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Early earth gases a lot like today, researchers who “directly challenge years of research” claim

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From “Setting the Stage for Life: Scientists Make Key Discovery About the Atmosphere of Early Earth” (ScienceDaily, Nov. 30, 2011), we learn:

Scientists in the New York Center for Astrobiology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have used the oldest minerals on Earth to reconstruct the atmospheric conditions present on Earth very soon after its birth.

For decades, scientists believed that the atmosphere of early Earth was highly reduced, meaning that oxygen was greatly limited. Such oxygen-poor conditions would have resulted in an atmosphere filled with noxious methane, carbon monoxide, hydrogen sulfide, and ammonia. To date, there remain widely held theories and studies of how life on Earth may have been built out of this deadly atmosphere cocktail.

Now, scientists at Rensselaer are turning these atmospheric assumptions on their heads with findings that prove the conditions on early Earth were simply not conducive to the formation of this type of atmosphere, but rather to an atmosphere dominated by the more oxygen-rich compounds found within our current atmosphere — including water, carbon dioxide, and sulfur dioxide.

Despite being the atmosphere that life currently breathes, lives, and thrives on, our current oxidized atmosphere is not currently understood to be a great starting point for life. Methane and its oxygen-poor counterparts have much more biologic potential to jump from inorganic compounds to life-supporting amino acids and DNA. As such, Watson thinks the discovery of his group may reinvigorate theories that perhaps those building blocks for life were not created on Earth, but delivered from elsewhere in the galaxy.

The researchers relied heavily on the study of zircons.

We wouldn’t recommend setting the results in stone just yet.

11 Replies to “Early earth gases a lot like today, researchers who “directly challenge years of research” claim

  1. 1
    GilDodgen says:

    It’s weird that people are even talking about the nature of the earth’s primordial atmosphere, as though this would have anything to do with explaining the origin of life. Even if conditions were ideal for the spontaneous appearance of amino acids, we already know that information and highly sophisticated machinery is required to assemble them into proteins and integrate their functions.

    It’s as though one might suggest: Conditions on the early earth were ideal for the formation of clay, and bricks are made of clay, so therefore we’ve made a major breakthrough in explaining where houses made of bricks came from.

    Darwinian materialists are a hoot. They call clay-to-bricks-to-brick-houses speculation science, and call an obvious inference to design anti-science.

    The Darwinist lives in an illogical, upside-down world, in which the obvious cannot possibly be true, and in which the absurd and irrational must be true.

    Talk about blind faith.

  2. 2
    Mytheos says:

    I think the early atmosphere was quite GODish.

    A GODy atmosphere I think would have been conducive to the emergence of life.

    Studies have shown that those who dwell in environments with high levels of GOD tend to live longer and acquire less disease.

  3. 3
    MrDunsapy says:

    If you take a Godish atmosphere, and give it to some scientists to use,it turns into a humanish atmosphere, and that will kill you prematurely.

  4. 4

    Gil, I agree with you, that having the “right” atmosphere won’t do anything to explain how the constituents came together to form life. I do think the atmospheric discussion is relevant, at least insofar as it is yet another important achilles heel in the materialistic creation myth.

    If one believes (as does Stanley Miller, for example, as we’ve been discussing on another contemporaneous thread recently) that a reducing atmosphere is critical for the formation of appropriate organic compounds, then the negation of that atmosphere means the building blocks of life must have been delivered by comets and asteroids. This is what Watson in the cited article has decided. Yet Miller argues, probably quite correctly, that the amount and concentration of building blocks from space was never enough to get the process started. So what we have is yet another conundrum confronting the materialistic creation story.

    I absolutely agree that the most critical conundrum is getting information into life, and we need to keep the focus firmly on that issue. But there are lots of other chinks in the armor (DNA/protein synthesis, homochiralty, etc.) and the failure to identify even a reasonable source for the constituent building blocks is another important weakness in the materialistic story.

  5. 5
    Joe says:

    Gil, Gil, Gil,

    It isn’t “clay-to-bricks-to-brick-houses”

    It’s nucleotides-to-clay-to-RNA-to-ribozymes-to-self-sustained replication with variation add eons of time and here we are.

    Ya see your bricks don’t replicate. But if they could replicate and add some variation, then they could form that house- just use your imagination.

  6. 6

    Joe, I presume you left of the /sarc tag?

  7. 7
    Joe says:

    No, no, no- I am a true bulliever now- imagination = evidence is much easier than actually having to produce something real. So I am opting for the easy way out.

    😉

  8. 8

    Thanks, Joe. I realized after I wrote my comment that you were being sarcastic. Just threw me for a moment — I’ve seen so many true believers use the “with replication nothing is impossible” line of argumentation, that I wasn’t sure you were joking.

  9. 9
    Joe says:

    Replication with random variation plus vast eons of time- that’s it, nothing else is required. Do I get my PhD in evolutionary biology now?

    Easy, job done, nothing else to see here, besides ID is dead.

    Didn’t you watch the evolutionary documentary “The Island of Dr Moreau”? It’s all (in the) DNA (think “Fletch”- “it’s all ball-bearings”).

    Why waste time with science when all you really need to do is take the canned answer off the shelf, open and serve?

    Replication with random variation plus vast eons of time- that’s it, nothing else is required.

    Silky smooth with some tasty flavor- you just want more and more. Unfortunately all there is is more of the same. But we also have these very handy promissory notes that assure you more flavors will be coming, some day, eventually. But until then if you just use your imagination-> here try a hit of this to help you on your way…

    🙂

  10. 10

    “It’s all ball bearings!” LOL, thanks! Makes me want to go back and see Fletch again.

  11. 11

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