And both groups should quit talking to journalists.
Creation-Evolution Headlines draws readers attention to the way in which popular science media immediately make the leap from recent possible evidence for a subsurface ocean on Saturn’s moon Enceladus to speculations that Enceladus, Saturn’s sixth larget moon (size of Arizona) might host life. For example, science journalist Richard A. Kerr:
“Suspicions that Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus harbors an internal ocean—one that could host life—have hardened into near certainty with exquisitely precise observations from the Cassini spacecraft,” he began. His ending mentioned life twice: “Such strong support for a sea beneath the spouting plumes of Enceladus should encourage scientists, mostly Cassini team members, who want NASA to send a new mission to Enceladus to explore for life,” he stated, also speaking of the possibility of “life-laden waters” under Enceladus.
The popular media, predictably, focused on life:
“The findings … will boost the view that the 500km-wide moon would be one of the best places beyond Earth to go look for the existence of microbial life.” (BBC News)
“Saturn Moon Harbors Ocean, Raising Possibility of Life.” (National Geographic)
“New gravity readings suggest it hosts a subsurface sea the size of Lake Superior at its south pole — and that this liquid water is in direct contact with the moon’s core, which is rich in nutrients. Both findings boost hopes that the sea hosts life.” (New Scientist)
“Will Ocean Discovery On Enceladus Spur Life-Hunting Missions to Icy Moons of Saturn, Jupiter?” (Space.com – Mike Wall uses word “life” six times)
Wow. Six times. And life has never been officially spotted anywhere but on Earth, though similar claims have been made for Jupiter’s moon Europa. Cassini’s probe has, ofcourse, made Enceladus a current focus.
Isn’t the real problem here the fact that the origin of life researchers are finding out some things that the life in the universe researchers don’t want to face up to? As engineer Arminius Mignea’s engineering specifications shows, it is very, very difficult, and perhaps impossible, for the simplest self-replicator to get started even on Earth just by chance (but those are the rules the researchers want to play by). To export all the OOL problems to Enceladus on the basis of the mere possibility of liquid water testifies to the strength of desire, not the power of reason.
The problem is, any rational assessment would begin by concluding that life could possibly be constructed by design in the lab but by chance nowhere. Which rules out most origin of life theories immediately. Here or elsewhere in the universe.
With Enceladus the toast of the solar system, here’s a wrap-up of the origin-of-life problem
The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (origin of life)
Note: Apparently, ScienceDaily was uncharacteristically modest in it claims.