The Andromeda Strain, Yes. Jesus, No. Your Tax Dollars at Work.

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by Gary North Tea Party Economist

Recently by Gary North: The Luddites Among Us


You have heard about the need for the separation of church and state. What about the separation of science and state?

But science is neutral, we are told. Suuuuure it is.

Scientists are impartial searchers of truth. Suuuuure they are.

The space program above earth’s gravity is a Darwinist boondoggle. The money spent by the government does not pay a positive rate of return, unless you are a Darwinist who thinks life on Mars or in a nearby solar system will prove that life is not unique, mankind is not unique, Jesus is not unique, and therefore Darwinists will not go to hell. They operate in terms of a scientific formula: Life in outer space = there is no hell.

They spend our tax dollars to prove this. They force Christians to pay for it. It’s all purely scientific, you understand. No hidden agendas here. The public overwhelmingly wants NASA’s zero-payoff boondoggles to go on, we are assured. The voters have demanded that they be taxed to pay astronomers and technicians career wages at above-market rates to pursue the search for life in outer space.

The Andromeda strain is out there, waiting to be discovered and brought back to earth for further study. The public wants this.

In an article on ABC News, we read all about planets that will sustain life. These planets are beyond any power of observation on earth. But they have life on them. We are assured of the following by recipients of government funding.

“You don’t need an Earth clone to have life.”

“We thought we would have to search vast distances to find an Earth-like planet. Now we realize another Earth is probably in our own backyard, waiting to be spotted.”

“We now know the rate of occurrence of habitable planets around the most common stars in our galaxy. That rate implies that it will be significantly easier to search for life beyond the solar system than we previously thought.”

So, there are earth-like planets out there. They are habitable. And habitable planets are inhabited. How do we know? Mathematics.

No one has seen life in outer space, of course. But it is there. Yes, sir, it is there.

How do we know? Because NASA has a telescope. It’s called the Kepler. It reveals these distant habitable planets. Sort of. In a sense.

The telescope views stars. From time to time, these stars have objects passing in front of them. These are planets. The planets are habitable. There is life on some of them, statistically speaking.

Of course, the same statistics would apply without the Kepler. But funding the Kepler is crucial. If we did not have the Kepler, we would have less compelling press releases from NASA.

Here is what the Kepler really funds: NASA’s press releases.

The article goes on:

There is no saying what such a world would actually be like; the Kepler probe can only show whether distant stars have objects periodically passing in front of them. But based on that, scientists can do some math and estimate the mass and orbit of these possible planets. So far, Kepler has spotted more than 2,700 of them in the small patch of sky it has been watching.

Therefore, there is life in outer space. Therefore, there is no hell.

Is there any way to prove there is life in those distant systems? No. Does this mean that NASA should be shut down? No. It means that NASA’s budget should be increased. The search for life in outer space must go on. The press releases must continue to flow.

Whenever a federal government-funded project inherently must fail, this means that the program must be funded with more money. This is the logic of civil government. Reward failure. Tax success.

This is government-funded science.

Could they be friendly to life? There’s no way to know yet, but space scientists say that if you have the right ingredients – a planet the right size, temperatures that allow for liquid water, organic molecules and so forth – and the chances may be good, even on a planet that is very different from ours.

Conclusion: Keep the funding coming!

Would the free market support any of this? No. That’s why we need NASA. That’s why we need Congress. That’s why deficits don’t matter.

They are spending us blind. They will continue to do so until the Great Default. The spending is astronomical. (Sorry. I could not resist.)

Gary North [send him mail] is the author of Mises on Money. Visit He is also the author of a free 31-volume series, An Economic Commentary on the Bible.

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