Geo016 - Exploration of Mars

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Geo016 / Exploration of Mars / (M) 3:00-5:20 / Lincoln Field 105 / Prof. James Head

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Kate Edwards (02/18/04)

The discussions from last class were certainly interesting. The sheet music and the poem really proved that people were intrigued by the prospect of life on Mars. I especially enjoyed the tabloid, which showed that this intrigue is still something with which we can all relate. Modern-day observers often mock the ideas of other generations, but it is important to remember that these generations were constrained by the given knowledge of their time. It is virtually impossible to know what our ideas about Mars will be in fifty years, because so much will have changed in science and in our culture.

Speaking with Chaplain Janet Cooper-Nelson was a great way to continue the debate over religion. I came into class with a firm idea of what the religious response to life on Mars would be. I had thought that they would accept it, but would maintain the position of human superiority. As I mentioned in class, this idea of human specialness among several religions has bothered me for quite sometime. It is important to note why we consider ourselves more “advanced” than other earthly species, and how “advanced” is defined. I think it is true that it would matter if life on Mars were biologically “simple” or advanced (as humans define it) in how religions respond.

As someone who is generally skeptical of organized religion, I tend to be hostile towards certain beliefs. So, to get another point of view, I spoke with my grandfather, a retired Methodist minister, about life on Mars. My family seems to think that religion would be not at all threatened by life on other planets, and would embrace the discovery. It is important to remember, as we discussed in class, the difference between personal and organized religion. It is also important to remember that religions were created years before this was even imagined. I loved Janet Cooper-Nelson analogy about finding reference to the ATM in the Bible. Some things were just never anticipated. Perhaps that is why life on Mars is so intriguing; there is no precedent at all.




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