Astrobiology: Is it Relevant For Science?

Biologist and activist Jerry Coyne who has a blog which defends evolution once said, “In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom, far closer to phrenology than to physics.” If that is true, then where does Astrobiology fit into this created pecking order? Back in 1996,  a Martian meteorite was discovered and there was massive hype that it contain alien life forms which were supposedly fossilized in it. But later these claims were debunked. So with all the hype about the meteorite, then President Clinton allocated funding for a supposed new science which is, Astrobiology, however, since fossilized alien life forms from Mars was falsified, wouldn’t you think this part of NASA research would no longer be needed? After all that was the reason why it was created in the first place!

Recently, the United States government has created objectives for Astrobiology and has asked the public to give their opinions on the direction they want Astrobiology to go. Here is what NASA outlines as a road map…

1) Understanding habitable environments 

2) Looking for life in our own solar system (NASA is currently doing this already with Mars). 

3) Understanding life in earth’s environment. 

4) Understanding how life began.

5) Understanding evolutionary mechanisms and environmental limits of life.

6) Predicting how life will shape up for the future.

7) Being able to detect signatures of life forms on other planets. 

Much of these objectives are conducted in other areas of evolutionary research or could be done in other areas of evolutionary research. After seventeen years and counting, there is no hard evidence for alien life forms. Scientists can’t send probes and spaceships which can land on the surface on other worlds outside our solar-system which is the best form of collecting data to draw conclusions with.

Since there is no hard evidence for alien life forms, and we are too far to really investigate, how do they even know what an alien life form would be? It’s like telling a four-year old child living in a remote area in Alaska to be able to come up with calculations for building the Sears tower in Chicago. But some scientists assume (using circular reasoning) that they know what supposed alien life is by studying life on earth…

In Science Daily

“The bacterium offers clues about some of the necessary preconditions for microbial life on both the Saturn moon Enceladus and Mars, where similar briny subzero conditions are thought to exist.”

“We believe that this bacterium lives in very thin veins of very salty water found within the frozen permafrost on Ellesmere Island,” explains Whyte. “The salt in the permafrost brine veins keeps the water from freezing at the ambient permafrost temperature (~-16ºC), creating a habitable but very harsh environment. It’s not the easiest place to survive but this organism is capable of remaining active (i.e. breathing) to at least -25ºC in permafrost.”

Bacteria is the most fit animal on planet earth and is known to survive in very extreme environments that no other animals could survive in which defies evolutionary logic on survival of the fittest. Is alien bacteria going to be the similar as earth’s or different? If aliens did exist, I would say, different. The discovery of this particular one-cell animal is exciting no question about it and it’s a great thing to learn about, but promising the public it’s revealing clues on life concerning other planets and moons, is not science but a lot of hype.

And also, the authors of the paper make another unscientific claim that these bacteria just like man are changing the weather pattern on earth…

“The researchers believe however, that such microbes may potentially play a harmful role in extremely cold environments such as the High Arctic by increasing carbon dioxide emissions from the melting permafrost, one of the results of global warming.”

So is astrobiology relevant for science? The answer is no! American taxpayer money is being wasted. It should be abolished and the funding shifted elsewhere that is more important in the peaking order like cancer research,  biomimetics where scientists learn and understand designs found in nature for example…

New search-and-rescue operations are being invented some of which are coming from ants! Fire ants that are able to construct narrow tunnels not much wider than their own bodies, the design of these unique tunnels allow the ants to catch themselves to prevent falling in vertical orientations is being studied for the purpose of imitating it for search-and-rescue operations! There is so much in nature that can improve human lives unlike astrobiology were Americans are paying scientists to speculate which is another reason why it’s not relevant for science!

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33 thoughts on “Astrobiology: Is it Relevant For Science?

  1. [Channeling my inner Eelco]: But Michael, astrobiologists needs jobs!

    [Channeling my inner Olorin]: But Michael, astrobiology is more likely to advance cancer research than direct cancer research!

