Why is the question of life on mars important?

Over the past months, many of us have argued back and forth over the possibile existence of life on Mars. I have always felt this is an impoortant question, although I have never uynderstood exactly WHY I thought it was important.

However, now I understand that this question relates to several other important subjects of public debate, which have been very much on the public mind. The teaching of evolution in public schools has come under unwarranted attack. The reason for this is that many people believe it is wrong, and want to teach creationism instead. At the same time, hard scientific evidence of global warming and climate change have been challenged. I think the underlying dilema is the issue of scientific fact versus public opinion. Science seeks to understand the universe through a process of careful observation and logic. By observing the universe, and developing theories to explain what we see, we may eventually come to understand everything from climate modeling to quantum mechanics.

I believe, for many reasons, that there is or was life on mars. You can find all these arguments in this forum, if you can sort through the signal to noise problem (ES, RW, etc!) But this is an important question, because we live in a time when people want to abandon science, logic, and reason, because they are not popular. Because it takes a lot of hard work to understand the truth. Because it is easier to try to understand a simple story which was told thousands of years ago they to accept the logical truth which, after all, we can see with our own eyes.

Science is based on observation, and thus the foundations of science are our own five senses, and everything we can reason from them.

That is why it is IMPORTANT for NASA to give a little bit more emphasis to bio science and less on geo science. That is why the loss of the ESA's Beagle experiment was sucha tragedy. Beagle had bio science experiments, the rovers do not. For nearly 30 years, NASA has resisted addressing this question.

Although in many ways NASA is a pioneer in the field of science, in this one important area they have been reluctant to uncover the truth. I do not really know why, perhaps it is because of pressure from the same people who want to teach creationism in public schools and post the ten commandments in our court rooms. There is nothing wrong with faith, so long as it does not blind us to the objective truth. This is a question of truth, and in the end it is a question of freedom.

I am making noise for good reason. WE are being lied to by NASA's refusal to examine the bones of the dead which are scattered from one end of Mars to the other. They claim the rovers went looking for water, but they ignore the remnants of organisms which once contained it. Yet, they will spend days examining a rock that looks like a meteorite, quickly proclaiming it as such, all the while ignoring anything that looks biological. This is a huge lie.

The Christian right is looking for "great signs" from Heaven. I vote NASA give them their prophecy of doom.

Jesus was both a rebel and a liberal. In other words he was left wing. He hated the hypocrites, who today will keep a poor brain dead woman alive for 15 years so the parents can pet her corpse. Their lack of faith is sickening. It's time to rip this brain dead element out of our government. It's time for a true separation of church and state.

Mars come alive!

Well, I agree with most of what you say, except the part about the bones. But, like a character in a Philip K Dick novel, where you see bones, I think everyone else just sees rocks. Who is to say who is right? They look like rocks to me, but then maybe I am the crazy one.

As far as you political sentiment, I think you can say it in a nicer way, but the basic idea that modern popular culture has a strong anti science element to it is frightening to me. And, if you look deeply, a lot of current events really are directly related to this question.

OH boy, what a can of worms.

two points I see as a Christian;

1. As a Christian who believes in life beyong Earth, I do run into friction at times from some of my fellow believers who claim no life but our own . My argument is this; No the Bible doesn't mention any other life than ours, but it also doesn't mention the United States, but we exist.

2. Faith in Christ does not exclude enthusiasm and belief in planetary exploration. Actually the first job given to Adam in the garden of eden was to name everything...well, we continue to explore and give everything names to complete our "job". I believe it is our obligation to explore.

Before you criticize those of faith, beware, because you too are of great faith...faith in life. The movie "Contact" which I assume we have all seen, addresses this idea in a way worth addressing again if you think about it.

Anyway, my point is for you not to single out members of the Christian Right (includes me) as a bad group out to get you and NASA. We are really some pretty nice folks and speaking for me and many others, are comfortable in our God creating life everywhere. Would be great to confirm it in my lifetime. Could happen tomorrow.

There is no Christian argument that I know of that precludes the possibility of life on Mars or any other planet.

