The Raelians and non-falsifiability


The story of the Raelians is about aliens who came to be more than 20,000 years ago and created all life. The Raelians radically reinterpret the Bible, God, Jesus, His message, and so many other things that once you are done listening to the Raelians interpretation, it has nothing to do with what the Bible originally said.

One of the many problems is the issue of non-falsifiability. Basically, this means that Raelianism cannot be proven false. How do you disapprove that 20,000 years ago aliens created life on earth?  Some might say that the fossil evidence and the ancient age of the earth is proof enough. But the Raelians simply cast a doubtful light upon the scientific community and tell us that many mistakes have been made before, so we cannot trust what science tells us regarding this.

Another example is the Raelian position that the aliens who came to this world have a home planet less than one light-year away from earth. But science clearly tells us that the closest star system is more than four years away. Therefore, there can be no planet less than four light-years away. But the Raelians simply tell us that light does not move at the same speed in all areas of the universe and that light takes about four light-years along a curved path but only about one light-year if traveled in a straight line. As you can see, with such logic, no matter what is said, the Raelians will find a way to validate their beliefs.

A few years ago in San Diego CA, there was a mass suicide by a group known as The Heaven's Gate. They taught that there was an alien spaceship on the other side of a distant comet, and this alien spaceship was there to take them away. But the only way they could be taken was to die. Therefore, they committed suicide--the whole group. This is a perfect example of non-falsifiability. How do you demonstrate that there is no alien spaceship on the other side of a distant comet? You can't. Therefore, their belief system cannot be proven to be false because it can't be verified. Generally speaking, a lot of cult leaders work this way. They develop a belief system that cannot be checked--that cannot be proven to be false. Therefore, we could say that their belief system is not based upon reality. Take Christianity as a contrast to the Raelians--Christianity is falsifiable. That is, it has the potential of being proven false.

Christianity began 2,000 years ago by a man named Jesus who lived in ancient Israel. The story is recounted in the Biblical documents, and the copies of these documents can be examined--along with their accuracy and reliability. In addition, their contents can either be verified or proven false since they mention historical events, geographical locations, and ancient people. This means that Christianity "occurred in history," that is, it occurred in a real place, in real time, with real people.  Therefore, because it rests in reality, it is falsifiable. It has the potential of being proven false.

Proving Christianity false could be done, for example, by simply producing the body of Jesus. If it could be proven that Jesus never did rise from the dead, then all of Christianity is proven false. All that is needed is archeological evidence sufficient enough to demonstrate that Jesus died, was buried, but did not rise. This could be done by discovering a tomb with an inscription or document in it of who He was, His alleged miracles, His patronage, etc. If the archeologists also found the bones of the wrists and feet damaged from nails consistent with those used at the time, etc., this could be sufficient proof that Jesus didn't rise from the dead. It would be a very serious problem for the Christian faith. Therefore, this is a way that Christianity is falsifiable.

On the other hand, the Raelians do not have a falsifiable system. There is no way to prove that the Raelians system of belief is false. No matter what is said to the Raelians, they simply reinterpret science, evidence, the Bible, and other ancient documents in such a way that they agree with their belief system.

Therefore, the Raelian story is nothing more than a story that cannot be verified, shown to be false, or anything. It is just a story, and unfortunately people are believing it.

About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.