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Alien Life?

Mono LakeNASA announced several days ago, an upcoming press conference that would talk about “alien life”. This is big news. They have sent more than one mission to Mars looking for life, water and extraterrestrials. But several people, including the late Sir Fred Hoyle, have suggested that alien life was coming here, which would save a lot on expenses. The question became, how do we know it is alien?
Paul Davies, working from a suggestion from my colleague Richard Hoover, has been looking for life on our planet that does something different from all other Earth life. The argument is a bit indirect, but here’s the gist of it. If life exists on our planet by accident (standard Darwinian hypothesis) then it must be somewhat probable. That is, if it is as improbable as Hoyle calculated, 1 chance in 10^40,000, then it is so improbable as to never happen. But it must have happened (by accident, we’ve assumed) and so it must be probable, say 1 in 10^20.  (This step involves two miracles, making it less robust than a one-miracle theory.)  Well if it is probable, then life must be popping up all over the galaxy, wherever there’s the right conditions for it. However, many of the parameters of life appear arbitrary, like the code that connects DNA codons to protein amino acids. So it would seem that if the right conditions included lots of arsenic and no phosphorus, then naturally it would be arsenic-DNA. In addition, it should probably show other signs of extraterrestrial source, perhaps a different DNA code, and different ATP energy source, etc.

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27 Responses to Alien Life?

  1. I’m looking at the pdf of the article. Here’s what they say about atomic radius and charge: “Arsenic (As) is a chemical analog of phosphorus (P),
    which lies directly below P on the periodic table. Arsenic
    possesses a similar atomic radius, as well as near identical
    electronegativity to P (5).”

    Is 38% larger “similar”, or is the 38% larger a wrong number?

  2. OT, probably worthy of its own thread:

    Peer-Reviewed Scientific Paper by Michael Behe Challenges “Gain of Function” Mutations in Molecular Evolution
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....41131.html

  3. Here’s another quote:

    GFAJ-1 grew at an average ?max of 0.53 day-1 under +As/-
    P, increasing by over 20-fold in cell numbers after six days. It
    also grew faster and more extensively with the addition of 1.5
    mM PO4
    3- (-As/+P, ?max of 0.86 day-1, Fig. 1A, B). However,
    when neither AsO4
    3- nor PO4
    3- was added, no growth was
    observed (Fig. 1A, B).

    It seems like this strain ‘tolerates’ the As, not that it lives on it. That is: it prefers, and is set up to work with, phosphates, but it can limp along using arsenate.

  4. http://docs.google.com/viewer?.....u-mcQEn4qQ

    Can someone help me out with the above article. In a negative review of Behe’s book The Edge of Evolution, the author cited this article as evidence that mutations with more than 2 can work together to provide advantages to the species. I read the article and it looked extremely vague but the author seems to suggest that 9 mutations occurred in the E Coli which helped it along. As I said before however the article is extremely vague. Behe doesn’t mention the article in his reply to the negative review.

  5. PaV,
    I’m not sure why the Science paper didn’t give the radii of As+5 and P+5 ions, which truly are 38% different in size, (follow the links) perhaps because “size” depends upon what bonds are being made, so it is somewhat approximate. “Similar” means that it wasn’t 100% difference in size, like some other +5 ions are.

    As for not being an obligate arsenate organism, it means that it prefers P but will live on meagre diet of As if necessary.

    More interesting to me is that the highest ratio of As/P they found was 7, meaning that some 15% of the organism was still holding on to its P. Perhaps if we continue this dilution process another year, we’ll get this ratio down to <1%, and we can see if the bug still survives.

  6. As to global warming, here’s a quote from a Science Express paper:

    “Previous modeling studies suggest that preindustrial
    biomass burning was much lower than today, with a reduction
    of up to 90% (35–37). This is the common assumption in
    climate model simulations. However, our results show that
    present day CO from Southern Hemisphere biomass burning
    is lower than at any other time during the last 650 years. This
    is particularly relevant since assumptions on preindustrial
    [CO] are an important component for correctly estimating the
    radiative forcing of tropospheric ozone in preindustrial times
    (38). [CO] changes due to biomass burning also suggest that
    there were decadal and centennial scale variations in average
    concentrations of black carbon, another major atmospheric
    constituent produced with burning, leading to the unanswered
    question of its potential role in long term climate variability.”

    As they say: “Junk in; junk out!”

  7. the fact that many in the ID movement deny global warming is a complete and utter embarrassment. most scientists who deny global warming are bought and paid for by the oil lobby. just look at exxonsecrets.org. if people deny ID no one dies, if people deny global warming we ruin the planet and civilization. this is no laughing matter. all you have to do is look at this chart to know that global warming is a fact

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechan....._fig1.html

    for the last 600,000 years co2 ppm vascillated from 170 to 300, and now in just the last 100 years it has shot up from 280 to 380.

  8. Kylefoley,
    This isn’t the blog to discuss AGW, but I will discuss philosophy of science. Ad hominem attacks on the moral fiber of scientists has never ever been a justification for dismissing their work. I don’t care if AGW skeptics are all mass murderers and neo-Nazi sympathizers, it makes no difference to the quality of their science. And the subtle bias in these ad hominem attacks, is what is immoral to one person may be moral to another, leading to a variable metric of what science to eliminate. Not only is this subjective, but it makes the progress of science, which requires everyone to work from the same set of data, impossible. Your attack on skeptics then, is an attack on science.

    Second, look around you. Is global warming an issue in England, Sweden, Germany right now? Did all the fish in Peru that died last austral winter know about AGW? AGW is rapidly becoming irrelevant whether you believe in it or not. Even the IPCC is admitting this in Cancun. I have loads of books by respected climate scientists that make this point at least a dozen ways. It really doesn’t matter any more.

    But the reason ID hates it, is because AGW supporters use exactly the same science-killing arguments against skeptics that Darwinists use. We are united in our opposition to bad philosophy of science.

  9. “the fact that many in the ID movement deny global warming is a complete and utter embarrassment.”

    An embarrassment to whom? To the proponents of ID? To the peanut gallery who follow them around?

    How does the disagreement over the unknown cause(s) of long-term global temperature fluctuation logically impact the recognition that the informational content in DNA did not arise from the physical properties of matter?

    Does it call into question their ability to look at an issue thoroughly, therefore making their ID claims seem dubious?

    Surely, that must be the narrative.

  10. Robert,

    I never made an Ad Hom attack on the contrary I presented evidence. You on the contrary, gave me a lecture on the importance of not using Ad Hom attacks and ignored my evidence. The only evidence you provided was that no one in Germany is talking about AGW, that’s hardly evidence.

    Upright,

    you didn’t provide any evidence either.

    Come on, guys, the evidence for AGW is irrefutable. Not only that if we ignore it we destroy the planet. If ignore the evidence of ID no one dies. If 99 out of 100 doctors are telling you you better stop drinking and if the one doctor is paid for by Budweiser, then it’s reasonable to stop drinking.

  11. 11

    I am not certain exactly what in my comment I was obliged to provide evidence for.

  12. Dr. Sheldon, as usual, a very well reasoned analysis of the evidence. Thanks once again for your work.,,,

    further notes:

    this upcoming audio in particular may be of interest to you Dr. Sheldon:

    ‘Fazale Rana comments,,, Is arsenic poison? Or is it a life-giving chemical element? I am going to interrupt my vacation to record a podcast (Science News Flash) today about the NASA announcement of the discovery of an “alien” life form on Earth that uses arsenic instead of phosphorus. Look for it on iTunes.’
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....41181.html

    This from ENV,,,

    About That Arsenic-Gobbling Microbe…Bad News for Darwinists?
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....41181.html

  13. Dr Sheldon

    Congratulations on a brilliant article. You’ve made a clearly falsifiable prediction about the organisms found in Mono Lake. If your prediction is verified, it will lend further support to the case for Intelligent Design. Thank you.

