Cosmology Intelligent Design Origin Of Life Physics

Avi Loeb suggests that the design of life might have been a black hole. Michael Egnor responds

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The astronomer author of Extraterrestrial: The First Sign of Intelligent Life Beyond Earth, writing at Scientific American, “suggests that the evolution of life on Earth may have been affected in important ways by a black hole called SgrA* that has been found at the center of the Milky Way. ”

The irony here is that while the discovery that a black hole may have influenced evolution of life on earth is indeed great science and may well serve as the basis for (another) Nobel Prize, the massive amount of evidence for an intelligent designer in life and in evolution is completely ignored.

Intelligent design deniers would argue that a black hole is a natural object, whereas an intelligent designer (if He happened to be God) is outside of the purview of science. But the parallels between an intelligent designer and a black hole as valid objects of scientific inquiry are quite close.

Both an intelligent designer (assuming we’re talking about God) and a black hole are supernatural, in the sense that they are not objects in the natural world. This may not surprise you about God, but it is also true of black holes. Black holes are singularities in Einstein’s equations of general relativity, which means that from the standpoint of physics they are undefined, just as the ratio of any number to zero in mathematics is undefined. So black holes are supernatural, and are not objects in nature. They have effects in nature, due to their enormous gravitational fields, but it is the effect, not the black hole itself, that is natural.

Michael Egnor, “Is the Designer a Black Hole?” at Evolution News and Science Today

One Reply to “Avi Loeb suggests that the design of life might have been a black hole. Michael Egnor responds

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this from the SciAm article,,,

    Would the resulting flares of SgrA*, (the supermassive blackhole at the center of the Milky Way), have any implications for life on Earth? In principle, they could, since they carry damaging X-ray and Ultraviolet (XUV) radiation. In collaboration with my former postdoc, John Forbes, we showed in 2018 that the XUV radiation emitted during such flares has the capacity to evaporate the atmospheres of Mars or Earth if the Solar system had only been ten times closer to the center of the Milky Way. But even at larger distances, the XUV radiation could suppress the growth of complex life, creating an effect similar to stepping on a lawn so frequently that you inhibit its growth.
    At the current location of the Sun, terrestrial life is safe from XUV flares of SgrA*. However, recent studies indicate that the birthplace of the Sun may have been significantly closer to the Galactic center and that the Sun migrated to its current location through gravitational kicks. The exposure to past XUV flares from SgrA* at closer distances, could have harmed complex life during the early evolution of the Earth. This might explain why the oxygen level in the Earth’s atmosphere rose to its currently high level only after two billion years, perhaps only after the Earth was sufficiently far away from SgrA*.,,,

    So their thesis is that complex multicellular organisms were only able to randomly evolve on earth once the earth was far enough away from the damaging damaging X-ray and Ultraviolet (XUV) radiation of black hole at the center of the Milky Way?

    And their main evidences for this thesis is that the earth ‘may’ have been closer to the galactic core in the past, and the fact that complex multicellular organisms, and the oxygen levels needed to support the metabolic activity of those complex multicellular organisms, only occurred a few billion years after life first appeared on earth?

    And this thesis is being batted around as being worthy of a Nobel Prize?

    Color me unimpressed with what is being considered worthy of Nobel Prizes nowadays.

    If this thesis, all by its lonesome, is seriously being considered worthy of a Nobel Prize, then the previous work of people like, Guillermo Gonzalez, ‘The Privileged Planet’, Donald Brownlee, ‘Rare Earth’, David Waltham, “Lucky Planet” , and Hugh Ross, ‘Improbable Planet’, who have already shown that many independent characteristics are required to be fulfilled for any planet to be able to host advanced carbon-based life in this universe, then their previous work should have already been awarded multiple Nobel Prizes!

    For instance, in the following article, Hugh Ross, and his team, have shown that there are many independent characteristics required to be fulfilled for any planet to be able to host, not just advanced carbon-based life in this universe, but also host ‘simple’ single celled organisms.

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;?Probability Estimates for the Features Required by Various Life Forms:
    Excerpt:
    Requirements to sustain bacteria for 90 days or less:
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10-614
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 501 parameters approx. 10^-333
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^311 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Requirements to sustain unicellar life for three billion year:
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-859
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-303
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^22
    Probability for occurrence of all 676 parameters approx. 10^-578
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^556 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle

    Requirements to sustain intelligent physical life:
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^-324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22
    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracle
    http://d4bge0zxg5qba.cloudfron.....3_ver2.pdf

    And as to damaging X-ray and Ultraviolet (XUV) radiation in particular being harmful to life on earth, Guillermo Gonzalez, i.e. ‘The Privileged Planet’, and others have already shown that most of the electromagnetic spectrum (light) is harmful for life and that only a small sliver of the electromagnetic spectrum (light), which just so happens to be crucial for life, is allowed through the atmosphere. As they state in their video, “These specific frequencies of light (that enable plants to manufacture food and astronomers to observe the cosmos) represent less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth (10^-24) of the universe’s entire range of electromagnetic emissions.”

    4:00 minute mark,,, “These specific frequencies of light (that enable plants to manufacture food and astronomers to observe the cosmos) represent less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth (10^-24) of the universe’s entire range of electromagnetic emissions.”
    Privileged Planet (Chapter 9 of 12)
    https://youtu.be/quhucmOAdss?t=173

    And in the following article entitled, “The electromagnetic spectrum, fine tuned for life”, it is stated that, “The amazing thing is that all this radiation is limited to a 1/10^25 interval of the whole electromagnetic spectrum yet it is sufficient to keep us warm, see, and allow all the chemical reactions necessary for life to take place.”

    The electromagnetic spectrum, fine tuned for life
    Excerpt: The amazing thing is that all this radiation is limited to a 1/10^25 interval of the whole electromagnetic spectrum yet it is sufficient to keep us warm, see, and allow all the chemical reactions necessary for life to take place. Even if all the other conditions necessary for life and mentioned elsewhere in this book existed, if the light radiated by the Sun fell into any other part of the electromagnetic spectrum, there could be no life on Earth. It is certainly impossible to explain the fulfillment of this condition having a probability of 1 in 10^25 with a logic of coincidence
    https://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t2033-the-electromagnetic-spectrum-fine-tuned-for-life

    And here is an article by Dr. Bradley entitled, “Is There Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God? How the Recent Discoveries Support a Designed Universe”, in which Dr. Bradley also goes over the details of fine tuning of the fundamental universal constants, light, and biological life for each other.

    Is There Scientific Evidence for the Existence of God? How the Recent Discoveries Support a Designed Universe – Dr. Walter L. Bradley
    Excerpt: Furthermore, the frequency distribution of electromagnetic radiation produced by the sun must be precisely tuned to the energies of the various chemical bonds on Earth. Excessively energetic photons of radiation (i.e., the ultraviolet radiation emitted from a blue giant star) destroy chemical bonds and destabilize organic molecules. Insufficiently energetic photons (e.g., infrared and longer wavelength radiation from a red dwarf star) would result in chemical reactions that are either too sluggish or would not occur at all. All life on Earth depends upon fine-tuned solar radiation, which requires, in turn, a very precise balancing of the electromagnetic and gravitational forces.
    As previously noted, the chemical bonding energy relies upon quantum mechanical calculations that include the electromagnetic force, the mass of the electron, the speed of light (c), and Planck’s constant (h). Matching the radiation from the sun to the chemical bonding energy requires that the magnitude of six constants be selected to satisfy the following inequality, with the caveat that the two sides of the inequality are of the same order of magnitude, guaranteeing that the photons are sufficiently energetic, but not too energetic.{22},,,
    Substituting the values in Table 2 for h, c, G, me, mp, and e (with units adjusted as required) allows Equation 3 to be evaluated to give:,,,
    In what is either an amazing coincidence or careful design by an intelligent Creator, these constants have the very precise values relative to each other that are necessary to give a universe in which radiation from the sun is tuned to the necessary chemical reactions that are essential for life. This result is illustrated in Figure 3, where the intensity of radiation from the sun and the biological utility of radiation are shown as a function of the wavelength of radiation. The greatest intensity of radiation from the sun occurs at the place of greatest biological utility.,,,
    http://www.leaderu.com/offices.....dence.html

    In the paper Dr. Bradley also lists four graphs. At the bottom of the four graphs he states:

    The visible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum (~1 micron) is the most intense radiation from the sun (Figure 3.1); has the greatest biological utility (Figure 3.2); and passes through atmosphere of Earth (Figure 3.3) and water (Figure 3.4) with almost no absorption. It is uniquely this same wavelength of radiation that is idea to foster the chemistry of life. This is either a truly amazing series of coincidences or else the result of careful design.,,,
    It is remarkable that both the Earth’s atmosphere and water have “optical windows” that allow visible light (just the radiation necessary for life) to pass through with very little absorption, whereas shorter wavelength (destructive ultraviolet radiation) and longer wavelength (infrared) radiation are both highly absorbed, as seen in Figure 3.{23}
    – per above link

    As well, in the following article, Michael Denton quotes the Encyclopaedia Britannica which states “Considering the importance of visible sunlight for all aspects of terrestrial life, one cannot help being awed by the dramatically narrow window in the atmospheric absorption…and in the absorption spectrum of water”

    Is Earth’s Apparent Design for Life Simply the “Most Severe Case of Observational Bias in the History of Science”? – Michael Denton – May 9, 2014
    Excerpt: the fact that the gases of the atmosphere let through just the right light for photosynthesis and the generation of oxygen while at the same time absorbing all the harmful EM radiation on either side of the visual window. Commenting on the narrowness of this crucial window, the Encyclopaedia Britannica remarks13: “Considering the importance of visible sunlight for all aspects of terrestrial life, one cannot help being awed by the dramatically narrow window in the atmospheric absorption…and in the absorption spectrum of water”
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/05/is_earths_appar/

    Moreover, as to the oxygen levels on earth that are necessary to sustain the metabolic activity of complex multicellular organisms, first off, we have good evidence that oxygenic photosynthesis has been taking place on earth since life first appeared on earth,,

    New study: Oxygenic photosynthesis goes back three billion years – September 26, 2013 – vjtorley?
    Excerpt: If Buick is correct here, then oxygenic photosynthesis goes right back to the very dawn of life. (also see comment #8 for more detailed notes on photosynthesis at 3.8 billion years ago)?http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ion-years/

    Early Evolution of Photosynthesis – Robert E. Blankenship – October 2010
    Excerpt: A wealth of evidence indicates that photosynthesis is an ancient process that originated not long after the origin of life,,,
    The ability to do photosynthesis is widely distributed throughout the bacterial domain in six different phyla, with no apparent pattern of evolution. Photosynthetic phyla include the cyanobacteria, proteobacteria (purple bacteria), green sulfur bacteria (GSB), firmicutes (heliobacteria), filamentous anoxygenic phototrophs (FAPs, also often called the green nonsulfur bacteria), and acidobacteria (Raymond, 2008).
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pm.....MC2949000/

    Iron in Primeval Seas Rusted by Bacteria – Apr. 23, 2013
    Excerpt: The oldest known iron ores were deposited in the Precambrian period and are up to four billion years old (the Earth itself is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years old). ,,,
    This research not only provides the first clear evidence that microorganisms were directly involved in the deposition of Earth’s oldest iron formations; it also indicates that large populations of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria were at work in the shallow areas of the ancient oceans, while deeper water still reached by the light (the photic zone) tended to be populated by anoxyenic or micro-aerophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria which formed the iron deposits.,,,
    – per science daily

    Secondly, the main reason why the oxygen levels of the early Earth’s atmosphere remained so low for so long is because oxygen readily reacts and bonds with many of the solid elements making up the earth itself, and since the slow process of tectonic activity controls the turnover of the earth’s crust, it took photosynthetic bacteria a few billion years before the earth’s crust was saturated with enough oxygen to allow a sufficient level of oxygen to be built up in the atmosphere so as to allow for the metabolic activity of complex multicellular life:

    Earth’s Oxygen: A Mystery Easy to Take for Granted – October 3, 2013
    Excerpt: But the oxygen disappeared almost as soon as it was formed.?That’s because oxygen is an enormously friendly element, forming bonds with a wide range of molecules. It attached to the iron in rocks, for example, creating rust. It joined with the hydrogen spewed out from volcanoes to form hydrogen peroxide and other compounds. Our planet, in other words, was a giant oxygen vacuum in its early years.
    – per NYTIMES

    Breathing new life into Earth: New research shows evidence of early oxygen on our planet – August 2011
    Excerpt: Waldbauer and Summons surmise that oxygen production and consumption may have occurred in the oceans for hundreds of millions of years before the atmosphere saw even a trace of the gas. They say that in all likelihood, cyanobacteria, blue-green algae living at the ocean surface, evolved the ability to produce O2 via sunlight in a process known as oxygenic photosynthesis. But instead of building up in the oceans and then seeping into the atmosphere, O2 may have been rapidly consumed by early aerobic organisms. Large oceanic and atmospheric sinks, such as iron and sulfide spewing out of subsea volcanoes, likely consumed whatever O2 was left over.
    – per physorg

    Large Bacterial Population Colonized Land 2.75 Billion Years Ago (Sep. 24, 2012
    ?Excerpt: new research,, suggests that early microbes might have been widespread on land, producing oxygen and weathering pyrite, an iron sulfide mineral, which released sulfur and molybdenum into the oceans.,,?”This shows that life didn’t just exist in a few little places on land. It was important on a global scale because it was enhancing the flow of sulfate from land into the ocean,”?”It supports the theory that oxygen was being produced for several hundred million years before the Great Oxidation Event. It just took time for it to reach higher concentrations in the atmosphere,” Stüeken said.
    – per science daily

    Volcanic activity and changes in Earth’s mantle were key to rise of atmospheric oxygen – June 9, 2020
    Excerpt: The chemical makeup of Earth’s mantle, or softer layer of rock below the Earth’s crust, ultimately controls the types of molten rock and gases coming from volcanoes. A less-oxidized early mantle would produce more of the gases like hydrogen that combine with free oxygen. The 2019 paper shows that the mantle became gradually more oxidized from 3.5 billion years ago to today.
    The new study combines that data with evidence from ancient sedimentary rocks to show a tipping point sometime after 2.5 billion years ago, when oxygen produced by microbes overcame its loss to volcanic gases and began to accumulate in the atmosphere.
    “Basically, the supply of oxidizable volcanic gases was capable of gobbling up photosynthetic oxygen for hundreds of millions of years after photosynthesis evolved,” said co-author David Catling, a UW professor of Earth and space sciences. “But as the mantle itself became more oxidized, fewer oxidizable volcanic gases were released. Then oxygen flooded the air when there was no longer enough volcanic gas to mop it all up.”
    This has implications for understanding the emergence of complex life on Earth,,,
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200609144448.htm

    So, to repeat, if their thesis entails that blackholes suppressed complex multicellular life on earth by preventing the early rise of oxygen on earth, and their thesis is supposedly seriously being considered worthy of a Nobel Prize, color me unimpressed with what is being considered worthy of Nobel Prizes nowadays.

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