Cell biology Intelligent Design

Microorganisms defy expectations, produce elemental carbon

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The researchers wondered about the black specks forming within their bacterial cultures…

New research at Virginia Tech, the University of Bremen, and the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology has revealed that two kinds of microorganisms – methanogens and anaerobic methanotrophs – are able to produce a form of elemental carbon known as amorphous carbon.

For researchers who study methanogens and anaerobic methanotrophs, the discovery defies all previous expectations of what microorganisms can do, and sheds scientific light on some very interesting questions.

Why and how are these microorganisms making amorphous carbon? Is amorphous carbon being produced in large enough quantities to affect the carbon cycle on Earth?

“We never thought that amorphous carbon could be produced by living organisms because of the normally extreme chemical reactions that are needed to form it,” said Robert White, an emeritus professor of biochemistry in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “This is the first report of amorphous carbon being produced by any organism on Earth, and we are very interested in the possible implications it may have for the carbon cycle.”

Virginia Tech, “Researchers discover the first instance of living organisms producing elemental carbon” at Eurekalert (November 12, 2021)

Our expectations should take into account how little we even know about so many life forms on our own planet.

The paper is open access.

18 Replies to “Microorganisms defy expectations, produce elemental carbon

  1. 1
    martin_r says:

    And here we go again

    the discovery defies all previous expectations

    Darwinists wrong again … i was wondering why so many people believe in Darwinists…

    I was wondering, what makes Darwinists so trustworthy …

    Seversky? JVL ? Chuck ? Help me understand …

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    I’m not sure we want micro-organisms that can produce more carbon at this time.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Seversky states, “I’m not sure we want micro-organisms that can produce more carbon at this time.”

    Yet microorganisms, contrary to Darwinian expectations that microorganisms should be, by all rights, eating us,,,

    Richard Dawkins interview with a ‘Darwinian’ physician goes off track – video
    Excerpt: “I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly — a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves — that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we’re stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?”
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....62031.html

    “every single organic being around us may be said to be striving to the utmost to increase in numbers;”
    – Charles Darwin – Origin of Species – pg. 66

    Yet microorganisms, contrary to Darwinian expectations that microorganisms should be, by all rights, eating us, instead of eating us, time after time we find microorganisms helping each other, and us, in ways that have nothing to with their own ‘survival of the fittest’’ concerns.

    The following researchers said they were ‘banging our heads against the wall’ by the contradictory findings to Darwinian ‘survival of the fittest’ thinking that they had found:

    Doubting Darwin: Algae Findings Surprise Scientists – April 28, 2014
    Excerpt: One of Charles Darwin’s hypotheses posits that closely related species will compete for food and other resources more strongly with one another than with distant relatives, because they occupy similar ecological niches. Most biologists long have accepted this to be true.
    Thus, three researchers were more than a little shaken to find that their experiments on fresh water green algae failed to support Darwin’s theory — at least in one case.
    “It was completely unexpected,” says Bradley Cardinale, associate professor in the University of Michigan’s school of natural resources & environment. “When we saw the results, we said ‘this can’t be.”‘ We sat there banging our heads against the wall. Darwin’s hypothesis has been with us for so long, how can it not be right?”
    The researchers ,,,— were so uncomfortable with their results that they spent the next several months trying to disprove their own work. But the research held up.,,,
    The scientists did not set out to disprove Darwin, but, in fact, to learn more about the genetic and ecological uniqueness of fresh water green algae so they could provide conservationists with useful data for decision-making. “We went into it assuming Darwin to be right, and expecting to come up with some real numbers for conservationists,” Cardinale says. “When we started coming up with numbers that showed he wasn’t right, we were completely baffled.”,,,
    Darwin “was obsessed with competition,” Cardinale says. “He assumed the whole world was composed of species competing with each other, but we found that one-third of the species of algae we studied actually like each other. They don’t grow as well unless you put them with another species. It may be that nature has a heck of a lot more mutualisms than we ever expected.
    “,,, Maybe Darwin’s presumption that the world may be dominated by competition is wrong.”
    http://www.livescience.com/452.....f-bts.html

    And the following researchers found that ‘survival of the friendliest’ outweighs ‘survival of the fittest’ for groups of bacteria.”

