Friday, August 01, 2008

NASA's Faith-Based Mars Probe

The Martian lander Phoenix has confirmed that the Martian soil contains water.

At one level, this is unsurprising. The nearest planet to Mars, the one Nancy Pelosi is so busy saving, has loads of water. Water is a stable compound derived from molecules of the universe's most common element and one of its most reactive.

So why the great interest?

At one time earthlings might have been interested in Martian water for the prospect of their sending some of their own species there to live. Today, however, the interest is related to the discovery of life on other planets.

SWNID is interested in the epistemic leap involved in such studies. Though it's nearly impossible to imagine "life as we know it" on a waterless Mars, there are a few thousand of thousands of other conditions that would have to obtain for life ever to have had a chance of existing there.

Meanwhile, the standard theistic arguments have existed and been refined for centuries, offering excellent warrant for believing in someone we like to call God.

Amazingly, for many outstanding thinkers of our age, it is unreasonable to accept such well-developed warrant for belief in God, but reasonable to imagine that some bits of frost under the Martian dust should prompt serious, expensive consideration that life once existed on that forbidding hunk of minerals.

We conclude that belief in God, though having exponentially better warrant than belief in extraterrestrial life, is perceived as exponentially more costly than belief in extraterrestrial life, though the search for extraterrestrial life costs thousands of millions of ducats.


Rafael said...

What's a ducat?

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Look here for more.

A wise man has said, "If it looks like a ducat, waddles like a ducat, quacks like a ducat, then it's a ducat."

BrianBop said...

This exchange reminds me of another exchange I heard once upon a time:

"This is a fine example of a Grecian urn."

"What's a Grecian urn?"

"About a drachma a day."