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LWS







PostPosted: March 10, 2005 7:22 AM 

Here is one of today's images of the blueberries at Vostoc

I know that it is the conventional wisdom that the blueberries are concretions formed several billion years ago.

I know that a few brave souls have speculated that they may be fossils.

I think they may be currently alive.

For the few Biologists out there who have examined fungal initials being formed on solid media. Please tell me what is wrong, purely on the visual evidence, not your belief that conditions on Mars cannot allow life to exist on the surface, with the interpretation that clear indications are evident in this picture that the blueberries are being formed from the aggregation of large cell like structures in the ground matrix.

Several instances of the various stages in the formation of a full blown blueberry can be seen. very, very clearly.

Indeed, if you go back to the earliest MI images of the blueberries, these stages can also be seen.

The alternative view that these "stages" are really stages in the erosion of the blueberries cannot be tenable. I do'nt think wind or even water would degrade berries in such an ordered fashion over billions of years.

I suspect that there is a giant self-delusion going on, of the "it looks like mud but it can't be mud" kind.

Winston Small

LWS


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Reply: 1



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 8:10 AM 

Here are the "blueberry initials" I'm talking about above:

Winston Small

Anonymous Coward


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Reply: 2



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 11:01 AM 

I'm a fungal biologist, and I have no idea what you mean when you talk about "initials" forming on solid media.

If you mean that you think you're seeing budding, I think that you're mistaken. Even if a biologist was told (and believed) that this photo was taken of a petri dish under high magnification, he or she would be very unlikely to concur with your idea.

I'd like you to think about this statement of yours:
"The alternative view that these "stages" are really stages in the erosion of the blueberries cannot be tenable. I do'nt think wind or even water would degrade berries in such an ordered fashion over billions of years."

What you seem to be saying is that, since YOU DON'T THINK that wind or water could be responsible for erosion ocurring in the observed patter, that therefore erosion is an "untenable" idea. This claim forces one to ask: on what basis do you think that erosion can't be responsible? How extensive is your experience with evaluating the effects of erosion? Are you fairly expert, or at least well studied on these effects? Or is it simply "common sense" that leads you to this conclusion?

If it's the latter, then you ought to realize that "sommon sense" (aka intuition) is quite frequently wrong. Which is why we have formalized rigorous methodologies in science. "I don't think x could cause y" does not lead to "z must have caused y, even if z is an unprecedented phenomenon."

AC


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Reply: 3



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 11:02 AM 

I'm a fungal biologist, and I have no idea what you mean when you talk about "initials" forming on solid media.

If you mean that you think you're seeing budding, I think that you're mistaken. Even if a biologist was told (and believed) that this photo was taken of a petri dish under high magnification, he or she would be very unlikely to concur with your idea.

I'd like you to think about this statement of yours:
"The alternative view that these "stages" are really stages in the erosion of the blueberries cannot be tenable. I do'nt think wind or even water would degrade berries in such an ordered fashion over billions of years."

What you seem to be saying is that, since YOU DON'T THINK that wind or water could be responsible for erosion ocurring in the observed patter, that therefore erosion is an "untenable" idea. This claim forces one to ask: on what basis do you think that erosion can't be responsible? How extensive is your experience with evaluating the effects of erosion? Are you fairly expert, or at least well studied on these effects? Or is it simply "common sense" that leads you to this conclusion?

If it's the latter, then you ought to realize that "sommon sense" (aka intuition) is quite frequently wrong. Which is why we have formalized rigorous methodologies in science. "I don't think x could cause y" does not lead to "z must have caused y, even if z is an unprecedented phenomenon."

marsman


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Reply: 4



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 11:23 AM 

O.K. AC (Anonymous Coward). Why don't you float out a few ideas of your own? How does 'erosion' of any kind happen in the near vacuum of space??

ac2


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Reply: 5



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 11:36 AM 

Have you seen pictures of wind erosion from the Antarctic Dry Valleys or Death Valley. You get pretty weird shapes and these places have not been the way they are for very long here on the earth with the all the climate change that goes on. Even 6mb of pressure with entrained sand will have an erosive effect on materials.

marsman


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PostPosted: March 10, 2005 12:09 PM 

Wind erosion in the near vacuum of space:

LWS


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PostPosted: March 10, 2005 12:31 PM 

Hi. Anonymous Coward, re. posts 2 and 3.

