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Can Life Exist on Other Planets?
ACTS & FACTS ^ | October 2009 | Danny Faulkner, Ph.D.

Posted on 10/29/2009 8:08:40 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts

Many people make a distinction between the origin of life and the evolution of life. In this view, biological evolution refers to the gradual development of the diversity of living things from a common ancestor, while the ultimate origin of life is a separate question.

This is a legitimate point, but evolution is about much more than just biology. The evolutionary worldview is that all of physical existence, both living and non-living, arose through purely natural processes. With this broad definition of evolution, abiogenesis--the spontaneous appearance of life from non-living matter--is a necessity. If life did arise on earth by itself, it would be inconceivable that this is the only planet upon which there is life. Otherwise, the earth would be a remarkably special place, and that could easily lead to theistic ideas. Consequently, most evolutionists believe that life must exist elsewhere in the universe.

A Powerful Test

The creation worldview is very different, because, as usual, we start with very different assumptions. We believe that life exists on earth because God created life here, but He first had to fashion the earth to be a suitable habitation for life. The evolutionist must believe that life is inevitable wherever conditions are suitable for life, but creationists understand that even if conditions on another planet could sustain life, life there is not possible--unless God created life there or permitted life somehow to travel to that planet from earth.

While we cannot prove biblically that God did not create life elsewhere, the strong implication of Scripture is that He did not. These very different predictions of the special creation and evolution models mean that the search for life elsewhere amounts to a powerful test between the two theories of origin.

Looking for Life on Mars

In recent years, there has been much discussion in astronomy circles over the search for extraterrestrial life, so much so that a new term has been coined for this study: astrobiology. Since there is yet no evidence that life exists elsewhere, astrobiology is a science for which there is no data, or at least no data in support of the science.

Since there is no support for the contention that life exists elsewhere, much attention has been diverted to searching for planetary conditions favorable for life. Mars has been the focus of this attention for a very long time. Mars is about half the size of the earth, and it has at least a thin atmosphere. Water exists on Mars, though likely not in abundance, and what water it does possess is in vapor or solid form. The temperature and atmospheric pressure on Mars are far too low to sustain liquid water.

The Viking craft that landed on the surface of Mars in 1976 contained three very robust experiments to detect signs of life. Two of the experiments showed no evidence of living organisms; the third experiment had weak but ambiguous data. Even the most optimistic searchers for extraterrestrial life agree that these slightly positive indications probably were the result of inorganic chemical reactions in the soil. Besides the bitter cold and sparseness of water, there are other impediments to life on Mars today. For instance, the thin Martian atmosphere provides no protection to solar ultraviolet radiation, which is lethal to living things. With these problems, interest in life on Mars has waned, though some hope is still held and many think that life may have existed on Mars in the past.

A Martian Flood

In recent years, the Mars Express Orbiter detected methane in the Martian atmosphere. Methane is a gas frequently produced by living things, though it can also form inorganically. The gamma ray spectrometer aboard the Mars Odyssey Orbiter detected a significant amount of hydrogen in the top few feet of the surface of Mars, a likely indication of abundant ice. The famous rovers Spirit and Opportunity produced conclusive evidence that liquid water once existed on the Martian surface. This latter point is confirmation of what we have known for decades--photographs from orbiting spacecraft had shown numerous features that are best interpreted as there having been much liquid water on Mars in the past. This would require Mars to have once had a much more substantial atmosphere than now, an atmosphere that provided enough pressure and warmth to sustain liquid water.

This has exciting possibilities for creationists. First, secular scientists have concluded that Mars, a planet with no liquid water, once experienced a near global flood, all the while denying that such a thing could happen on earth, a planet with abundant water. Second, many creationists think that the earth's atmosphere underwent tremendous change at the time of the Flood. Obviously, at least one other planet did experience a catastrophic change in its atmosphere as well.

Liquid Water, the Gold Standard

Notice that water figures prominently in the study of astrobiology. As the universal solvent, water is absolutely essential for life, making up the majority of the mass of many organisms. And water is one of the most abundant molecules in the universe. While water has been directly detected throughout the universe (even in the outer layers of cool stars!), we have never found liquid water anywhere in the universe. Liquid water is the gold standard for living things, for it appears that life is not possible without it. However, while water is a necessary condition for life, it is far from a sufficient condition for life--much more is required.

A few years ago, a stir was caused by the announcement of the possibility of a small ocean of liquid water beneath the surface of Europa, one of the larger satellites of Jupiter. Much of the case for this water relies upon surface features of Europa--there are large fractured segments that resemble features of polar ice pack on earth that result from upwelling water freezing between fractures. In addition, if the water were salty, it would help explain Europa's magnetic field. Since then, a similar argument has been put forth for Ganymede, another large satellite of Jupiter, though that case is not nearly as strong. Additionally, water vents on Enceladus, a medium-sized satellite of Saturn, have implied liquid water beneath its surface.