The issue is really multifaceted, but not really linked to any particular religion. No religion will be destroyed or even upset by the discovery of life elsewhere.

The issue is more profound in the sense of wondering if our intelligence, such as it is, (and raptor makes me wonder if most humans run on instinct) is unique to our little planet, or something common elsewhere. If our little life pod earth is unique, then we are lords of the universe and thereby unique in some rather grotesque cosmic joke. If we are just one of myriads of life, then perhaps we are as significant as some kind of bacteria lost on the underside of a toilet bowl.

The real issue is, if there is life out there, if there is intelligence out there, how come they're not here teaching us the secrets of the universe, or how to quit smoking or eating at McDonalds?

It's more of a cosmic question, like, if there is life beyond earth, if there is intelligence beyond earth, how come they're not here now? And if they are, how come only Jimmy Carter knows about it?

If you are indeed a Christian, then how do you explain Noah's ark? Seven pairs of each animal knowing what we know now about the vast diversity of life on the planet Earth? Did the platypus (kangaroo, koala bear) swim down to Australia and avoid everywhere else? Why are so many animals (not to mention plants - did Noah take with him any plants?) common only to North/South America and not Europe/Asia/Africa? Did a few of them just decide to swim across the ocean once Noah landed?

I don't see how anyone with any sort of depth of imagination can be Christian..

ahhhh......the woes of relegious debate....lets see didnt some religious scholars get the story of noah from the babalonyians or something of that nature and embelish it. evolution is fact based...while creationism is book based. atoms behave and interact and through time they start to form complex structures. once the first self replicating collection of interacting molicules appeared that was the begining of life.

--- If you are a Christian, then how do you explain Noah's ark? ---

How strange, that you people are trying to tie Old Testament to the Christianity.

I see it as a disingenious attempt to attack the last by assoiation.

Get a life.

e :-) s

ET life is not good for religions build on anthropocentric arguments. An ET microbe grants full range of species evolved in every stage and in every population dimension on the waste size and nearly infinite number of galaxies in the spacetime. Anthropocentric human culture would have hard time to accept presence of large population of evolved species putting the humanity in minority or in edge of insignificance in this culture.

Primitiveness of human reasoning can be clearly seen from their understanding of concept of "rights". Human judgment (in majority) and their establishments based on the assumption of concept of "rights" is exclusive to humanity.

In this level of primitiveness of reasoning we would not have a major difficulty to adapt ourselves to existence of evolved ET species and we would switch our life philosophy back in to a surviving in wildlife scenario instead of to advance to a perspective based on integration of life in universe. Only this way the life can have a cosmological significance, IMO.

Hmm, well there is a third side of this question I meant to explore, which is the realtionship between science and POLITICS.

There are really 3 sides here, science, religion, and politics. Consider how the catholic church treated Galileo, that really sums it all up. His ideas, while scientifically true, conflicted with the political and religious status quo. The "establishement" at the time reacted by presecuting him. Only recently has the catholic church admitted they were wrong.

Now, there is no problem reconciling a flexibile interpratation of the bible with any scientific fact. If one chooses to accept the wonderful diversity and sheer scope of creation as going beyond our own little planet, there is no problem. However, a dogmatic interpratation of any religion will quickly run into problems, for example noah and the platypus.

But, it is dogmatic zealotry which realy concerns me, especially since the dogmatic zealots are weilding excessive political influence. When you combine politics with dogmatic religious zeal you get problems, at least that is what concerns me.

So that is why I think answerring the question of the existence of life on mars, or anywhere outside of the earth, is significant. Like Galileo's "blasphemous" discoveries, the discovery of life on another planet might force us to re-examine the relationship between science, religion, and politics. Only an open and liberal interpretation of ANY religion can be correct, because when hard facts conflict with dogmatic belief, the observable truth of the universe as we know it should always triumph, that is the position of SCIENCE.

I'm sure everyone on this forum would at least accept the possibility of life on mars, and would be willing to accept proof if proof could be found (never mind there already IS a lot of evidence for this, not counting skeletal remains)

Frankly, I have trouble accepting any 2000 year old fairytale as absolute truth, but I guess a lot of other people do not. That is what bothers me really.