  2. Michael, astrobiology *is* science. If you’re personally not interested in this field, that’s fine, of course.

  3. [Channeling my inner Olorin]: But Michael, astrobiology is more likely to advance cancer research than direct cancer research!

    Chazing has no “inner Olorin.” He seems to have no inner anything.

    Olorin never said that astrobiology is more likely than cancer research to advance understanding of cancer. He said that astrobiology could be useful in understanding cancer.

    Astrobiology has already been found useful in understanding cancer:.
    > “Astrobiology meets cancer research” (****://phys.org/news/2011-02-astrobiology-cancer.html)
    > “An astrobiological view of cancer’s evolutionary origin” (****://theconversation.com/an-astrobiological-view-of-cancers-evolutionary-origin-1334)
    > “The Astrobiology of Cancer” (****://www.astrobio.net/pressrelease/3779/the-astrobiology-of-cancer)
    > “Cancer and Astrobiology Symposium in Antofagasta, Chile – June 2012” (****://cancer-insights.asu.edu/2012/10/cancer-and-astrobiology-symposium-in-antofagasta-chile-june-2012/)

    In addition, astrobiology has opened up an entirely new field of chemistry which has been employed to synthesize drugs that are difficult or impossible to formulate on earth. Astrobiologists have discovered that chemical reactions proceed very differently in space than they do on earth.

  4. Michael, do you really need to drag us through this same subject again? Wasn’t your post of April 6 enough? I realize you have probably forgotten it, and Creation Evolution Headlines has recently written a post that you could snatch without any attribution. But really now.

    Since there is no hard evidence for alien life forms, and we are too far to really investigate, how do they even know what an alien life form would be?

    Just because Michael has no idea how to investigate alien life forms does not mean that no one does. One looks at the environmental conditions on various astral bodies, than look at locations with similar conditions on earth. If life exists in such locations, then it may be possible that life has evolved off the earth. Of course, this is only a baseline; it nay be possible than astral life forms have entirely different structures and metabolisms. In that case, we not only learn about the off-earth life forms, we learn more about life on earth as well by comparing the differences. For example, which features may be necessary for any organism, and which are happenstances of evolution. How might earthly life forms be modified to produce new chemicals, to achieve new structures, or to adapt to new environments?

    The study of biologic and chemical reactions in space has already produce useful results, even if no one ever finds extraterrestrial life forms. Chemical reactions in space have been found to proceed much differently than on earth, allowing new compounds to be synthesized. Biological compounds in particular assemble differently in space than on earth — much more easily, in some cases; this knowledge may be useful in evolutionary research.

    Bacteria is [sic] the most fit animal on planet earth and is known to survive in very extreme environments that no other animals could survive in which defies evolutionary logic on survival of the fittest. Is alien bacteria going to be the similar as earth’s or different? If aliens did exist, I would say, different. The discovery of this particular one-cell animal is exciting no question about it and it’s a great thing to learn about, but promising the public it’s revealing clues on life concerning other planets and moons, is not science but a lot of hype.

    Michael again reveals his profound ignorance of biology, astro- and earth-based alike.

    He seems to believe that bacteria are animals. Basic.

    He believes, for example, that there can be only one fittest life form, and that that life form should drive all other life forms to extinction. Stupid.

    So is astrobiology relevant for science? The answer is no! American taxpayer money is being wasted. It should be abolished and the funding shifted elsewhere that is more important in the peaking [sic] order like cancer research,

    Or the construction of tax-payer funded ark parks costing hundreds of millions of dollars. Sure, Michael, sure.

    Of course,astrobiology has contributed to understanding the nature of cancer. (See my comment above.)

    But scientific research is ever thus. Often we do not know when a discovery useful in one field will arise from research in an entirely different field. It’s part of the essential uncertainty of science, that I have written about previously.

