Posts Tagged ‘life’

Debate has long reined over the mysterious origin of oxygen in our atmosphere. Because oxygen is such a key ingredient in life it would seem necessary for oxygen to be present before life could have formed.  However, the most accepted theory in scientific circles today is that life came first, then came oxygen. But isn’t oxygen needed for life? Here I will briefly introduce the dilemma of oxygen’s origins on earth and the conclusions (or lack there of) it provides.

The story starts with earth. Earth is hungry to consume oxygen. Oxygen reacts with minerals in the earth, with hydrogen in the atmosphere, and dissolved minerals and gases in the ocean. The earth consumes oxygen relentlessly (Catling, 70). The oxygen absorbing substances are called “reductants,” and they are a problem for any source of oxygen (Catling, 69). David Catling, an Astrobiology Professor at the University of Washington writes, “While oxygen appears to be essential for complex life, planets are constructed with chemicals that consume oxygen, so oxygen should not accumulate. Earth’s oxygen rich atmosphere is rather mysterious,” (Catling, 69). In fact, the only way for oxygen to accumulate is for oxygen production to exceed earth’s ability to consume it. So what are the potential sources for oxygen?

There are two sources for oxygen; biological and non-biological. The latter is a process called photodissociation, in which ultraviolet rays break apart water molecules separating the oxygen from the hydrogen. Studies have shown that the rate at which this could occur is the same rate at which hydrogen would escape the atmosphere (Des Marais). However, the rate at which this would occur is hardly sufficient to produce the amount of oxygen present on earth. (Des Marais).

So the only other solution is biological. When organic carbon and pyrite become buried in sediments, mostly from the ocean, oxygen is released (Catling, 69). There is a problem with this theory though because it would require an increase of the burial rate to create the exponential increase needed for oxygen to overwhelm earth’s reductants, yet studies show that carbon burial in sedimentary rock was constant during this period of time in earth’s history (Siegel). So carbon burial cannot be the predominant cause.

oxygen evolution model

The standard uniformitarian model for the evolution of life and chemical compositions in earth’s atmosphere.

However, organic life itself creates oxygen. Cyanobacteria was the first photosynthesizer, and thus the first producer of oxygen (Eden, 33 and Wolfe, 143). Cyanobacteria itself cannot be the cause for the accumulation though because according to current theories and history models cyanobacteria appeared almost a billion years before the oxygen accumulated in earth’s atmosphere. So again, we hit a brick wall. In the end there are a variety of theories explaining the oxygen build up, but there is a reoccurring theme in all of them: Life came before oxygen, because life is the cause of oxygen. As science writer David Biello writes, “Climate, volcanism, plate tectonics all played a key role in regulating the oxygen level during various time periods. Yet no one has come up with a rock-solid test to determine the precise oxygen content of the atmosphere at any given time from the geologic record. But one thing is clear—the origins of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere derive from one thing: life,” (Biello). This “fact” that oxygen origins come from life is assumed, yet when analyzed, presents a problem that jeopardizes the entire theory of oxygen’s origin.

cyanobacteria

Cyanobacteria. The assumed origin of oxygen on earth.

Oxygen and life have a catch 22 relationship. Oxygen is very harmful to life (Eden, 33). At the same time oxygen is needed to provide the ozone layer which protects life from ultraviolet radiation (UVR)coming from the sun (Perlman & Milder, pp. 121). If Cynobateria came before oxygen, because it is the cause of oxygen, then Cynobacteria would have had to develop several forms of protection to mitigate the damage from UVR: avoidance, scavenging, screening, repair, and programmed cell death (Singh, Hader, and Sinha). However, UVR damage is immediate and the time needed to “evolve” protection against it via natural selection, incredibly slow. So, UVR damage would occur before any such defense mechanisms could evolve.

One seemingly good solution to this problem is water. More specifically, the ocean. If cyanobacteria first evolved in the ocean, the ocean would protect them from UVR, right? Well not exactly. The only way for the ocean to block UVR is if you go deep underwater. At which point the depth is too deep to photosynthesize. The argument then follows, that perhaps life first originated in the ocean, then overtime evolved enough to come up to the surface to photosynthesize without getting burned by UVR.  But even this theory has its own problems. Namely the problem of hydrolosis or “water-splitting.” The US National Academy of Sciences explains, “In water, the assembly of nucleosides from component sugars and nucleobases, the assembly of nucleotides from nucleosides and phosphate, and the assembly of oligonucleotides from nucleotides are all thermodynamically uphill in water. Two amino acids do not spontaneously join in water. Rather, the opposite reaction is thermodynamically favored at any plausible concentrations: polypeptide chains spontaneously hydrolyze in water, yielding their constituent amino acids,” (Luskin). Physicist Richard Morris concurs, “… water tends to break chains of amino acids. If any proteins had formed in the ocean 3.5 billion years ago, they would have quickly disintegrated,” (Morris, 167). Additionally, the cytoplasm of living cells contain essential minerals of potassium, zinc, manganese and phosphate ions. If cells manifested naturally, these minerals would need to be present nearby. But marine environments do not have widespread concentrations of these minerals (Switek). Thus, it is clear, life could not have formed in the ocean.

What we’re left with is a perplexing paradox: Water prevents the formation of life. Oxygen prevents the formation of life. Lack of oxygen prevents the formation of life. Yet the only source of oxygen currently accepted is organic. How can organics be the source of something it requires present in the first place? The only way for life to create oxygen is if the life itself already has built in mechanisms present from the very beginning to protect itself from the outside environment.

Needless to say, the specific details regarding the origin of oxygen remain mysterious. Catling writes, “Although we think we know when oxygen first appeared and rose, we know very little about its rise to the present level, especially about the relationship between atmospheric oxygen and the development of animals,” (Siegel).

As time goes on maybe these issues will be clarified. But the paradox between life and oxygen remains. So much so that it leaves me to postulate the more likely scenario of life being created with infrastructure necessary to survive in its environment. That is, God created an environment for life, and life for an environment. There are just too many problems with a step by step natural origin for all the factors required for the origin of oxygen. As of right now, at least, it is the only answer to this paradox.

Biello, D., (August 2009) “The Origin of Oxygen in Earth’s Atmosphere,”  www.scientificamerican.com

Catling, D., (2008) “Where did the oxygen in the atmosphere come from?” as written in Seventy Mysteries of the Natural World, ed. M.J. Benton, (London: Thames and Hudson)

Des Marais, D.J. (Oct 1999) “Where did the Earth’s atmospheric oxygen come from?” scientificamerican.com

Luskin, C., (Feb 2012) “More Scientists Admit the Mystery of Life’s Origin,” www.evolutionnews.org

Morris, R., (2002) The Big Questions, (Times Books/Henry Holt:New York,NY)

Out of Eden, (2005) (London: Transworld Publishers)

Perlman, D.L. & Milder, J.C. (2004) Practical Ecology for Planners, Developers and Citizens, (Washington, DC: Island Press)

Siegel, L., (July 2003) “The Rise of Oxygen,” Astrobiology Magazine, http://www.astrobio.net

Singh, S.P., Hader, D.P., & Sinha, R.P. (April, 2010) “Cyanobacteria and ultraviolet radiation (UVR) stress: Mitigation Strategies,” as accessed on Feb 18, 2013 at http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19524071

Switek, B., (February 2012) “Debate Bubbles Over the Origin of Life,” http://www.nature.com

Wolfe, N., (Jan 2013) “Small Small World,” National Geographic

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A common question regarding the Christian worldview is the problem of our lifetimes. It doesn’t make sense that we only live a few years on earth and then spend an eternity in heaven. Why such a short physical life to determine where we spend our eternal spiritual life? To answer this question the key point to consider is that this was not God’s original design for humans. Humans (Adam and Eve) were originally created to live for an incredibly long time, some even argue that all of creation was originally designed to live infintely. However, when Adam and Eve sinned against God death entered creation. Romans 5:12; “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people…”

 

So sin enters the world, now these created beings which where designed to live longer are now cut short because of sin. Even at that, Adam is said to have lived to be to 930 years old (Gen. 5:5), and the subsequent offspring lived very long as well, with the Biblical record being Methuselah who lived to be 969 years old (Gen 5:27). In fact, all Biblical characters lived very long until after the time of Noah. After Noah, humans still lived a few hundreds years old but the age dropped significantly and within a few generations people were living very short lives like 20-30 years. Not to go too far off on a tangent, but it has all the symptoms of a genetic bottleneck that we observe in animal populations today. Bible believing biologists believe that there must have been a wide variety genes in the human gene pool which were lost when all humans were killed with only Noah and his family remaining (a genetic bottleneck). Only the genes they possessed were passed on to the repopulated humans, which unfortunately did not possess the genes to live very long.

 

So humans were designed to live a very long time, sin enters the world and now we’re cut down to hundreds of years, the flood creates a genetic bottle neck and life spans decrease dramatically and only in more modern times with the advancement of medicines, sanitation, nutrition, ect. do we see people living past 100 frequently. So our physical existence is now brief, but it wasn’t always that way. We were originally intended to have a very long physical life alongside with God, but our sin causes us to die and thus end that relationship with God prematurely. So God provides us with an opportunity of redemption to continue to have this eternal relationship with Him, despite death killing us physically. What we lost physically, is reconciled spiritually. Thus, we live briefly physically, but eternally spiritually.

The very first life form on earth. What was it? What did it look like? When did it appear? How did it come to be? These are all very good questions. Questions which are usually answered with more imagination than actual science since we weren’t there to observe of course. But the biggest question has to be the “how.” It is the “how,” that plagues the scientist’s mind when it comes to the first life.

There are only two means by which the first life could have appeared: natural origins or supernatural origins. Natural origins means the life came from non-living chemicals. Supernatural origins means the life came from an Intelligent Designer, a Creator God. Now immediately science throws out supernatural origins because it is of course not natural, and therefore, in the minds of most scientists, not science. Yet science itself cannot seem to yield any satisfying answers to the origin of life on earth. If life came from non-life, this brings with it a wide variety of problems and dead ends.

The Environment Problem

As much as we understand this planet to be hospitable for life, it is only hospitable for life fitted to live on it. For example, oxygen and water are required for life to exist, but are also detrimental to the internal components of an organism.

Let us take oxygen for example: It is a poisonous gas that oxidizes organic material.[1] The only way organisms can tolerate it is because they are already capable of tolerating it, with membranes that protect oxygen from damaging internal components of the cell. Therefore there is no way the organisms could have evolved from non-living material unless protective membranes were already present to protect the vulnerable internal organelles from oxidization. What are the odds that the first life form ever just so happened to have a protective membrane already in place?

