20 March 2001


by Dr. Glenn Jackson

In the year 1986, a rock was found at the South Pole. A report published in 1996 (8/16/96 Science) claimed to have found evidence of Martian bacteria inside the rock. Co-author Richard N. Zare of Stanford University, commented "There are certain defining moments of an age … that we are not alone, would be such a defining moment." Many scientists did not agree that the carbon minerals in the rock were a true sign of bacteria. Not everyone agreed that the rock had come from Mars. Harry Y. McSween Jr. of UT Knoxville co-authored a proposal (7/4/96 Nature) that these carbonate minerals had nothing to do with life. The Panspermia theory got a lot of attention at this time. (This is the theory that life did not begin here on Earth, but evolved from bacteria that came here from another planet.) Two years later (Science News 1/3/98), Kathie Thomas-Keprta, of the original team that studied the rock, said, "I don't know how else to put this, but we're not stupid."

Now, a new report in the 2/27/01 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Thomas-Keprta and others points to magnetite crystals in the rock to continue their fight for proof of ancient life on Mars. The March/April issue of American Mineralogist reports an experiment where the same kinds of crystals were made without the help of bacteria. Thomas-Keprta says, "We'll let the scientific community hash it out." She's right. That’s the way it should be done.

But why have people been arguing about this rock for five years now? Why is it so important? Remember that evolutionists are having a terrible time figuring out how life could evolve from anything here on Earth. It would be really great to be able to say that bacteria came here from Mars, and then we evolved from that. What is the creationist position on this? Simply that if there was ever life on Mars, it sure didn't evolve there. It was created, like it was here. As a matter of fact, since the "solar wind" actually pushes things in the direction going from Earth to Mars, encapsulated bacteria could easily survive in space after being swept out of our upper atmosphere and taken to Mars … just the opposite of the "Panspermia escape clause."

Dr. Jackson, First, I want to say that I enjoy your articles very much. Please keep up this informative series. Second, can you provide more information about the "new earth" versus "old earth" positions? Thank you very much for any information you may provide.
Frank in Vonore

Dear Frank, There's a lot bounced around on this issue of the age of the earth. There are actually many creationists who believe that the earth is billions of years old (but not this creationist, personally). There is the "Gap Theory," which says that between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 there was a gap of billions of years. There is the "Day-Age Theory," which says that each of the days in Genesis 1 really stood for millions or billions of years. There is the "Progressive Creation Theory," which says that God just keeps on creating new species to replace old ones that go extinct (like the dinosaurs). This one allows for billions of years, too. I'll tell you what. In a future article, I'll go over some of the scientific debate that centers on the "age issue."

Dr. Glenn Jackson holds four degrees in science and education from George Mason University and University of Virginia. He has taught elementary through college level sciences for over twenty years and in four states. He is a lifetime member of both American Mensa and the Creation Research Society.

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