  5. First URL: speculative | second URL: speculative | third URL: lots of pictures only

    astrobiology has opened up an entirely new field of chemistry which has been employed to synthesize drugs that are difficult or impossible to formulate on earth

    Which new field is this exactly?

    Astrobiologists have discovered that chemical reactions proceed very differently in space than they do on earth.

    A drunk amoeba could tell you that Sherlock.

    Or the construction of tax-payer funded ark parks costing hundreds of millions of dollars.

    Did he say that or did you read his mind? Anyway, that would seem to be a lie:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2010/12/10/feedback-taxpayers-not-paying-to-build-ark-encounter

  6. Which new field is this exactly?

    Too new to have an agreed name. Space chemistry, astrochemistry.

    Astrobiologists have discovered that chemical reactions proceed very differently in space than they do on earth.

    A drunk amoeba could tell you that Sherlock.

    Then shame on this drunk amoeba for not informing Lange, Tellgren, Hoffmann, and Helgaker. It could have saved them a lot of work in discovering the perpendicular paramagnetic bond,[1] which is an entirely new type of strong chemical bond, in addition to the covalent and ionic bonds that all of us except Chazing learned in high-school. This type of bond occurs only in space with high magnetic fields. The electrons in this new bond occupy orbitals that are forbidden to in known types of chemical bonds.

    Author Tellgren thinks that other unfamiliar types of bonds may exist in space.

    Biological chemicals can form in space, and seem to be more stable there than they are on earth. Even components of chlorophyll and RNA have been discovered. This has implications for synthesis of biologic compounds, and may also illuminate aspects of the origin of life on earth.[2]

    The Economist thinks space chemistry is important:[3]

    The ability to study chemical reactions stage by stage will be equally important. High-school chemistry lessons, with their neat equations transforming, say, 2H₂ + O₂ into 2H₂O, miss out a plethora of intermediate steps such as (in this case) the formation of hydroxyl, OH. In a lab, these intermediates are often too short-lived to be detectable. But in space an intermediate may hang around a long time before it encounters its partner in the next stage of a reaction. ALMA can see the microwave traces of such intermediates, and thus gain a better understanding of them.

    There are also completely new reactions to discover. Anthony Remijan, of America’s National Radio Astronomy Observatory, who is one of the astronomers putting ALMA through its paces, is studying the formation of methyl formate, a compound widely used on Earth in applications from insulation to insecticides. Usually it is synthesised either from methanol and formic acid, or methanol and carbon monoxide. But there is, in theory, a third route that uses formic acid and an unstable substance made from methanol and hydrogen. This has not been seen in an Earthly laboratory, but Dr Remijan thinks it is an important pathway in space, and ALMA should soon tell him if he is right.

    Eric Herbst[4] at U. Ohio has noted that rapid exothermic reactions in interstellar gas and condensation onto microscopic dust particles in space produce reactions not seen on the earth. Many of the products are organic.

    .

    “A drunk amoeba could tell you that, Sherlock”. If so, there are a lot of chemists who would hire that amoeba in their labs.

    What a dumbass stupid remark. Further evidence that Chazing has no discernible qualifications in science.

    ========================

    [1] “A Paramagnetic Bonding Mechanism for Diatomics in Strong Magnetic Fields” Science 337:327-331 (20 July 2012).

    [2] “The Chemistry of Space”

    [3] “The Great Test Tube in the Sky,” The Economist, 16 Mar 2013..

    [4] Herbst, “The chemistry of interstellar space”

  7. Then shame on this drunk amoeba for not informing Lange, Tellgren, Hoffmann, and Helgaker. It could have saved them a lot of work in discovering the perpendicular paramagnetic bond,[1] which is an entirely new type of strong chemical bond, in addition to the covalent and ionic bonds that all of us except Chazing learned in high-school.

    Dude, a failure in your education system should not be blamed on me or the drunk amoeba. We’re both just happy that some Americans just realized the obvious.

