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Earth’s oxygen Easy to take for granted?

So say the New York Times. Not for some of us: anyway,

What’s even more astonishing is that Earth started out with an oxygen-free atmosphere. It took billions of years before there was enough of the element to keep animals like us alive.

Although scientists have been struggling for decades to reconstruct the rise of oxygen, they’re still making fundamental discoveries. In just the past two weeks, for example, Dr. Canfield and his colleagues have published a pair of studies that provide significant clues about some of the most important chapters in oxygen’s history. They’re finding that our weirdly oxygen-rich atmosphere is the result of a complicated dance of geology and biology.

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12 Responses to Earth’s oxygen Easy to take for granted?

  1. How hard could it be? Just take fourteen parts by weight of nitrogen mix, one part *hydrogen mix, dash in neutrons to taste, mix all ingredients, spread evenly over cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes on high (very high). Let cool, there you have it! Breath in, sigh!

    No mixing bowl? No problem! Just find a warm pond. ;)

    * raw proton substitute optional

  2. Contrary to what atheistic materialism would expect, we now have fairly strong evidence of extremely complex oxygenic photosynthesic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth:

    The Sudden Appearance Of Life On Earth – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4262918

    U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of +3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis (2003)
    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2004E&PSL.217..237R

    When did oxygenic photosynthesis evolve? – Roger Buick – 2008
    Excerpt:,, U–Pb data from ca 3.8?Ga metasediments suggest that this metabolism could have arisen by the start of the geological record. Hence, the hypothesis that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved well before the atmosphere became permanently oxygenated seems well supported.
    http://rstb.royalsocietypublis...../2731.long

    New study: Oxygenic photosynthesis goes back (at least) three billion years – September 26, 2013 – vjtorley
    Excerpt: If Buick is correct here, then oxygenic photosynthesis goes right back to the very dawn of life. (also see comment #8 for more detailed notes on photosynthesis, and terra-forming of the earth, going back to 3.8 billion years ago)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ion-years/

    Moreover, evidence for ‘sulfate reducing’ bacteria has been discovered alongside the evidence for photosynthetic bacteria:

    When Did Life First Appear on Earth? – Fazale Rana – December 2010
    Excerpt: The primary evidence for 3.8 billion-year-old life consists of carbonaceous deposits, such as graphite, found in rock formations in western Greenland. These deposits display an enrichment of the carbon-12 isotope. Other chemical signatures from these formations that have been interpreted as biological remnants include uranium/thorium fractionation and banded iron formations. Recently, a team from Australia argued that the dolomite in these formations also reflects biological activity, specifically that of sulfate-reducing bacteria.
    http://www.reasons.org/when-di.....pear-earth

    Of semi-related note as to how finely tuned the atmosphere/ecology of the earth actually is for higher life;

    Engineering and Science Magazine – Caltech – March 2010
    Excerpt: “Without these microbes, the planet would run out of biologically available nitrogen in less than a month,” Realizations like this are stimulating a flourishing field of “geobiology” – the study of relationships between life and the earth. One member of the Caltech team commented, “If all bacteria and archaea just stopped functioning, life on Earth would come to an abrupt halt.” Microbes are key players in earth’s nutrient cycles. Dr. Orphan added, “…every fifth breath you take, thank a microbe.”
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100316a

    Planet’s Nitrogen Cycle Overturned – Oct. 2009
    Excerpt: “Ammonia is a waste product that can be toxic to animals.,,, archaea can scavenge nitrogen-containing ammonia in the most barren environments of the deep sea, solving a long-running mystery of how the microorganisms can survive in that environment. Archaea therefore not only play a role, but are central to the planetary nitrogen cycles on which all life depends.,,,the organism can survive on a mere whiff of ammonia – 10 nanomolar concentration, equivalent to a teaspoon of ammonia salt in 10 million gallons of water.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....132656.htm

  3. I seriously doubt that oxygen somehow evolved to fill the earth’s atmosphere. That doesn’t sound any more likely tha the idea that comets delivered the water to earth that is so necessary for life. Imagine how many water laden comets would have been necessary!

    And I highly doubt that there is any good logical theory as to how oxygen could have evolved.

    I believe the earth is unique because God created it “to be inhabited” like Isaiah tells us. I confess to believing in the poof theory here. God created birds and fish on Day 5 so there had to be oxygen by then. But oxygen was probably created on day 2 when God created the atmosphere.

    I suppose you could actually say that it was first created on day one since the earth started out as a ball of water. Water contains oxygen as we all know.

    But this doesn’t fit the Big Bang that postulates earth beginning as hot molten rock if I’m not mistaken. However, that is not a problem for me since I am not a proponenof or believer in the Big Bang.

  4. And I highly doubt that there is any good logical theory as to how oxygen could have evolved.

    Photosynthesis is quite a good theory, I think.

