January 8, 2007 | David F. Coppedge

Mars Life With Bleached Hair

Mars has hydrogen peroxide.  Bombardier beetles use peroxide.  So maybe the Viking landers in 1976 didn’t find life, because they didn’t look for peroxide-based life.  That’s the essence of the reasoning in an Associated Press story circulating on the net (see Breitbart.com).
    Reporter Seth Borenstein earns Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week for relaying this thought from a researcher behind the idea that Mars life is peroxide-based: “ [Dirk] Schulze-Makuch acknowledges he can’t prove that Martian microbes exist, but given the Martian environment and how evolution works, ’it makes sense.’”
    To his credit, Borenstein quoted some skeptics.  “ Other experts said the new concept has a certain logic to it, but more work is needed before they are convinced.”  Mitch Sogin [Woods Hole] went further.  Hedging his bets that he is open to the possibility of peroxide-based life, he cautioned against “just-so stories about what is possible,” Borenstein ended.

We need a new principle in science, especially in astrobiology.  All new ideas should be considered dumb until proven otherwise.  First corollary: all “givens” to a dumb idea are accessories to dumbness.  Second corollary: the dumbness of a proposition implicates dumbness in its accessory givens.  Try this out on: “Given how evolution works…. it makes sense.”

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