So all over the news yesterday was the great headline that a great discovery had been made greatly increasing the possibility that there is alien life out there (e.g. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/technology/news/article.cfm?c_id=5&objectid=10691723). It turns out that all had been found was some bacteria that can grow not only off scoffing phosphorous but arsenic. As far as we know, 6 elements are required for life, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulphur and phosphorus. It is a very interesting discovery for sure, but it proves little to me. It at best opens up the possibility that there are life forms that do not need all 6 to be around to survive, as they can convert one or other. This being still needed all 6 elements, and converted one element close to phosphorous on the periodic table into the missing building block. Such life will still need to be generated in the first place and live in conditions conducive to life. In terms of alien life, we would still have to find a way to get to the millions of solar systems out there, survive the trip, and then explore.
The whole presentation was rather laughable, as it spoke of extra terrestial life. According to the website answers.com, extra-terrestrial means either: 1) adj. 'Originating, located, or occurring outside Earth or its atmosphere: intelligent extraterrestrial life'; 2) n. 'An extraterrestrial being or life form.' Thus it refers to life in any other context other than this world! This was found in our world! Did I miss something? What has been found is a microbe that differs. That is no surprise, there are many things that are amazing in the natural world and many others we are yet to discover.
The presentation was a window into the religion of scientism, of extraterrestrialism. Don't get me wrong, I would not be at all surprised if there is life out there. I am a theist and do not want to limit creator God to one tiny planet in which he engineered the emergence of life. But to jump from a microbe to an argument that the probability of life on other planets is plain spurious. The logic does not flow at all. This tells us there is life on earth, there are complexities to it, and tells us nothing about the rest of the universe. We are being told that science has all the anwers, there is no God/god, that life emerged spontaneously and it is out there, we just have to find it. Life on this earth in fact was likely seeded by aliens. This is a new dogma in my view. It is also part of the US government always seeking to justify programs seeking to find life on other planets, when we should be working to maintain life on this planet.
So, it is all very interesting but completely OTT and out of proportion. It shows that life is more diverse than we knew, something we have been getting to know anyway as we study life on earth.
It is also highly ironical that we have a whole lot of westerners denying the existence of God as unreasonable and without proof, yet they run around doing all they can to tell us that there is life on other planets, which has absolutely no proof except a little bit of deduction. This is terrestrialmorphism where we project our world onto others with no logic. Classic illogical argumentation. There is no proof that there is life on other planets and this gets us absolutely no closer to finding it or proving it. It does prove that there is life on earth! Ah, but we knew that. Of course there may be life on other planets, but we have no evidence at all. It also begs the question, how did life emerge? What agency generated it? Indeed, if life is found to be increasingly more diverse in this way, doesn't it add to the need to find a cause. The more complex we find our world, the less an explanation without external agency works. That is what converted Anthony Flew in the end.
So for me, rather than reinforce that there is alien life, it further shows the miracle of life on earth and the glory of the creator. How he went about his creation, now that is a good argument. Did he do so by a process of evolution, or through miraculous intervention without a process? That is interesting and we simply do not have sufficient information to know the answer.
So, I will now go eat some breakfast. It won't be arsenic, but that proves nothing except that I will live through it.