Some evolutionists argue that this is not a problem because it assumes oxygen was not present in the early atmosphere of earth, and therefore not a threat. But the evidence does not support this claim. Even earth’s oldest rocks contain evidence of formation in an oxygen rich atmosphere.[2] Atmospheric physicists believe the earth has been fully oxidized for at least 4 billion years.[3] A fairly recent article published on crystals dated to 4.4 billion years ago show heavy evidence of oxidation.[4] Additionally, oxygen is needed for life as protection from harmful UV rays which we have via from the ozone layer, which is made out of oxygen![5] If there was no oxygen UV rays would eradicate all early life forms. Biochemist and molecular biologist Michael Denton writes, “What we have is sort of a ‘Catch 22’ situation. If we have oxygen we have no organic compounds, but if we don’t have oxygen we have none either.”[6]

To get around this concern of oxidization, scientists propose life formulated in the oceans and therefore was not subjected to oxygen initially. But just as with oxygen, water is hazardous to life as well. Organic molecules would be destroyed through the process of hydrolysis (also called “water splitting”) in which water bonds between two molecules causing them to split apart.[7] Any amino acid trying to form a protein would have its bond broken in a short matter of time. The US National Academy of Sciences confirms, “In water, the assembly of nucleosides from component sugars and nucleobases, the assembly of nucleotides from nucleosides and phosphate, and the assembly of oligonucleotides from nucleotides are all thermodynamically uphill in water. Two amino acids do not spontaneously join in water. Rather, the opposite reaction is thermodynamically favored at any plausible concentrations: polypeptide chains spontaneously hydrolyze in water, yielding their constituent amino acids.”[8] Physicist Richard Morris concurs, “… water tends to break chains of amino acids. If any proteins had formed in the ocean 3.5 billion years ago, they would have quickly disintegrated.”[9] Thus, the first life form would have needed a protective membrane already in place to protect it from oxygen and water. Yet, where did this membrane come from?

Additionally, the cytoplasm of living cells contain essential minerals of potassium, zinc, manganese and phosphate ions. If cells manifested naturally, these minerals would need to be present nearby. But marine environments do not have widespread concentrations of these minerals.[10] This has lead researchers to propose that life originated not in oceans, and not in locations exposed to oxygen, but instead in geothermal pools, geysers and mudpools, much like the primordial soup Darwin proposed. Yet all these geothermal features have one thing in common: They are incredibly acidic.[11] They also tend to be very hot, which would destroy many vital amino acids.[12] How did the cell develop protection from this acidity and from this heat? Without such protection initially it could have never come together.

Some speculate that natural selection of non-living chemicals provided such protective features. This is, however, a common error some scientists make in this arena when they propose natural selection occurred for these protective systems to be in place. As Chemist Dr. Jonathan Sarfati points out, “…when it comes to the origin of first life, natural selection cannot be invoked, because natural selection is differential reproduction. That is, if it worked at all, it could only work on a living organism that could produce offspring. By its very definition, it could not work on non-living chemicals. Therefore, chance alone must produce the precise sequences needed, so these simulations do not apply.”[13]

A significant problem with proposing life arose spontaneously via natural means is that in order to do so, the components of the cell would have to be naturally nearby. In other words, the cell’s chemical makeup would have to be harmonious with the environment’s chemical make up. UniversityCollegeof Londonbiochemist Nick Lanepoints out the problem with this, “To suggest that the ionic composition of primordial cells should reflect the composition of the oceans is to suggest that cells are in equilibrium with their medium, which is close to saying that they are not alive. Cells require dynamic disequilibrium — that is what being alive is all about.”[14] This is a tough fact to accept, but undoubtedly true. How could the first life form have naturally manifested via chemical means with a chemical make up so different and unique from the environment it is within?

The Homochirality Problem

Moving forward brings forth a new set of problems when amino acids are discussed. Often amino acids are discovered in locations where it is suggested they are naturally produced (like being found in meteorites). When this happens there is usually a hype of excitement over uncovering the source of the origin of life via natural means. But simply having amino acids around doesn’t solve the origin of life problem. There is an issue of handedness with amino acids. Out of the twenty amino acids used for life, the atoms that build them formulate two different shapes; right handed and left-handed amino acids. Just like a human hand, they’re slightly different. Your thumb is on the left side on one hand, but on the right side on the other. Amino acids are likewise mirror images of each other and are therefore called chiral.

But this creates a problem. Just like hands clasping together, right and left handed amino acids want to bond, canceling each other out. Yet, the amino acids found in proteins are 100% left handed, where as right handed amino acids are never found in proteins![15] Research indicates that right handed amino acids could never form a functioning protein. The fact that only left handed amino acids can create life is called homochirality. Yet any natural process of creating amino acids would create and equal amount of both left handed and right handed amino acids called racemates.[16]

 

One of the most influential chemist/biochemists of the 20th century, Linus Pauling, writes, “This is a very puzzling fact… All the proteins that have been investigated, obtained from animals and from plants from higher organisms and from very simple  organisms- bacteria, molds, even viruses- are found to have been made of L-amino acids.”[17] This is puzzling of course because what natural process only produces one type of amino acid, and not the other amino acid detrimental to life? The late Robert Shapiro, professor emeritus of chemistry at New York University writes, “The reason for this choice [only L-amino acids] is again a mystery, and a subject of continued dispute.”[18] Biochemist and head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Director of Clinical Research at the Singapore General Hospital, Dr. Aw Swee-Eng, is more direct on the subject, “The logical conclusion from these considerations is a simple and parsimonious one, that homochirality and life came together. But evolutionary lore forbids such a notion. It claims to explain how life began, but on the profound issue of life’s “handedness” there is no selective mechanism that it can plausibly endorse.”[19]

The Concept of Information

One factor that is sometimes left out in origin of life talks, that is in my opinion, critical, is the concept of information. All living organisms contain within their DNA information, and not just a little, but a lot! Former physics professor and director of information processing at the Instituteof Physicsand Technology in Braunschweig Germany, Dr. Werner Gitt, writes, “The highest known (statistical) information density is obtained in living cells, exceeding by far the best achievements of highly integrated storage densities in computer systems.”[20] This information leads to highly efficient bio-machinery in our cells that complete a vast array of functions. Every biological function that occurs can be traced back to proteins from genes from reading and transcribing RNA that receives the instructions from the information stored in DNA. It doesn’t simply just happen. It is an immensely complex, sophisticated and detailed process occurring non-stop and very rapidly. In fact, the average cell produces a protein through these processes every four minutes.[21]

Any theory or hypothesis to how life originated naturally must take the source of this information into account. Yet, none can be found. Gitt writes, “There is no known law of nature, no known process and no known sequence of events which can cause information to originate by itself in matter.”[22] Biologist Dr. Raymond Bohlin writes, “DNA is information code… The overwhelming conclusion is that information does not and cannot arise spontaneously by mechanistic processes. Intelligence is a necessity in the origin of any informational code, including the genetic code, no matter how much time is given.”[23] Philosopher of Science and founder of the Discovery Institute, Dr. Stephen Meyer, writes, “Our uniform experience affirms that specified information-whether inscribed hieroglyphics, written in a book, encoded in a radio signal, or produced in a simulation experiment-always arises from an intelligent source, from a mind and not a strictly material process.”[24]

Thus, we are left with no natural method or process by which non-living chemicals can produce the informational code found in every life form that as ever existed. Biologist, Chemist and Physiologist Dr. Gary Parker writes, “Imagine that you have just finished reading a fabulous novel. Wanting to read another book like it, you exclaim to a friend, ‘Wow! That was quite a book. I wonder where I can get a bottle of that ink?’ Of course not! You wouldn’t give the ink and paper credit for writing the book. You’d praise the author, and look for another book by the same writer. By some twist of logic, though, many who read the fabulous DNA script want to give credit to the ‘ink (DNA base code) and paper (proteins)’ for composing the code.”[25]

Not Enough Time

With all things considered, many scientists try to jettison out the first life dilemma with the “time” argument. The argument being that given enough time anything can happen! Even the impossible…

The late Nobel prize winning scientist George Wald once wrote, “However improbable we regard this event [evolution], or any of the steps which it involves, given enough time it will almost certainly happen at least once… Time is in fact the hero of the plot… Given so much time, the ‘impossible’ becomes possible, the possible probable, the probable virtually certain. One has only to wait; time itself performs the miracles.”[26]

Now let us logically think about this. Given enough time, anything is possible? First, I feel pressed to point out that there is something irrational in saying that because something is possible, it will occur. Or anything that can happen, will happen. It is possible that in flipping a coin every minute for fifty years you will get heads every time and never tails… but that doesn’t mean it will happen if you tried. Regardless, the notion that given enough time anything can happen is hardly scientific in my opinion, because it flies in the face of observational science. For example, the Law of Biogenesis which firmly points out that life has only been observed coming from existing life, never from non-life. There is also cell theory, which states that cells arise from pre-existing cells. Regardless of the amount of time tacked onto the issue, the law cannot change, and the dimension of time has no characteristic capable of changing this law.

Let us take for example a chair placed in a room. The chair remains in the room for one hundred years, then a thousand years, and eventually billions of years. At any point would that chair become organic or “living” in anyway? Of course not. It would remain just a chair forever. Why? Because there is nothing inherent in non-living molecules that drive them to arrange themselves into living structures. If there were, they’d be doing so to this day at an observable rate. Such is not the case. Life comes from life, and non-life remains non-life everyday.

Another flaw in this argument is the amount of time in question. Such statements like Wald’s seem to have at least a small degree of plausibility in perhaps an infinite time scenario, but time is not infinite. It definitely had a starting point. A starting point which conventional scientists place at 12 to 14 billion years ago. That is a major constraint on how long time is allowed to work its magic. Cosmologist Dr. Hugh Ross writes, “When it comes to the origin of life, many biologists (and others) have typically assumed that plenty of time is available for natural processes to perform the necessary assembly. But discoveries about the universe and the solar system have shattered that assumption. What we see now is that life must have originated on earth quickly.”[27]

This constraint worsens though because conventional geology and biology places the first life forming 3.5 billion years ago, and the earth is only supposedly 4.5 billion years old. So from a naturalist’s or uniformitarian’s point of view there was a billion years from the time earth was formed to the first fossil evidence of life, from which life is said to have manifested. A billion years is a significant time constraint.

Yet, the time constraint worsens further. From a conventional scientist’s perspective adhering to the nebular hypothesis of sun and planet formation, time is further restricted. The first millions of years would have been one of intense meteorite bombardment of earth as the solar system was forming. These intense meteorite bombardments would have eradicated any chance of life forming on earth. By the time these impacts are calculated to have ceased and the time of the first life forms appearing in the fossil record we’re left with a 10 million year gap.[28] That is an enormous time constraint. Additionally, some scientists propose this time frame was shorter because of the “faint sun paradox.” Namely, that the sun was 20 to 30% less luminous when it first existed, creating a very cold inhospitable world.[29] This makes it difficult to apply Ward’s philosophy of an abundance of time making the impossible possible because there is, for lack of a better phrase, hardly any time at all…

In fact, Nobel Prize winning cytologist and biochemist Christian de Duve states, “It is now generally agreed that if life arose spontaneously by natural processes—a necessary assumption if we wish to remain within the realm of science—it must have arisen fairly quickly, more in a matter of millennia or centuries, perhaps even less.”[30] So much for having all the time in the world.

