Science fiction writers and UFO proponents like to propose strange looking aliens that can do incredible feats. The common octopus is a beautifully designed and incredibly intelligent animal that could compare to any intelligent alien of science fiction.
The octopus has no bones in its body, in fact, the only hard part of an octopus is its beak. That means that the octopus can take any shape and fit through almost any opening. One famous example is an octopus that escaped from an aquarium in New Zealand. That animal picked apart the lid on its aquarium, crawled out, went across the room and down through a drain hole that led to the sea and has never been seen again.
Octopus arms are muscular, boneless, and lined with suckers that are covered with chemoreceptors similar to our own taste buds. An octopus can taste everything it touches. They live in oceans around the world from equatorial waters to Antarctica and the Gulf of Alaska and from deep-water trenches to shallow reefs.
The arms are also filled with neurons, so the brain cells of an octopus are in its arms and not its dome. The octopus has sacs of pigments which are controlled by the muscles. It can release this “ink” as a defense mechanism. Its arms also have cells that reflect and scatter light. That means an octopus can control what it looks like. It can resemble a sea snake, a fish, anemones, jellyfish, sand, or seaweed. It’s a master of disguise. In addition to the right color and form some octopus species copy the movements of whatever animal they imitate. The camouflage does not seem to be accidental but is controlled by the octopus itself.
For a soft-bodied animal to survive in the ocean, some unique characteristics must be designed into its DNA. We think the number of features the octopus has is astounding. To have one unique characteristic might be possible–produced by a mutation and supported by natural selection. To have all of the abilities of an octopus would not happen by one mutation. Fossil evidence indicates that octopuses have been around throughout the history of the oceans. They even predate the dinosaurs.
The New York Times recently reported that the United States government between 2008 and 2011 spent 22 million dollars on a secretive program to investigate UFO claims. A collection of stories has now emerged concerning the results of the study. It includes:
Reports of pilots seeing strange aircraft that moved at great speeds and made 90 degree turns at full throttle.
Claims of government contractors constructing specially-modified storage buildings to house mysterious “metal alloys” recovered from UFOs.
A quote from the former director of the program saying “What was considered science fiction is now science fact.”
We have pointed out repeatedly that whether there is life in outer space is not an apologetic issue. God may have seen fit to create life elsewhere. Historically the UFO claims have been used by skeptics and opponents of Christianity in all kinds of ways to suggest that aliens are responsible for our existence and that we are just pawns in some alien chess match. The fact that this story is raised repeatedly in the media is a reflection of that way of thinking.
The fact is that the story of pilots seeing strange space vehicles originally occurred in the 1940s and has been shown to be reflections off the cockpit windows. I have a friend who works with government contracts to test new alloys and materials. All of their samples come from the Earth, and there are dozens of buildings built with government contracts to store all of the materials being tested. His favorite line is, “We have a solution, now we are looking for the problem for the solution to solve.”
Why do people want to believe in extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), space aliens, and UFOs? It has been my experience that proponents of these things are people who reject Christianity and belief in the God of the Bible. Now there is scientific data which supports what my experience has indicated about extraterrestrial intelligence and God.
The scientific journal Motivation and Emotion published a study by North Dakota State University researchers showing that the more people believe in extraterrestrials, the less they believe in God. The researchers wrote, “ETI beliefs serve an existential function: the promotion of perceived meaning in life. In this way, we view belief in ETI as serving a function similar to religion without relying on the traditional religious doctrines that some people have deliberately rejected.” In other words, people believe in extraterrestrial intelligent beings to take the place of belief in God.
The research seems to indicate that believing in ETI provides a way to develop a view that gives meaning to life. The researchers say that belief in ETI “could make humans feel like they are part of a larger and more meaningful cosmic drama.” Even some scientists such as Nobel prize winner Francis Crick have advanced the idea that extraterrestrials planted life on Earth. It just goes to show that when you don’t believe in God, you will believe in anything. Atheist Michael Shermer who is the publisher of Skeptic magazine says “any sufficiently advanced extraterrestrial intelligence is indistinguishable from God” (Scientific American, January 2002).