  14. Dr. Sheldon in regards to this comment of yours:

    ‘It seems (without having read the Science paper yet) this bug prefers to grow in phosphorus growth medium, and only grows in arsenic when it has to. And it would be my educated guess, that it has the same DNA code, the same ATP shape as normal Earth life, only switching to arsenic when it has to. In other words, I think we are seeing highly adapted Earth life, and not alien extraterrestrial life.’

    ,,,,,,,, I would like to add that bacteria are now known to have been detoxifying the earth of poisonous materials for billions of years, including arsenic, so I agree with you and see no reason for why this is not considered merely a bacteria that has ‘genetic entropied’ from a ‘optimal’ state into detoxifying the environment,,, EXACTLY as it was designed to do!!!

    notes:

    Interestingly, while the photo-synthetic bacteria were reducing greenhouse gases and producing oxygen, and metal, and minerals, which would all be of benefit to modern man, ‘sulfate-reducing’ bacteria were also producing their own natural resources which would be very useful to modern man. Sulfate-reducing bacteria helped prepare the earth for advanced life by detoxifying the primeval earth and oceans of poisonous levels of heavy metals while depositing them as relatively inert metal ores. Metal ores which are very useful for modern man, as well as fairly easy for man to extract today (mercury, cadmium, zinc, cobalt, arsenic, chromate, tellurium and copper to name a few). To this day, sulfate-reducing bacteria maintain an essential minimal level of these heavy metals in the ecosystem which are high enough so as to be available to the biological systems of the higher life forms that need them yet low enough so as not to be poisonous to those very same higher life forms.

    Bacterial Heavy Metal Detoxification and Resistance Systems:
    Excerpt: Bacterial plasmids contain genetic determinants for resistance systems for Hg2+ (and organomercurials), Cd2+, AsO2, AsO43-, CrO4 2-, TeO3 2-, Cu2+, Ag+, Co2+, Pb2+, and other metals of environmental concern. In some cases, there is the potential for using genetically engineered microbes for bio-remediation. Recombinant DNA analysis has been applied to mercury, cadmium, zinc, cobalt, arsenic, chromate, tellurium and copper resistance systems.
    http://www.springerlink.com/co.....04577v8t3/
    http://www.int-res.com/article.....26p203.pdf

    The role of bacteria in hydrogeochemistry, metal cycling and ore deposit formation:
    Textures of sulfide minerals formed by SRB (sulfate-reducing bacteria) during bioremediation (most notably pyrite and sphalerite) have textures reminiscent of those in certain sediment-hosted ores, supporting the concept that SRB may have been directly involved in forming ore minerals.
    http://www.goldschmidt2009.org...../A1161.pdf

    Man has only recently caught on to harnessing the ancient detoxification ability of bacteria to cleanup his accidental toxic spills, as well as his toxic waste, from industry:

    What is Bioremediation? – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSpjRPWYJPg

    Metal-mining bacteria are green chemists – Sept. 2010
    Excerpt: Microbes could soon be used to convert metallic wastes into high-value catalysts for generating clean energy, say scientists writing in the September issue of Microbiology.
    http://www.physorg.com/news202618665.html

    etc.. etc.. etc..

  15. Robert Sheldon:

    Thanks for the reply. I’m under the weather right now, so I have no energy to look around for things. One other nagging question, however, is this: when transcription takes place, isn’t it one strand at a time? Thus, the railroad track analogy has me scratching my head a bit.

    I’m not sure what the error-correction mechanism is like in bacteria, but if you substituted As for P in the mechanism, I wonder if the “rails” line up. That might be another experiment they might run: expose these lineages to UV damage, for instance, and see if the error-correction mechanism is functioning.

    kylefoley76:

    Here are some questions:

    (1) If our world is facing a crisis because of “anthropegenic” global warming, then how do you explain the fact that the warming trend we’re experiencing began in the early 1800′s, a time when “anthropgenic” CO2 emissions were next to nil?

