Evolution in the News - January 2012
by Do-While Jones

Life On Mars

NASA has sent another probe to Mars; but are they looking for life?

Evolutionists really want to find evidence of life on Mars because they believe it will prove life evolved on Earth. Their reasoning is flawed. It goes like this:

Life, they believe, is the result of an unguided, random process. The right conditions just happened to occur, and life resulted. Given enough time (that is, given sufficient opportunity) the conditions that permit life to begin will, sooner or later, happen by accident. Therefore, anyplace where the conditions make it possible for life to exist, life will originate spontaneously (sooner or later).

Given the large surface area of Mars, with a variety of ecological zones, water, and the presumed billions of years that they believe Mars has existed, they think that life certainly must have existed at some point in time, and might still exist today. So they think any evidence of life, living or extinct, is proof of evolution.

The obvious flaw in their reasoning is that the existence of life does not prove evolution. Life exists on Earth. It may be the result of creation or evolution. If life exists on Mars, it may be the result of creation or evolution.

The absence of life on Mars does not disprove evolution. Perhaps there is no place on Mars where the conditions have ever permitted life to exist. Perhaps the intelligent designer who created life on Earth chose not to create life on Mars. There is no way to know for sure why there isnít any life there. But, if there is not now, and never has been, any life on Mars, it means unequivocally that life never evolved on Mars. Thatís not good for evolutionists.

Why Go to Mars?

Since finding or not finding life on Mars doesnít prove or disprove evolution, then why go? We have to go to Mars because we donít know what we might find there. (If we knew what we would find there, there would be no point in going.) Furthermore, we might discover something valuable, such as an unknown mineral with amazing properties. If so, we could mine it and send it back to Earth, or determine its chemical structure and synthesize it on Earth. Thereís no telling what we will discover until we have thoroughly investigated whatís there.

Unfortunately, any public space venture has to be paid for by the general population. Reasons like, ďWe might find something good,Ē or ďWe will learn something we donít already know,Ē or ďbecause itís there,Ē usually arenít sufficient to open the pocketbooks of most Americans. But, ďWe are going to Mars to find evidence that life has evolved there, proving that there is no God, freeing you from the burden of religion,Ē is an attractive incentive to some people. Of course, the last two clauses are never stated explicitly, but atheists donít need to have it spelled out for them.

Looking or Not?

NASA is walking a fine line, making it difficult to determine if the primary goal of the current mission is to find signs of past life or not. The day the latest Mars rover, named Curiosity, was launched (28 November, 2011), New Scientist published this:

Curiosity is five times bigger than its predecessors, Spirit and Opportunity. Due to arrive on the red planet on 6 August 2012, this behemoth is equipped with state-of-the-art tools that will allow it to search for signs of life, and to probe the habitability of its landing site, Gale crater. This site finally was chosen earlier this year after a vigorous debate regarding various rival options: sediment on Gale crater contains clays, a sure sign that it was exposed to liquid water at some point. 1

Liquid water is one of the conditions believed to be necessary for life. Thatís why they are most interested in exploring a place that appeared to have had water at some point.

But an earlier article in New Scientist said that NASA was NOT looking for life.

Why isn't NASA hunting for life?

Even the most ardent fans of the Red Planet must occasionally wish for more than just hints of water popping up in ever-new places. So why not send a robot to hunt directly for little green men?

One word: Viking. NASA's Viking landers did just that in 1976, laying out a tasty solution of nutrients to attract any microbes that might be living in a soil sample, like cookies left on a plate for Santa. The nutrients were laced with radioactive carbon, so if the solution was digested, a radiation monitor above the sample would detect the resulting gas. Ö "They were hoping to find signs of life but the results came back basically negative - there is no life as we know it," says Ralph Milliken at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana. Ö

The $2.5 billion Curiosity rover will hunt for organic molecules and isotopic hints of life, but NASA is still shying away from the L word. "NASA cannot say to taxpayers that they put $2.5 to $3 billion to search for life, and then say, 'We have found no life - thank you, bye bye'," says Michel Cabane, leader of one of Curiosity's organics-sniffing instruments, who is based at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France.

"If you project the message that you are hunting for life, even though it is very important to many of us, and you return with a null or ambiguous answer, people would be disappointed," says Jack Mustard of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, who is a former chair of NASA's advisory panel on Mars. 2

It appears to us that they know perfectly well that they arenít going to find any signs of life on Mars, but they donít want to admit it because they canít get funding for the project if they admit that it is doomed to fail.

Good Reasons

Even though they arenít going to find signs of past life on Mars, there are good reasons to go. Past missions have discovered rock formations that appear to be sedimentary (that is, formed by water) that were subsequently sculpted by wind or water erosion. But Mars has no liquid water, and hardly any atmosphere. This raises unanswered questions. Where did the water go? Is there another process that produces rock formations that look like they were produced by the action of water, but doesnít involve water?

Iím curious about those things, and I hope that Curiosity finds the answers to those questions, and many other questions that have nothing to do with the theory of evolution.

There is limited space on space probes. Scientists generally canít send all the equipment necessary to perform all the experiments that they want to do. So, the experiments are prioritized, and the ones deemed least important donít make the trip. Futile experiments, attempting to prove the ridiculous theory of evolution, bump more important experiments from the flight. It is just another example of how belief in evolution is harmful to the advancement of science.

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1 New Scientist, 28 November 2011, ďCuriosity rover proclaims good health on way to MarsĒ, http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2011/11/the-most-ambitious-and-expensi.html
2 McKee, New Scientist, 12 November 2011, ďThe roverís returnĒ, https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228381-900-mega-rover-ready-to-hunt-for-life-signs-on-mars/