    Friendly bacteria collaborate to survive – 10 October 2019
    Excerpt: New microbial research at the University of Copenhagen suggests that ‘survival of the friendliest’ outweighs ‘survival of the fittest’ for groups of bacteria. Bacteria make space for one another and sacrifice properties if it benefits the bacterial community as a whole. The discovery is a major step towards understanding complex bacteria interactions and the development of new treatment models for a wide range of human diseases and new green technologies.
    https://news.ku.dk/all_news/2019/10/friendly-bacteria-collaborate-to-survive/

    Likewise, “Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.”

    NIH Human Microbiome Project defines normal bacterial makeup of the body – June 13, 2012
    Excerpt: Microbes inhabit just about every part of the human body, living on the skin, in the gut, and up the nose. Sometimes they cause sickness, but most of the time, microorganisms live in harmony with their human hosts, providing vital functions essential for human survival.
    http://www.nih.gov/news/health.....gri-13.htm

    We are living in a bacterial world, and it’s impacting us more than previously thought – February 15, 2013
    Excerpt: We often associate bacteria with disease-causing “germs” or pathogens, and bacteria are responsible for many diseases, such as tuberculosis, bubonic plague, and MRSA infections. But bacteria do many good things, too, and the recent research underlines the fact that animal life would not be the same without them.,,,?I am,, convinced that the number of beneficial microbes, even very necessary microbes, is much, much greater than the number of pathogens.”
    http://phys.org/news/2013-02-b.....tml#ajTabs

    As well, microorganisms “can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.”

    The Microbial Engines That Drive Earth’s Biogeochemical Cycles – Paul G. Falkowski – 2008
    Excerpt: Microbial life can easily live without us; we, however, cannot survive without the global catalysis and environmental transformations it provides.
    http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/v.....8;type=pdf
    – Paul G. Falkowski is Professor Geological Sciences at Rutgers

    Just how crucial, and finely tuned, “the global catalysis and environmental transformations” of microbes are is revealed by this following study, i.e. “every fifth breath you take, thank a microbe.”

    Engineering and Science Magazine – Caltech – March 2010
    Excerpt: “Without these microbes, the planet would run out of biologically available nitrogen in less than a month,” Realizations like this are stimulating a flourishing field of “geobiology” – the study of relationships between life and the earth. One member of the Caltech team commented, “If all bacteria and archaea just stopped functioning, life on Earth would come to an abrupt halt.” Microbes are key players in earth’s nutrient cycles. Dr. Orphan added, “…every fifth breath you take, thank a microbe.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100316a

    Planet’s Nitrogen Cycle Overturned – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: “Ammonia is a waste product that can be toxic to animals.,,, archaea can scavenge nitrogen-containing ammonia in the most barren environments of the deep sea, solving a long-running mystery of how the microorganisms can survive in that environment. Archaea therefore not only play a role, but are central to the planetary nitrogen cycles on which all life depends.,,,the organism can survive on a mere whiff of ammonia – 10 nanomolar concentration, equivalent to a teaspoon of ammonia salt in 10 million gallons of water.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132656.htm

    Thus whilst Seversky, because of his Darwinian presuppositions, fears that the carbon cycle can be easily thrown out of whack, the fact of the matter is that Microbes, contrary to Darwinian expectations, terraformed the earth so that multicellular creatures could exist on the face of earth in the first place, and microbes have subsequently been keeping the ecosystem of the earth in a ‘finely-tuned balance so that multicellular creature could continue to survive.

    Again, all of this is contrary to Darwinian expectations that microbes should be, by all rights, eating us instead of helping us.

  4. 4
    JVL says:

    Martin_r: I was wondering, what makes Darwinists so trustworthy …

    Seversky? JVL ? Chuck ? Help me understand …

    I’m not sure what you mean. I consider all ‘scientific’ knowledge provisional and subject to revision and, occasionally being thrown out of the door.

