Close Encounters of the Absurd Kind
NASA’s original press release on 29th November didn’t give any hint of what they had discovered,
WASHINGTON — NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.
But this was enough to induce extreme excitement in some quarters, and led to such speculation as Did NASA discover life on one of Saturn’s Moons?
Not exactly! They found a strain of bacteria which can metabolise arsenic and incorporate it in their DNA.
A good trick if you can do it, but we already know what amazing conditions life can survive in on earth.
People need a paradigm shift here. I speak as a Creationist, of course, but I believe there are dangerous misunderstandings which surround evolution. I don’t think “life” can occur as readily as many people have been led to believe.
There is a Law of Biogenesis which states that, “life arises from pre-existing life, not from non-living material”.
To believe contrary to Louis Pasteur’s Law is hardly a new idea, “The ancient Greeks believed that living things could spontaneously come into being from nonliving matter, and that the goddess Gaia could make life arise spontaneously from stones…”
This is especially interesting as we are again living in an age where Gaia worship is widely practised, this time in the form of devout environmentalism.
But I suspect that NASA will keep putting out “alien” stories, especially in times where money is tight, to keep the government funding coming through.
And it is vital to keep up the pretence if a government ever stages an “alien” invasion as a pretext to removing the remaining freedoms even the bin Laden fearmongering couldn’t reach.
Who could argue with Creation Ministries’ conclusions?
This whole episode seems like it was a well-orchestrated publicity stunt by NASA to get some attention for itself. While this find is a very important discovery about biology, it’s an important discovery about earth biology at its functional limits. Most biologists won’t abandon a single common ancestor for life based on this find because this is a modification of known biology that operates at suboptimal levels. A better analogy would be so-called “superbugs”, which are deadly in a hospital environment full of antibiotics, but can’t compete with their respective wild types outside of the hospital. This find hasn’t even served to uncover a completely different biology to what we know on earth, much less provide evidence for the existence of extraterrestrial life.