Are you curious about Curiosity, NASA’s new Mars rover, scheduled to launch from Cape Canaveral, Fla., this month? Here’s part of a report in the Los Angeles Times about it:
Curiosity will take 8.5 months to travel the 354 million miles to Mars — and two years to cover about 14 miles of its surface.
The rover is expected to land Aug. 5 near the Martian equator inside Gale crater, a chasm about the combined size of Connecticut and Rhode Island with a 3-mile-high mountain of layered sedimentary rock at its bottom.
Scientists believe the crater, thought to date back billions of years to when Mars was warm and wet, will reveal the planet’s evolutionary story the way the Grand Canyon’s strata expose the history of Earth.
“It’s going to be like reading a novel — and it’s a long one,” said John Grotzinger, the project’s chief scientist. “It’s going to be a wild journey looking into the guts of the history of Mars.”
Were the rover to discover fossils in the three miles of exposed sedimentary strata—and different fossils in different strata—would young earth creationists posit a massive global flood on Mars to account for the huge build-up of the strata (as they do to account for the strata and fossils of the Grand Canyon)?
Was the (Martian) world filled with water, and thereby destroyed on account of some sort of divine displeasure with it?
I’m not trying to be silly here. If Mars has geological features on it akin to those at the Grand Canyon, why wouldn’t we posit similar causes for both of them?
And remember that the Christian Bible, as interpreted by contemporary fundamentalists, makes Eve’s eating of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden a cosmic catastrophe—the route by which death entered the universe. So, if there are fossils on Mars, they would have to have been deposited after Eve ate the forbidden fruit (that is, within the past 10,000 years).
But there’s nothing in the Bible about a global flood on Mars, is there? So, if Mars has features akin to those on Earth—including fossils—and they are not to be accounted for by a global flood, then Earth’s features need not be accounted for by a global flood either.
Ipso facto, NASA’s Mars rover may put additional nails in the coffin of young earth creationism.
Curiosity may well kill the (biblical literalist) cat. But, of course, this is a cat with many, many lives.