Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Life On Mars? Death For Creationism?

Search for Martian Life Clears Another Hurdle

I wouldn't want to add to the discomfort and general air of despondency which must be pervading creationist pseudoscience circles these days, so any creationist frauds reading this should stop immediately.

Creationist pseudoscientists have recently had to endure (and ignore) the discovery, which is surely beyond any reasonable doubt now, that modern humans interbred with Neanderthals and formed a ring species with them and other species of humans, typical of an evolving and diversifying group of closely related species. Then we had confirmation of the Big Bang inflation and so the virtual certainty of the multiverse theory being correct.

Now they are now getting closer to what must be their nightmare scenario - the evidence is growing that there was formerly life not just on another planet but on Mars, our near neighbour in the solar system, and that it evolved there may millions of years ago when there was flowing water and habitable lakes on Mars.

The Lunar and Planetary Science Conference held in Woodlands, Texas, USA was told that the Curiosity Mars rover team are now reasonably confident that contaminants from Earth can't account for the carbon compounds Curiosity has obtained from martian rocks. In controlled experiments using Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) equipment the team have eliminated accidental contamination from an organic reagent brought from Earth for future analysis. They report that the findings are persuasive and offer "compelling" evidence that chlorinated methane, ethane and propane found in the rocks are of martian origin.

This is a long way from proving that there was even simple life on Mars but, apart from it raining down from the Cosmos in the cosmic dust, meteorites and other space debris left over from the formation of the solar system, it's hard to account for it any other way.

So, things are looking bleak for creationism these days.

Not only has the DNA evidence of our interbreeding with Neanderthals knocked on the head any idea of us being a special creation and all descendants from a first couple a few thousand years ago, but it also refutes any notion of original sin - one of the main selling points for religions which diagnose the 'problem' and sell the cure like an 'alternative medicine' fraudster. The DNA evidence is entirely consistent with the scientific explanation of human origins in which no magic and no gods are required.

The confirmation of the mechanism of the first few billionths of a second in the Big Bang, together with the virtual certainty that universes are continually popping into existence so that all possible universes will exist. This refutes so many traditional creationist 'arguments' that it's hard to know where to begin. It destroys the Cosmological Argument which depends on the assumption that there must have been something to cause the Big Bang. Not only does there not need to be anything because quantum events don't require a cause but the probable existence of 'inflatons', which give rise to masses of space, means universes are very probably commonplace.

Of course the 'God did it!' conclusion was always circular anyway. "Look! God must exist because I can arbitrarily designate it as the cause of something I don't understand (and I've no intention of doing so because I already know the answer)"! At least creationists who would like to be honest if only they could be, don't need to use that dishonest tactic any more.

That brings us to the 'fine-tuning' argument or, in the form in which it's sold to children, the 'Goldilocks' argument. This argues that the probability of the Universe being exactly right for life is so infinitessimally small that it must have been designed. And this is entirely consistent with insisting that life only exists on this single planet out of the trillions in the entire fine-tuned-for-life Universe. Now we know that all possible universes pop into existence, of which this one is just one. Of course, if life couldn't have evolved here we couldn't be discussing it, so a Universe in which intelligent beings are discussing anything must be one in which intelligent life can evolve. And now we know there must be very many of them with the same conditions as this Universe.

In fact, this refutation of the 'Goldilocks' creationist fairy tale must come as something of a relief to any intelligent theists who will surely have realised that arguing that their god can only create life which needs a very tightly controlled set of conditions, is arguing that it not only isn't omnipotent, because an omnipotent god could create life anywhere it wanted, but that it is itself constrained and needs a fine-tuned environment in which to work. Who fine-tuned the creator's world and set the constraints under which it has to work? And yet another creationist argument disappears up its own infinite regress.

And of course, should their nightmare ever come true and we find evidence of life on another planet, this will remove any vestige of logic from their fond notion that their god created Earth especially for them, its special creation, to live in and that the chances of life arising even in the 'perfect' conditions their god created are so small that it couldn't have happened spontaneously.

If it turns out that life also arose on the only other planet we definitely know about where the conditions could once have been similar to those on an early Earth, that argues strongly that it happens spontaneously and quite readily. The 'Goldilocks zone' will need to be expanded and the definition adjusted accordingly using creationist circular reasoning - life can only exist in a 'Goldilocks zone' so a 'Goldilocks zone' must be wherever life exists!

Creationist frauds must consider themselves very fortunate that their target marks are almost guaranteed not to read any science and if they stumble accidentally on any will simply wave it aside anyway. In any case, when did having an argument refuted mean a creationist fraud wouldn't try to get away with it on someone else?

I wonder what the chances of proudly ignorant science denialism arising spontaneously in an otherwise intelligent ape are? Surely it must have been created by design. It certainly seems to require very careful maintenance.

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  1. Oh, Rosa, Rosa. I just came across this, which I have shared on my Google Plus site. You underestimate the lengths to which they will go to deny facts, Rosa.

  2. The Pope's chief astronomer admitted already in 2008 that life on Mars cannot be ruled out. See for example http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7399661.stm .

    At least some of these aliens could even be free from original sin, he speculated. That's good, for Jesus died on the cross for our sins (= for us living here on planet Earth, not on any other planets).

    And in this article, see: http://www.theguardian.com/science/2010/sep/17/pope-astronomer-baptise-aliens , the Pope's own astronomer says: An alien – 'no matter how many tentacles it has' – could have a soul. He also says he would baptise an alien if it asked him.

    I'm so glad to hear that. It must mean that Jesus loves not only all the children here on Earth but also the aliens, at least those with a soul created by God the Almighty.

    1. I wonder if they would kindly allow the Pope into one of their own cults, if they have any.

  3. It doesnt matter if life is discovered anywhere else in the galaxy or even this solar system. The religious will wave it aside as nonsense and continue living in denial of the facts and hard evidence.


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