    I tend to trust those who admit they might be wrong and that their views might have to be revised if new data comes to light. In the last 150 years unguided evolutionary theory has been revised and updated and integrated with other scientific disciplines and new data. To me that’s the sign of a healthy and honest scientific discipline.

  5. 5
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    JVL
    I consider all ‘scientific’ knowledge provisional and subject to revision and, occasionally being thrown out of the door.

    Is your worldview based on science?

  6. 6
    Belfast says:

    It’s jarringly trite to repeat that knowledge is constantly subject to revision; Planck put it well, “science progresses one funeral at a time.”
    But Martin wants to know why there are a disproportionate number of funerals for Darwinism’s expectations.
    Give it your best shot, boys.

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    Belfast @6,

    Great post! LOL

    -Q

  8. 8
    Seversky says:

    Martin_r/1

    And here we go again

    Quite right.

    Darwinists wrong again … i was wondering why so many people believe in Darwinists…

    Okay, let’s have it your way. It was all designed.

    The polio, bubonic plague, tuberculosis, cholera, cancers, Ebola and all the other things that can go wrong are all designed?

    The hurricanes, floods and earthquakes which wreck whole communities, the supervolcanoes which can devastate most of the planet and the millions of asteroids and comets flying around out there one of which could do to us what one of them did to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, that’s all designed? For whose benefit?

    And we’re supposed to bend the knee and worship the Intelligent Designer responsible for all that?

    I think you can guess what my answer is likely to be.

  9. 9
    Querius says:

    Seversky’s answer is certainly predictable–that the God who created the universe out of non-existence must be evil. But in comparison, Seversky (who was created by God) is capable of judging between good and evil judges himself in comparison as good.

    Note that this isn’t sarcasm, but simply points out flawed thinking.

    -Q

  10. 10
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    Seversky
    The polio, bubonic plague, tuberculosis, cholera, cancers, Ebola and all the other things that can go wrong are all designed?

    Yes.

    The hurricanes, floods and earthquakes which wreck whole communities, the supervolcanoes which can devastate most of the planet and the millions of asteroids and comets flying around out there one of which could do to us what one of them did to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, that’s all designed?

    Yes

    And we’re supposed to bend the knee and worship the Intelligent Designer responsible for all that?

    Yes.

  11. 11
    Belfast says:

    @Seversky@8.
    That’s your best shot??
    Yes, it probably is.
    When a hole is kicked in a theory, serious people don’t squawk like a kid and demand that the opponent come up with another theory; the original question still stands.

  12. 12
    martin_r says:

    LCD @10

    an excellent post. Thank you.

  13. 13
    martin_r says:

    Seversky,

    by the way, you did not answer why do you believe in Darwinists… what makes Darwinists so trustworthy … i just can’t get it… you see it every day, with your own eyes, that “they (Darwinists) were wrong again” …

    Seversky, seriously, it is a simple question …

    What makes Darwinists so trustworthy ?

    (and please, don’t change the subject like you did @8)

  14. 14
    zweston says:

    Guys, the objections are theological, they aren’t scientific.

    Sev is basically trotting out the problem of evil. You can’t raise the problem without appealing to a standard of goodness… and to say that the world ought be different implies there is a transcendent standard..therefore a transcendent standard giver.

    Your problem isn’t with there being a creator, it is that you do not like the creator. But your theology is weak. Heaven isn’t some celestial worship service where we float around, but a fully redeemed earth where we will glorify God and enjoy him forever, eating, working, creating, marveling and worshipping. Otherwise, why would God call it “new earth”. A new car is a car that is new… we will dwell with God forever.

    —-

    Christianity has the answer for the problem of evil…. the world is broken because satan tempted and man gave in… it cursed the perfect world that God declared “very good” and caused a curse over all of creation… not just mankind… thorns, etc.