R. Lewis (Reply 10):

Frankly, I have trouble accepting any 2000 year old fairytale as absolute truth, but I guess a lot of other people do not. That is what bothers me really.

I have heard Christianity described as an " inside view ": once inside, it makes sense. LOTS of sense.

I can suggest that you try this (it is based on the fact that God loves growth: intellectual growth especially):

Next time you start growing intellectually, watch for the things that make it easy. They kind of snowball. If you can, try to estimate the probability of each of those things which made your growth easier. Keep a list.

Give it a try. Can't hurt...

Ever been to a church chicken dinner? "Oh my, I saw Edith SMOKING." "Did you hear Fred goes out to get his paper in a t-thirt and his BOXER shorts?" "Will you please pass me some more chicken and that macaroni?" Gluttony, I mentioned. One of the seven deadly sins. They did NOT wan't to hear that. Those people never grew. They made no sense to me.

Last I checked Christianity is based on both the Old and the New Testaments. Sorry.

Religious people in general like the take the parts they like and ignore the parts they don't. Leviticus says to only wear clothes made of natural fibers and never cut your hair, and yet you'd be hard-pressed to find more than a tiny fraction of Christians doing that. I guess they're going to Hell. :( Should have read your Bible a little more closely..

I think that if people did actually dare to use their brains and look over the entirety of what the Bible claims, they'd realize it couldn't possibly be true. If one part of the Bible is false, all the rest must be suspect. And I'd also like to point out that the Bible isn't even internally consistent.. different numbers are mentioned for the same things in different places, different people are called the first sons of so-and-so in different places, etc. etc. etc.

I guess God is just testing us.. he only wants the idiots to go to heaven.

One of my principles is to respect the thousands of views earthlings can endorse to their lifes...As I expect they'll do to mine...
At the end we'll all be right...I'm sure of it.
So...Why bother struggling?...
All we dream is true and all the truth is a dream, that is one of ustrax's axiomes.

We may all be right, but some ways are better than others. Christianity just holds people back, preventing them from realizing their full potential.

The name of this thread, "Why is the question of life on mars important?" is not a religious question....to me.

Man has always had the instinct to explore. Exploration can be geographical or intellectual or both.

I'm finding myself actually more interested in exploring the territories of Gusev and Merridiani more than knowing what the soil is made of. Finding life would be a discovery. I'm convinced that discovery would not be a religious event.

I think they're looking for the rocks that might help us with propulsion and other important tasks we might need on the surface in the future.

I can complain all I want, but the mission is the mission. This is not a fossil trip. We're lucky there are so many.

I think it's obvious they could have achieved intelligence, or it arrived at some point later, or perhaps crashed on the surface. All I know is there are both fossils and other curious items on the surface.

sorry folks>>>to me,

The title "Why is the question of life on mars important?" is a misnomer.

All life is important. To put it philosophically, it is a known, an entity, a given, a 1 without the X(in math). You could not know about it if you did not live.

So, the question is immaterial to everyone and anyone, except those who want to question everything. A scientist in his discipline has really the only right to understand and question life...therefore it would be important to him and his collegues, since they want to understand it by picking it apart and putting it back together again.

Well, in my mind, that work is for them, not me. But, I do understand their reasoning and questions to 'know'.(everything and anything)

I am one who thinks that there are no advanced civilizations in the universe.

Regardless of the whole SETI movement and their proclamations of finding them or it!

By advanced, I mean as far as we humans have progressed in our ability to destroy and replace mother-earth with something totally different than what our forefathers and ancesters knew. Hell, even what I knew 50 years ago, as some of you here can attest to, have changed, and in my mind, for the worse. Population count is the major driving force for the changes.

Yeah, this statement is personal, I can't speak for the next guy or society for that matter, ...life is personal and important.



--- Christianity just holds people back, preventing them from realizing their full potential ---

How wrong can you get? No wonder you have your retarded position on the actual Martian discoveries.

The Christianty was the foundation of the Western Civilization, that have brought about those scientific dicoveries you brag about.
Its decline is likely to bring the whole civilization down.