Of course, that supposes that Mr. Rael’s mind didn’t derail sometime back in the forties, that he didn't create his religion from his writer’s imagination, and that he actually spoke with old-god honest aliens.

If so, how far does one trust any of his friends named Loki?

Posted by on April 6, 2007 06:10 PM