PMW 2018-090 by Henry Richter (Creation Ministries, Intl.)
I am constantly amused by the ongoing vigorous efforts by many scientists to find some sort of life at places other than the earth. Daily in the media, there are conjectures about microbes in deep lakes on the Saturnian moons Enceladus or Titan. Or maybe the source of organic type compounds on Mars. And on and on.
Let’s approach this from two angles: how does life originate? And how does life survive, advance and propagate?
If life starts from some sort of single cell, how could that cell form, and how could it beget life? Even the simplest cell is an immensely complex factory and object. It is suggested that a cell, over the course of extremely long timeframes, could just `come together’ from apparently inorganic chemicals, to form the original building blocks of life in some sort of primordial soup, via chemical evolution (aka abiogenesis).
A cell consists of a number of vital parts. It needs a membrane to contain the internal parts and to gather nutrients and expel waste products. It needs genetic information which controls the operations of the cell, and this is stored on the DNA molecule. It needs transport proteins to move and control operations, and enzymes that are the ‘tools of life’. These are at the very least, crucial elements. Each protein comprises hundreds or thousands of building blocks arranged a precise sequence, controlled by the information on the DNA, which must be decoded. But DNA has the instructions for its own decoding machines, still a huge problem for the origin of first life!
And, if they did, what jump-starts this process which we call life? Life means that all these mechanisms start working, producing energy, metabolizing, growing, taking in nutrients, expelling waste products the very first time it appeared. The accidental production of a complex cell would defy any reasonable mathematical odds. Consider two cells, identical in structure and composition, one alive and one not so. What was lost to cause the cell to die? Why can’t it jump start again? It is because of the arrangement of information in the cell. Information comes from a greater source of information. It does not happen by chance. For a thorough demolition of chemical evolution, see Origin of life: An explanation of what is needed for abiogenesis (or biopoiesis).
Spacecraft Earth by Henry Richter
Evolutionists believe the universe, the earth and life came about by chance events and processes. In this book, a Dr Richter, a pioneer in aerospace, challenges these views by exploring what is required for us to exist in the universe. He shows that our planet can be thought of as a sophisticated spacecraft designed for our benefit.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
A very thorough discussion of what is needed for a cell to form spontaneously, develop life, and reproduce is given by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati in the CMI book Evolution’s Achilles’ Heels.1
If a habitable planet did exist somewhere, could we expect undirected evolution to once again bring about anything on the level of the beauty and complexity of life we find here on Spacecraft Earth?
But let us be generous and assume that somehow a live cell exists somewhere in the universe, what conditions are necessary to allow it to survive, to propagate, and to expand its functions—that is, to evolve to higher life forms? We can examine the one example we know about for sure, and that is spacecraft earth. We know a great amount about the earth, and know many features, conditions, and elemental substances available to allow life.
In searching for life elsewhere, it is necessary to find all the enabling conditions and raw materials first even before jumping to the conclusion that just because some organic molecules are found, the life must be there.
So when searching for life the seekers hypothesize the existence of simple cell organisms, but many resources are dedicated to looking for higher forms (intelligent) of life. But what conditions and substances must be there for life to exist? When looking at the earth do we know there are essential minimal requirements. And not just a few of these conditions, but all of them must be there.
Life, but not life as we know it?
Former NASA/JPL specialist, David Coppedge, and I spend a good part of a chapter of our book Spacecraft Earth – A Guide for Passengers, examining the earth and identifying necessary features.2 Life needs to be carbon-based to have all the different organic molecules and compounds available for life forms. We know of no other element that has all the features and versatility that carbon has. Some have suggested a silicon-based ecology, but although there are some silicon compounds that duplicate the carbon ones, the selection is very limited—(see below). Carbon has literally millions of compounds available.