Let's take this one step at a time.

For the record, could you indicate roughly what is your experience as a "fungal biologist" in examining under a microscope the stages of aggregation of hyphal structures into the development of fruiting bodies in solid and liquid media?

Next, as a "fungal biologist" could you point out where you see the slightest suggestion of anything looking like "budding" in the image I posted above? Again, for the record, I was not talking about anything to do with "budding" but if you see budding that might be a further plank for my speculation.

Re. the term "initials", I apologize for using an antedeluvian term to indicate the cells or aggregation of cells which develop into specialized organs, like fruiting bodies, rhyzoids, etc. but, to tell the truth, I don't know what the new fangled term for the same thing is.

I plead to be invoking common sense rather than specialized knowledge in saying that "The alternative view that these "stages" are really stages in the erosion of the blueberries cannot be tenable". I will elaborate on why later. But If you really think about it you will see why wind action is unlikely to have produced those seemingly well formed and anchored "initials" on the surface of the "ground matrix" (need that defined as well?)

Re. your last 2 paragraphs, Are you also a wind expert?

And finally, I suspect I know as much as you do about the Scientific method, at least I suspect I used to employ it before you did.

I think that putting out "way out" hypotheses has served Science well in the past and that in this particular case we have no means of pinning down "z" from the instruments that are there on Mars.

The current hypotheses in vogue, all have deficiences and cannot be proven. I therefore think that my hypothesis which may or may not prove to be accurate in the long run, should be welcome at this stage and should be examined.

Please tell me, as another "fungal biologist" if you really do'nt see any resemblances between the picture I posted and the stages of a hyphymocete developing in-vitro spore bodies?

Winston Small

LWS


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PostPosted: March 10, 2005 12:35 PM 

Hi AC

I misspoke above; My last paragraph should not have indicated hyphomycete, which as you know, usually do'nt produce spore bodies in vitro, in vivo, maybe, but not in vitro.

Winston Small

Francisco J Oyarzun


Posts: 230

Reply: 9



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 1:50 PM 

Geologists or fungal biologists:

Has anyone ever seen wind erosion produce a sphere? Or reduce a sphere to a smaller sphere?

marsman


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Reply: 10



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 2:06 PM 

This is a triplet with a 'stalk':

Can wind erosion produce spherules attached to 'stalks' that are horizontal to the bedding plane?

/R

marsman

ERic


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Reply: 11



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 2:18 PM 

The trispherule in situ and in 3D Cool

AC


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PostPosted: March 10, 2005 2:21 PM 

"Re. your last 2 paragraphs, Are you also a wind expert?"

Where do you get that? I'm not making a positive claim about anything. YOU are. You are saying that since YOU can't see how wind erosion could have resulted in these formations, that therefore these structures must be living entities. I merely questioned whether one's ignorance should be the basis for an extreme claim.

Actually, the merged blueberries look superficially like budding yeast. Does that mean that that's what they are? Nope. The scale is wrong, for one thing. For another, there are many processes that can result in superficially similar structures. The scientific method you claim to have used longer than I have (and you know this how?) does not entail spinning fanciful connections between these superficialities. Especially if it is one's ignorance of other possible processes that is leading one to reject them as insufficient.

Also, I don't quite understand your reference to sporulation in vivo vs. in vitro. Are you saying that the hyphomycete Aspergillus niger, for example, can't easily be sporulated in culture?

BTW, your putting "fungal biologist" in quotes is a transparent and somewhat passive-aggressive attempt to question my credentials or experience. You should feel free, of course, to ask for evidence of my experience, but kindly do so in an honest and non-snarky way. And while you're at it, maybe you'd better put your own credentials on the line as well.

Marsman: what are you saying about the "near vacuum of space"? FYI: the blueberries are on Mars. Mars has an atmosphere. There is wind on Mars.

jamdix


Posts: 101

Reply: 13



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 2:31 PM 

AC, I have an interesting off topic issue about decomposition of urine and animal waste by fungal agents. Please contact me at jamdix @ yahoo com

AC


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Reply: 14



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 2:42 PM 

Here's a puzzle for you all: based on your knowledge (or lack thereof) of geology, is it possible that these structures were made by geological processes?

