Weekly Whack: Life on Mars? (And other classic David Bowie songs)
Life on Mars? (And other classic David Bowie songs)
August 11, 1996

The question of whether we are alone in the universe was finally answered this past week. Well actually it wasn't, but I figured that would be a good opening sentence to draw in readers. What was in fact determined this past week, was that life is not unique to the Earth. We now have solid evidence that about a billion years ago, there were amoebas floating around on Mars. Many people may say that this discovery is trivial, but I personally think that it is remarkable.

In order to fully appreciate the magnitude of the life on Mars discovery, we have to change our perspective. Being humans we have the privilege of saying, ignoring the mounds of mounds of evidence of extraterrestrial visitation, UFO's, etc..., that we are the only intelligent creatures in the universe. Then you got dogs. Dogs may not exactly be considered intelligent creatures, but they still could take pride in knowing that there are no other dogs in the universe. The same thing goes cats. In fact the same thing goes for just about every living thing on Earth. Even the lowly dust mite can feel unique and special knowing that there are no other dust mites in the entire universe. But then you got the terrestrial amoeba. Just think how hard it must be to be an amoeba on Earth right now. For billion and billion of years amoebas on Earth could proudly say that they were not only one of the first forms of life created, but they also were the only amoebas in the entire universe. Now they know this is not true anymore. Sure there were little amoeba UFO sightings, amoeba alien abductions, and even amoeba cow mutilations; but not of them were really taken seriously, and it was always believed that there were no other amoebas in the universe. But now amoebas have to contend with knowing that they are no longer alone in the universe. What is the amoeba preacher who always taught his followers that they were special, and that the amoeba God came down to Earth to create them, going to tell them now? Their whole belief system is going to have to be changed. I'm telling you man, it must really suck to be an amoeba right now.

OK, now let's go to the other side of the spectrum. Was this one of the biggest scientific discoveries of the century? Well, not really. Sure it was pretty significant, but is has nothing on the discovery of DNA, the development of the polio vaccine, or even the invention of the wiffle-ball. There are a lot of people now who think, just because some one-celled organisms were found on a rock on Mars, that any theory by some crazed ufologist, or any scenario coming out of an Arthur C. Clarke book, must now be true. Sure there were simple forms of life on Mars, but this doesn't mean that E.T. actually did have a role in the Kennedy assassination. It just means that we now have to take all that UFO and alien stuff a little more seriously. A good example is that whole face on Mars thing. Some time back, a satellite studying Mars sent back photographs of something that looked like a Martian version of Mt. Rushmore on the surface of the planet. In the years since the photograph was made public, there has been some huge debate on whether it was evidence of a past Martian civilization, or just some funny looking rock. Now discovering life on Mars doesn't automatically prove that that face really is some relic of a past civilization, but it certainly gives NASA reason to take some closer photographs of it.

I would have to admit that the whole discovery of life on Mars had me thinking about the possibility of intelligent life on the planet. If they really existed, I would want to know what they were like. It's just that I have this whole stereotype in my head of aliens being these small, stern-looking creatures with no personalities. I definitely don't view them as being much like humans. I truly believe that even if we are not the only intelligent beings in the universe, we are definitely the most unique. Like can you picture an alien playing miniature golf? I can't. I also can't picture an alien eating Oreos or drinking orange soda. How bout a fat alien, or an alien with a pierced nipple? And I definitely can't picture an alien living in a trailer park, drinking beer, and watching professional wrestling. It just does not fit the mold. I guess it's what makes us humans. Who needs the ability to travel to distant planets when we have miniature golf, Oreos, orange soda, obesity, pierced nipples, trailer parks, beer, and professional wrestling all right here on Earth? Maybe that's why all these aliens are trying to visit us.

This leads into the final issue that the Mars discovery brings up, and that is theology. Who created this life on Mars? There isn't anything in the Bible about God creating life elsewhere. Where was the Mars version of Genesis in the Old Testament? Maybe God really didn't rest on the seventh day. Or maybe there is more than one God. Like there could be our God, and then a God for the Martians, and Gods for any other extraterrestrial life that we don't know about. Who knows? But if this is so, I think our God definitely has the best sense of humor. I picture our God doing stuff like putting whoopee-cushions on the seats of all the other Gods. The way I figured, he had to have a good sense of humor, he created humans in his own image, and just look at us.

Well like the Martian amoebas in that rock, this Whack is history. So to conclude for this week, amoebas are now not just the scum of the Earth, but the scum of the universe; science fiction is still science fiction; and nobody can putt through windmills better than human.

Now for this week's special feature, Feff's top ten favorite David Bowie songs aside from Life On Mars?:

10. Rebel Rebel
9. All the Madmen
8. John I'm Only Dancing
7. Changes
6. The Man Who Sold the World
5. Modern Love
4. Suffragette City
3. Saviour Machine
2. Ziggy Stardust
1. Space Oddity