Lastly, I do feel it is necessary to point out the entropy dilemma when it comes to time. The more time that elapses the higher the entropy, so if anything more time doesn’t make anything possible, but in fact, decreases the potential of anything to happen. As biochemist Dr. Royal Truman writes, “The claim that, with time, anything is possible, including the creation and perpetuation of life, is not based on any scientific principle. Rather, the opposite is true: complex and improbable structures of any kind tend to disintegrate over time.”[31] Sarfati agrees, “Long time periods do not help the evolutionary theory if biochemicals are destroyed faster than they are formed.”[32]

Panspermia; DNA astronauts

The difficulty with life spontaneously arising via chemical means is such a problematic concept that it lead Nobel Prize winner and DNA founder Francis Crick to instead postulate that life originated someplace else and traveled to earth via meteorite or space craft.[33] He admits, correctly, that this does not solve the origin of life problem, but merely pushes it back to another location, but that is precisely the point. He proposes that another life bearing planet may have had a slightly different environment more hospitable for the natural chemical means for life to originate.[34] This theory relies on the hypothetical existence of other such life bearing planets to which there is no scientific evidence of, period.

There is additionally a whole host of other problems with Panspermia. How do living cells survive an arduously long space flight on a meteorite? Let us not forget how far away the nearest star is much less the nearest hypothetical life bearing planet. Think of how difficult it would be to create and engineer a capsule to keep living cells alive for thousands of years of space flight, yet a random natural meteorite is capable of doing the job? DNA would have succumb to radiation exposure over such a long period of time in space flight. How did the DNA withstand the lethal radiation? So, these same cells that defied death in thousands (if not millions) of years of freezing space exposed to lethal radiation then somehow survived a scorching hot entry into earth’s atmosphere to reproduce on earth’s surface? As chemist Russell Grigg puts it, “All in all, interstellar space travel for living organisms is sheer wishful thinking.”[35]

What about contamination? Many of the meteorites found on earth claimed to have evidence of microbial life could just have easily had been contaminated with microbial life after they landed. Contamination is the number one reason why all these claims have been rejected actually.

To get around these concerns, many scientists instead believe meteorites and comets didn’t have life per se, but had the building blocks of life on them. But this circles back around to the original reason why panspermia was imagined in the first place. The building blocks of life were already present on earth. Adding more to the mix via meteorites doesn’t in anyway increase the likelihood of life arising via chemical means anyways. Ross brings up another good point, “Though comets, meteorites partly composed of carbon, and interplanetary dust particles may carry some prebiotics, they carry far too few to make a difference. In fact, with every helpful molecule they bring, come several more that would get in the way- useless molecules that would substitute for the needed ones.”[36] Life developing from nonliving chemicals is hard enough to prove, but suggesting life was seeded by meteorites from hypothetical life elsewhere in the universe is flat out impossible to prove. Yet, likewise, impossible to disprove… and so many cling to this notion to avoid a supernatural cause.

From Bolts to Boeing 747s

Many scientists additionally fail to properly distinguish the building blocks of life and living organisms themselves. Parker writes, “The pyramids are made of stone, but studying the stone does not even begin to explain how the pyramids were built. Similarly, until evolutionists begin to explain the origin of the ‘orderly mechanism,’ they have not even begun to talk about the origin of life.”[37]Just as there is a huge void between the bolts and small parts of a 747 to them actually all being carefully assembled into a fully functioning 747, likewise, the simple building blocks of life are organized in an immensely complex way in even the most primitive of organisms.

Hoyle writes of this airplane analogy, “What are the chances that a tornado might blow through a junkyard containing all the parts of a 747, accidentally assemble them into a plane, and leave it ready for take off? The possibilities are so small as to be negligible even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards t fill the whole universe!”[38] Botanist Alexander Williams states, “There is an unbridgeable abyss below the autopoietic hierarchy, between the dirty, mass-action chemistry of the natural environment and the perfect purity, the single-molecule precision, the structural specificity, and the inversely causal integration, regulation, repair, maintenance and differential reproduction of life.”[39]

According to molecular biophysicist Harold Morowitz If you were to take a living cell, break every chemical bond within it so that all you are left with is the raw molecular ingredients, the odds of them all reassembling back into a cell (under ideal natural conditions) is one chance in 10100,000,000,000.[40] Additionally, Morowitz assumed all amino acids were bioactive when calculating these odds.[41] But only twenty different types of amino acids are bioactive, and of those, only left handed ones can be used for life. This further worsens the odds… And with odds like that, time is completely irrelevant because no amount of time could surpass before such an impossible miracle occurred naturally.

Non-theists counter argue that life was not necessarily as complex in the beginning as it is today. Therefore, the odds of a less complex form of life spontaneously assembling are much more probable. The problem with this counter argument is that the earth 3.5 billion years ago was supposedly hardly different at all (environment and atmosphere-wise) than earth today. Meaning the bare necessities required for life to exist on earth today were the same in the past, which is that of great complexity. Additionally minimum complexity presents its own problems in that minimally complex organisms require other larger organisms to survive and are not capable of surviving individually. Thus the first life and its subsequent offspring would have had to have been able to survive independently which requires sophisticated biological features.

Astronomer Michael Hart calculated the odds of DNA spontaneously generating with 100 specific genes (what he declared to be the minimum possible for life) in the most unrealistic yet optimistic conditions over the course of ten billion years. The odds? One in ten to the negative three thousandth power (10-3,000).[42] The time it would take for 200,000 amino acids to come together by chance to create one human cell would be 293.5 times the estimated age of earth of 4.6 billion years.[43] The Director of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Delaware, Dermott Mullan, calculates that the odds of RNA assembling into a primitive cell over the course of an optimistic 1 billion years is one in 1079.[44] Material scientist Dr. Walter Bradley and Chemist Dr. Charles Thaxton calculated that the probability of amino acids forming just one protein is 4.9 x 10-191.[45] The odds of amino acids coincidentally being in the precise order and folds required to make the all the enzymes required for life is 10-650.[46] These are all horrible odds for a natural origin of life. Then consider that these statistics are independent of each other; the DNA would have to spontaneously generate, amino acids randomly together to form proteins in a cell, RNA assembling into a cell, etc. It is hard to accept with these odds, that anything that can happen did happen.

The Reproduction Puzzle

The late philosopher Anthony Flew, an ex-atheist, spoke of many of the philosophical troubles he had with the natural origins for life. One of which that was of great concern was reproduction. Life evolving from non-life is already such a statistical impossibility, but if it did happen, this first life would have to be able to reproduce and replicate itself. Information encoded DNA capable of driving life derived from non-living chemicals is already an absurd concept, but to contain information for replication and overall reproduction is astounding. This is from a philosophical standpoint, perplexing. It is too perfect and too coincidental that the very first life, already an impossibility, just so happened to also be able to duplicate itself. Such ability has “design” written all over it, not “chance.”

Error Protection

Even the most primitive cells today have multiple checkpoints in place to protect against errors. Cells have DNA checkpoints, where cell function momentarily pauses for special proteins to repair damaged DNA. There is an apoptosis checkpoint right before mitosis begins where specialized proteins called survivins run a “diagnostics” to determine whether the cell will proceed with mitosis or die through apoptosis. A spindle assembly checkpoint ensures chromosomes are properly bound together. Telomeres burn like fuses every time a cell divides. Once a telomere becomes too short, the cell stops dividing, usually maxing out at fifty divides.[47]  This feature controls cell division. Failure for these mentioned checkpoints to operate leads to a whole host of diseases, most notably cancers.[48]

So how did the first cell protect against errors when it reproduced? Such a capability could not have evolved, because such a capability would have been needed right from the very beginning. Without such a feature, all subsequent life would contain error-prone genetics and would not be able to function or reproduce. Mullan, points out, “A cell formed under these conditions [naturally] would truly be subject to serious uncertainties not only during day to day existence but especially during replication. The cell could hardly be considered robust.”[49] In order to maintain healthy function and reproduction, the first cell would have already needed these specialized checkpoints to guard against errors. The cells could not afford to wait thousands or millions of years for them to evolve. If they did, we wouldn’t be here.

Simultaneous Presence

In order to have fully functioning life at even the most basic kind, functioning RNA, DNA and proteins must be present. Remove any one of these from the picture and life can’t function. For example, transcription, translation and DNA replication all require systems already in place to occur. These functions could not simply have evolved because life requires them in place to begin with. As Ross states, “Thus, for life to originate mechanically, all three kinds of molecules [DNA, RNA, and proteins] would need to emerge spontaneously and simultaneously from organic compounds. Even the most optimistic of researchers agree that the chance appearance of these incredibly complex molecules at exactly the same time and place was beyond the realm of natural possibility.”[50]

Though biologists point out that some RNA has been found to act as enzymes or catalysts to perform functions that DNA or a protein would normally do, this has lead many scientists to propose that all one needs is the spontaneous generation of RNA, and it would take care of the rest. Problems with this theory is that the RNA studied to reveal these abilities was very limited, and could not account for the vast functioning seen in DNA and proteins overall. Furthermore, in order for RNA to function this way it would have to contain just as much information as the DNA and protein itself, so the issue of complexity in even the earliest life isn’t solved with RNA either. Molecular Biologist and professor at the Scripps Research Institute, Dr. Gerald F. Joyce writes, “The most reasonable interpretation is that life did not start with RNA … The transition to an RNA world, like the origins of life in general, is fraught with uncertainty and is plagued by a lack of relevant experimental data. Researchers into the origins of life have grown accustomed to the level of frustration in these problems …”[51]

Conclusion

Biologist Jonathan Wells just about sums it up, “So we remain profoundly ignorant of how life originated.”[52] Earth Scientist Casey Luskin writes, “It’s time for a little reality check here: origin-of-life theorists need to explain how a myriad of complex proteins and features arose and self-assembled into a self-replicating life-form by unguided processes, but they are still scraping for mechanisms to explain how an inert primordial soup of organic molecules could have arisen in the first place.”[53] Hoyle writes, “If there were some deep principle that drove organic systems towards living systems, the operation of the principle should easily be demonstratable in a test tube in half a morning. Needless to say, no such demonstration has ever been given. Nothing happens when organic materials are subjected to the usual prescription of showers of electrical sparks or drenched in ultraviolet light, except the eventual production of a tarry sludge,” and “As biochemists discover more and more about the awesome complexity of live, it is apparent that its chances of originating by accident are so minute that they can be completely ruled out. Life cannot have arisen by chance.”[54] Physicist and Information Theorist Dr. Hubet Yockey writes, “The origin of life by chance in a primeval soup is impossible in probability in the same way that a perpetual machine is in probability. The extremely small probabilities calculated… are not discouraging to true believers . . . [however] A practical person must conclude that life didn’t happen by chance.”[55]

Yockey then goes further to add, “The history of science shows that a paradigm, once it has achieved the status of acceptance (and is incorporated in textbooks) and regardless of its failures, is declared invalid only when a new paradigm is available to replace it. Nevertheless, in order to make progress in science, it is necessary to clear the decks, so to speak, of failed paradigms. This must be done even if this leaves the decks entirely clear and no paradigms survive. It is a characteristic of the true believer in religion, philosophy and ideology that he must have a set of beliefs, come what may… Belief in a primeval soup on the grounds that no other paradigm is available is an example of the logical fallacy of the false alternative. In science it is a virtue to acknowledge ignorance. This has been universally the case in the history of science… There is no reason that this should be different in the research on the origin of life.”[56] Biochemist and head of the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Director of Clinical Research at the Singapore General Hospital, Dr. Aw Swee-Eng, concludes, “The available evidence from the field and the laboratory is not amicable to the theory that life began with the accidental assembly of a self-replicating molecule.”[57]

As it has been clearly demonstrated, there are a wide variety of blockades standing in the way of a natural origins answer for the first life, and no definitive solution has been reached nor can be confidently expected to be reached in the future. Yet, the other option, supernatural origins, is not subject to such obstacles. In fact, every problem a natural origin faces can be satisfactorily answered via supernatural origins. Though many scientists will not appeal to super natural intervention on the grounds that it is not science, and merely a “cut and run” for those who are too impatient to wait for future researchers to provide an adequate natural origins argument.

