Every several years, some group of scientists finds a Martian meteorite, notices certain formations in it, and begins crowing that they might have discovered possible evidence that may indicate that there is the slight chance that there could be life, just maybe, somewhere else but on earth. Only it is stated with a little more confidence than that.
In one recent incident just two or three years ago, the reader was accosted with the typical headline about life being discovered on Mars. Of course, when you read near the end of the story, there was the admission by the scientists conducting the study that went something like, "Of course, it may just be cracks in the mud."
I mentioned this at the time to someone I know very well who has worked very closely with NASA for many years. He laughed, and said, "Oh, its just NASA wanting more money." That could certainly be one motivation. But I think there is really a deep visceral obsession on the part of many scientists who strongly believe there is life on other planets and are simply desperate to prove it.
The public is constantly being told about the dispassionate scientific search for truth, but this smacks of a very passionate fixation on confirming a thesis using evidence which is just as consonant with other theories--such as the opposite one.
So here we go again. Scientists are getting ready to roll out another dog and pony show to claim that they have evidence for their theory, when, in fact, they don't really know anything more than they did before. Look for the key terms--'may', 'might', 'possibly', 'could be', 'suspected', 'we think', 'suspect'.
The irony of it all is that these people sound just like the UFO hounds who consider every strange event as confirming evidence for alien life. In fact, some of the very same people are involved, if a recent Fox News report is to be believed:
It's "the most important discovery of all time," former British civil servant and fervent UFO hunter Nick Pope told the Sun. "We've really only scratched the surface — it's an absolute certainty that there is life out there and we are not alone." [emphasis mine]Hope springs eternal. Especially in science.