  5. wd400, if you are claiming that photosynthesis ‘randomly evolved’, you are without any empirical support for your claim. As I already pointed out we have fairly good evidence indicating that photosynthesis was present on earth as soon as water was on the face of earth, in the oldest sedimentary rocks on earth. But besides that, photosynthesis is an exceedingly complex process that exhibits irreducible complexity in spades:

    “There is no question about photosynthesis being Irreducibly Complex. But it’s worse than that from an evolutionary perspective. There are 17 enzymes alone involved in the synthesis of chlorophyll. Are we to believe that all intermediates had selective value? Not when some of them form triplet states that have the same effect as free radicals like O2. In addition if chlorophyll evolved before antenna proteins, whose function is to bind chlorophyll, then chlorophyll would be toxic to cells. Yet the binding function explains the selective value of antenna proteins. Why would such proteins evolve prior to chlorophyll? and if they did not, how would cells survive chlorophyll until they did?” Uncommon Descent Blogger

    Evolutionary biology: Out of thin air John F. Allen & William Martin:
    The measure of the problem is here: “Oxygenetic photosynthesis involves about 100 proteins that are highly ordered within the photosynthetic membranes of the cell.”
    http://www.nature.com/nature/j.....5610a.html

    Scientists unlock some key secrets of photosynthesis – July 2, 2012
    Excerpt: “The photosynthetic system of plants is nature’s most elaborate nanoscale biological machine,” said Lakshmi. “It converts light energy at unrivaled efficiency of more than 95 percent compared to 10 to 15 percent in the current man-made solar technologies.,, “Photosystem II is the engine of life,” Lakshmi said. “It performs one of the most energetically demanding reactions known to mankind, splitting water, with remarkable ease and efficiency.”,,, “Water is a very stable molecule and it takes four photons of light to split water,” she said. “This is a challenge for chemists and physicists around the world (to imitate) as the four-photon reaction has very stringent requirements.”
    http://phys.org/news/2012-07-s.....hesis.html

    The Miracle Of Photosynthesis – electron transport – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj_WKgnL6MI

    Electron transport and ATP synthesis during photosynthesis – Illustration
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/bo.....iggrp.1672

    The 10 Step Glycolysis Pathway In ATP Production: An Overview – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Kn6BVGqKd8

    At the 6:00 minute mark of the following video, Chris Ashcraft, PhD – molecular biology, gives us an overview of the Citric Acid Cycle, which is, after the 10 step Glycolysis Pathway, also involved in ATP production:

    Evolution vs ATP Synthase – Molecular Machine – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4012706

    Of related note: anoxygenic (without oxygen) photosynthesis has some more complex chemical pathways than oxygenic photosynthesis does:

    “Remarkably, the biosynthetic routes needed to make the key molecular component of anoxygenic photosynthesis are more complex than the pathways that produce the corresponding component required for the oxygenic form.”;
    Early Life Remains Complex By Fazale R. Rana (FACTS for FAITH Issue 7, 2001)

    Moreover photosynthesis is found to be widespread among different bacteria phyla with no clear evolutionary relationships between them:

    The Elaborate Nanoscale Machine Called Photosynthesis: No Vestige of a Beginning – Cornelius Hunter – July 2012
    Excerpt: “The ability to do photosynthesis is widely distributed throughout the bacterial domain in six different phyla, with no apparent pattern of evolution. Photosynthetic phyla include the cyanobacteria, proteobacteria (purple bacteria), green sulfur bacteria (GSB), firmicutes (heliobacteria), filamentous anoxygenic phototrophs (FAPs, also often called the green nonsulfur bacteria), and acidobacteria (Raymond, 2008).”
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....8048253561

  6. There is actually a molecular machine, that surpasses man made machines in engineering parameters, that is integral to the photosynthetic process:

    ATP: The Perfect Energy Currency for the Cell – Jerry Bergman, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: In manufacturing terms, the ATP (Synthase) molecule is a machine with a level of organization on the order of a research microscope or a standard television (Darnell, Lodish, and Baltimore, 1996).
    http://www.trueorigin.org/atp.asp

    ATP Synthase, an Energy-Generating Rotary Motor Engine – Jonathan M. May 15, 2013
    Excerpt: ATP synthase has been described as “a splendid molecular machine,” and “one of the most beautiful” of “all enzymes” .,, “bona fide rotary dynamo machine”,,,
    If such a unique and brilliantly engineered nanomachine bears such a strong resemblance to the engineering of manmade hydroelectric generators, and yet so impressively outperforms the best human technology in terms of speed and efficiency, one is led unsurprisingly to the conclusion that such a machine itself is best explained by intelligent design.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....72101.html

    Thermodynamic efficiency and mechanochemical coupling of F1-ATPase – 2011
    Excerpt:F1-ATPase is a nanosized biological energy transducer working as part of FoF1-ATP synthase. Its rotary machinery transduces energy between chemical free energy and mechanical work and plays a central role in the cellular energy transduction by synthesizing most ATP in virtually all organisms.,,
    Our results suggested a 100% free-energy transduction efficiency and a tight mechanochemical coupling of F1-ATPase.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/ea.....hort?rss=1

