September 14, 2021 | David F. Coppedge

Evolutionists Find it Hard to Imagine a Lifeless Mars

Is it possible for evolutionary scientists to
mention Mars without imagining life?

 

As you read the following news items about Mars, keep in mind these facts:

  • (1) No life has ever been found on Mars.
  • (2) No organic molecules indicative of life have been found on Mars.
  • (3) Mars has no global magnetic field to protect life.
  • (4) Mars has no ozone layer to protect it from UV radiation.
  • (5) The surface of Mars appears to be dry and crackling with static electricity (2 Aug 2006).
  • (6) Much of Mars is covered with perchlorates and salts that are toxic to life (26 July 2018).
  • (7) The Martian atmosphere is 1% as dense as that of earth, and lacks oxygen (well, only 0.13%).
  • (8) All hopes for finding life since the famous “canals” bamboozle have turned up empty.
  • (9) The temperatures on Mars are below the freezing point of water most of the time.

Most importantly, life is far, far, far too complex to ever arise by itself (see our Origin of Life topic). Can writers resist the urge to speculate about life on Mars? Let’s find out:

Mars rocks collected by Perseverance boost case for ancient life (Phys.org). The only evidence offered in this simplistic article is that certain rocks in the Jezero Crater where the rover Perseverance is operating could have had contact with water in the past. “If these rocks experienced water for long periods of time, there may be habitable niches within these rocks that could have supported ancient microbial life,” said one female NASA geologist suffering from hydrobioscopy.

Earthly rocks point way to water hidden on Mars (Penn State News). Water is a necessary but not sufficient condition for life on Mars. Mars has an abundance of an iron mineral called hematite. A Penn State doctoral student found evidence to support a “once-debunked 19th-century identification” that some forms of this mineral could contain water. The possibility of Mars having hydro-hematite was enough to switch on this student’s hydrobioscopy buzzer.

Mars is called the red planet because of its color, which comes from iron compounds in the Martian dirt. According to the researchers, the presence of hydrohematite on Mars would provide additional evidence that Mars was once a watery planet, and water is the one compound necessary for all life forms on Earth.

Searching for life on Mars and its moons (Science Magazine). This review article by Ryuki Hyodo and Tomohiro Usui only once consider the possibility that Mars is lifeless. Until the last paragraph, their assumption is that since Mars might have been habitable in the past, therefore it must have had (or still has) inhabitants. That is a logical fallacy known as non-sequitur. They concentrate on how to look for biosignatures of current or extinct life. At the end, they face up to the other possibility:

Mutual international cooperation on MSR [Mars Sample Return] and MMX [Japan’s Martian Moons eXploration program] could answer questions such as how martian life, if present, emerged and evolved in time and place. If Mars never had life at all, these missions would then be absolutely vital in unraveling why Mars is lifeless and Earth has life. Therefore, the missions may eventually provide the means to decipher the divergent evolutionary paths of life on Mars and Earth.

But lifelessness is not an evolutionary path of life! It is not an evolutionary path at all. These imagineers cannot let go of a Darwinian bias to everything they think and say about Mars.

The late evolutionist Carl Sagan was a leading proponent of the search for life on Mars, even after Mariner 4 disappointed astronomers by showing a crater-pocked dry world, and Viking (model shown here) found no unambiguous sign of biological activity. No subsequent mission has found signs of life.

Buttes on Mars may serve as radiation shelters (Chinese Academy of Sciences via Phys.org). This short article focuses on the ability of buttes to shield the ground from space radiation. That could be helpful for future astronauts. It only briefly mentions that the Curiosity rover was “dedicated to searching for the elements of life on Mars.”

After six months on Mars, NASA’s tiny copter is still flying high (Phys.org). There is no reason at all for this article to speculate about life. It is about a worthy space achievement—the Mars helicopter Ingenuity—that has worked far longer than planned. Writer Lucie Augourg brings it up anyway: “The tiny helicopter has become the regular travel companion of the rover Perseverance, whose core mission is to seek signs of ancient life on Mars.”

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Collects Puzzle Pieces of Mars’ History (NASA-JPL). The rover found some rocks. That can only mean one thing!

Though scientists still can’t say whether any of the water that altered these rocks was present for tens of thousands or for millions of years, they feel more certain that it was there for long enough to make the area more welcoming to microscopic life in the past.

It needs to be true; “A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life.” Unless they can keep that hope alive, the mission’s reason for being is in jeopardy.

 

Hopeful Signs of Objectivity

Will it be safe for humans to fly to Mars? (UCLA). This article only mentions life of the human astronaut variety. Even though it acknowledges the risks of dangerous radiation en route and on the Martian surface, it gives a positive slant on the ability of NASA to send astronauts through the shooting gallery without killing them.

The researchers recommend a mission not longer than four years because a longer journey would expose astronauts to a dangerously high amount of radiation during the round trip — even assuming they went when it was relatively safer than at other times. They also report that the main danger to such a flight would be particles from outside of our solar system.

Delta Deposits on Mars: A Global Perspective (Geophysical Research Letters). Here is a rare review paper about Mars that does not mention the L-word life. It only briefly mentions that interest in delta deposits on Mars has motivated thoughts of “water availability, habitable environments, and as favorable sedimentary settings for organic matter preservation.” The paper dries up some of these hopes of Mars-lifers by showing that only a small fraction of proposed deltas (6 out of 161) might indicate shorelines of an ancient ocean. “Hence, delta information is insufficient to determine a global water level behavior.”

So yes: it is possible for evolutionists to talk about Mars without imagining life. It’s just very hard for them. It takes a lot of self-control. Once they evolve more self-control, they may get better at it.

 

 

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