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Physics, Earth & Space Icon Physics, Earth & Space

Design Inference? Smelling a Rat in a Mars Photo

According to a Fox News story, “‘Mars rat’ spied by NASA’s Curiosity rover,” a rock photographed by NASA’s Curiosity rover looks like a rat. You can see what they’re talking about in the picture below:

Obviously it’s not a rat — it’s a rock. UFO believers may believe some crazy things, but I don’t think even they would suggest there are rats running around on Mars. So this is what we call a false positive for a design inference. But given the vague similarity between the rock shape and a rat, this clearly has low CSI, and should not have a triggered a design inference in the first place.

What I want to know is who is spending so much time scouring Mars photos to find this sort of thing?


Casey Luskin

Associate Director, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.