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Only New Scientist could come up with this

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From New Scientist:

Earth’s composition might be unusual for a planet with life

Is Earth the odd planet out? Many of our galaxy’s habitable planets probably have a chemical composition that is quite different from Earth’s. More.

So let’s get this straight: The only planet that we know has life (because we are awash in it) has a different chemical composition from planets that some people believe might have life (but maybe not, or we’ll never find out)?

So it comes down to fact vs. speculation. In which business would you invest your pension?

How did pop science get to be just SOOO nuts?

See also: Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

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4 Replies to “Only New Scientist could come up with this

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    Earth’s composition might be unusual for a planet with life – 15 September 2015
    Excerpt: Planets are built from the same basic material as their stars. “Most of the properties of planets of different types strongly depend on their host stars’ chemistry,” says Adibekyan. This suggests that planets in the habitable zone are typically lower in certain metals than Earth is.

    First off, their presupposition of “unusual for a planet with life” is a gargantuan presupposition. Even if the entire universe were nothing but a soup of prebiotic molecules there is no reason to presuppose that life will just spontaneously ’emerge’ from that soup.
    Even Eugene Koonin’s optimistic low end estimate against life spontaneously ’emerging’ in the universe (1 in 10^1018) greatly outstrips the probabilistic resources of the entire universe,,

    General and Special Evidence for Intelligent Design in Biology:
    – The requirements for the emergence of a primitive, coupled replication-translation system, which is considered a candidate for the breakthrough stage in this paper, are much greater. At a minimum, spontaneous formation of: – two rRNAs with a total size of at least 1000 nucleotides – ~10 primitive adaptors of ~30 nucleotides each, in total, ~300 nucleotides – at least one RNA encoding a replicase, ~500 nucleotides (low bound) is required. In the above notation, n = 1800, resulting in E less than 10^-1018. That is, the chance of life occurring by natural processes is 1 in 10 followed by 1018 zeros. (Koonin’s intent was to show that short of postulating a multiverse of an infinite number of universes (Many Worlds), the chance of life occurring on earth is vanishingly small.)

    The Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM) & Principle (UPP) – Abel – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Mere possibility is not an adequate basis for asserting scientific plausibility. A precisely defined universal bound is needed beyond which the assertion of plausibility, particularly in life-origin models, can be considered operationally falsified. But can something so seemingly relative and subjective as plausibility ever be quantified? Amazingly, the answer is, “Yes.”,,,
    c(omega)u = Universe = 10^13 reactions/sec X 10^17 secs X 10^78 atoms = 10^108
    c(omega)g = Galaxy = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^66 atoms = 10^96
    c(omega)s = Solar System = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^55 atoms = 10^85
    c(omega)e = Earth = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^40 atoms = 10^70

    “The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.”
    Ilya Prigogine, Gregoire Nicolis, and Agnes Babloyantz, Physics Today 25, pp. 23-28. (Sourced Quote)

    Programming of Life – Probability – Defining Possible, Probable, Feasible etc.. – video

    Dr. Paul Giem did a lecture on Dr. Koonin’s paper. In the lecture, it was found that Eugene Koonin’s estimates are overly optimistic. It is almost comical to learn some of the erroneous assumptions that are revealed to have been made by Dr. Koonin to get his ‘low’ 1 in 10^1018 probability for life originating:

    Eugene Koonin and the Origin of Life (OOL) 3-7-2015 by Paul Giem – video

    Even though Koonin’s 1 in 10^1018 number was overly optimistic, and he cut some ‘comical corners’ to arrive at that number, I do have to give credit to Koonin for being far more honest to just how difficult the OOL situation is than many origin of life researchers are:

    Origin of life both one of the hardest and most important problems in science – November 2011
    Excerpt: ‘Despite many interesting results to its credit, when judged by the straightforward criterion of reaching (or even approaching) the ultimate goal, the origin of life field is a failure – we still do not have even a plausible coherent model, let alone a validated scenario, for the emergence of life on Earth. Certainly, this is due not to a lack of experimental and theoretical effort, but to the extraordinary intrinsic difficulty and complexity of the problem. A succession of exceedingly unlikely steps is essential for the origin of life, from the synthesis and accumulation of nucleotides to the origin of translation; through the multiplication of probabilities, these make the final outcome seem almost like a miracle.’
    – Eugene V. Koonin, molecular biologist

