We have all been waiting for the reactions of the various creationist groups to the recent Mars Science Laboratory landing. While both Answers in Genesis and the Discovery Institute have taken the ‘there’s no life there – but if there is we’re still not wrong’ line, the ICR has previously stated that it is firmly convinced that life on Earth is the only life. Today Rhonda Forlow, in a post entitled Ask Dr. Rhonda – Life on Mars on her Science Essentials blog, states bluntly:
Q: Is there life on Mars?
A: No. Earth was uniquely and specially created for life, not Mars.
Her post continues:
With the recent landing of Curiosity on Mars, NASA scientists and others are anxiously awaiting information from the rover that would determine “whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms.” (cnn.com, accessed 8/6/12). However, a literal reading of Genesis 1 describes a universe with life that is bound to earth. Scientific investigation has confirmed this, with previous Martian rovers producing no evidence of life, or even the conditions that may support life.
Her position is plain –
we never went to the moon extraterrestrial life is inconceivable in her worldview.
But “no evidence”? That’s not quite true. If you remember, the Viking landers of the 1970’s preformed a number of scientific tests to determine if there was life on mars. One experiment detected less organics on the surface of Mars than there is on the Moon – it has since been determined that they screwed up here. An experiment to detect gasses given off by an incubated soil sample was negative, but this result doesn’t rule out life on Mars. Finally, another experiment involved inoculating a sample of soil with carbon 14 and detecting whether any found its way into the air above – surprisingly, it did. This is far, far from proof of martian life, but when you add in the atmospheric methane discovered a few years ago we certainly have evidence for life. Weak, lonely evidence, yes – but Forlow is wrong to say that it does not exist entirely.
She provides some links back to the main site as “recommended reading,” specifically:
As you can tell, all of these bar one are pushing the line that mars is inhospitable for life (the other is talking about some meteorite that was supposed to contain fossils from back in the late 90’s). It is curious therefore that the ICR tends not to mention in its news articles the various studies that show that Earth-bound extremophiles are close, if not quite there, to the hardiness required to withstand these conditions.
Anyway, that was just Dr Forlow – it’s inevitable that a longer article on the main site will eventually appear to set this outdated position in stone.