I came across this comment from Lenny Flank about one of Hugh Ross’ recent books and I thought I’d post it. Let me make clear up front that I have not read the book in question, so I can only go by Lenny’s account of what it says. If that is accurate, I think it gives a pretty good idea of what Hugh Ross’ conception of “testability” is:
Ross’s recent book (co-authored with two other fundie kooks) is entitled “Lights In the Sky and Little Green Men: A Rational Christian Look at UFO’s and Extraterrestrials” (NavPress, Colorado Springs CO, 2002).
Over several chapters, Ross dismisses, on scientific and Biblical grounds, the existence of any life other than terrestrial. But, he declares, there are so many reliable UFO reports that they can’t all be mistakes or hoaxes (he calls the remaining reliable reports (“Residual UFO’s”). His “rational Christian” conclusion is something he calls the “trans-dimensional hypothesis”—flying sacuers are actually entities that come from “beyond our space and time dimensions” and which, although real entities, are not physical beings. OK, so what ARE the flying saucers, then? Hear the gospel according to Ross: “It can now be determined who is behind the RUFO experiences. Only one kind of being favors the dead of night and lonely roads. Only one is real but nonphysical, animate, powerful, deceptive, ubiquitous throughout human history, culture, and geography, and bent on wreaking psychological and physical harm. Only one entity selectively approaches those humans involved in cultic, occultic or New Age activities. It seems apparent that residual UFO’s, in one or more ways, must be associated with the activities of demons.” (pages 122-123).
Want to see how Ross’s “UFO’s come from the Devil” hypothesis can be scientifically tested? Well, we flip to page 124 and find: “The conlcusion that demons are behind the residual UFO phenomenon is a testible one.” Ross points out that “according to the Bible” demons only can attack people who dip into the occult and make themsleves vulnerable. Ross declares, “All that is necessary to further prove the conclusions of demonic involvement, therefore, is to continue surveying people to ascertain who has encounters with residual UFO’s and who does not. If the demonic idenficiation of the RUFO phenomenon is correct, researchers should continue to observe a correlation between the degree of invitations in a person’s life to demonic attacks (for example, participation in seances, Uija games, astrology, spiritualism, witchcraft, palm reading, and psychicreading) and the proximity of their residual UFO encounters.” (Ross of course neglects to mention another possible reason for these “correlations” — people who believe one goofy thing are more prone to believe other goofy things as well.)
And why is that scientists and other researchers decline to study Ross’s, uh, “theory”? Why, because they’re all ATHEISTS, silly: “One reason why research scientists and others may be reluctant to say that demons exist behind residual UFO’s is because such an answer points too directly to a Christian interpretation of the problem.” (page 125)
(Does this sound familiar to anybody? Is there some other topic that Ross thinks involves the supernatural, but nobody takes seriously because they are all atheists … . ?)
Believe it or not, though, Ross isn’t the first creationut to yammer about flying saucers and the Devil. Creationist theologian Norman Geisler was one of the witnesses at the Arkansas creationism trial back in 1982. During his pre-trial deposition, Geisler was asked if he believed in a real Devil. Yes, he replied, he did, and cited some Biblical verses as confirmation. The conversation then went:
Q. Are there, sir, any other evidences for that belief besides certain passages of Scripture?
GEISLER: Oh, yes. I have known personally at least 12 persons who were clearly possessed by the Devil. And then there are the UFOs.
Q. The UFOs? Why are they relevant to the existence of the Devil?
GEISLER: Well, you see, they represent the Devil’s major, in fact, final attack on the earth.
Q. Oh. And sir, may I ask how you know, as you seem to know, that there are UFOs?
GEISLER: I read it in the Readers Digest.
At trial, Geisler testified under oath (apparently with a straight face) that flying saucers were “Satanic manifestations for the purposes of deception”.
I would add that Kent Hovind often discusses a similar idea. He has often mentioned in his seminars, and sold copies of, a book that claimed that UFOs were “Satanically owned and operated” and that they were used to transport Satan from place to place because, unlike God, he can’t be in all places at all times. I can’t even begin to parody that sort of thing.
For more criticisms of Hugh Ross’ work, see this article by Mark Perakh. Or see the following articles by old friend Glenn Morton: