It is when it’s about the search for extraterrestrial life and panspermia.

In yet another example of just this, I’d invite you all to read “Far-Off Planets Like the Earth Dot the Galaxy.”

Have any of these planets actually been identified? No. Have any of them yielded data that demonstrate life is possible? No.

But doesn’t the article lead say this …

Astronomers reported that there could be as many as 40 billion habitable Earth-size planets in the galaxy, based on a new analysis of data from NASA’s Kepler spacecraft.

It does. Sounds real “sciencey” doesn’t it? These scientists are “reporting” this figure — as though the number has been truly validated. Correction: this is guessing or speculating, not “reporting” of something known to correspond to reality.

The reality is that what’s being said is that the 40 billion number is a mathematical extrapolation (again, it sounds better than “guess”) about how many planetary bodies there might be in the galaxy that are situated in “Goldilocks zones” — i.e., situated in orbits that, given the heat of their suns (another guess), would have surface temperatures that are not too hot and not too cold for liquid water, the essential factor for life as we know it.

It’s really hard to not look at this and call it “faith”. I don’t mind this faith statement, of course, since I have no theological objection to ET life. One might also argue that it’s reasonable faith. I have no problem with that either, since I don’t think faith and reason are incompatible. But when it comes to religion, faith is readily criticized, no matter how reasonable. “Without scientific data” we’re told, “it’s still just a belief.”

If the shoe fits ….