    (2) If “anthropogenic” CO2 is the “cause” of the warming, then how is it that the rate of temperature increase for the last ten years has slowed, while at the same time “anthropogenic” CO2 emissions continued?
    (And let me add that the overall trend in temperature increase dipped slightly right aroung 1940—the very time when human CO2 emissions accelerated. What about that? How does that fit into the GW scheme of things?)

    These are basic questions, to which I see GW proponents giving no reasonable answer.

    As to why we here at ID are concerned about GW, it is exactly as Robert Sheldon has stated; that is, the annihilation of all critics in the name of “science” is the same in both instances.

  16. bornagain77,

    You touch on something that occurred to me. Could this microbe be employed to efficiently remove arsenic from contaminated groundwater? There are some locales which could use it.

  17. Well Evilsnack I like the way you think. And it seems that so do others:

    Arsenic removal: research on bioremediation using arsenite-eating bacteria
    Excerpt: An Australian research group is working out how to use bacteria to remove arsenic from contaminated wastewater on mining sites and from groundwater in Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. The group is studying 13 rare bacteria that were isolated from gold mines in Australia. Theoretically, it is cheaper and safer to use bacteria to remove arsenic than chemical methods. Arsenic is present in water in two toxic forms: arsenate and arsenite. Arsenate is easy and safe to get rid of, but arsenite is not. One bacterium, NT-26, was found to be able to eat arsenite and excrete arsenate. The researchers have found the enzyme directly responsible for converting arsenite to arsenate and they are working to identify the same enzyme in the other microbes. They are also looking for other proteins and genes involved in eating arsenite. In the long run it they hope that the bacteria can be used in bioremediation processes to remove arsenic from wastewater and drinking water.
    http://www.irc.nl/page/3126

    and this:

    Some species of bacteria obtain their energy by oxidizing various fuels while reducing arsenates to form arsenites. The enzymes involved are known as arsenate reductases.

    Arsenate
    Excerpt: In 2008, bacteria were discovered that employ a version of photosynthesis with arsenites as electron donors, producing arsenates (just like ordinary photosynthesis uses water as electron donor, producing molecular oxygen). The researchers conjectured that historically these photosynthesizing organisms produced the arsenates that allowed the arsenate-reducing bacteria to thrive.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arsenate

    Wiki also has a note for this recent Mono lake work, but as Dr. Sheldon stated, it is much to early for them to be drawing the conclusions they are drawing. And as with Dr. Sheldon, my bet is on some loss of function/information in the arsenic reducing adaptation they accomplished/observed in the bacteria. Now if the DNA backbone truly was replaced, which I doubt from the preliminary test I see mentioned in the public piece, it would, none-the-less, have to be accomplished by loss of preexisting information from the parent genome since the adaptation was accomplished so quickly, and I presume repeatedly. This will be measurable as loss of genetic diversity from parent strain, and of course will fall in accord with the principle of genetic entropy.

    ——–

    By the way,,, happy Christmas season,,,,

    Christmas Eve/ Sarajevo [Timeless Version]
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MHioIlbnS_A

    Trans-Siberian Orchestra – Christmas Canon (Video)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4cP26ndrmtg

  18. OT:

    Charles Darwin’s tree of life is ‘wrong and misleading’, claim scientists
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sci.....tists.html

    the article would be absolutely hilarious if they did actually believe their ‘evolution must be true’ mantra

  19. PZ Meyers has thrown a “wet blanket” over the hoopla at his blogsite. One of the commenters there, Glen Davidson, has this link to the Christian Science Monitor article on this discovery with a dissenting opinion given by a Steven Benner. Benner opines that As within DNA strands would be highly unstable, and that any As within lipid layers would be “stabilized”.

    A very plausible scenario is that this bacterium is able to shift out the P found in its lipid layers, substitute it with As, and then use the P in its normal metabolic processing.

    In the Science article it says the the presence of As in the protein fractionates is a bit suspect. They have found it, apparently, in the DNA fractionates.