    More conservative, but more realistic, estimates for the odds of life spontaneously emerging come in around 1 in 10^40000

    Signature in the Cell – Book Review – Ken Peterson
    Excerpt: If we assume some minimally complex cell requires 250 different proteins then the probability of this arrangement happening purely by chance is one in 10 to the 164th multiplied by itself 250 times or one in 10 to the 41,000th power.

    Fred Hoyle – Rejection of Earth-based abiogenesis
    Excerpt: Published in his 1982/1984 books Evolution from Space (co-authored with Chandra Wickramasinghe), Hoyle calculated that the chance of obtaining the required set of enzymes for even the simplest living cell without panspermia was one in 10^40,000. Since the number of atoms in the known universe is infinitesimally tiny by comparison (10^80), he argued that Earth as life’s place of origin could be ruled out. He claimed:
    The notion that not only the biopolymer but the operating program of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order.

    An even more realistic estimate is from Professor Harold Morowitz’s calculation.
    Professor Harold Morowitz has shown that the Origin of Life ‘problem’ escalates dramatically over the 1 in 10^40,000 figure when working at the molecular level from the thermodynamic perspective:

    “The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 in 10^340,000,000. This number is 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering since there is only supposed to be approximately 10^80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!”
    (Professor Harold Morowitz, Energy Flow In Biology pg. 99, Biophysicist of George Mason University)

    Programming of Life – Probability of a Cell Evolving – video
    “a typical functional protein – 1 part in 10^164
    the required enzymes for life – 1 part in 10^40,000
    a living self replicating cell – 1 part in 10^340,000,000”

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Morowitz did another probability calculation working from the thermodynamic perspective with a already existing cell and came up with this number:

    Excerpt: Molecular biophysicist, Horold Morowitz (Yale University), calculated the odds of life beginning under natural conditions (spontaneous generation). He calculated, if one were to take the simplest living cell and break every chemical bond within it, the odds that the cell would reassemble under ideal natural conditions (the best possible chemical environment) would be one chance in 10^100,000,000,000. You will have probably have trouble imagining a number so large, so Hugh Ross provides us with the following example. If all the matter in the Universe was converted into building blocks of life, and if assembly of these building blocks were attempted once a microsecond for the entire age of the universe. Then instead of the odds being 1 in 10^100,000,000,000, they would be 1 in 10^99,999,999,916 (also of note: 1 with 100 billion zeros following would fill approx. 20,000 encyclopedias)

    Punctured cell will never reassemble – Jonathan Wells – 2:40 mark of video

    And that is just the odds of life spontaneously emerging.
    In other words, that was the ‘gargantuan presupposition’ that the authors of the article in the OP took for granted, for a ‘given.
    i.e. Their gargantuan presupposition that life will just somehow spontaneously emerge if the conditions happen to be right.

    Yet, the odds for finding a planet capable of supporting life is a different matter altogether.

    Compositions of Extrasolar Planets – July 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,the presumption that extrasolar terrestrial planets will consistently manifest Earth-like chemical compositions is incorrect. Instead, the simulations revealed “a wide variety of resulting planetary compositions.

    As to finding the correct chemical composition on a planet that would be capable of supporting life, it is found that not only must the right chemicals be present on earth to have life, but the chemicals must also be present on the earth within ‘specific abundances’, i.e. within specific tolerances.