Many scientists now view Europa's possible subsurface ocean as the most likely place in the solar system to find life outside the earth. This ocean, if it exists, is very dark and likely is very cold. A few decades ago, living organisms in such a place would have been unthinkable. However, we have found organisms living in very hostile environments, such as hydrothermal vents deep in the earth's ocean. Furthermore, subsurface lakes exist far beneath the Antarctic ice sheet. The largest and most famous of these is Lake Vostok, 2.5 miles beneath the ice. While we don't know if life exists in these lakes, many scientists want to find out. They reason that if life could exist in the cold and dark of these terrestrial lakes, why could life not exist inside Europa?

Conclusion

For a long time, evolutionists thought that life on earth first evolved in warm, very hospitable pools and then colonized more difficult environments. Now many evolutionists think that life began at the margins, in very hostile locations, and then migrated the other direction to better locations.

Much of the motivation for this complete reversal in thinking stems from the need to find life elsewhere. As creationists, we ought to welcome the search for extraterrestrial life. We are confident that the experiments will continue to produce null results that verify our theory of origin while disproving the evolutionary theory of origin.

* Dr. Faulkner is Professor of Astronomy/Physics at the University of South Carolina Lancaster.

Cite this article: Faulkner, D. 2009. Can Life Exist on Other Planets? Acts & Facts. 38 (10): 18-19.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: abiogenesis; aliens; antiscienceevos; astronomy; atomsdonotexist; belongsinreligion; catholic; christian; cosmology; creation; darwiniacs; electricityisfire; electricuniverse; evangelical; evolution; evoreligionexposed; godsgravesglyphs; gravityisahoax; intelligentdesign; judaism; mars; nasa; notasciencetopic; originoflife; propellerbeanie; protestant; science; seti; space; spammer; templeofdarwin; ufos

1 posted on 10/29/2009 8:08:41 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: metmom; DaveLoneRanger; editor-surveyor; betty boop; Alamo-Girl; MrB; GourmetDan; Fichori; ...

Ping!


2 posted on 10/29/2009 8:10:16 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Barney Frank has found life on Uranus.


3 posted on 10/29/2009 8:11:46 PM PDT by Michigan Bowhunter (Democrat socialist liberal scumbags.....how did we let this happen!)
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I think we need to first prove intelligent life exists here on Earth...


4 posted on 10/29/2009 8:38:15 PM PDT by The Magical Mischief Tour
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To: Michigan Bowhunter

Given the chance, he would be the life on Uranus.

Talk about a planet that has suffered more over its name …


5 posted on 10/29/2009 8:41:56 PM PDT by doc1019
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To: GodGunsGuts

If you just look at Earth, life is seen as coming about several times, and in very different forms. Never wiped out completely, it has come close several times, over the course of four and a half billion years.

But put this in context with a galaxy that is about 12 billion years old. It is not just a matter of enormous distances between the possibility of life, but enormous amounts of time as well.

Add to that cosmic events that even if there was life, are so large that it would sterilize an entire sector of space. Even a world covered by life like ours would be instantly dead, to even the primitive bacteria buried a dozen miles underground in rock. But just as fast, that world would be a pristine place for new life to begin.


6 posted on 10/29/2009 8:56:30 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: GodGunsGuts

One intelligence per spiral galaxy would be my bet.


7 posted on 10/29/2009 9:00:28 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: GodGunsGuts; betty boop; Alamo-Girl
Quick question: Would you consider clear proof that there is zero life in all of this

To be a victory?

8 posted on 10/29/2009 9:02:32 PM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...!!)
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To: TXnMA

I would consider it as yet one more confirmation of God’s cosmogeny.


9 posted on 10/29/2009 9:18:52 PM PDT by GodGunsGuts
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To: GodGunsGuts

Scripture is, indeed, silent about life on other planets.

It just notes that Christ created all that was created and that without Him, there was nothing created without Him.


10 posted on 10/29/2009 9:28:22 PM PDT by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 TRAITORS http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: GodGunsGuts

I was so hoping when we landed on the Moon that we would find beautiful Moon Maidens. We got dust and rocks

When we were sending a camera to Mars, I was keeping my fingers crossed that we would find beautiful amazonian women, or even Green skin Orion Slave girls. We got red dust and red rocks.

I’m now 51, and am loosing hope that in my life time, we will discover anything of value on other planets. And even if we did find Orion slave girls, my wife will not let me keep one.


11 posted on 10/29/2009 9:48:20 PM PDT by NavyCanDo
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To: TXnMA

Thank you so much for that beautiful picture!


12 posted on 10/29/2009 9:55:34 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Quix
“Scripture is, indeed, silent about life on other planets.”