    Author Tellgren thinks that other unfamiliar types of bonds may exist in space.

    The drunk amoeba says: Duhhhhh! I agree with the amoeba, he’s bright.

    The Economist thinks space chemistry is important:[3]

    Drunk amoeba has reservations about trusting the Economist with science.

    “A drunk amoeba could tell you that, Sherlock”. If so, there are a lot of chemists who would hire that amoeba in their labs.

    Yes, they should.

    What a dumbass stupid remark. Further evidence that Chazing has no discernible qualifications in science.

    No Olorin, it shows the deficit of atheistic evolutionary thinking. Even the drunk amoeaba agrees with me. I like this amoeba!

  8. Creationist attempt at humor.? Poe’s Law makes it hard to tell.

    Just in case it was intended as humorous: F-

  9. Time for a new subject?

    Creation Evolution Headlines serves up a multi-course meal of creationist fodder. In particular, May 27’s post “Scientists Can Agree on Things that Aren’t So is a tasty morsel, although it ultimately induces gastric distress.

    Evolution News and Views attempts to hijack a Harvard biologist into the ID camp. Michael, did you preorder a copy of Darwin’s Doubt early enough to receive the “steep discount”?

    AiG has retitled their News to Note as News to Know, and changed to a single-topic format which appears more frequently than weekly. The June 3 entry, “Does genomic information show scientifically that Adam is not our collective ancestor?” makes a valiant effort to dress up pigs’ knuckles as a delicacy.

    Thinking Christian used to lay out topics on evolution and cosmology, but in the past year, it has concentrated on moral and social issues.

    Michael never attributes material to creationist sources in his posts, even when he copies significant portions of them. But perhaps he could recommend other blogs I should follow.

  10. Here’s another one for Michael’s consideration: “Review of Cloning Paper Prompts Questions,” Science 340:1026-27 *31 May 2013). Sorry, you’ll have to look it up yourself. CEH hasn’t glommed onto it.

  11. Oh my God! This blog lives! I leave for over a year and I come back, and I see that it still has not been taken off the respirator yet! :O

  12. Yes, we’re waiting for Michael to come out of his two-wek coma.

    In the meantime, you can find out what he’s thinking by reading Creation Evolution Headlines, Evolution News and Views, and AiG’s News to Know. That’s where he purloins his material.

  13. . . . . . . . . .NEWS FLASH
    Michael can finally give up on trying to show that the earth is only six months old, or whatever.

    Daniel Friedmann has cracked the code of Genesis, and reports that each creation “day” actually spans 2.36 billion years. Friedmann, 56, is an engineering physicist who is currently CEO of Canadian aerospace company MacDonald, Detweiler & Associates. His recently published book, The Broken Gift (Inspired Books 2013), explains his reasoning, along with an earlier book, The Genesis One Code (Inspired Books 2012).

    This story was reported, with a straight face, by the Toronto Star today (June 17).

    For a comparison of Friemann’s code to actual events, see “The KEY to understanding Genesis!” over at Pharyngula. Friedman comes out on the short end of the stick.

  14. Chazing, you wouldn’t know a Lutheran belief from an articulated framulus Even if it bit you on the tukas.

  15. Chazing, I find it hard to believe you are so pitifully pedestrian. No better than, “And so’s your mother. Nyah, nyah nyah.”

    How about something with a little spark, such as “You couldn’t tell the difference between Science and Playboy. Or something like this, “Your middle name is Science. But then your first name is Pseudo.”

    Study some of the masters. Such as Winston Crurchill’s “A modest little person, with much to be modest about Or Max Reger, “I am sitting in the smallest room of my house. I have your review before me. In a moment it shall be behind me.” Ambrose Bierce is an often-overlooked source: “The covers of this book are too far apart.”

    But not to worry. Thanks to the internet, you don’t have to copy others. Just visit Insult-o-Matic, and generate your own.

    Bon courage!