In response to that notion, Denton answers, “The almost irresistible force of the analogy has completely undermined the complacent assumption, prevalent in biological circles over most of the past century, that the design hypothesis can be excluded on the grounds that the notion is fundamentally a metaphysical a priori concept and therefore scientifically unsound. On the contrary, the inference to design is a purely a posteriori induction based on a ruthlessly consistent application of the logic of analogy. The conclusion may have religious implications, but it does not depend on religious presuppositions.”[58] Therefore, adhering to supernatural cause through rational deduction with proper observational science as support cannot be considered unscientific. Additionally, such a conclusion should not be considered a “cut and run” if the problems faced by natural origins can never be solved via natural means. What discovery (or discoveries) could solve the information, reproduction, environment, homochirality problems?

Physicist H. S. Lipson writes, “If living matter is not, then, caused by the interplay of atoms, natural forces, and radiation [i.e., time, chance, and chemistry], how has it come into being? I think, however, that we must go further than this and admit that the only acceptable explanation is creation.”[59] Parker writes, “In a novel, the ink and paper are merely the means the author uses to express his or her thoughts. In the genetic code, the DNA bases and proteins are merely the means God uses to express His thoughts. The real credit for the message in a novel goes to the author, not the ink and paper, and the real credit for the genetic message in DNA goes to the Author of Life, the Creator…”[60] Medical pathologist David Demick, M.D., concludes, “Thousands of experiments, and all of the recently gained knowledge of molecular biology and genetics, have only served to strengthen the most fundamental law of biology, laid down by Virchow over a century ago: ‘omni cellules e cellules’ (all cells come from other cells), also known as the Law of Biogenesis. Life only comes from life. This was the law established by the Author of Life, Who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life—Jesus Christ.”[61] Griggs concludes, “Life is bristling with machinery, codes and programs, which are not an inherent property of the material substrate (the information for their construction having been passed on during reproduction). No observation has ever shown such information-bearing structures arising spontaneously. The obvious inference from science, as well as the obvious implications of Scripture, is that the original creation of living things involved the very opposite of chance, namely, the imposition of external intelligence on to matter by an original Designer or Creator.”[62]

So we’re left with a choice. Supernatural or natural? One answers all these problems, the other does not. You can hold out for a natural answer if you wish, but I would rather side with a sure thing. Logically, an Intelligent Designer, a God, is in my opinion, the only rational explanation behind the first life.


[1] Ward, P. & Brownlee, D., (2000) Rare Earth, Copernicus:New York,NY, pp. 245.

[2] Clemmey, H. & Badham, N., (1982) “Oxygen in the Atmosphere: An Evaluation of the Geological Evidence,” Geology, 10:141.

[3] Thaxton, C.B., Bradley, W.L., & Olsen, R.L., (1984) The Mystery of Life’s Origin: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library:New York,NY, pp. 69-98.

[4] Trail, D., Watson, B.E., & Tailby, N.D., (December 2011) “The Oxidation State of Hadean Magmas and Implications for Earth’s Early Atmosphere,” Nature, 480: pp. 79-82.

[5] Riddle, M., (2008) “Can Natural Processes Explain the Origin of Life?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 3, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 66.

[6] Denton, M., (1985) Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Alder & Alder:Bethesda,MD, pp. 261.

[7] Riddle, M., (2008) “Can Natural Processes Explain the Origin of Life?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 3, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 66.

[8] As quoted in Casey Luskin’s “More News Sources Admit the ‘Mystery’ of Life’s Origin,” (February 2012) http://www.evolutionnews.org

[9] Morris, R., (2002) The Big Questions, Times Books/Henry Holt:New York,NY, pp. 167.

[10] Switek, B., (February 2012) “Debate Bubbles Over the Origin of Life,” http://www.nature.com

[11] Switek, B., (February 2012) “Debate Bubbles Over the Origin of Life,” http://www.nature.com

[12] Sarfati, J., “15 Loopholes in the Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Life,” creation.com

[13] Sarfati, J., (2002) Refuting Evolution 2, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 157.

[14] As quoted in Brian Switek’s  “Debate Bubbles Over the Origin of Life,” (February 2012) http://www.nature.com

[15] Riddle, M., (2008) “Can Natural Processes Explain the Origin of Life?” as written in Ken Ham’s The New Answers Book 3, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 67.

[16] Ashton, J., (2000) In Six Days, Master Books:Green Forest,AR, pp. 82.

[17] Pauling, L., (1970) General Chemistry, 3rd Ed., W.H. Freeman & Co.:San Francisco,CA, pp. 774.

[18] Shapiro, R., (1986) Origins: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Summit Books:New York,NY, pp. 86.

[19] Swee-Eng, A., “The Origin of Life; a Critique of Current Scientific Models,” creation.com

[20] Gitt, W., “Dazzling Design in Miniture: DNA Information Storage,” creation.com

[21] Parker, G., (January 1994) “The Origin of Life: DNA and Protein,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[22] Gitt, W., (2006) In The Beginning Was Information, Master Books:Green Forest,AR.

[23] Lester, L. & Bohlin, R., (1989) The Natural Limits To Biological Change, Probe Books:Dallas,TX, pp. 157.

[24] Meyer, S., (2009) Signature in the Cell, Harper Collins:New York,NY, pp. 347

[25] Parker, G., (January 1994) “The Origin of Life: DNA and Protein,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[26] Wald, G., (1954) “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191 no. 2:48.

[27] Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 137.

[28] Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 138.

[29] Mullan, D., “Probabilities of Randomly Assembling a Primitive Cell on Earth,” http://www.iscid.org

[30] Duve, C., (September-October 1995) “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” American Scientist, pp. 428.

[31] Truman, R., (December 2001) “The Fish in the Bathtub,” Creation

[32] Sarfati, J., “15 Loopholes in the Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Life,” creation.com

[33] Morris, J.D., “How Did Life Originate?” http://www.icr.org

[34] Crick, F., (October 1981) “The Seeds of Life,” Discover Magazine

[35] Grigg, R., (September 2000) “Did Life Come to Earth From Outerspace?” Creation, 22:(4), pp. 42

[36] Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 138-139.

[37] Parker, G., (January 1994) “The Origin of Life: DNA and Protein,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[38] As quoted in Paul E. Little’s Know Why You Believe, 4th Ed., InterVarsity Press:Downers Grove,IL, pp. 26.

[39] Williams, A., (August 2007) “Life’s Irreducible Structure- Part 1: Autopoiesis,” Journal of Creation, 21:(2) pp. 115.

[40] Shapiro, R. (1986) Origins: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Summit Books:New York,NY, pp. 128.

[41] Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 141.

[42] Hart, M. H. (1990) “Atmospheric Evolution, the Drake Equation, and DNA: Sparse Life in an Infinite Universe,” Physical Cosmology and Philosophy, MacMillan:New York,NY, pp. 264.

[43] Little, P.E., (2000) Know Why You Believe, 4th Ed.,InterVarsity Press:Downers Grove,IL, pp. 26.

[44] Mullan, D., “Probabilities of Randomly Assembling a Primitive Cell on Earth,” http://www.iscid.org

[45] Thaxton, C., Bradley, W., & Olsen, R., (1984) The Mystery of Life’s Origins: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library:New York,NY, pp. 80.

[46] Sarfati, J., “15 Loopholes in the Evolutionary Theory of the Origin of Life,” creation.com

[47] Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics; Concepts and Applications, 8th Ed., McGraw Hill:New York,NY, Pp. 30-31.

[48] Lewis, R., (2008) Human Genetics; Concepts and Applications, 8th Ed., McGraw Hill:New York,NY, Pp. 355.

[49] Mullan, D., “Probabilities of Randomly Assembling a Primitive Cell on Earth,” http://www.iscid.org

[50] Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos, Navpress:Colorado Springs,CO, pp. 142.

[51] Joyce, G.F.,  (1989) “RNA Evolution and the Origins of Life,” Nature 338: pp. 222-223

[52] Wells, J., (2000) Icons of Evolution, Regnery Publishing:WashingtonD.C., pp. 24.

[53] Luskin, C., (February 2012) “More News Sources Admit the ‘Mystery’ of Life’s Origin,” http://www.evolutionnews.org

[54] Hoyle, F., (1983) The Intelligent Universe, Michael Joseph:London, pp. 251.

[55] Yockey, H.P., (1992) Information Theory and Molecular Biology, CambridgeUniversity Press:UK, pp. 257.

[56] Yockey, H.P., (1992) Information Theory and Molecular Biology, CambridgeUniversity Press:UK, pp. 336.

[57] Swee-Eng, A., “The Origin of Life; a Critique of Current Scientific Models,” creation.com

[58] Denton, M., (1986) Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,3rd Ed., Alder & Alder, pp. 341.

[59] Lipson, H. S., (May 1980) “A Physicist Looks at Evolution,” Physics Bulletin, pp. 138.

[60] Parker, G., (January 1994) “The Origin of Life: DNA and Protein,” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[61] Demick, D., (December 2000) “Life From Non-Life… or Not?” Creation 23:1 pp. 41.

[62] Grigg, R., (December 1990) “Could Monkeys Type the 23rd Psalm?” Creation 13:1 pp. 34

Having a bad day? Feeling unlucky? After reading this you might feel differently because things could be a lot worse…

Our universe:

If…

…there were just two dimensions plus a time dimension, or four dimensions plus a time dimension life could not exist. Life can only exist in three dimensions plus a time dimension.

…the strong nuclear force was slightly altered the nuclei essential for life could not exist because hydrogen would not exist.

…the weak nuclear force was slightly altered there would be no heavy elements (or too many heavy elements) emitted by stars. Life would not exist.

…the gravitational force was slightly higher stars would burn too hot, if slightly lower, stars would never ignite, and thus no life would be possible.

…the electromagnetic force constant was slightly different no chemicals could bond and thus no life could exist.

…the ratio of electromagnetic force to gravitational force was slightly altered stars would be either too massive or too large and life could not exist.

