What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Miles
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What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by Miles »

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On July 20, 2020 NASA launched a rocket to Mars carrying the new Perseverance rover whose job, after it lands on February 18, 2021, is to seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.


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Should such signs appear and it's concluded that life did reside on Mars, would it threaten Christian beliefs?

"Passages like Genesis 1, John 1, and Colossians 1 clearly speak of God as the Creator of all things, and with no exception. Paul writes in Colossians 1:16 “For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on Earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.” If signs are found it's said they would only be of very small organisms. Nothing like trilobites or dragonflies. Yet if life did arise and then go extinct what's the message? Was it a failed attempt by god to get life going? Did it go so askew that god destroyed it? Did life on Mars simply run its course and peter out? Are the "signs" simply phony---scientists don't know what they're doing!

What do you see as the Christian response to evidence of ancient life on Mars?

Get your bets in now. The window closes Feb. 18, 2021.



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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by EarthScienceguy »

[Replying to Diagoras in post #9]

But the predictions he makes are correct.

I do not think that it is a complete theory, but I do think he is on the right track.

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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by EarthScienceguy »

[Replying to Difflugia in post #8]
Is there life in outer space? Except as noted on page 295 [plant remains on asteroids ejected from Earth —Diff.], probably not. Many people enjoy speculating on this subject, and some want to believe life is in outer space, usually life that is superior to ours. They may be right. However, little rational basis exists for this belief—either scientific or biblical.
He states in your quote what he is talking about. "Is there life in outer space" probably not. The only life that would be in space would be the plant remains on asteroids ejected from Earth.

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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by Menotu »

[Replying to Miles in post #1]

The RCC will pull out some non-sensical blabbering from the bible to prove their book already agreed to this being a possibility. They' probably already have something in place for such a thing, always trying to save face so they can get your money and be able to move around all their pedophile priests to keep from getting caught.

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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by otseng »

Miles wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:47 pm On July 20, 2020 NASA launched a rocket to Mars carrying the new Perseverance rover whose job, after it lands on February 18, 2021, is to seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.
I just finished watching Mars on Netflix. I watched it with my 7 year old and highly recommend it. I liked how they combined it as a documentary and a fictional drama. I wish more could be produced in this genre.
What do you see as the Christian response to evidence of ancient life on Mars?
Depends on what you mean by evidence. If you mean liquid water or gases, then to me it's of no impact.

What would be significant is finding any life form. That of course would have huge ramifications. If life is found that is carbon based and DNA based, then it would raise some questions. If it evolved, why would life evolve exactly the same on Earth and on Mars? If it did not evolve, could it have originated from Earth? Or could both life on Earth and Mars been seeded from another source?

As for the Christian response, depends on their interpretation of the Bible. There is no explicit statement saying life only exists on Earth, though it is highly implied. (If there are intelligent aliens on another planet, would they sin also? Did Jesus die for their sins too?). For the Christians agnostic on the belief of extraterrestrial life (which is probably the vast majority), it would make little practical difference if life is found on Mars.

Myself, I have reasons to believe that life would not exist on other planets, including Mars. So, finding any life on Mars would completely reshape my beliefs.

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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by Purple Knight »

People seem not to understand that this has already happened. (The exact same epistemological dilemma; not the Martians.)

Christians found other people living on other continents who had no idea of Jesus or God and so couldn't have possibly accepted Jesus and been forgiven for their sins.

As far as I know (please correct me if I'm wrong) their answer is that if you had no way of knowing, you go to limbo, but the instant someone peeps one word of the good news in your ear, you're expected to believe it and follow it and not doing that will indeed get you sent to Hell.

This is the only answer that allows them to have authority when they preach to indigenous peoples. However, there's an argument that they still shouldn't since anyone who hears their words and rejects them then goes to Hell for the direct reason that they were told those specific words. Even if you say, well, you shouldn't try to lawyer God to save people from Hell, the fault lies with the way the system works and the one who created the loophole, because wanting to save others from Hell isn't wrong. You're welcome to say that God has some master plan that accounts for everything and sends everyone exactly where they should go, but that master plan is a poor one if it doesn't account for the fact that good people should be expected to try to save others from pain and suffering.