    Elemental Evidence of Earth’s Divine Design – Hugh Ross PhD. – April 2010
    Table: Earth’s Anomalous Abundances – Page 8
    The twenty-five elements listed below must exist on Earth in specific abundances for advanced life and/or support of civilization to be possible. For each listed element the number indicates how much more or less abundant it is, by mass, in Earth’s crust, relative to magnesium’s abundance, as compared to its average abundance in the rest of the Milky Way Galaxy, also relative to the element magnesium. Asterisks denote “vital poisons,” essential elements that if too abundant would be toxic to advanced life, but if too scarce would fail to provide the quantities of nutrients essential for advanced life. The water measure compares the amount of water in and on Earth relative to the minimum amount the best planet formation models would predict for a planet the mass of Earth orbiting a star identical to the Sun at the same distance from the Sun.
    carbon* 1,200 times less
    nitrogen* 2,400 times less
    fluorine* 50 times more
    sodium* 20 times more
    aluminum 40 times more
    phosphorus* 4 times more
    sulfur* 60 times less
    potassium* 90 times more
    calcium 20 times more
    titanium 65 times more
    vanadium* 9 times more
    chromium* 5 times less
    nickel* 20 times less
    cobalt* 5 times less
    selenium* 30 times less
    yttrium 50 times more
    zirconium 130 times more
    niobium 170 times more
    molybdenum* 5 times more
    tin* 3 times more
    iodine* 3 times more
    gold 5 times less
    lead 170 times more
    uranium 16,000 times more
    thorium 23,000 times more
    water 250 times less

    Hugh Ross, and his team, did extensive research and found that the odds of finding a planet capable of supporting life are, no pun intended, astronomical,,,

    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:
    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 10^311exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Requirements to sustain unicellular 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

    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere (10^-1054) – video

    Of related interest to the topic of ‘correct chemical composition’ is the recent Hazen paper on minerals:

    Earth’s mineralogy unique in the cosmos – August 26, 2015
    New research predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the cosmos.
    Excerpt: 5,000 types existing today arose primarily from the rise of life. More than two-thirds of known minerals can be linked directly or indirectly to biological activity, according to Hazen.,,,
    The team predicted that 1,563 minerals exist on Earth today, but have yet to be discovered and described.,,
    Earth’s mineralogy is unique in the cosmos,” Hazen said.

    Hazen’s finding for the uniqueness of minerals on earth falls right in line with the privileged planet hypothesis. The privileged planet hypothesis states:

    “The same narrow circumstances that allow us to exist also provide us with the best over all conditions for making scientific discoveries.”
    – Guillermo Gonzalez – Astronomer

    The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
    – Jay Richards – The Privileged Planet – The Correlation Of Habitability and Observability

    The Privileged Planet – video playlist

    Yet for observers to be able to make scientific discoveries on a ‘privileged planet’ in the first place, that planet would need to have the proper resources, i.e. metal ores, minerals, and energy, available in order to be able to sustain a technologically advanced civilization for any reasonable amount of time that would be able to make those scientific discoveries.

    The Concentration of Metals for Humanity’s Benefit:
    Excerpt: They demonstrated that hydrothermal fluid flow could enrich the concentration of metals like zinc, lead, and copper by at least a factor of a thousand. They also showed that ore deposits formed by hydrothermal fluid flows at or above these concentration levels exist throughout Earth’s crust. The necessary just-right precipitation conditions needed to yield such high concentrations demand extraordinary fine-tuning. That such ore deposits are common in Earth’s crust strongly suggests supernatural design.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Clearly many of the metal ores and minerals laid down by the ‘just right conditions’ of sulfate-reducing bacteria, as well as laid down by the biogeochemistry of more complex life, as well as laid down by finely-tuned geological conditions throughout the history of the earth, have many unique properties which are crucial for technologically advanced life, and are thus indispensable to man’s rise above the stone age to the advanced ‘space-age’ technology of modern civilization.


    Bombardment Makes Civilization Possible
    What is the common thread among the following items: pacemakers, spark plugs, fountain pens and compass bearings? Give up? All of them currently use (or used in early versions) the two densest elements, osmium and iridium. These two elements play important roles in technological advancements. However, if certain special events hadn’t occurred early in Earth’s history, no osmium or iridium would exist near the planet’s surface.