  16. Another hot item for Michael to pick up. Jeffrey Tomkins claims that a paper in a prominent journal disproves any evolutionary linkage between humans and apes.[1] Michael can read all about it on the ICR web page, at “Genetic Recombination Study Defies Human-Chimp Evolution ” . If Michael knows how to find the footnotes, he can even look up the full text on-line.

    He should be warned, however, that the subject matter is highly technical. It must be, because Tomkins, a PhD at the ICR got a lot of it wrong. Well, Michael would get it wrong through ignorance; Tomkins knows better, but he’s deliberately lying. Never trust a creationist source.

    ======================================

    [1] Farre, et al., Recombination Rates and Genomic Shuffling in Human and Chimpanzee—A New Twist in the Chromosomal Speciation Theory,” Mol Biol Evol. 2013 April; 30(4): 853–864.

  17. Two diversions, first you have a problem with me being “pitifully pedestrian” as if that has anything to do with your illogical posts. Second you smear Tomkins and all creationists without stating why he is wrong and not being the least bit concerned that as a Lutheran you are loosely a creationist and that your advocacy of evolution makes you loosely an intelligent design advocate.

  18. A week has passed since Stephen Meyer’s latest assault on science, Darwin’s Doubt, was published. Perhaps Michael will honor us with a review one of these months.

    On the other hand, he promised a review of Signature in the Cell three years ago, and has not yet delivered.

    In the meantime, Nick Matzke has put forth a short review in Panda’s Thumb, ” Meyer’s Hopeless Monster, Part II”, June 19).

    An interesting factoid: In continuing to claim that natural processes cannot create new genetic information, Meyer once again dodges a 2003 Nature review paper[1] listing a number of evolutionary mechanisms that produce genes with new functions.[2] In fact, his entire method of citation is not designed to enable readers to look up his reference, but rather to make it difficult for them to do so.

    Should I enrich the Discovery Institute by $18.44 and order my own copy of DD? Signature in the Cell sits on my shelf with markers on the pages that contain distortions of scientific research. Almost every page has one.

    ===========================

    [1] Long, et al., “The origin of new genes: glimpses from the young and old,” Nature Reviews – Genetics 4:865-875 (November 2003). Judge Jones specifically cited this paper in his opinion in Kitzmiller v Dover, so Meyer is certainly aware of it.

    [2] This recalls to mind the failure of Michael Behe in his arguments on irreducible complexity even now to acknowledge the 1918 paper showing the this concept (then called “interlocking complexity”) underlies many evolutionary changes. Creationists’ rug has become very lumpy form all the uncomfortable findings that have been swept under it.

  19. Long, M., Betrán, E., Thornton, K., and W. Wang. 2003. The Origin of New Genes: Glimpses from the Young and Old. Nature Reviews 4: 865-875.

    First sentence:

    Although interest in evolutionary novelties can be traced back to the time of Darwin, studies of the origin and evolution of genes with new functions have only recently
    become possible
    and attracted increasing attention.

    So how could evolution be scientific if we only have evidence for its mechanism in 2003?
    And what subsequent evidence is there Olorin?

  20. … illuminate my dark mind please.

    I’ve been trying to do just that for many months now. Thus far, it remains as dark as it always has been.

    It’s like a DED—a dark-emitting diode—that destroys all illumination reaching it.

  21. Michael may also be interested in a recent paper in Answers Research Journal. Lee Anderson, Jr. “A Response to Peter Enns’s Attack on Biblical Creationism,” 6:117-135 (April 17, 2013) is a critique of Peter Enns’ book, The Evolution of Adam, What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins (Brazos Press 2012). Enns attempts to reconcile biblical literalism with science by proposing a unique interpretation of the Genesis text and Paul’s references thereto.

    ARJ is of course opposed to any fiddling with biblical inerrancy, and explains why at great length (19 pp). If Michael can digest this level of argument, he may wish to consider it as a subject for a post when he returns to us.

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