God knows Humans are of a curious mind and would wonder about the possibilities that his “living creation” extended beyond our planet. If he said it didn't, and that what we see is it, then I would take him at his word. But he was silent about it. So for me, I guess I will find out the day I am taken home. No doubt, the wonders of his Kingdom and the Universe is far far beyond our wildest imaginations.

13 posted on 10/29/2009 9:57:52 PM PDT by NavyCanDo
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To: GodGunsGuts

As of yet, I have seen zero evidence for life existing anywhere in the universe other than on earth. Not saying there is none. Just stating a fact. Also, makes me wonder where DNA on earth came from. I know there are some people who believe it was delivered here from a galaxy far, far away.


14 posted on 10/29/2009 9:57:56 PM PDT by mtg
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To: GodGunsGuts

No doubt there are literally dozens, if not hundreds, of lichens and bacteria that are here on Earth that would find Mars to be a paradise.


15 posted on 10/29/2009 10:00:14 PM PDT by djf (Grasshopper: The game is rigged. Patience takes forever to learn. You're so screwed!!)
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To: TXnMA

Thank you for a beautiful picture...

But a totally unscientific stupid question.


16 posted on 10/29/2009 10:13:40 PM PDT by PRO 1 (POX on posters who's political bent causes them to refuse to be confused by the FACTS!!!!!!)
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To: NavyCanDo

“I’m now 51, and am loosing hope... find Orion slave girls, my wife will not let me keep one.”

NavyC, the real prob isn’t 51, its that later on you will be 52 and so onnn … Also, and Im not implying racism here, the mov and thalo skinned slave girls are more to my wife’s liking. Those are the only ones I bring in (but don’t keep). I don’t personally have any real problems with the green skinned ones, but you are correct, my wife finds them to be uppity. One even wanted to learn how to read.


17 posted on 10/29/2009 10:14:11 PM PDT by Rabin
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To: GodGunsGuts

Bump for later Friday reading.


18 posted on 10/29/2009 10:39:09 PM PDT by SuziQ
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To: NavyCanDo
I’m now 51, and am loosing hope that in my life time, we will discover anything of value on other planets. And even if we did find Orion slave girls, my wife will not let me keep one.

I think you can order an Orion slave girl over the internet. Unfortunately, the current delivery time is 86 years.

Which is the big problem with finding life elsewhere - its a looong way to go!

19 posted on 10/29/2009 11:43:26 PM PDT by John Locke
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To: GodGunsGuts

I think it would be very arrogant to assume that, out in all that vast cosmos, there is not even one ET.


20 posted on 10/30/2009 1:31:33 AM PDT by mapmaker77
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To: NavyCanDo

INDEED.


21 posted on 10/30/2009 1:58:00 AM PDT by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 TRAITORS http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: mapmaker77
I think it would be very arrogant to assume that, out in all that vast cosmos, there is not even one ET.

What does arrogance have to do with it? Nor is it an 'assumption', if there are sound reasons for such a conclusion.

22 posted on 10/30/2009 3:26:55 AM PDT by Liberty1970 (Democrats are not in control. God is. And Thank God for that!)
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To: GodGunsGuts

“We are confident that the experiments will continue to produce null results that verify our theory of origin while disproving the evolutionary theory of origin.”

They damn sure won’t find any intelligent life looking in your direction.


23 posted on 10/30/2009 3:39:14 AM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Curious...What if - just a “what if” - Hubble or the newly updated array in the southwest does indeed detect evidence for life.

What happens then to “God’s cosmogeny?”

Just a thought experiment here, nothing more. It would blow MY mind and be very exciting, FWIW.


24 posted on 10/30/2009 5:23:51 AM PDT by whattajoke (Let's keep Conservatism real.)
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To: Quix

Not really.. “In my Father’s house there are many mansions...”


25 posted on 10/30/2009 5:44:08 AM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: PRO 1; GodGunsGuts; Alamo-Girl; betty boop
"a totally unscientific stupid question."

The question was deliberately "unscientific", but, since it was intended to elicit insight and to refine my appreciation and understanding of GGG's theological position, (and did so) it was not "stupid".

26 posted on 10/30/2009 5:49:32 AM PDT by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...!!)
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To: GodGunsGuts

God created life on trillions of other planets......He just didn’t tell YOU. Takes a whole lotta hubris to think that Man knows everything God has done....


27 posted on 10/30/2009 6:37:11 AM PDT by ElectricStrawberry (Didja know that Man walked with vegetarian T. rex within the last 4,351 years?)
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To: GodGunsGuts
As creationists, we ought to welcome the search for extraterrestrial life. We are confident that the experiments will continue to produce null results that verify our theory of origin while disproving the evolutionary theory of origin.