    As well, in what I find to be a very fascinating discovery, it is found that photosynthetic life, which is an absolutely vital link that all higher life on earth is dependent on for food, uses ‘non-local’ quantum mechanical principles to accomplish photosynthesis. Moreover, this is direct evidence that a non-local, beyond space-time mass-energy, cause must be responsible for ‘feeding’ all life on earth, since all higher life on earth is eventually completely dependent on this non-local ‘photosynthetic energy’ in which to live their lives on this earth:

    Non-Local Quantum Coherence In Photosynthesis – video with notes in description
    http://vimeo.com/30235178

    At the 21:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr Suarez explains why photosynthesis needs a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain its effect:

    Nonlocality of Photosynthesis – Antoine Suarez – video – 2012
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....ge#t=1268s

    Related note:

    Michael Denton: Remarkable Coincidences in Photosynthesis – podcast
    http://www.idthefuture.com/201....._coin.html

    etc.. etc..

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:4
    In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    Toby Mac (In The Light) – music video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_MpGRQRrP0

  7. I seriously doubt that oxygen just happened to slowly appear over time all by itself! That sounds about as likely as comets bringing all the water for the vast oceans of the world! (Imagine how many comets would have been necessary for that to happen and how long it would have taken!)

    And I highly doubt that there is any good logical theory as to how oxygen could have evolved on the planet.

    I believe the earth is unique simply because God created it “to be inhabited” just like Isaiah says. I confess to believing in the poof theory here. God created the atmosphere on day 2 so this is probably when God created oxygen. But, I suppose you could actually say that it was first created on day one since the earth started out as a ball of water. (Water contains oxygen as we all know)

    But this doesn’t fit with the Big Bang that postulates earth beginning as hot molten rock(if I’m not mistaken.) However, that is not a problem for me since I am not a proponent of or a believer in the Big Bang.

    II Peter 3:5-6 “For they deliberately overlook this fact, that the heavens existed long ago, and the earth was formed out of water and through water by the word of God, and that by means of these the world that then existed was deluged with water and perished.”

  8. Frankly tjguy, if you want to get into a purely theological debate with no real empirical support, UD is not the place for it. But if you want to put some empirical evidence on the table countering the evidence thus far presented please do so. Repeating a theological claim, as you have now done, does nothing to resolve the issue, and is, as far as I’m concerned, just as bad as the overt metaphysical claims that Darwinists continually make. I’m sorry if I ruffled your feathers, but that is the way, for good or for bad, I see it.

  9. Sorry, that was a double post.

    You didn’t ruffle my feathers. Besides, I don’t have any feathers last time I checked.

    I think I posted from my iphone and didn’t see it post and then rewrote it and sent it from my computer.

    Apologies!

    But BA, I think there is value in showing what the Bible has to say about the issue as well. It does matter and some might be interested.

  10. WD400 @4

    And I highly doubt that there is any good logical theory as to how oxygen could have evolved.

    Photosynthesis is quite a good theory, I think.

    WD400

    The story used to be that oxygen was first produced about 2.7 – 2.8 billion years ago. But this was a problem because what they call the Great Oxidation Event didn’t take place for another 300 – 700 million years after that! Why? It doesn’t make sense. This is a huge time interval.

    That was bad enough, but as BA pointed out, now there is evidence of photosynthesis a full 1 billion years earlier than that! So now the claim is even more absurd! Now they say that it must have taken 1.3 – 1.7 billion years for oxygen to comprise a significant part of the atmosphere. Again, that just doesn’t make sense.

    You know what? I don’t think they know what they are talking about.

    Why did the oxygen level grow to 21% and then level out and stay there? No one knows.

    We all know that photosynthesis plays an important role in the oxygenation of the atmosphere now, but the question is, what about back then?

    You can’t just say “photosynthesis did it.”

    For that to be a viable answer to the problem, you have to be able to explain where photosynthesis came from and how it evolved. Otherwise, how do you even know it did evolve? It’s easy to throw out stories, but a bit harder to back the stories up scientifically.

  11. You know what? I don’t think they know what they are talking about.

    It’s usually a good idea to at least consider the idea that the experts in a given field do, in fact, no more about it than you.

    In this case, the “Great Oxidation” occure only after the various Oxygen “sinks”, in particular free iron, were filled up. This can be seen from the huge number of iron oxide deposits from the time before the event. Once the free O2 could longer be sucked up chemically it had to go somewhere, and it ended up in the atmosphere.

    It’s imply not true that the “oxygen level [grew] to 21% and then level[ed] out”. It’s fluctuated ever since, since oxygen levels depend on many biological and geological processes.

  12. And I highly doubt that there is any good logical theory as to how oxygen could have evolved.

    I agree!

    Photosynthesis is quite a good theory, I think.

    Photosynthesis is not a theory.

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