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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by DrNoGods »

[Replying to otseng in post #14]
Myself, I have reasons to believe that life would not exist on other planets, including Mars. So, finding any life on Mars would completely reshape my beliefs.
This is exactly the same view that my Christian friends hold on the subject. They believe that humans are special and created by the biblical God, in his image, and that the Earth and its ecosystems (animals and plants) were created specifically for human benefit. So intelligent life on another planet somewhere in the universe would not be expected. But a few of these friends have commented that they could accept a duplicate situation where the same God created another group of humans similar to the situation on Earth, but on another planet outside of our solar system. Others seem fine with microbial life (the most likely to exist my my opinion) because it is looked at as too low on the totem pole to be of significance. But they also don't believe in evolution so don't consider that such microbial life could ever evolve into anything resembling a human being, so it does not threaten their belief that humans are uniquely special in the realm of living things.

But it would be interesting to see the responses of those who are convinced life exists only on this planet (because of their biblical interpretation) if it were discovered elsewhere, and if they'd actually change their views or just figure out how to make the observations compatible with the biblical narrative (or write them off as nonvalid despite any evidence). I've had many discussions on this subject with my Christian friends and relatives over the years, and I'd say the majority of them don't expect life to exist anywhere outside of Earth, and certainly not intelligent life.
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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by Miles »

otseng wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:54 am
Miles wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 3:47 pm On July 20, 2020 NASA launched a rocket to Mars carrying the new Perseverance rover whose job, after it lands on February 18, 2021, is to seek signs of ancient life and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth.
I just finished watching Mars on Netflix. I watched it with my 7 year old and highly recommend it. I liked how they combined it as a documentary and a fictional drama. I wish more could be produced in this genre.
What do you see as the Christian response to evidence of ancient life on Mars?
Depends on what you mean by evidence. If you mean liquid water or gases, then to me it's of no impact.
And of course not. The basic characteristics of a living thing are as follows:

"Organization. Living things are have an organized structure to perform a specific function. In particular, a living thing is made up of a single or a group of cell(s). A cell is the basic structural and functional unit of any organism.
Homeostasis. A life form would have an ability to keep up its existence, for instance, by regulating its internal environment to keep up a constant or favourable state.
Metabolism. A living thing would be capable of converting energy from chemicals into cellular components through anabolic reactions. It would also be capable of decomposing organic matter through catabolism.
Growth. A living thing grows, i.e. in size or in number.
Response. An organism has an ability to respond to stimuli or to its environment, usually through a series of metabolic reactions.
Reproduction. One of the hallmarks of life is the ability to reproduce, i.e. producing a new of its kind.
Adaptation. An organism is capable of changing through time to adapt to its environment.
source


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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by otseng »

DrNoGods wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:47 pm This is exactly the same view that my Christian friends hold on the subject. They believe that humans are special and created by the biblical God, in his image, and that the Earth and its ecosystems (animals and plants) were created specifically for human benefit. So intelligent life on another planet somewhere in the universe would not be expected.
I believe there are also non-Biblical arguments that there are no life on other planets.

We covered some of it already in How likely are we to find extraterrestrial life?. Bottom line, life existing elsewhere is simply speculation.

The issue of abiogenesis is still a large problem and how life originated is also speculation.

I subscribe to the Rare Earth hypothesis, so even if abiogenesis occurred, multicellular organisms arising is improbable.

Even if complex life arises, I find Michael Denton's argument in Nature's Destiny pretty persuasive in arguing any life form on another planet would more likely be just like life we see on Earth. But, my interpretation of his theory is the whole universe was designed with us in mind.
But it would be interesting to see the responses of those who are convinced life exists only on this planet (because of their biblical interpretation) if it were discovered elsewhere, and if they'd actually change their views or just figure out how to make the observations compatible with the biblical narrative (or write them off as nonvalid despite any evidence).
It can also be turned around to the skeptic. How would it impact the skeptic's worldview if it was a fact that no life exists elsewhere? What if we are the only lifeforms in the entire universe?

