Science and Technology

The Point: Life on Enceladus


John Stonestreet

More hot air than evidence here. For the Colson Center for Christian Worldview, I’m John Stonestreet with The Point.

When it comes to the search for extraterrestrial life, the news media is known to sensationalize. But a recent Newsweek headline took the cake: “Cassini Spacecraft Delivers Biggest Revelation Yet: A Moon of Saturn is Habitable.”

Enceladus, one of Saturn’s 62 natural satellites, is covered by miles of ice which may conceal a liquid ocean. Newsweek’s announcement that this moon is “habitable” was based on the presence of hydrogen in the atmosphere. This gas, the reasoning goes, may indicate undersea thermal vents, which may indicate an environment which scientists say may have been the original habitat for life on Earth.

We’ve heard this all before. But life requires more than warm water and hydrogen to spring into existence. As Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards argue in their book, “The Privileged Planet,” the conditions necessary for life are unbelievably rare, and as far as we know, Earth alone has them. Newsweek’s headline, like the hydrogen Cassini picked up, is mostly hot air.



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