    This might also be another area where As for P substitution also occurs, thus freeing up P for further metabolic activity. If the bonding of one strand of DNA to its complement involves P, I would think As would work equally as well.

    All of this is highly speculative, of course; but, it’s also plausible.

    And, as PZ Meyers points out, it would simply represent successful efforts to survive in a high As/ low P environment. But this bacterium already exists in an extremum environment to begin with.

    So, to extend this out to the possibility of it being an alien form of life is, IMO, excessive. Paul Davies has already been guilty of this overextension in other areas of biology.

  20. BA:

    Always the usual miraculous source of links!

    This is funny:

    Both he and co-researcher Dr Ford Doolittle stressed that downgrading the tree of life doesn’t mean the theory of evolution is wrong just that evolution is not as tidy as we would like to believe.
    Dr Doolittle, of California University, said: “We should relax a bit on this. We understand evolution pretty well it’s just it is more complex than Darwin imagined. The tree isn’t the only pattern.

    Why does that remind me of something Cornelius Hunter recently posted? :)

  21. Actually, it seems that the experiments done by Wolf-Simon has shown indirectly that the DNA didn’t have an Arsenic backbones. Please see: http://scienceblogs.com/webeas.....ed_dna.php

  22. Thanks Kyrilluk

    Take home quote: These long chains of nucleotides did not hydrolyze in water. Yet it is precisely this DNA band that is claimed to have an arsenate backbone. How can this be? The answer is: it can’t be. If this DNA did not hydrolyze in water during the long extraction process, then it doesn’t have an arsenate backbone. It has a phosphate backbone. It is normal DNA.

    Sad that many people will only remember the overblown hype for ‘exotic alien life’. Hype that turned out to be false, instead of learning the truth that basic Chemistry itself bears powerful witness to Intelligent Design of the universe and earth:

    notes:

    Every class of elements that exists on the periodic table of elements is necessary for complex carbon-based life to exist on earth. The three most abundant elements in the human body, Oxygen, Carbon, Hydrogen, ‘just so happen’ to be the most abundant elements in the universe, save for helium which is inert. A truly amazing coincidence that strongly implies ‘the universe had us in mind all along’. Even uranium the last naturally occurring element on the period table of elements is necessary for life. The heat generated by the decay of uranium is necessary to keep a molten core in the earth for an extended period of time, which is necessary for the magnetic field surrounding the earth, which in turn protects organic life from the harmful charged particles of the sun. As well, uranium decay provides the heat for tectonic activity and the turnover of the earth’s crustal rocks, which is necessary to keep a proper mixture of minerals and nutrients available on the surface of the earth, which is necessary for long term life on earth. (Denton; Nature’s Destiny). These following articles and videos give a bit deeper insight into the crucial role that individual elements play in allowing life:

    The Elements: Forged in Stars – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003861

    Michael Denton – We Are Stardust – Uncanny Balance Of The Elements – Fred Hoyle Atheist to Deist/Theist – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4003877

    The Role of Elements in Life Processes
    http://www.mii.org/periodic/LifeElement.php

    Periodic Table – Interactive web page for each element
    http://www.mii.org/periodic/MIIperiodicChart.html

    Anomalous properties of water
    http://www.lsbu.ac.uk/water/anmlies.html

    As well, It is found that not only must you have the right chemicals present on earth to have life, the chemicals must also be present on the earth in ‘specific abundances’.

    Elemental Evidence of Earth’s Divine Design – Hugh Ross PhD. – April 2010
    Table: Earth’s Anomalous Abundances – Page 8
    The twenty-five elements listed below must exist on Earth in specific abundances for advanced life and/or support of civilization to be possible. For each listed element the number indicates how much more or less abundant it is, by mass, in Earth’s crust, relative to magnesium’s abundance, as compared to its average abundance in the rest of the Milky Way Galaxy, also relative to the element magnesium. Asterisks denote “vital poisons,” essential elements that if too abundant would be toxic to advanced life, but if too scarce would fail to provide the quantities of nutrients essential for advanced life. The water measure compares the amount of water in and on Earth relative to the minimum amount the best planet formation models would predict for a planet the mass of Earth orbiting a star identical to the Sun at the same distance from the Sun.

    carbon* 1,200 times less
    nitrogen* 2,400 times less
    fluorine* 50 times more
    sodium* 20 times more
    aluminum 40 times more
    phosphorus* 4 times more
    sulfur* 60 times less
    potassium* 90 times more
    calcium 20 times more
    titanium 65 times more
    vanadium* 9 times more
    chromium* 5 times less
    nickel* 20 times less
    cobalt* 5 times less
    selenium* 30 times less
    yttrium 50 times more
    zirconium 130 times more
    niobium 170 times more
    molybdenum* 5 times more
    tin* 3 times more
    iodine* 3 times more
    gold 5 times less
    lead 170 times more
    uranium 16,000 times more
    thorium 23,000 times more
    water 250 times less
    http://www.reasons.org/files/e.....010-02.pdf

    Compositions of Extrasolar Planets – July 2010
    Excerpt: Today astronomers stand at the verge of discovering rocky terrestrial-type planets the size of Venus and Earth. Already they’ve found several only a few times the mass of Earth. In anticipation of this forthcoming discovery, a number of theoreticians have generated detailed computer simulations of extrasolar terrestrial planet formation based on the measured physical properties of known extrasolar planetary systems. So far, however, these simulations have considered only the dynamics of terrestrial planet formation and not the detailed chemical compositions of the final terrestrial planets produced. In the June 1, 2010 issue of the Astrophysical Journal three astronomers from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory (LPL) and the Planetary Science Institute (PSI) in Tucson, Arizona, responded to this deficiency.2 As the three astronomers discovered, the presumption that extrasolar terrestrial planets will consistently manifest Earth-like chemical compositions is incorrect. Instead, the simulations revealed “a wide variety of resulting planetary compositions.
    http://www.reasons.org/composi.....ar-planets

    The stunning long term balance of these necessary chemicals for life, on the face of the earth, is a wonder in and of itself:

    Chemical Cycles:
    Long term chemical balance is essential for life on earth. Complex symbiotic chemical cycles keep the amount of elements on the earth surface in relatively perfect balance and thus in steady supply to the higher life forms that depend on them to remain stable. This is absolutely essential for the higher life forms to exist on Earth for any extended period of time.
    http://www.uen.org/themepark/cycles/chemical.shtml

    OT:

    Skillet – Whispers in the dark (Official Music Video HD)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8WhAfZphQQ

  23. further note:

    Fine Tuning Of Universal Constants, Particularly Light – Walter Bradley – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4491552

    Fine Tuning Of Light to the Atmosphere, to Biological Life, and to Water – illustrations
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....aGh4MmdnOQ

    Intelligent Design – Light and Water – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4669620

  24. BA77,
    Lot’s a good links! And yes, the bugs they dug out of a goldmine in South Africa concentrate heavy metals. Not only would this be great for decontaminating the environment, but its great for miners. This sure beats the “cyanide leach” method for getting gold out of bad ores. It is also held responsible for making the first nuclear reactor in Gabon some 4 million years ago or so, when the bugs concentrated uranium. So yes, there’s lots of reasons to think that arsenic eating bugs are designed, not evolved.

    Kyrilluk,
    There’s been a lot of skepticism concerning the claim of arsenic in the DNA backbones. I read the blog, which claims that hydrolysis would destroy it. But then I also remember when DNA was said by chemists to denature at 80C, and we have bugs in the lab that thrive at 140C, so “nature” is capable of tricks that even chemists don’t know. Furthermore, arsenate doesn’t have a +5 charge state with the same C,O,O,=0 partners as DNA arsenic, so there will be differences in the MRI signature. Further, the EXAF shows arsenic along the DNA, and not vaguely coating everything, and while the picture in the Science article was pretty blurry, I’ve seen EXAF with 30nm resolution, so it is all rather direct evidence in contrast to the indirect refutation.

    PaV,
    I glad to see that PZ is against it. More proof that it must upset the Darwinian applecart. I hope he makes lots of extreme statements like “can’t possibly be true” and “can’t be evolved” and such like. I just love it when doing stupid obvious science is so revolutionary. Shows that Darwin was always more armchair theoretical than experimental.
    As far as the 2 rails go, the motion of many of these enzymes is along the DNA, where they use these ridges and grooves to navigate quickly. And both strands are needed for navigation. I forget how many proteins are involved in replicating DNA, but the one that unzips DNA moves along the DNA to the right site (rails) and then starts the unzipping (no rails). But in order to move along DNA there must be both a “fit” to the rails, and a motion along the rails, much like microtubules form the cytoskeleton for the monorails in the rest of the cell.

    Most of the refutations will be moot, however. Frankly, with 20 minute replication rate for microorganisms, this experiment should be easy to do, and I would expect a raft of refutations in, oh, about a week if it isn’t true.

  25. of related note:

    The worm that turned on heavy metal
    Excerpt: The team has carried out two feasibility studies on the use of worms in treating waste. The team first used compost produced by worms, vermicompost, as a successful adsorbent substrate for remediation of wastewater contaminated with the metals nickel, chromium, vanadium and lead. The second used earthworms directly for remediation of arsenic and mercury present in landfill soils and demonstrated an efficiency of 42 to 72% in approximately two weeks for arsenic removal and 7.5 to 30.2% for mercury removal in the same time period.
    http://www.physorg.com/news/20.....metal.html

  26. Here are a few more notes you may find interesting Dr. Sheldon,

    Here are a couple of sites showing the crucial link of a minimal levels of metals to biological life:

    Transitional Metals And Cytochrome C oxidase – Michael Denton – Nature’s Destiny
    http://books.google.com/books?.....3&lpg

    Proteins prove their metal – July 2010
    Excerpt: ‘Nearly half of all enzymes require metals to function in catalysing biological reactions,’ Kylie Vincent, of Oxford University’s Department of Chemistry tells us. ‘Both the metal and the surrounding protein are crucial in tuning the reactivity of metal catalytic centres in enzymes.’ These ‘metal centres’ are hives of industry at a microscopic scale, with metals often held in a special protein environment where they may be assembled into intricate clusters inside proteins.
    http://www.physorg.com/news197728929.html

    As well, in conjunction with bacteria, geological processes helped detoxify the earth of dangerous levels of metal:

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

    And on top of the fact that poisonous heavy metals on the primordial earth were brought into ‘life-enabling’ balance by complex biogeochemical processes, there was also an explosion of minerals on earth which were a result of that first life, as well as being a result of each subsequent ‘Big Bang of life’ there afterwards.

    The Creation of Minerals:
    Excerpt: Thanks to the way life was introduced on Earth, the early 250 mineral species have exploded to the present 4,300 known mineral species. And because of this abundance, humans possessed all the necessary mineral resources to easily launch and sustain global, high-technology civilization.
    http://www.reasons.org/The-Creation-of-Minerals

    To put it mildly, this minimization of poisonous elements, and ‘explosion’ of useful minerals, is strong evidence for Intelligently Designed terra-forming of the earth that ‘just so happens’ to be of great benefit to modern man.

    Clearly many, if not all, of these metal ores and minerals laid down by these sulfate-reducing bacteria, as well as laid down by the biogeochemistry of more complex life, as well as laid down by finely-tuned geological conditions throughout the early history of the earth, have many unique properties which are crucial for technologically advanced life, and are thus indispensable to man’s rise above the stone age to the advanced ‘space-age’ technology of modern civilization.

    Metallurgy
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metallurgy

    Inventions: Elements and Compounds – video
    http://videos.howstuffworks.co.....-video.htm

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

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