… the ratio of proton mass to electron mass was slightly different chemicals would not bond and life would be impossible.

…the ratio of protons to electrons was slightly different galaxy, star and planet formation could not occur and life could not exist.

…the expansion rate of the universe was slightly slower it would collapse in on itself immediately, if slightly faster galaxies would never form, and thus no life.

…the entropy level was slightly different galaxy formation could not occur, and neither would life.

… the mass density of the universe was slightly different stars would burn too rapidly and life could not exist.

… the velocity of light was slightly different stars would be either too bright, or not bright at all, preventing life from existing.

…if the uniformity of radiation was smoother stars and galaxies could not form. If coarser, the universe would be empty space. Either way, no life.

…the decay rate of protons was slightly different radiation levels would be so high it would eradicate all life, but if too low, allow for no matter in the universe.

…the energy level ration between carbon and oxygen atoms was slightly different there would not be enough oxygen and carbon in the universe to support life.

…the ground state energy level for Helium was slightly different there wouldn’t be any carbon or oxygen, and therefore no life.

…the decay rate of Beryllium was slower stars would catastrophically explode. If faster, no chemistry for life would be possible.

… the mass excess of the neutron over the proton was slightly different heavy elements would not be possible and stars would collapse in on themselves. Again, no life possible…

…the polarity of water was greater heat generated by evaporation would kill all life, but if lower all water would be frozen and kill all life.

…the amount of supernova eruptions were occurring too frequently life would be exterminated, but if not at all heavy elements would not be present.

…the amount of white dwarf binaries in the universe were any less we wouldn’t have enough fluorine for life chemistry. If any more, planetary orbits would be disrupted and life would be exterminated.

…the ratio of exotic to ordinary matter was just slightly off the universe would collapse in on itself.

…if the amount of dark matter in the universe was slightly different, galaxies, stars, and planets could not have formed, and thus no life.

Max Tegmark, associate professor of physics at MIT states, “Our universe appears surprisingly fine-tuned for life in the sense that if you tweaked many of our constants of nature by just a tiny amount, life as we know it would be impossible.”[1] Another physics professor at MIT, Alan Lightman, writes, “…according to various calculations, if the values of some of the fundamental parameters of our universe were a little larger or a little smaller, life could not have arisen… The strengths of the basic forces and certain other fundamental parameters in our universe appear to be ‘fine-tuned’ to allow the existence of life.”[2]

The Planet Earth:

If…

…earth was in an elliptical galaxy or an irregular galaxy the lack of heavy elements and radiation exposure would prevent any life from existing. Life can only exist on a planet in a spiral galaxy, which is the kind we’re in (obviously).

…the earth was in one of the spiral arms of our galaxy the amount of radiation and supernova explosions would kill all life. Yet Earth lies in the peaceful openness between our galaxies’ spiral arms.

…the earth was too far away from the center of the galaxy there would be no heavy elements to form life. If too close to the center radiation and disruption in planetary orbit would kill all life.

…there were more than one star in our solar system our orbit would be disrupted enough to prevent life from existing.

… the sun we orbit were any larger it burn too rapidly and burn up all life. But if any smaller the rotational and tidal periods of earth would be drastically altered and there would not be enough UV radiation to allow plants to create sugars and oxygen.

… the sun burned a different color (more red, blue, ect.) plants could not photosynthesize.

… the surface gravity of earth was just minutely altered the atmosphere would contain either too many gases poisoning life, or too little gases and we’d lose our protection from deadly radiation.

…the earth was closer to the sun we’d be too hot. Farther and we’d be too cold. A change as much as 2% would kill all life.

…the orbital eccentricity was greater, seasonal changes would be too extreme for life to withstand.

…the axial tilt was slightly changed, surfaces temperatures would be too high for life.

… the earth rotated faster atmospheric wind velocities would be catastrophically violent, if slower, temperature differences would be too great.

… the earth’s magnetic field were stronger, electromagnetic storms would be catastrophic, but if too weak, solar radiation would eradicate all life.

…the earth’s crust were too thick too much oxygen would enter the crust killing life, if too thin, volcanic activity would kill all life.

… the albedo of earth was slightly different we’d either start a runaway heat up or runaway cool down which would kill most life forms.

…there were more asteroids and comets in the solar system, constant collisions would kill most life.

…the carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere were too high there would be a catastrophic greenhouse effect, if too low, plants could not photosynthesize.

…there were too much water vapor in the atmosphere a runaway greenhouse effect would kill all life, if too little there would not be enough rainfall to support life on land.

…the atmospheric discharge of electricity (lightning) were too high fires would reach catastrophic levels, but if too low, there would not be enough nitrogen in the atmosphere to support life.

…the ozone level in our atmosphere were too high surface temperatures would be freezing, and if too low, radiation would kill all life.

…the moon were too close, tidal forces would catastrophically sweep over the earth surface, and if too far, create instabilities in earth’s climate.

Cosmologist Dr. Hugh Ross claims that all the factors required for life to exist in the universe and on earth happening by chance is one in ten to the forty-second power (1 x 1042).[3] Physicist Roger Penrose calculates it out to be one in ten to the one-hundred and twenty-third power (1 x 10123)![4]

Biological Life:

But we’re not even done yet… you can have all the ingredients for life, but still not have life. What caused life to first appear? How did it first come about on its own? We have still never observed life come from non-life (Law of Biogenesis). Yet, life exists!

Oxygen is poisonous gas that oxidizes organic and inorganic material on earth. The first life form would have to have a protective membrane immediately from the very beginning.[5] Biochemist Dr. Michael Denton notes, “What we have is sort of a ‘Catch 22’ situation. If we have oxygen we have no organic compounds, but if we don’t have oxygen we have none either.”[6] Water would likewise kill any exposed polypeptides required for life through hydrolysis, if it wasn’t already protected. What are the odds that first life forms would automatically have protective membranes to guard against oxidization and hydrolysis?

Now take into consideration reproduction. The first life would have to be capable of reproduction or else we wouldn’t be here. The odds of life generating from non-life is already difficult to postulate, but to then propose it coincidentally was capable of reproducing is philosophically astounding. What are the odds of that?

Molecular Biophysicist Harold Morowitz calculates that the odds of a single living cell developing on its own is one in ten to the one-hundredth billion power (1 x 10100,000,000,000)![7] Astronomer Michael Hart calculates the odds at one in ten to the three thousandth power (1 x 103,000).[8] Materials scientist Dr. Walter Bradley and chemist Dr. Charles Thaxton calculate the odds of life forming from non-life as five in ten to the one hundred and ninety-first power (4.9 x 10191).[9] Astronomer Sir Frederick Hoyle and professor of applied math and astronomy Chandra Wickramasinghe calculate the odds as one in ten to the forty thousandth power (1 x 1040,000).[10] No matter which one you pick… these are all really bad odds!

Ok, so now you have life, but out of the millions of life forms on this planet, only one (humans), are capable of intellectual thought, art, reason, science, ect.

Ok, so now you’re a human, life can still suck depending on where you live. And if you’re reading this, you’re probably living inAmerica, a relatively wealthy country with immense civil rights. A country that by shear citizenship, puts you in the top percentile of wealthiest people on earth. Your odds of being born inAmerica, one in twenty two.

So let us rewind. What are the odds that you live in a great country, are a human, are alive, on a planet that supports life, in a galaxy that supports a planet that supports life, in a universe that supports life? The odds are not good at all. In fact, the odds are so bad you are technically defying all odds by simply reading this. So it is kind of hard to have a bad day when technically you shouldn’t exist!

Our existence alone is testimony to a God that created us, and loves us. Psalms 8:3-4 says, “When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?” (NIV).

So have a blessed day, because you are definitely blessed!


[1] Tegmark, M., (July 2011) “The Multiverse Strikes Back,” http://www.scientificamerican.com

[2] Lightman, A.P., (December 2011) “The Accidental Universe; Science’s Crisis of Faith,” http://www.harpers.org

[3] Ross, H., (1994) The Creator and the Cosmos,  Navpress Publishing Group:Colorado Springs,CO, pp.134.

[4] Luskin, C., (April 2010) “Penrose on Cosmic Fine Tuning,” http://www.evolutionnews.org

[5] Ward, P. & Brownlee, D., (2000) Rare Earth, Copernicus,New York: NY, pp. 245.

[6] Denton, M., (1985) Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Alder & Alder:Bethesda,MD, pp. 261.

[7] Shapiro , R., (1986) Origins: A Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Summit Books, New York, NY, pp. 128.

[8] Hart, M.H., (1990) “Atmospheric Evolution, the Drake Equation, and DNA: Sparse Life in an Infinite Universe,” Physical Cosmology and Philosophy, Macmillan,New York, NY, pp. 263-264.

[9] Thaxton, C., Bradley, W., & Olsen, R., (1984) The Mystery of Life’s Origins: Reassessing Current Theories, Philosophical Library:New York,NY, pp. 66.

[10] Hoyle, F. & Wickramasinghe, C., (1984) Evolution from Space, Simon & Schuster:New York,NY, pp. 176.

I love Astronomy. I love looking through my telescope at the moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and star clusters. I love reading books on cosmology and astrophysics, and watching KCET documentaries. And if you’re like me and love these things as well then you have surely wondered the same question I have. Even more likely, if you’ve ever looked at the night sky you’ve surely asked yourself this question: Is there life out there? Are there Aliens? Are we alone?

Surely the universe is big enough for more than just us. Proxima Centauri, the nearest star to our solar system, is 4.3 light years away. A light year is 10 trillion kilometers. So Proxima Centauri is 43 trillion kilometers away![1] Now keeping that in mind, there are over 200 billion stars in our Milky Way Galaxy, which is about 100,000 light years across.[2] Now keeping that in mind, there are 2 million other “visible” galaxies, with upwards of 100,000 million others proposed, across a distance (visible) of 15,000 million light years.[3] With a grand total of anywhere from 10 to the twenty-second power to 10 to the twenty-fourth power of stars within the visible universe.[4] You have to use scientific notations for numbers that big, but in layman’s terms that’s about 10 sextillion stars! It’s almost unfathomable to think of just how big our universe is!

 

When looking at photos such as these which show case just a few hundred of galaxies each containing an average of 100 billion stars, it’s hard not to think about all the possibilities. We’re talking billions upon billions of other planets in just one galaxy right? Surely there has got to be life on some of these other planets! Surely we’re not the only ones in such a massive universe that contains so much! How could anyone for sure say there is no life out there?

My adolescent thoughts weren’t so uncommon, even Stephen Hawking, arguably the world’s foremost cosmologist, shares this same perspective. When understanding that our galaxy is just one of millions Hawking argues, “the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.”[5]

The Fermi Paradox

Every civilization known on earth at one point or another exhibits three objectives; exploration, colonization and survival. These sociological factors are then assigned to proposed extraterrestrial civilizations, in that they will, just as we do, explore and colonize to survive. Mathematicians in 1961 took known statistics of star numbers, hypothesized life sustaining planets, hypothesized numbers of planets per star, etc and combined these statistics into the equation N=R x fp x ne x fl x fi x fc x L known as Drake’s equation.[6] In completing this equation it was estimated that there are 10 other civilizations in our galaxy alone. As time went on, statistics of course changed, and today the product of this equation is now 0.0000008 civilizations in our galaxy.[7] This may seem like a very low probability for life out in space, but that is actually a very high probability, considering there are at least 2 million other galaxies out there.