For myself, if any life was found on another planet that did not arise from Earth, I would then say Christianity would be based purely on blind faith. I would then might as well hang up my hat and shut this forum down.

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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by Purple Knight »

DrNoGods wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 12:47 pmThis is exactly the same view that my Christian friends hold on the subject. They believe that humans are special and created by the biblical God, in his image, and that the Earth and its ecosystems (animals and plants) were created specifically for human benefit. So intelligent life on another planet somewhere in the universe would not be expected. But a few of these friends have commented that they could accept a duplicate situation where the same God created another group of humans similar to the situation on Earth, but on another planet outside of our solar system. Others seem fine with microbial life (the most likely to exist my my opinion) because it is looked at as too low on the totem pole to be of significance.
This is particularly troubling to me because it (in my thinking) ends up with us being the horrible evil galactic racists, where we think the Vulcans are fine and we accept them because they have faces but we start herding the paramecium people into camps and appropriating their planets.

Aliens probably won't look like us, but if a few do and some don't, and we instigate the galactic racism, that's a sort of worst case scenario.

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Re: What If Evidence For Life Is Found On Mars?

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Post by John Bauer »

1. Would evidence that life used to exist on Mars threaten Christian beliefs?

I fail to see how it would, or even that it should. Taking for granted the Christian belief that God created life on Earth, that does not preclude his creating life elsewhere in the universe. The question of whether he did or not may be interesting but it's one that the Bible doesn't address.

2. God is said to be the creator of all things. If life did arise on Mars and then go extinct, what's the message? Was it a failed attempt by God to get life going?

Let's assume for the sake of argument that we find evidence of life existing on Mars for billions of years but eventually going extinct. If that be the case, then it would not be a failed attempt by God to get life going. It arose and endured for billions of years. Mission accomplished, so to speak.

Did something go askew with that life and God destroyed it? I have no idea. No one does—including you, I should expect. Maybe it just petered out, as you said.

Assuming that such evidence is found, are Christians committed to insisting that it's phony, that scientists don't know what they're doing? No. There are, of course, some Christians who would believe and say such things—they're the ones who say similar things about climate change—but nothing in the Christian world-view would commit them to such a response, so far as I'm aware (but I'm open to being shown otherwise).

3. What do you see as the Christian response to evidence of ancient life on Mars?

Interest and curiosity, plus in-depth theological reflection on hard questions about our long-standing human conceit.

4. The window closes February 18, 2021.

More or less. It has to land, deploy, collect its samples, perform its analyses, send back the data—you get the picture.

At any rate, I'm super excited about the results, especially if we find evidence of life possessing a genome vastly different from terrestrial life. That would fuel decades of evolutionary thinking and abiogenesis research. (In other words, it would be disappointing if it shared a similar genome, because then it more likely was terrestrial.) Although the universe is probably teeming with life, I expect it to be quite limited because I also subscribe to the Rare Earth hypothesis. Eukaryotic and multicellular life might exist—something akin to algae or plants—but I'd be astonished if we found anything as compex as arthropods or chordates, especially if we found advanced intelligent life.

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otseng wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 9:54 am If there are intelligent aliens on another planet, would they sin also?
Speaking for myself as a Christian, I am not aware of any reason to think they would sin or need salvation. That situation exists for humans (but no other creature on Earth) because of the covenant relationship that exists between us and God. Without that covenant relationship, there is no such thing as sin. So intelligent life on other planets would be no more guilty of sin than non-human intelligent life right here on Earth.
otseng wrote: Thu Nov 12, 2020 8:55 pm For myself, if any life was found on another planet that did not arise from Earth, I would then say Christianity would be based purely on blind faith.
I'm curious: How does this follow?

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