The lack of finding extraterrestrial life in the pathetically few places we've been able to look does not verify that "God did it", does not disprove evolutionary theory (there is no evolutionary theory of origin).....and the finding of extra-terrestrial life would not prove evolutionary theory or disprove that "God did it."

Just another loon perverting science to fit his needs.

28 posted on 10/30/2009 6:43:49 AM PDT by ElectricStrawberry (Didja know that Man walked with vegetarian T. rex within the last 4,351 years?)
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To: GodGunsGuts

It’s certainly possible. However, I think most of the life that we’ll see on other planets in our cosmic vicinity (within 100 light-years) will be US. As in human settlement of other planets...starting with Mars.


29 posted on 10/30/2009 9:04:45 AM PDT by RockinRight (Shove it down our throats in 2009, and we'll shove it up your a$$ in 2010.)
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To: xcamel

No way can that verse

be shoehorned into some proof texting about life on other planets.

One can pretend. That’s different.

There is one verse . . . about the gates of the New Jerusalem . . . their being made from . . .

a single pearl.

That’s the most glaring hint about life on other planets I know of in Scripture.

I think folks gloss over it and just imagine, yeah, God can make a single pearl that big by speaking it into existence. True. He can.

However, He has this tendency, this hobby, this preference . . . for doing things the OLD FASHIONED WAY.

I think those pearls will come from some very large oysters in some ocean somewhere.


30 posted on 10/30/2009 9:10:16 AM PDT by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 TRAITORS http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: Quix

Proof, no.
Possibility, oh yes indeed.
Try to be a little more open minded, or check out the book of Enoch.


31 posted on 10/30/2009 9:34:46 AM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: TXnMA

That picture always puts me in awe. It’s hard to grasp the enormity of what you see there.

As for life elsewhere, I have no problem believing that God could have done what he did on Earth elswhere in the universe. As a matter of fact, I think there’s a good chance that he did.


32 posted on 10/30/2009 9:37:59 AM PDT by reagan_fanatic (Hope....Change...Food Stamps!)
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To: reagan_fanatic

More amazing photos can be found at the Sloan Digital Sky survey site.

http://www.sdss.org/


33 posted on 10/30/2009 9:59:04 AM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: xcamel

I believe there IS life on other planets.

Did that escape you, somehow?

I just try to be fairly strict about what Scripture says and doesn’t say.

One can speculate but I think the speculations ought to be labeled as that.


34 posted on 10/30/2009 10:29:57 AM PDT by Quix (POL Ldrs quotes fm1900 TRAITORS http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/religion/2130557/posts?page=81#81)
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To: GodGunsGuts

Yes.


35 posted on 10/30/2009 11:44:09 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch (0bommaNation - beyond your expectations!)
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To: xcamel

Try to be a little more open minded, or check out the book of Enoch.


re...

thinking...

my...

understanding...

of the...

concept of...

shameless...

hypocrisy...

WOW!


36 posted on 10/30/2009 4:35:18 PM PDT by tpanther (Science was, is and will forever be a small subset of God's creation.)
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To: tpanther

You really don’t have an understanding of much of anything.
Give up while you’re ahead.


37 posted on 10/30/2009 5:31:55 PM PDT by xcamel (The urge to save humanity is always a false front for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken)
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To: Quix
Scripture is, indeed, silent about life on other planets.

In Genesis 1:26 "...God said: 'Let us make man in our image, after our likeness...."

Some speculate that this is the royal "we". Others think God is speaking to the angels. One rabbi has said He was talking to the animals. But I wonder, as a fierce monotheist, that He wasn't communing as it were, with other intelligent life even then elsewhere in the cosmos, also "made" in "His" image.

38 posted on 11/01/2009 5:19:04 AM PST by onedoug
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To: NavyCanDo

“beautiful Moon Maidens. We got dust and rocks”

NASA got the beautiful Moon Maidens, we got the dust and rocks...

“Mars, I was keeping my fingers crossed that we would find beautiful amazonian women, or even Green skin Orion Slave girls. We got red dust and red rocks”

The beautiful amazonian women, and Green skin Orion Slave girls are keeping out of sight-—they heard what happened to the Moon Maidens. We got the dust and rocks again.


39 posted on 11/01/2009 5:29:35 AM PST by PIF
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Comment #40 Removed by Moderator

Comment #41 Removed by Moderator

Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: TXnMA; betty boop
Thank you so much for sharing your insights and concerns, dear brother in Christ!

Of a truth, whenever I am hit broadside with bewildering anger I remind myself that people do not use spitwads when they have ammunition. Chalk it up as a "win."

43 posted on 11/02/2009 9:40:49 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: Alamo-Girl
"...bewildering..."

Indeed... Thank you, Dear Sister!

44 posted on 11/02/2009 9:59:47 PM PST by TXnMA ("Allah": Satan's current alias...!!)
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