Nobel-prize winning physicist Enrico Fermi noted the apparent paradox of these results. The Fermi Paradox is the contradiction of this high probability of ET civilizations and the fact that we haven’t made contact with any. In other words, if there are aliens out there, we should have made contact with them by now. Since we haven’t, there must not be any aliens. Now, some may run with this alone to conclude that there is no life out there. But as convincing as the Fermi Paradox is as a rational argument, it has some flaws.

The first flaw is assuming alien civilizations would actually evolve into highly advanced space-bound civilizations. From an evolutionary perspective, out of all the millions of animals on earth, only one (humans) evolved to achieve space travel. So there could be many alien life forms out there that are just as simple as horses, worms or bacteria. Another flaw is space travel itself; spacecraft may be able to travel fast, but colonization processes are slow. Alien exploration would only be as fast as its colonization process. There are also many other potential flaws as well, like aliens having an ethical code to avoid other life forms, or an alien colony’s exploration hindered by funding limitations or wars, etc. The problem is, when it comes to proposed imaginary aliens we know nothing about there are millions of reasons as to why we may not have made contact with any. Therefore, as interesting as the Fermi Paradox is, it is inconclusive since it is built upon assumptions and just as easily refuted by assumptions.

The Distance Problem

Ok, let’s hypothetically say there are aliens out there that are incredibly advanced and have achieved space travel. And let’s go further and say they are relentlessly exploring the universe around them. There is a significant problem with just how big our universe is. Remember that whole 15,000 million light years wide universe from earlier? Well that’s pretty big. The distance between stars is so incredibly vast that travel times would be ridiculous. This is not even taking into consideration the distance between galaxies which is even larger!

The Apollo astronauts took three days to get to the moon which is 238,897 miles away.[8] At that same rate it would take 870,000 years for a space ship to reach our nearest star.[9] Now let’s say we sent an unmanned probe out to space at a speed one-tenth the speed of light. It would still take 43 years to reach the nearest star. So yes, higher speeds are possible, but then we run into another problem. For every cubic kilometer of space there are on average 100,000 particles of silicate and ice.[10] Hitting one of these small particles at incredibly high speeds would cause a massive explosion on the ship. Now granted, hitting one of the 100,000 particles per cubic kilometer is a very small chance, it’s still a chance. And if you’re traveling a vast distance of 4.3 light years, that very small chance turns into a guaranteed fact.

As you can see, traveling to the nearest star alone has enough problems. But traveling to multiple stars or other galaxies. Well, that is just completely out of the question. So even if aliens were advanced enough, there’d be no reason to believe they’d travel to earth. It can be ruled out that aliens would visit us but that doesn’t mean they do not exist…

The Failed Search

Astrobiology, AKA exobiology, is the study or process of finding and examining life from outer space. But when you really think about it you have to ask yourself what astrobiologists are actually studying? There has been no life discovered outside of earth and everything else has been purely imagination and speculations. As JPL Systems Admin David F. Coppedge writes about astrobiologists, “We know about astrophysics and astrochemistry, but where is the biology in astronomy? So far, it’s only in the imaginations of evolutionists, who think the recipe for life is as simple as ‘just add water.’”[11] Or as renowned paleontologist George Gaylord Simpson called it, “a science without a subject.”[12]

But let’s give astrobiologists the benefit of the doubt. As said before, our universe is incredibly large. So when it comes to our search for ET life, even our most advanced technology doesn’t do us much good. The popular astronomer analogy is the glass of water analogy. With our current technology and capabilities, our search for ET life is as effective as dipping a glass cup into the ocean, pulling it out, and examining the contents of the water in the cup to determine whether or not there are fish in the ocean. Just as the ocean is too large for one glass cup to discover fish, so is the universe too large for our ability to discover alien life.

We do however have the ability to search our own solar system! Believe it or not, our solar system’s variety of planets and moons is incredibly rare compared to other systems we observe around us in our galaxy. The planets in our solar system have different sizes, density, atmospheres, moons, etc. They provide a plethora of different environments for life to exist on. If you believe in evolution which proposes that life can develop via simple means and adapt to any environment then we should surely find life on these other celestial bodies!

The search first began with our moon. Between 1969 to 1972 six lunar landings revealed that the moon was sterile of life. In 1976 the Viking probe went to Mars only to find it too was sterile of life. Both Voyager missions which traveled to Saturn, Jupiter, Uranus and many of their moons revealed incredibly harsh and unlivable conditions everywhere. Radio-telescopes to this day scan the skies searching for ET signals and beaming our own signals out. Yet to this day, no conclusive proof of life outside of earth has been found.

But wait! Haven’t there been discoveries of micro-organisms found on meteors and rocks from Mars. And what about earth like planets in other solar systems? Let me again state that there has been no CONCLUSIVE proof of life outside of earth found. There have been many claims of microorganisms found on meteors since 1996. Problem is these results are always inconclusive because there is no way to know whether or not these samples were contaminated with life from earth after they landed. Especially when these microorganisms are identical to the ones found on earth. But even if we did find life on other planets, moons or meteorites, contamination from earth can still come into play.

As physicist Paul Davies suggests, if Mars is capable of projecting rocks to Earth, than Earth is just as capable of projecting rocks to Mars.[13] Microbial life from Earth has been found at altitudes ranging from 30,000 to 130,000 feet. Solar wind is capable of blowing organisms from 0.2 to 1 micron in size throughout our universe. Some microbial life forms can survive temperatures of -200 degrees centigrade for six months and still be able to germinate. Some microbial life forms can survive 600 kilorads of x-ray radiation.[14] The smallest amounts of graphite can protect microbes from UV rays. A meteorite impact of massive scale might be enough to project some earth rocks to another planet. Inside these rocks would be plenty of microbial life that could germinate on the surface of another planet if the conditions were right, though conditions are never “right” on any planet in our solar system other than earth.

All this means is that life from earth could potentially survive space travel for short periods of time. Now the possibility of life surviving space travel, and then spreading onto another planet, is extremely unlikely. Even microbial life has a shelf life in such extreme environments. It becomes even more unlikely to propose that alien life could survive coming from another solar system to ours. Let’s take for example our nearest star, Proxima Centauri, 4.3 light years away. Let’s say a rock was somehow ejected from a planet from that system containing microorganisms and made a direct trip to earth. At the speed needed to escape it’s own planets gravity, it would take about 115,000 years to get here.[15]  And much longer for any other rock coming from any other system. Way too long for life to survive on that rock. By then, radiation, extreme temperatures and lack of nutrition would surely destroy any life/DNA it contained.[16] All in all, at the end of the day, we still find ourselves empty handed when it comes to the search for life outside our planet.

Our Perfect Planet

However, the “absence of evidence” is not “evidence of absence.” In a debate that seems so hotly debated using mostly assumptions, speculations and imagination it is important to not overlook the hard facts that we have laid out right before us. As said before, life requires the “right” conditions for it to exist. These conditions are obviously found on earth. But a common misconception is that these right conditions are anywhere and everywhere in the universe because the conditions are pretty simple. I remember in middle school learning about space in my science class with my teacher (and text book for that matter) claiming that earth contains life because earth is just the right distance from the sun and contains water. That’s it. Just those two simple factors; temperature and water. Well in that case life is pretty easy and should be able to easily form on planets all over the universe!

Wrong! Life isn’t that simple. In fact, the “right” conditions needed for life are a lot more complicated and precise. According to Guillermo Gonzalez PhD, Asst. Professor of Astronomy at Iowa State University and Jay W. Richards PhD, Vice President of the Discovery Institute, the factors required for life to exist, which earth contains, are as follows:

A: Circumstellar Habitable Zone

Water is a very important factor for supporting life on our planet. But a planet must be a certain distance from the sun for water to be present in its three forms; solid, liquid and gas. This zone at which water can take these three forms is called the Circumstellar Habitable Zone. If earth were 5% closer to the sun, we’d be out of the zone and all water would boil and evaporate. (Ex: Earth would turn into a Venus like planet). If earth were 20% further from the sun, we’d once again be out of the zone and all water would freeze. (Ex: Earth would be more Mars-like).

But when taking the Climatic Runaway Principle into consideration, the earth could not be 2% closer nor further from the sun.

Climatic Runaway Principle: The earth is perfectly balanced between a run away heat up and a runaway freeze up. If the earth get’s just a little too hot, more water vapor and CO2 will collect in the atmosphere which will increase the atmosphere’s greenhouse effect, which will only perpetuate the temperature increase, and further the greenhouse effect until the heat becomes intolerable to life.

If the earth get’s just a little too cold, more ice and snow will form. The white color of the ice and snow reflects sunlight out of our atmosphere cooling the planet, which would in turn leads to more ice and snow, and cooler temps, and so on and so forth.

B: Orbiting a main sequence G2 dwarf star

This is the type of star we orbit. If the sun were less massive, like 90% of the stars in our galaxy, the habitable zone would be smaller and we’d be much closer to the sun. The dramatic increase in gravitational pull from the star would knock earth out of rotation and we’d be perfectly synchronized orbiting the sun. In other words, no more night and day. One side of the earth would experience constant day light, constantly facing the sun, all water would boil and the surface would reach extreme temperatures. The other side of the planet would be in constant night (darkness), all water would freeze and the surface would be extremely cold.

Most other suns in the universe emit much more radiation than ours, too much radiation for a magnetic field on earth to protect its inhabitants. Our sun emits much more visible light than most other stars as well. Two-thirds of all stars are part of star systems, or groups of stars. If earth were orbiting a star in a star system we’d be plagued by extreme heat, extreme gravity fluctuations, and intensely bright light. Life could never exist under such circumstances. But our sun exists independently. Most stars are also unreliable, their energy output fluctuating from 10% to 150,000%. But our sun burns consistently continuously. 

C: Protected by giant gas planets.

In our solar system we have 4 gas giants; Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. These planets are much larger than earth and therefore have a stronger gravitational pull. The gravitational pull attracts many large asteroids and other hazardous material traveling through space that could easily threaten the existence of life here on earth.

D: Galactic Habitable Zone:

Our solar system is orbiting within a spiral galaxy (Milky Way), about halfway from the center to the outside. The center of our galaxy is super crowded with stars and supernovas, with the exact center being a black hole. All these things would pose immediate destruction to any planets caught in the middle. The outer edge of our galaxy is far less crowded, but this poses another major issue. Our earth is made up of many elements; Iron, Magnesium, Oxygen, etc. The outside of our galaxy contains very little to none of these heavy elements, which would make planet formation virtually impossible.