AC


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PostPosted: March 10, 2005 2:51 PM 

marsman


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PostPosted: March 10, 2005 3:44 PM 

6 millibars atmospheric pressure is far closer to zero millibars (vacuum of space) than 1000 millibars (on Earth). Yes, there is wind on Mars, but compare this to the wind on Earth. Now how do we get wierd shapes from approx. 1/150th the atmospheric pressure of Earth?

Reply 15 SWAGs: Endako Mine? Machine lathed?

Nothing "passive-agressive" here. Richard won't allow it. Now how about entertaining us with some answers (instead of "backtracking") to LWS' "fungal biologist" questions? If you won't answer his questions, then how are we to believe in your "positive claim" of expertise on this particular subject?

And I'm sorry, but you too are also making the "positive" (and extraordinary) "claim" that "wind erosion" produces these strange objects called the Mars Spherules.

To say that you don't have to prove anything is absurd. If that's the case, then NO ONE has to prove anything? Right? So why bother??

By chance are you familiar with the "don't have to prove anything" arguments from a previous blogger by the name of "They're Rocks"?

He also argues by saying that some claims are "better" than others because "common sense" says so. If this were truly the case, then we'd still be stuck with a Ptolomeic Earth-centric model of the universe because "common sense" says so. The reason we don't hold onto this theory as being the gospel truth is because a "crazy idea" (read extraordinary claim) that went against "common sense" at the time turned out to be true. Try doing a google search on "Paradigm shifts".

Now, if you're of this particular mindset in which you are always right, and everyone else who doesn't share your point of view is always wrong (because "They're Rocks" and "common sense says so" and "I haven't made a positive claim", and so forth Rolling Eyes ), then you will have to go pick your fights and arguments with someone else.

/R

marsman

AC


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Reply: 17



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 4:37 PM 

I'm NOT claiming that wind erosion caused the blueberries. I'm saying that the OP asserts not only a biological origin for these structures, but that they currently are alive. That is an extraordinary claim, and it is premissed on a relative ignorance of the range of effects that geological phenomena are known to be responsible for.

The argument seems to be: "I don't see how geology could have done this, so it must be life." This is a logical fallacy, as well as being an absurd way to ground an argument.
----------
Marsman writes: "millibars atmospheric pressure is far closer to zero millibars (vacuum of space) than 1000 millibars (on Earth)." Uh, yeah. So what? That doesn't mean it is EQUIVALENT to the vacuum of space.

Marsman goes on to write: "Yes, there is wind on Mars, but compare this to the wind on Earth. Now how do we get wierd shapes from approx. 1/150th the atmospheric pressure of Earth?" I don't know. Does he think the dune fields we see around the rovers are of biogenic origin too? It's pretty clear that wind plays a large role in Martian geological processes.

In any case, there are other causes for variations in blueberry size and structure, such as the geochemical processes that formed them. The OP said that since he could not understand how erosion might have caused the formations, they were caused by still living organisms.

That's an argument from ignorance, pure and simple.

Another artifact:

ERic


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Reply: 18



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 5:02 PM 

AC wrote "Does he think the dune fields we see around the rovers are of biogenic origin too?"

I don't know what he think but what you call dunes may be a bit more complex that you think and a biogenic origin cannot be discarded yet !

ERic
"Imagination is more important than knowledge" A.Einstein

marsman


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Reply: 19



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 5:28 PM 

On the contrary, there are no geological examples that can explain this size distribution profile for the Mars Spherules:

"That's an argument from ignorance, pure and simple."

Well that settles it then. You are right and everyone else (including myself) is wrong. So what's the point in arguing? Why should I (or anyone else for that matter) argue with you if you are always right and everyone else is always wrong?

Pressure = Force * Area.

The wind 'force' on Mars 1/150th that of Earth.

Reply 0 is a "hypoTHESIS"; not a "claim" and after being on the blog for more than a year, you still can't tell the difference. But then again, you are right, and I am wrong...

Rolling Eyes

marsman


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Reply: 20



PostPosted: March 10, 2005 6:15 PM 

Should be Pressure = Force / Area.

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