However, many of them are fragile, susceptible to damage from heat, cold, energetic particles, ultraviolet light, chemical attacks, etc. This is particularly true of organic compounds in life forms, particularly DNA (although this has been found in dinosaur bones!). The survival of life forms centers on protections against damaging forces. The other main consideration is the availability of beneficial compounds and chemicals to allow and promote growth—and the absence of other compounds that would destructively react with the beneficial ones, including other beneficial ones!
A number of carbon atoms are needed to form proteins, amino acids, esters, alcohols, enzymes, fats, carbohydrates, and so on.
A suitable planet needs the following:
A ‘habitable zone’ is the orbital radius around a star where liquid water—and presumably life—could exist. As we shall see, there’s a lot more required for life than just being ‘in the zone’. Earth’s distance from the sun—ranging from 147.1million to 152.1 million km (average about 149.6 million km)—keeps it always within the habitable zone. That zone is pretty narrow. Venus is well outside the inner edge and Mars is outside the outer edge. If the Earth’s average distance from the sun were 5% percent greater), temperatures would drop such that most of the Earth’s water would freeze in a ‘runaway ice age’. If the Earth were just 5 percent closer to the sun, on the other hand, the polar caps would melt, more water would evaporate, and a ‘runaway greenhouse effect would ensue, turning Earth into an inhospitable hothouse.
As It Is Written: The Genesis Account Literal or Literary?
Book by Ken Gentry
Presents the exegetical evidence for Six-day Creation and against the Framework Hypothesis. Strong presentation and rebuttal to the Framework Hypothesis, while demonstrating and defending the Six-day Creation interpretation.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
But that’s just one of the numbers in the ‘cosmic lottery’ that our Spacecraft Earth got right. More information about habitable zones has added further requirements. From the literature of astrobiology, we can identify ten or more other zones required for habitability, in addition to circumstellar distance:
• Galactic Habitable Zone: the solar system must be localized in a narrow band within the galaxy. Our sun is at an ideal distance from the galactic centre, called the co-rotation radius, where a star’s orbital speed matches that of the spiral arms. In other places, the sun would cross the arms too often and be exposed to supernovae.3
• Continuously Habitable Zone: the habitable zone must not vary significantly.
• Temporal Habitable Zone: the habitable zone must last long enough for life to persist.
• Chemical and Thermodynamic Habitable Zone: the planet’s chemistry and heat transfer mechanisms must permit liquid water to persist.
• Ultraviolet Habitable Zone: the planet must filter out ionizing radiation from its star.
• Tidal Habitable Zone: the star must not tidally “lock” its habitable planet to force one hemisphere to always face the star (this rules out red dwarfs, which means most stars).
• Obliquity Habitable Zone: the star must not “erase” its habitable planet’s tilt through tidal forces. (While not eliminating the possibility of life, a planet without a tilt would have no seasons, drastically reducing its habitable surface area.)
• Eccentricity Habitable Zone: the planet must have a nearly circular orbit so that it stays in the proper place in the zone.
• Stellar Chemistry Habitable Zone: the star must have the right chemical composition to remain quiet and well-behaved. A G2 main-sequence star like our sun is ideal.
• Stellar Wind Habitable Zone: the star must not be given to extreme “space weather” that might strip off a habitable planet’s atmosphere.
• Inhabited Zone: recently, two astrobiologists suggested that to be habitable, a planet needs inhabitants! “…there is a growing amount of evidence supporting the idea that our Planet will not be the same if we remove every single form of life from its surface,” a news report said.
In thinking over all the factors, Patrick Young, a planetary scientist at the University of Arizona, said:
Habitability is very difficult to quantify because it depends on a huge number of variables, some of which we have yet to identify.” It’s likely, therefore, that this is only a partial list. Spacecraft Earth scores an “A” on them all.
A special sun and solar system
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Dr. Henry Richter graduated from California Institute of Technology where he received a BS (1952) and PhD (1956) in chemistry, with physics and electrical engineering minors. He was hired by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which later became incorporated into the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). He was a leader in the development of America’s first earth satellite, Explorer I.