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Life on Mars — Ten Years Later

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Ten years ago it seemed to some that we had good evidence for life on Mars. Here’s how things look today: http://www.physorg.com/news74002665.html.

There is not a shred of convincing evidence that life ever existed anywhere except on this planet. It was created here an unkown numer of times by an unknown number of Creators at an unknown number of places at unknown times in the geological column. "A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable." John A. Davison
Mats, Evidently you did not watch the press conference ten years ago. I saw all of it on CNN. I recall being annoyed that NASA was once again attempting to rally public support, and thus keep its funding, by announcing findings prior to doing the hard work of science. (I have much the same feeling about the ID movement.) What I recall most clearly is that the last scientist to speak was someone I'd drunk a few beers with earlier in the year. He was Bill Schopf, a paleobiologist from UCLA, who was then credited with the oldest fossil discovery. I have to give NASA some credit for allowing Schopf to speak. He diplomatically, but firmly, argued that it took more to infer life from a rock than the biochemists thought. He closed his statement by quoting Carl Sagan: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." You can bet that Sagan knew that when he said, "If the results are verified, it is a turning point in human history." Ironically, scrutiny of the Mars "fossil" led some scientists to cast doubt on Schopf's own findings. Schopf has responded by doing additional research. It seems to me that science is working pretty much the way it is supposed to. For more information, see: http://www.carlzimmer.com/articles/2005/articles_2005_mars.html Tom English
What! Brown's a creationist! Anyway, he has these citations from a peer-reviewed papers:
“Some different microbial species, derived from samples of [two] meteorites, have been cultured, cloned and classified by 16S rDNA typing and found to be not essentially different from present day organisms [here on Earth]; they also appear sensitive to growth inhibition by specific antibiotics.” Giuseppe Geraci et al., “Microbes in Rocks and Meteorites,” Rendiconti Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Vol. 12, No. 9, 2001, p. 51. [Brown's comment:] The bacteria recovered and cultured from the meteorites were sufficiently different from modern strains to rule out contamination. Other steps were taken to prevent contamination.[end comment] u “Bruno D’Argenio, a geologist working for the Italian National Research Council, and Giuseppi Geraci, professor of molecular biology at Naples University, identified and brought back to life extraterrestrial microorganisms lodged inside 4.5 billion-year-old meteorites kept at Naples’ mineralogical museum.” Rossella Lorenzi, “Scientists Claim to Revive Alien Bacteria,” Discovery News, www.discovery.com, 10 May 2001. 62 . “The foregoing analysis, sketchy as it is, seems to strengthen the grounds of the old speculation—that meteorites are disrupted fragments of a planet of the terrestrial type.” Reginald A. Daly, “Meteorites and an Earth-Model,” Bulletin of the Geological Society of America, Vol. 54, 1 March 1943, p. 425. [Brown's comment:]Because meteorites are so similar to the material inside Earth, many researchers believe that the Earth formed from infalling meteoroids. One should also consider whether the Earth produced meteoroids. Failure to consider both possibilities is the same logical fallacy described in Endnote 2, page 241. Much evidence opposes the former.[end comment] My jaw dropped, but look at this Abstract: Microbes in Rocks and Meteorites" in the journal RENDICONTI LINCEI SCIENZE FISICHE E NATURALI
ABSTRACT: Crystals, rocks and mineral ores of different origins contain viable microbial life that appears actively swimming under the microscope when the sample is properly fragmented and suspended in a nutrient medium. This form of life in rocks is unaffected by time, since [b]microbes have been found in samples of all geological ages, from about 2.8 Ga[/b] to recent rocks, and by pressure and temperature, since it is present in metamorphic and in igneous rocks. From the tests performed, among which those to secure from sample pollution, it emerges that this form of life is not destroyed, as indeed expected, when the rock is heated above 500 C in a kiln. However, all cloned microbes are sensitive to growth inhibition by specific antibiotics. A similar search, for the presence of microbes in meteorites, shows that also these materials are rich in microorganisms, indicating that these already existed in early Earth formation stages. Some different microbial species, derived from different samples of rocks and meteorites, have been cultured, cloned and classified by 16S rDNA typing and found to be not essentially different from present day organisms. An interesting consequence of these findings, among others, is the support to the hypothesis that life came from outside Earth with the additional indication that it was already present in those materials that accreted to form the solar planetary system
Whoa! 2.5 billion year old bacteria! Ain't that somehting else. An OOL researcher at my alma mater, professor Robert Hazen, was the first to alert me to these interesting developments! He wrote about in in his book Genesis (reviewed in Nature). Hazen is a swell guy was part of some of our IDEA meetings last year. I could hardly contain my excitement when I discovered 2.5 Billion year old rocks had viable microbes in them. scordova
Scordova, Walter Brown is a Creationist. That's strike one for you, mister! Mats
I'm not averse to life existing on other planets. I just don't think it be there except through intelligent origin. On that subject, I feel it my responsibilty to say traces of biotic material have been found in meteors. If such meteors impact on mars we might thus see traces of life that way. One scientists, Walter Brown, hypothesized an explosion on Earth some time ago sent biotic materials into space and thus that explains traces of biotic material in meteorites. It's a radical theory, but if we ever find meteorites with remnants of Earthlike creatures, I can at least say a few IDers hypothesized the possibility. scordova
If the "results are verified", seems like *gulp* "mainstream scientists" and their press choir boys have made a mistake. Thankfully, we can rest assured since that almost never happens when people have evolutionary presupositions in their fields of inquiry............ Mats

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