But even though we are half way from the center and the outer edge, there are still dangers. The spiral arms of our Milky Way galaxy contain supernovas and newly forming stars emerging from extremely large clouds of dust; all of which would pose many dangers to any planets containing life. However, our solar system is directly in between two of our galaxy’s arms; the Sagittarius and Persius Arms. In between these arms is a clear void of which we safely reside. See

Figure 1:1.

 
 

From the picture above it is easy to tell that our solar system (or “sun”) lies within an empty gap between the denser spiral arms of our galaxy.

Even our galaxy is rare. Life could only exist in a spiral galaxy, like ours. But only 5% of all the galaxies in the universe are spiral armed galaxies. The other 95% are elliptical or irregular.[17] Elliptical and irregular galaxies have active-nucli that spew out massive amounts of radiation, which would prevent life from forming within them. They also lack enough heavy elements for life as well.

E: Nearly circular orbit

Our orbit around the sun is almost a perfect circle. This allows consistent temperatures throughout the year making our earth tolerable for complex life. If our orbit was oval or irregular, our planet would experience long spells of extreme cold followed by short spells extreme heat.

F: Oxygen-rich air

Our atmosphere contains; 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen, 1% Carbon Dioxide. Our atmosphere helps protect us from the suns radiation, trap warm air to make nights temperate, and regulate the overall temperature of earth. These features allow for liquid water on our planet as well.

G: Correct Mass

The earth is the perfect size for life to exist as well. If earth was any smaller an atmosphere would not be large enough to protect us from the sun’s radiation. If the earth were any larger, the stronger gravity would collect hydrogen in our atmosphere, too much hydrogen in fact, making life intolerable.

H: Orbited by a large moon

Our moon is one-forth the size of earth. The gravity of our moon keeps our planet’s rotation at a constant tilt of 23 degrees. This tilted rotation allows for moderate seasons, and combined with earth’s rotation, allows for our ocean’s currents (Coriolis Effect) which help displace and spread the heat absorbed by the sun, keeping the temperature on earth regulated.

Even the distance of the moon from earth is important. If the moon was too close, the gravitational pull could cause tides to sweep over entire continents, or worse, the friction from the gravity would cause the oceans to boil. If the moon were farther away, its gravitational pull would be so weak that there would be no tides but instead large pockets of stagnant ocean. Most marine animals could not survive in stagnant waters, which is important considering most of earth’s oxygen is replenished by marine life.

I: Magnetic Field

The iron core of earth creates a magnetic field around our planet. This magnetic field shields us from solar wind emitted by the sun. If our earth were slightly smaller, the magnetic field would be weaker and the sun’s solar winds would be able to break through stripping the surface of earth from ever containing life. If the field were too strong, severe electromagnetic storms would be ever present.

J: Plate Tectonics

There are more than a dozen plates on the earth’s surface (crust, which is about 30-40 miles deep). Our crust is considered “paper-thin.” Plate tectonics allow the inner temperature of earth to be regulated by releasing pressure at various points. The shifting of our plates also recycles carbon, pushing up rock layers to the surface replacing the land that is being eroded by the elements. This process is essential for life.

K: Ratio of liquid water to the continents

Over 70% of the earth’s surface is water. All bodies of water on our planet work as a buffer, absorbing all the suns heat and regulating the winter’s freeze. Without large bodies of water, life on earth would be impossible.

Water itself is also one of the key fundamentals for life. Water has a high specific heat, making chemical reactions within our body tolerable. If water had a lower specific heat, we would boil in our bodies when our organs conducted everyday normal functions.

Water also dissolves acids, bases, and salts. It serves as a medium for chemical reactions to take place without actually being involved in the chemical reactions. Water is the only solution that allows blood to flow properly through our bodies. Every other liquid found on earth would be to thin or thick, and those with the right density would corrode and dissolve our blood cells.

M: Moderate rate of rotation

The rate of rotation is almost perfect for life to exist on our planet, balancing out how long we’re exposed to the sun’s warmth, and the night’s cold. If we rotated slower we could spend days or even weeks with daylight and then go the same amount of time in the night. If we rotated faster, the surface of earth would be ravaged by incredibly powerful wind storms. This would make complex life extremely difficult to survive.

N: Sun’s Color

The sun’s color believe it or not, is an important factor. Many different stars emit more blue or red when they burn. If our star were like one of those, emitting much more red or blue, photosynthesis would be to insufficient for plant life. Ergo, no plant or tree life…

O: Albedo

The amount of sunlight the earth reflects and absorbs is perfect. If it did one or the other more, we’d experience a runaway freeze or a runaway heat up.[18]

Astrophysicist Hugh Ross goes on to bring even more factors into play; like proximity to supernovas and white dwarfs, number of stars in a planetary system (more than one would prevent life),  parent star birth date, orbital eccentricity, collision rate with asteroids and comets, water vapor levels in the atmosphere, atmospheric electric discharge, ozone layer, seismic activity, soil mineralization, etc. In total, Ross lists thirty-two essential factors required for life to exist on a planet.[19]

As you can see, all these factors are a lot more precise than just add water and watch grow. What are the odds you ask of such a random planet containing all these factors you ask? Try 10 to the negative forty-second power.[20] Or 0.0000000000000000000000000000000000000000001. Those are pretty bad odds…

Ross concludes, “…we can draw the conclusion that much fewer than  trillionth of a trillionth of a percent of all stars could possibly possess, without divine intervention, a planet capable of sustaining advanced life. Considering that the observable universe contains less than a trillion galaxies , each averaging a hundred billion stars, we can see that not even one planet would be expected, by natural processes alone, to possess the necessary conditions to sustain life.”[21]

As astronomer Thomas Clakre from the University of Central Florida declared, “It’s a bit depressing to think that Earth-like planets are too special.”[22] Depressing for secular evolutionists that is, who are looking for life on other planets. Astronomers have been for quite some time been claiming to find “earth”-like planets known as extrasolar or exoplanets. But these astronomers aren’t talking about planets with oceans or jungles filled with animals. They’re merely identifying other planets outside our solar system, while completely neglecting all the factors required for life as mentioned above. In fact when observing exoplanets astronomers are finding the same problems, namely:

-Most are too close to the stars they orbit, meaning the planet is extremely hot.

-Many have huge elliptical orbits, which cause massively violent temperature and gravitational swings.

-Most planets are massive in size possessing crushing surface gravity.

-These factors combined cause gaseous planets like Jupiter which are unlivable.[23]

In fact, as of 2007, only one planet of the 220 exoplanets discovered[24], named Gilese 581 C, is roughly earth sized at 1.5 times Earth’s diameter.[25] Media blew up over the discovery saying it may contain life like earth. Problem is, being 1.5 times the diameter of earth would make its surface gravity twice that of earth’s. The planet is also 7 million miles away from its star, which is 13 times closer than earth is from our sun. Though the star is fifty times cooler than ours, so it is proposed the planet may have tolerable temperatures. Having roughly the same size and roughly the same temperature is not alone ideal for life, especially when we don’t know if the planet has water, or any of the other essential factors mentioned earlier.

I should mention in 2010 another exoplanet named Gilese 581 G was discovered with a mass 3 to 4 times that of earth with gravity 1.1 to 1.7 times that of earth that is within Gilese’s proposed habitable zone. Again the media jumped all over the discovery, but again we have no proof of life on the planet, only evidence of two factors out of the dozens of factors needed for life to exist. We don’t know the chemical composition, the albedo, surface temperature, or atmosphere on the planet. Furthermore, all six of the exoplanets discovered around Gilese all have the same problem: Gilese itself. Gilese is a late spectral type star subject to consistent solar flares with a consistent 2% brightness change[26] both of which would cause massive temperature and magnetic swings for all the planets around it, which would be lethal to life.

In October of 2010, NASA posted an article on their website testifying that one in four stars like our sun may have earth-sized planets.[27] As exciting as that is, when you really think about it, it’s not really saying much. Only 10% of the stars in our galaxy are G2 dwarf stars like our sun[28], and of that 10%, one-fourth may have earth sized planets.* In other words, 2.5% of the stars in our galaxy may have earth-sized planets. As you can see from just pinpointing star type and planet size we’ve already thrown out 97.5% of the stars in our galaxy. So when you consider there are more than thirty other factors to consider you can begin to see how small that chances are of these planets containing life. But the real kicker is that the article admits that in the survey they only observed planets with orbit ranged 0.25 AU or closer to their star.[29] In other words, three-quarters closer to their stars than earth is. No life could exist on a planet orbiting that close to a G2 dwarf star!

But let’s give these exoplanets the benefit of a doubt and say that all the necessary factors for life are present on these planets. That still doesn’t mean there is life. You can have all the ingredients and appliances to make a cake in the kitchen, that doesn’t mean that one day you’ll walk into the kitchen and a freshly baked cake will be on the counter. In the same way, all the factors required for life does not mean there will be life on these planets. As Environmental Scientist Shaun Doyle states, “There is no reason to assume that just because a planet is possibly in a habitable zone that it will necessarily be inhabited. There is nothing inherent in the laws of physics and chemistry that says life must come from non-life wherever there is liquid water.”[30] JPL Systems Administrator David F. Coppedge agrees, “It is no more logical than assuming that if iron is found on a planet, skyscrapers can’t be far behind. The key to life is the way its ingredients are organized, not just the materials used.”[31]  Which leads to the next topic of conversation, the Law of Biogenesis.

The Law of Biogenesis

The Law of Biogenesis states that life has only been observed to arise from existing life. In other words, life arising from non-life has NEVER been observed by man. This problem throws a wrench in the spokes evolutionary principals of life evolving on other planets as well as on our own. The belief that life exists throughout our universe and is dispersed through meteorites is known as Panspermia. Yet the most prominent proponents and pioneers of Panspermia like Arrhenius Panspermy and Francis Crick admitted to be frustrated by the failures of chemical evolution to produce life. If life can so easily emerge from non-living chemicals than it should be doing so constantly, yet it has never been observed and is in-fact considered mathematically illogical my many scientists if left to chance.

If one understands how complex life is and how absurd it is to believe in its development by chance alone, then you will realize that the prospect of life on other celestial bodies is improbable. As Dr. Werner Gitt, retired director and professor of the German Federal Institute of Physics and Technology remarks, “Without intelligent, creative input, lifeless chemicals cannot form themselves into living things. Without this unfounded evolutionary speculation, UFOlogy [sic] would not have its present grip on the public imagination.”[32]

Now, you may be thinking I’m making a huge assumption here. That life can only exist as it does on earth. Isn’t that a huge assumption? Can’t alien life take on all kinds of abstract chemical forms?

No, they cannot. All life on earth is Carbon-based life. The only elements that can support life are carbon, silicon and boron. The problem is boron is extremely rare and silicon can only hold together no more than a hundred amino acids.[33] Therefore, only carbon can sustain alien life, thereby making all the prerequisites for life, which has been mentioned in this article, absolutely necessary. Any life, whether terrestrial or extra-terrestrial, will have to be Carbon-based life.