    Rare Earth Elements make high tech gadgets possible – 13:29 minute mark – video

    Newly Discovered Bacterium Forms Intracellular Minerals – May 11, 2012
    Excerpt: A new species of photosynthetic bacterium has come to light: it is able to control the formation of minerals (calcium, magnesium, barium and strontium carbonates) within its own organism. ,, carbonate rocks that date back some 3.5 billion years and are among the earliest traces of life on Earth.

    Calcium carbonate, of which chalk, limestone and marble are made, also makes up corals, shells of snails and other animals, and stromatolites. Strontium Carbonate is used in Ceramics, Pyrotechnics, Electronics and metallurgy. Barium carbonate is widely used in the ceramics industry as an ingredient in glazes. It acts as a flux, a matting and crystallizing agent and combines with certain colouring oxides to produce unique colours not easily attainable by other means. In the brick, tile, earthenware and pottery industries barium carbonate is added to clays to precipitate soluble salts. Magnesium carbonate also has several important uses for man.

    Minerals and Their Uses
    Excerpt: every segment of society uses minerals and mineral resources everyday. The roads we ride or drive on and the buildings we live learn and work in all contain minerals.

    Hugh Ross puts the situation like this:

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.

    As a Christian, I like the metaphor of ‘preparing for a wedding’ that Dr. Ross uses in the following video to illustrate the disparity that ‘The Anthropic Inequality’ presents in terms of providing a ‘window of time’ for any technologically advanced civilization in the universe to exist and make scientific discoveries:

    Hugh Ross – The Anthropic Principle and The Anthropic Inequality – video (23:00 minute mark)

    Moreover, in relation to the privileged planet hypothesis, and the anthropic inequality, it is found that the ever important ‘fine structure constant’ is fine tuned for intelligent observers in the universe to be able to make scientific discoveries:

    The Fine-Tuning for Discoverability – Robin Collins – March 22, 2014
    Excerpt: Examples of fine – tuning for discoverability.
    ,,A small increase in ? (fine structure constant) would have resulted in all open wood fires going out; yet harnessing fire was essential to the development of civilization, technology, and science – e.g., the forging of metals.,,,
    Going in the other direction, if ? (fine structure constant) were decreased, light microscopes would have proportionality less resolving power without the size of living cells or other microscopic objects changing.,,,
    Thus, it is quite amazing that the resolving power of light microscopes goes down to that of the smallest cell (0.2 microns), but no further. If it had less resolving power, some cells could not be observed alive. The fine – structure constant, therefore, is just small enough to allow for open wood fires and just large enough for the light microscope to be able to see all living cells.

    As well, in conjunction with the privileged planet principle, and the anthropic inequality, the chemistry of the universe just so happens to be of optimal benefit for life like human life:

    Privileged Species – video

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis – Michael J. Denton – February 25, 2013
    Summary (page 11)
    Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive. It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms.

    These finding directly challenge the Copernican/Mediocrity principle. i.e. Directly challenge the belief that the earth and humans are of no special significance in the universe
    Here are a few more notes that directly challenge, if not overturn, the Copernican principle:

    “Can we formulate physical laws so that they are valid for all CS [coordinate systems], not only those moving uniformly, but also those moving quite arbitrarily, relative to each other? […] The struggle, so violent in the early days of science, between the views of Ptolemy and Copernicus would then be quite meaningless. Either CS could be used with equal justification. The two sentences: “the sun is at rest and the earth moves” or “the sun moves and the earth is at rest” would simply mean two different conventions concerning two different CS.”
    Einstein, A. and Infeld, L. (1938) The Evolution of Physics, p.212 (p.248 in original 1938 ed.);

    “The relation of the two pictures [geocentrism and geokineticism] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view…. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is ‘right’ and the Ptolemaic theory ‘wrong’ in any meaningful physical sense.”
    Hoyle, Fred. Nicolaus Copernicus. London: Heinemann Educational Books Ltd., 1973.

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…

    The overturning of the Copernican Principle and the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead as the correct solution for the ‘theory of everything’:

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