About this site
About us
Our beliefs
Your first visit?
Contact us
External links
Good books
Visitor essays
Our forum
New essays
Other features
Buy a CD
Vital notes

World religions
Who is a Christian?
Shared beliefs
Handle change
Bible topics
Bible inerrancy
Bible harmony
Interpret Bible
Beliefs, creeds
Da Vinci code
Revelation, 666
Other religions
Cults and NRMs
Comparing religions


About all religions
Main topics
Basic info.
Handling change
Confusing terms
World's end
True religion?
Seasonal topics
More info.

Absolute truth

Attaining peace
Relig. tolerance
Relig. hatred
Relig. conflict
Relig. violence

"Hot" topics
Very hot topics
10 Command.
Assisted suicide
Death penalty
Gay marriage
Sex & gender
Spanking kids
Stem cells
Other topics

Laws and news
Religious laws
Religious news



Religious Tolerance logo

About origins, creation, and evolution

Scientific discoveries: 2008-JUL to DEC

Sponsored link.

  • 2008-JUL-14: Mars: Speculation of impact on religion of Mars probe: An article in SouthIndiaTimes.com noted that the Phoenix Lander is situated near the north pole of Mars after travelling 680 million km ()from Earth. Its instruments are examining dirt samples searching for telltale chemical components that might indicate whether the planet has ever been favorable to life. If they find positive signs, later probes will attempt to determine if life has ever arisen on Mars, and has either died out since, or is still present.

    The article speculates that if signs of life (past or present) are found, that it will have a significant impact on religious belief. Such a finding would indicate to some that the development of life on Earth was not a unique event requiring a creator. Instead, it is a natural occurrence that would happen anywhere in the universe that is conducive to life, as a result of natural processes. The article suggests:
    "The crunch that scriptural faiths will face ... can loosely be termed decentralization where the uniqueness of humanity along with Earth's biosphere will no longer occupy centre stage as almost all belief systems have tried to sell us. These religions would, therefore, have no choice but to modify their dogma to bring extra-terrestrial life into their creation beliefs."
    The discovery of some form of life on Mars would not have any impact on the religious controversy over evolution. That is because the theory of evolution starts with the first cell and attempts to understand the subsequent development of new species. Evolution has nothing to say about how the first cell came to be. It is abiogenesis that studies the origin of the first forms of life. 1
  • 2008-JUL-31: NASA reports finding water on Mars: The Phoenix Mars Lander scooped up a small sample of Martian soil, heated it, and discovered water vapor escaping from the sample. William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer, or TEGA, announced: "We have water. ...We’ve seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted." 1

    Some media outlets speculated that this finding might imply that life has a good chance of existing or having existed on Mars. But these reports were negated a few days later when perchlorate compounds were also discovered in the soil. Many news sources reported that the presence of perchlorates would make life impossible on Mars.

    This is an invalid conclusion, for two reasons:
    1. Sampling two teaspoons of soil from a spot on northern Mars does not tell us anything about the soil at the rest of the planet.
    2. Michael Hecht of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA commented that the finding "... is neither good nor bad for life, but it does make us reassess how we think about life on Mars."
    World Science reported that:
    Perchlorates are found naturally on Earth at such places as Chile’s hyper-arid Atacama Desert. The compounds are quite stable and do not destroy organic material under normal circumstances, researchers said. Some microorganisms on Earth are fueled by processes that involve perchlorates, and some plants concentrate the substance. 3
  • 2008-AUG-18: Evolution reaches the comics: This is not exactly a "scientific discovery," but I just couldn't resist mentioning it. The comic strip "Mother Goose and Grimm" is featuring a Christian fish symbol with four legs.
    • In the AUG-18 panel:
      • Ralph, a dog, asks "Hey, aren't you that little fish symbol with legs?"
      • The symbol answers: "Yeah, name's Darwin."
      • Ralph: "Were were you guys created?"
      • Darwin: "Oh, we weren't 'created' anywhere. We evolved from 'I'd rather be fishing' bumper stickers."
    • In the AUG-19 panel, Darwin is standing on a beach at the water's edge:
      • Ralph asks Darwin: "Tell me, Darwin, why did you evolve legs?"
      • Darwin answers: "I needed some air."
      Behind Darwin is a row of five fish of increasing size, each poised to eat the fish ahead of it in one bite.
  • 2008-SEP-11: Congo: "Unicorn" photographed in Africa: Okapis are animals with the long blue tongue of a giraffe and black/white coloring like a zebra on their rear. They have a bump on the corner of their head that has caused some to speculate that this animal may have given rise to the unicorn written about in fantasy books. The Telegraph newspaper reported that:
    "The species were unknown to the western world until 1901 when the British governor of Uganda Sir Harry Johnston sent a complete skin and a skull belonging to the creature back to London."
    No okapis had been seen sine the 1950s, and some zoologists were concerned that the species had become extinct because of the civil war in the Congo. However, footprints were discovered in the Virunga National Park and camera traps successfully captured photographs of some Okapis. 4
  • 2008-DEC-16: Scientists broaden search for extraterrestrial life: In the past, scientists have been searching for planets outside of our solar system that are located in the "habitable zone:" -- that region around star where water can exist in a liquid state. But now they are expanding their search to include "Super Earths:" -- giant snowball planets that exist on the outskirts of solar systems. Researchers estimate that one third of all solar systems contain such planets. They have a solid surface covered with ice. But they might also have an atmosphere and a liquid ocean under the ice that could support life. The ocean would be formed as a result of an internal heat source. 5

References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. We were unable to trace the origin of the article.
  2. "NASA confirms water on Mars," World Science, 2008-JUL-31, at: http://www.world-science.net/
  3. "Martian salts not bad for life: scientists," World Science, 2008-AUG-08, at: http://www.world-science.net/
  4. Louise Gray, "First photos of African 'unicorn' captured," The Telegraph (UK), 208-SEP-11, at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/
  5. "Ohio State study: Looking for extraterrestrial life in all the right places," Ohio State University, 2008-DEC-16, at: http://www.osu.edu/

Site navigation:

Home page > Evolution v. creation science > News > here

Home pageScience and religion > News > here

Home page > Current religious news > List > News > here

Copyright © 2008 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2008-JUN-01
Latest update: 2008-DEC-22
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)

Go to the previous page, or go to the Origin/creation/evolution news menu, or to the list of religious news choose:

Web ReligiousTolerance.org

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Google Page Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.

Sponsored link: