A Naturalistic Fairy Tale – Part XXVIII

From time to time, we do like to use computers to look into the distant past. We know how impressed you are by computers. This time, we looked back 4.4 billion years in Earth’s history.(1) We do discover through the use A Tale of an Early Earthof our simulations that life may have survived the massive asteroid bombardment of the Hadean Eon (4.5 billion to 3.9 billion years ago). Although all traces of any such bombardment have been completely wiped away, we do know it happened by looking at the moon and Mars (Praise Science).

Although many of us did previously think that the bombardment would have sterilized the Earth, we now think that microbes could have arisen as early as 500 million years after the formation of the Earth and survived in subterranean environments.

We do now say:

“Even under the most extreme conditions we imposed, Earth would not have been completely sterilized by the bombardment,” Abramov said.

Given the context of this story that we have imagined, we again like the idea of hydrothermal vents giving rise to life. We hope that you will now be convinced that life arose from non-life, because we have given the process even more time to take place (Praise Science).

(1). How life may have outlasted early blasts

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A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXVI

And then did we, the Most High Scientists, decide that life may have “been forged in a quantum crucible.”(1)  Not to be outdone by our fellow believers in Naturalism, the venerable biologists, we physicists did decide to weigh in on the matter of life’s beginning. 

Erving Schrödinger, the fellow who did imagine a cat being dead and not dead at the same time,(2) did also imagine other things about life.  Some 65 years later, do we weigh in on the issue.

Now, while some silly folk (i.e., creationists) do make wildly erroneous calculations about the probability of abiogenesis, we’ll give you a calculation in order to promote our theory.  We’ll deny it if the creationists do try to use it (Praise Science). 

But we do now focus in on one molecular machine, the ribosome, that protein factory of the cell that is capable of producing even more ribosomes.(3) 

So we did calculate that there could be 4165 possible primitive ribozyme structures based on 165 DNA base pair sequences.  We do know that most of these would not be self-replicators. 

“That’s more than the number of electrons in the universe,” he says. What’s more, life came about relatively soon after the planet formed, he says. “The puzzle is not only how life emerged, but how it emerged so fast.”

We shall now engage in a bit of anthropomorphism, (4) forgive us (Praise Science).  But do realize that it is completely naturalistic, and God is not needed.  Quantum processes did sort through and discard unwanted structures.  We’re certain you’ll have no problem with our use of the terms of “sort” and “unwanted” with regards to nature.  So, we do now think, that multiple mutated configurations did exist simultaneously (just like the cat was dead and un-dead a the same time).  This simultaneous existence of configurations allowed for the testing of a range of possibilities.  We do now know that quantum effects are a bit finicky; however, we do believe that they could act at the bottom of the Ocean (Praise Science). 

Davies also finds the idea promising. “These guys may have found a niche where quantum magic really could be at work,” he says. “But it is conjecture at this stage, just as all ideas for the origin of life are.”

We do also know that you know that when we use the term “magic” we don’t mean anything by it.  We certainly don’t mean “non-material” (Praise Science).  Once the configurations were sorted out and selected, the struture would become fixed, and unavailable to quantum effects. 

 

(1). http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg19626332.700-was-life-forged-in-a-quantum-crucible.html

(2). Schrödinger’s Cat

(3). http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/R/ribosome.html

(4). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anthropomorphism

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XXI

And then did we decide, that the Universe could be teeming with aliens. Sure, we decided that a planet must have the right mass, be the right distance from a star, have the right atmosphere, the right material composition, and the ability to sustain water.(1)

That’s somewhat unlikely, so we decided to say that life might exist on planets with very different conditions, and so might be quite prevalent in the Universe (praise Science).  So, we do now admit that the distance from a star does have some importance.  Too close, things do melt.  Too far away, things do freeze.  Then did we discover that the Earth could be only 5% closer to the Sun without becoming like Venus, but one of us, in 1993, did calculate that the Earth could keep from freezing up to 1.7 times its current distance from the Sun (praise Science)!(2; Sorry our link goes to Shell.  Perhaps it didn’t originally). So, we admit that perhaps a planet’s mass does have some bearing.  Mars is in the ‘Goldilocks Zone,’ but don’t look at it.  Plus, the Earth’s natural cycle does involve volcanoes that release CO2, that keeps the planet warm (praise Science—hate the automobile–do ignore the recent cold).  The pattern of subduction of carbon into the Earth’s crust has kept the Earth’s climate stable for the last 4 billion years (please do now ignore our recent assertions about the wildly variable climate in the past).

So, one of our great fellows noted:

‘”I’ve been kind of twisting the knobs so that they’re different from Earth, but they all have the same mass as Earth,” says Spiegel, who was at Columbia University in New York when he carried out the work.’

So, the mass and distance do seem somewhat important, but we did simulate the tilt and combined with a greater spin rate, we did discover that

“When this large axial tilt was combined with a rate of rotation three times Earth’s, the summers became warm enough for ice to temporarily melt around the pole facing the star (see diagram). This meltwater was only sustainable when the planet rotated faster than the Earth, as the centrifugal force created made it harder for air to flow from the poles to the equator. This trapped heat at the illuminated pole.”

So, then did one of our own argue that we should not think in terms of habitable or inhabitable, but we should consider “fractionally habitable.” Because we do now know that even the Earth is not 100% habitable (praise Science).

So, we are optimistic about the future, and we did title our article, “Why the Universe may be teeming with aliens,” we’ll go right on ahead and print this quote later in the article for those who do keep reading needlessly.

‘”I don’t think we really understand how or why the Earth has been habitable in its history and what the excursions from habitability really were,” he says, “and until we do, it’s hard to be anything but sceptical that some of these models are really going to inform the search.”‘

So, we do end our article (praise Science), with:

‘There is always the chance that the search for liquid water on the surface may be missing the point. What if exotic forms of life could thrive where there is no liquid water at all – swimming around in lakes of liquid methane on Saturn’s frigid moon, Titan, for example? “One should not rule out the notion that a kind of life or organised chemistry could exist in that kind of liquid,” says Lunine. “Let’s cast the net broadly.”‘

So, we do now know that casting the net broadly would not be wrong (praise Science), and let us wish a Happy New Year to SETI.

(1). Why the universe might be teeming with life, NewScientist.
(2). http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/icar.1993.1010

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XIX

We must go back a bit, in the name of Science, to enlighten you with our recent stories.  We do now know that the “end-bringers” were the “life-givers” (praise Science).  Between 4.2 and 3.8 Billion Years Ago did asteroids (life-givers), impact the Earth 100,000 times more frequently (we did know you would be impressed).  We do know you are impressed by large numbers (praise Science).

With this heavy onslaught, we do now know that carboxilic acid would have been formed (an essential compound for building protiens and food for early evotures…formerly known as creatures).  We did mimic an asteroid impact in the laboratory (praise Science), and we did find that these complex molecules did form.  We did calculate that 100 Billion metric tons of these pre-life units would have been formed (are you not now convinced by another big number?).

“You can sort of envision prebiotic experiments going on in hundreds of warm, shallow pools, like Darwin imagined.”(1)

We do now know that you can imagine it, and because of that we do now know it’s true (praise Science).  So we do now say that panspermia is false, and this is the way that life did begin–through the “life-bringers.”

(1).  Asteroid impacts gave early spark to life

A Naturalistic Fairy Tale-Part XVI

And then did we discover that minerals did co-evolve with life.1 Not that minerals did mutate, but that biological processes did transform the interstellar grains into the thousands of minerals that we find on the Earth today. All of the elements did exist in that early primordial dust, but praise Science that life did transform it into the minerals that are abundant on the Earth today. Plate tectonics did contribute, but it was the origin of life that did truly produce the diversity of minerals on the Earth today. Perhaps 2/3 of the 4300 mineral “species” that do exist on Earth today are the result of biology. Other planets, may have only 500 mineral “species.” But thanks to biology and a lot of time, we have a lot of minerals (praise Science).

1 http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/11/081113181035.htm

Does referencing the Creator inhibit science?

Many materialists (atheists and theistic evolutionists most often) argue that materialistic philosophy is key to scientific advancement. If any ideas of Creationists are allowed to even be referenced, then scientific progress will halt and people will die. There will be mass and widespread calamitous events, and we will return to the Dark Ages.

Mphuthumi Ntabeni at The Southern Cross writes:

Newton, Faraday, Maxwell and Copernicus referred to the Creator in their scientific writings. No one accused them of being unscientific because of that. There’s no rule that compels science to have a materialist outlook, it’s just an incident of history. (1)

I have yet to see any evidence that convinces me that scientific progress will be inhibited in any way by referencing notions of a designer or even God. Nor have I seen any evidence that is not just as easily explained from an ID or even a Creationist perspective as compared to a naturalistic evolution perspective. So far, I see Creationism as having the most explanatory power and ID as focusing on narrow range of observations and scientific phenomena. Both ID and Creation Science are scientific disciplines.

I must also say that I have yet to see how the theory of naturalistic evolution, on a macro scale, has ever contributed to applied science. The concept of abiogenesis has not contributed to applied science. The Big Bang Theory has not contributed to applied science. In short, the notion that Godless science leads to progress has no legs to stand on. Perhaps it will evolve those legs in the next several billions of years, but I won’t be holding my breath.

(1). My case for intelligent design, The Southern Cross, Mphuthumi Ntabeni, Nov. 9, 2008

Philosophical Arguments for the Existence of God

My wife is the more philosophically trained individual in our household–she teaches philosophy and logic.

She (The Christian Scribbler) has written 3 posts that may be of interest from a philosophical perspective:

Apologetics; The Teleological Argument for God

Apologetics; The Cosmological Argument for God

The Ontological Argument for God

Apologetics; The Moral Argument for God…