Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Tri-City Herald of Kennewick, Washington. The title is Mars water could prove or disprove theory of evolution. The newspaper has a comments feature.
Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. But today we’ve got a preacher — Pastor Kent Knight, retired, of the Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church. Excerpts from the rev’s letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!
For years, I have been hopeful that evidence for liquid water would be found on Mars. The reason I have hoped for this may surprise many.
Okay, rev, we’re ready to be surprised. Why have you been hoping for water on Mars? He tells us:
As a Biblical creationist, I believe the discovery of even microbial life on Mars would validate the theory of evolution.
What kind of creationist is this guy? Let’s read on:
With the discovery of liquid water added to the previously discovered sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon — all discovered in material drilled out of an ancient stream bed — it would seem that the stage is set to prove or disprove evolution as being scientifically valid.
Uh … how would water prove or disprove evolution? The rev continues:
There is just one big question: Will the key ingredients for life have assembled themselves into living organisms by now, as is supposed they have on Earth? The fallacy we continue to hear is that if there is the combination of these key ingredients of life, with water for a long enough time, microbial life will evolve.
Aaaargh!! Where is the rev getting his information? Biologists don’t yet know precisely how life begins, but they assume that where the right conditions and materials are present, life can appear — and given enough such planets, it probably will appear on some of them. Mars may be such a world, or it may not be. Wherever life does appear, then it will almost certainly evolve — as it does on Earth — but that’s a separate issue. If the rev wants to disprove evolution, he can do it right here on Earth — if he has the evidence. Here’s more:
Yet they have failed to discover organic carbons — the building blocks of life.
That’s not true — see NASA Rover Finds Active and Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars. And we’ve only just begun to look. But if it turns out that there never was life on Mars, then what? The rev is terribly confused if he thinks that would disprove the theory of evolution. He concludes his letter with this:
When the evidence shows that chemical evolution is an invalid hypothesis for Mars, I will have added reasons to celebrate the truth that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth.”
Slow down, rev, it’s way too early for you to celebrate. Even if Mars has always been barren of life, that won’t prove much of anything. You’ll have better luck trying to find Noah’s Ark than you will disproving evolution.
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