I can’t help but think back to what Stephen Hawking said about alien life being completely rational considering the millions of galaxies each containing billions of stars. But is that really rational now knowing what we know? His statement is based in vast possibilities as if stars equal life. Unfortunately for him, stars do not equal life. There are at most 10 to the twenty-forth power stars in the universe, yet the odds of a planet containing life is 10 to the negative forty-second power. Just comparing those two numbers alone should be enough to be convincing. We can continue to speculate and imagine other alien worlds all we want. But a truly scientific person, a truly rational person, will understand that extraterrestrial life is just not rational.

The Biblical Perspective

I consider myself a man of science. But I more so consider myself a man of faith, and trust the Bible to be the accurate word of God. So when it comes to issues such as these, I believe the Bible is the definitive, authoritative and final blow to the prospect of aliens existing in our universe.

The Bible paints a picture of God creating all life on earth and no place else. All of this life was affected by Adam’s sin (Romans 5:12, 6:6, and 6:20), which was of course redeemed by the salvation of Jesus (John 1:29). For those who believe in both aliens and the Bible I feel compelled to ask, how can aliens achieve salvation? The Bible says all of Creation was affected by Adam’s sin. This would include aliens as well. If Christ is the salvation for our sin, how can aliens beyond the reach of the gospel message be saved? Some suggest that the aliens were given their own “Christ” to save them, but this contradicts the Bible’s reference to Jesus being God’s “one and only son” (1 John 4:9). Other suggestions are that after Jesus left earth he went to alien planets as well to fulfill the same acts he did here on earth. This also contradicts scripture which states that Jesus would live and die once and for all (1 Peter 3:18, Hebrews 9:27-28).

There is nothing in the Bible that would suggest God created other alien life forms outside of earth. Based on everything I’ve covered from the science realm and the spiritual realm I personally draw the conclusion that there are no aliens out there. Sorry.

Why Stars?

So if God created everything, and only created life on earth, the next question is; why do we have stars? Why are there other galaxies and nebulas, and comets, etc. Why is the universe so big? Wouldn’t a creator God render all these things unnecessary? There are two answers to these questions.

As said before, the earth requires particular prerequisites in order to sustain life. But there are even more prerequisites required in our universe for planets themselves to exist. The Laws of Physics must be exactly what they are in order for life to be present. The force of gravity, strong nuclear force, velocity of light ect. Without these laws of physics in place, exactly how they are, planets couldn’t form and stars wouldn’t burn among many other issues. So our laws of physics are crucial.

But what is crucial for the laws of physics to be in place? The mass density of the universe. The universe is at the perfect mass density in order for the laws of physics to be what they are. If the universe had a smaller or larger mass density, a domino effect would ensue; the laws of physics would be thrown off preventing any stars and planets to exist. To cut out all the middle man factors and simplify this, think of it this way: The universe has to be so incredibly large with so many other galaxies in order for life to exist. If the universe did not hold the mass density it has, life as we know it would not exist! God made us a universe specifically designed to incubate life!

Furthermore, Genesis 1:14 states that God created the stars to convey messages and measure time, like seasons, days, months, and years. Which indeed humans have been using the celestial bodies to measure time for thousands of years. Humans have also been able use celestial bodies to navigate long distances on earth. In knowing these two things it becomes abundantly clear: We need those stars. God created them for us!

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
   the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

-Psalm 19

…yet the search continues.

In secular circles where an incredibly small microscopic chance is still a “good” chance, there remains hope to contact aliens. Hence the millions of tax dollars spent each year beaming out signals and listening for return signals via the SETI program. A desperate attempt to discover the ET that isn’t there. A desperate attempt to find some intelligence in the stars. Why?

There are three main reasons why alien life is pursued; vindication, information and a cure to a cosmic loneliness.

Vindication in that finding alien life will solidify many beliefs regarding evolution theory, but will more so throw certain religions out the window. As said before, the Bible leaves no room for alien life. Therefore, discovering alien life renders the Bible inaccurate. Though the question of how did the alien life begin will remain ever present and will in no way disprove a belief in God, just disprove the Biblical God.

Information in that finding alien life will surely lead to information swap. Think of all the information and knowledge we could gain from each other! Mankind would surely benefit from what would be learned. We may learn the answers to questions like, where did we come from? Who are we? What is the meaning of life?

A cure to cosmic loneliness in that we would forever solve the question “are we alone?” Some would be more satisfied to learn we are not. There is some form of fear and isolation in the thought that we are the only living things in this incredibly large universe. There seems to be this longing to discover something greater than us and to learn from it.

Ladies and gentleman, I believe that longing and desire to learn and discover that alien life out there is a misdirected and misunderstood desire. We realize there is something more out there! There is something greater than us out there! There are answers to our questions out there! But it’s not aliens. That longing and desire is for God! Everything we want to find in aliens; answers and fellowship in this universe, is all achieved through the God of the Holy Bible! Of course there would be this desire to know God, it’s written in the heart of every man, woman and child. “…that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20). The answer is right in front of you. The answer is God.

Carl Sagan once wrote, “At this very moment the messages from another civilization may be wafting across space, driven by unimaginably advanced devices, there for us to detect them—if only we knew how. … Or perhaps the messages are already here, present in some everyday experience that we have not made the right mental effort to recognize. The power of such an advanced civilization is very great. Their messages may lie in quite familiar circumstances. … The message from the stars may be here already. But where?”[34]

Sagan shows this desire for God misdirected. He’s right when he says that the message may already be here, and that we may have not made the right mental effort to recognize it. As the Bible says in Romans 1:21, “when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” The message is here and can be found in the Bible. Again I say, the answer is right in front of you and it always has been.

Are we alone? No. God is with us, for us, and always has been.


[1] “How Far? How Big? How Many?” Hartebeesthoek Radio Astronomy Observatory http://www.hartrao.ac.za

[2] Ibid

[3] Ibid

[4] “How many stars are there in the Universe?” European Space Agency (ESA), http://www.esa.int

[5] Stephen Hawking, “Stephen Hawking’s Universe,” Documentary.

[6] Introduction to the Fermi Paradox, http://www.fermiparadox.com

[7] Ibid

[8] Lunarscience.arc.nasa.gov

[9] Dr. Werner Gitt, “God and the Extraterrestrials; Are we alone, or is life elsewhere in the universe?” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[10] Ibid

[11] David F. Coppedge, “Astrobiology: Follow the…” http://www.icr.org

[12] Ibid

[13] Paul Davies, “Planets Can Swap Rocks,” Creation, Jan 1996.

[14] Hugh Ross, Ph.D, The Creator and the Cosmos, (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994) Pg. 145.

[15] Russell Grigg, “Did Life Come From Outer Space?” Creation.com.

[16] New Scientist 165(2221):19, January 15, 2000.

[17] Ron Cowen, “Were Spiral Galaxies Once More Common,” Science News 142 (1992) Pg. 390.

[18]  Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards “The Privileged Planet,” (Regnery Publishing, Inc. 2004).

[19] Hugh Ross, Ph.D, The Creator and the Cosmos, (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994) Pg. 132.

[20] Ibid, Pg. 135.

[21] Ibid, Pg. 133.

[22] New Scientist 177(2388):24, 29 March 2003.

[23] Gary Bates, “Hosing Down the Hype; New planet find has ET hopefuls in a frenzy.” Creation, May 2007.

[24] There are currently 440 exoplanets known at the time this was written, surely more have been found as of today. The issues found in 2007 still apply though.

[25] Gary Bates, “Hosing Down the Hype; New planet find has ET hopefuls in a frenzy.” Creation, May 2007.

[26] Wayne Spencer, “The Search for Earth-like Planets,” creation.com

[27] “NASA Survey Suggests Earth-Sized Planets Are Common,” 10-28-10, http://www.nasa.gov

[28] Professor Scott Gaudi, “Life in the Universe; Our Neighborhood,” www.astronomy.ohio-state.edu

* On a side note, astronomers are beginning to find dozens of new lone planets that aren’t orbiting stars. Because they don’t orbit stars they are very difficult to see, basically floating in darkness. Though we may find hundreds, thousands or millions of these planets, it has already been settled that no life could exist on them with no star to orbit.

[29] “NASA Survey Suggests Earth-Sized Planets Are Common,” 10-28-10, http://www.nasa.gov

[30] Shaun Doyle, “Extrasolar Planet “100% likely” to have life?” Creation, October 2010.

[31] David F. Coppedge, “Astrobiology: Follow the…” http://www.icr.org

[32] Dr. Werner Gitt, “God and the Extraterrestrials; Are we alone, or is life elsewhere in the universe?” http://www.answersingenesis.org

[33] Hugh Ross, Ph.D, The Creator and the Cosmos, (Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 1994) Pg. 125.

[34] Carl Sagan, The Cosmic Connection, (Cambridge University Press, 2000) Pg. 224

The F-22 fighter plane is a highly-sophisticated state of the art military aircraft. It is comprised of thousands of complex parts that all work together to enable the plane to perform a multitude of functions. Individually, these parts cannot operate or fly. But collectively they can fly and execute many different functions.

Now let’s take a hypothetical situation. Let’s imagine the entire earth is covered in huge piles of mechanical parts, thousands and thousands of miles of nothing but pieces of metal, plastic, rubber, etc. Now let’s imagine there are thousands of tornados and hurricanes all over the earth blowing all these parts around and into each other 24-7. Now with all this in mind, do you think it is possible that over the course of thousands or millions or even billions of years, that one of these storms would blow together an F-22 fighter plane in perfect operational condition?

Seems ridiculous right? Given an infinite amount of time, something like this just could not happen…

Now let’s look at the typical human eukaryotic cell. It too, just like the F22, is incredibly sophisticated and complex, but at a much smaller microscopic scale. This cell is also comprised of thousands of working parts (called organelles) that all work together to enable the cell to provide a multitude of functions. Individually, these parts are useless, but collectively they’re necessary. Remove anyone of these important parts and the cell will lose functionality and parish.

So if it is ridiculous to think that a perfectly operational F-22 fighter plane could come into existence via chance, then it is likewise just as illogical to think that such a sophisticated organism could assemble by chance as well. It gets even more absurd to think that this living cell would also form by chance and have the capability to reproduce.

Life cannot come from non-life even if given infinite time and chance. If life could spontaneously generate from non-life than it still should be doing that to this day. However, we’ve never observed it… Hence the Law of Biogenesis: The principle stating that life arises from pre-existing life, not from non-living material.[1] Life is clearly a product of God’s Creation.

When it comes to any abortion case, the landmark case of Roe vs. Wade in 73’ which concluded with the legalization of abortion, always comes to mind. Though the outcome of this case is still hotly debated to this day, there is a factor in this case most people don’t know about . Jane Roe (who’s real name is Norma McCorvey) changed her mind in 1995. After years of being one of the most staunchest pro-abortion advocates she is now a born again Christian and is very pro-life. In fact she left her job at a Dallas abortion clinic and now works for a pro-life group called Operation Rescue. She even tried desperately, but unsuccessfully, to reopen the famous 1973 case. This provides yet another amazing example of God’s triumph over evil by changing the heart of man, and is a crushing blow to the pro-abortion cause.