    But, Jesus Christ came to break the curse and is now at the right hand of God the father as Earth becomes more under his sovereign reign. One day he will restore it back to the way it is supposed to be after purging it of all idolatry and perversion. Then we will have the world that Seversky appeals to… one without death, suffering, sin, etc.

    Materialism has no gospel. Blind pitiless indifference, no?

  15. 15
    Querius says:

    Zweston @14,

    Yes, exactly! According to the Bible, satan is the god of this world and has been a spectacular failure in trying to be “like God.”

    So Seversky is actually complaining about satan. How’s that for irony!

    Materialism has no gospel. Blind pitiless indifference, no?

    But that seems perfectly fine to materialists for some reason. Have you EVER seen any of them complain about the “blind, pitiless indifference” of nature?

    -Q

  16. 16
    zweston says:

    I know that materialists pride themselves on following the truth, no matter how bleak the implications. I think truth should be pursued no matter what as well. However….

    I think it is ironic due to the fact they they really don’t do this. At least the skeptics on this board… I don’t see any engagement with findings, data, or conclusions of the ID scientists. I just see fallacies, bad philosophical/theological objections, etc.

    In my mind, anyone who is an atheist should be a reluctant one…who wouldn’t want to live forever in a better place designed for us? Who wants to live in a purposeless world without any objective truth or morality?

    Answer: We still want to be God, just like in the garden. We don’t want to answer to anyone. We think we know better than God and can progress to heaven on earth without God.

  17. 17
    William J Murray says:

    Zweston:
    Just so you know, I am a theist. I agree that the evidence for ID is conclusive. I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a Christian, but I do respect the positive influence that Christianity has had on the world and, of course, I enjoy the civilization that Christianity built.

    That said, one of the problems with many or most atheists is, as you said, they spend their time arguing against a God that they dislike. They could be better characterized as zealous anti-Christians than atheists. Neither side usually argues very well, but the reason those who are good at arguing for Christianity win those debates on merit is because atheists and materialists are defending an impossible-to-defend position because their position cannot account for existence, consciousness, free will, and puts them in a position they do not want to defend when it comes to morality.

    But the problem for Christians is that atheism/materialism is not the only other horse in the race; it’s just one of the easiest to beat.

    Note how you “solved” the problem of evil in #14:

    Christianity has the answer for the problem of evil…. the world is broken because satan tempted and man gave in… it cursed the perfect world that God declared “very good” and caused a curse over all of creation… not just mankind… thorns, etc.

    But, Jesus Christ came to break the curse and is now at the right hand of God the father as Earth becomes more under his sovereign reign. One day he will restore it back to the way it is supposed to be after purging it of all idolatry and perversion. Then we will have the world that Seversky appeals to… one without death, suffering, sin, etc.

    So you’ve solved the problem of evil by appealing either to a flaw in the design, or to the neglect of God who did not keep Satan out of the garden. Also, this is an appeal to the unjust nature of God for setting up a system where billions of people, who had nothing whatsoever to do with what Adam and Eve did, suffer for their decision.

    Christians generally counter these objections the same way – that we cannot presume ourselves to be more knowledgeable than the God they propose, and therefore we cannot judge why he does things the way he does. Yet, if that’s true, I also cannot judge any of the behavior of that proposed God because, ultimately, I’m not in a position to make reasonable evaluations about any of it.

    So what is left to make a decision about whether or not to believe in the Christian God? If I’m not in a position to reasonably judge some things God does as incompetent or unjust or evil, then I’m not in a position to judge anything God does as good, just and competent.

    What is then left to assess whether or not to sign up with the Christian God, when I have no way to evaluate the actions and behaviors of that proposed God?

  18. 18
    Lieutenant Commander Data says:

    William J Murray
    Christians generally counter these objections the same way – that we cannot presume ourselves to be more knowledgeable than the God

    If you were as knowledgeable as God you would be God. At least satan presumed that.

    If I’m not in a position to reasonably judge some things God does

    Yes, you are. God in person of Jesus Christ died for all humans there is no greater evidence of love from God and on the other side there is no greater evidence of ingratitude from you.

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