Water on Mars: Materialism's Shroud of Turin
Materialism and Darwinism in their dual aspect as quasi-religious faith include a Genesis story, a scientific priesthood, the equivalents of sainthood and demonology, evangelism, catechism and excommunication, an Index Librorum Prohibitorum, and so on. The news in today's Science about water on Mars and with that the consequent possibility of Martian microbial life -- how many times have we heard this before? -- offers what might be the materialist's Shroud of Turin.
Look at photographs of the actual Shroud with its mysterious, haunting rust-brown image of what might or might not be the body of a crucified man from 1st-century Palestine. Believers persist in supporting investigations for forensic evidence of its authenticity.
Now scrutinize that photo from NASA of the slopes of the Newton crater with its spring- and summer-time phenomenon in which dark brown streaks appear to flow downward. In the cruel Martian winter, the streaks disappear.
They make curious patterns that admittedly look a little bit like the fungus we found recently growing in our kids' bathroom. It is not a bathroom fungus. So what is it? Must be flowing water, and you know what that means:
A damp subsurface is where life is most likely to be found today on Mars, notes [University of Arizona planetary scientist Alfred McEwen]. "Now we see perhaps some groundwater is coming to the surface. It gives us a location to focus on" as NASA continues to "follow the water" in search of Martian life, past or present.So you've looked at the picture from the precipitous sides of the Newton crater and you still can't see the evidence there, etched with longing, that the contrast of dark rust and light rust points to the possibility, therefore the likelihood, therefore the inevitability, of water-based life frolicking somewhere on or under that cold, cold planet surface?
The question of life on Mars requires extremely generous assumptions about the origin as well as the subsequent evolution of life. Materialists assume that if you've got some water, life will result. So if there is life on Mars, it would make all the difference. As the Shroud holds out the tantalizing possibility of verification to some Christian believers, Darwinists and other materialists find in imaginary alien microbes a confirmation of their faith that life springs up unbidden and unguided given only the right raw ingredients.
In the New York Times, biogeochemist Lisa M. Pratt of Indiana University advocates investigating the possibility of Martian life by digging up Siberian permafrost.
"This is very speculative, because we really have no idea whether or not there are extant organisms on Mars or whether there ever was life on Mars," Dr. Pratt said.Notice just in those three short paragraph the number of "if's," "whether's," and "I don't see why not's" that pile on top of each other. Actually, there's better scientific evidence that the Shroud of Turn is the burial cloth of Jesus Christ than that life exists or has existed on Mars. After all, there is at least debatable evidence for the former but not as yet one single iota for the latter.
But on Earth, microbes can live in pockets of salty water that never freeze, or even if the water froze solid, organisms could go dormant and "patiently hang out near the surface until spring comes around again," she said.
"If there were to be evolving organisms on Mars," she said, "I don't see any reason why they couldn't adapt to that kind of seasonally available, very brief access to resources. You bloom quickly, you do what you need to do, and you go dormant."
There is only wishful speculation and calls for further investigation. Further investigation of nothing. Longing, pining, aching and thirsting for verification of your faith are not, Darwinists and other materialists often need to be reminded, a species of scientific evidence.