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Sunday, December 05, 2010

Breaking News Post - Arsenic and Old Lace...more fake evolution?


Some ignorant media types have been trumpeting the fact that scientists have induced a form of bacteria to eat arsenic.   This is supposed to be earth-shaking news that "astrobiologists" consider a veritable proof that life exists on other planets.   This is, of course, a bunch of horse manure.   First, news reports are saying that "NASA" has discovered this, but in fact the research may have been funded by NASA but it is being done on Earth using bacteria that grow in abundance in California's Mono Lake.   These particular bacteria usually subsist on Phosphorus in the mud, which is rich in both phosphorus and arsenic.   I will quote from the New Scientist:

"Wolfe-Simon's team took mud containing bacteria from the arsenic-rich Mono Lake and grew them in ever decreasing concentrations of phosphorous. Their rationale was that since arsenic is just below phosphorous in the periodic table, and shares many of its chemical properties and is even used as a source of energy for some bacteria, the bugs would be able to swap one for the other. That is just what happened.

"After one year, they are still alive and well," says Paul Davies of Arizona State University in Tempe. Not only that, the team showed that this ability was incorporated deep into the molecular building-blocks of the bacterium, strain GFAJ-1 of the salt-loving Halomonadaceae family, right down to the DNA....

"...Despite surviving on arsenic for a year, the bacteria would still "prefer" to grow using phosphorous: biomolecules react more efficiently in water and seem to be more stable when constructed with phosphorous than arsenic. They only substitute arsenic if there is no alternative."


Okay, duh.   This is a pre-existing bacteria that lives on phosphorus in an environment rich in arsenic and scientists have found that this same bacteria can subsist on arsenic but will switch to phosphorus when available.   It is not a new form of life.  It is not a new anything.   We will eventually find out that this was all hype as the bacteria will be shown to have the genetic information necessary to live off of arsenic already in place.  Time for a reminder about bacteria, the bugs that eat everything and are necessary for life on this planet for just about everything:

Update:   Cre-Evo news was already all over this with "Arsenic and Old Lake."  Better title and good reporting!
"Update 12/04/2010: What does the microbe’s acronym GFAJ-1 stand for?  Live Science revealed it: it stands for “Give Felise a Job.”

The Matrix

Life's Support System

by Joe Francis

Featured In

This Issue

The Creator filled the earth with all the chemicals that living things could ever need. But special “go-betweens” were necessary to move these treasures from their safe hiding places and convert them into forms we can use. That’s where bacteria come in.

Imagine a futuristic city where vehicles are run by highly efficient acid-powered motors that produce little or no pollution. On the way home, your vehicle attaches itself to an airborne mega-transport ship, studded with hundreds of other vehicles. With the combined power of the multiple motors—complete with propellers—the mega-transport travels smoothly through rough weather and treacherous conditions to your home.

After detaching from the ship, you park in your driveway, which senses your car’s dimensions and molds a raised platform to fit the car’s shape, locking it securely 20 feet off the ground.

Imagine that as you’re sleeping an airborne probe flies over your neighborhood and attaches to your home and car, inserting new instructions to update the operating software.

Whenever any cars in the city get the least bit outdated, tiny vehicles prowling the city track them down, attack them, and dismantle the parts. Then, using the old parts, each tiny vehicle can transform itself into a shiny new car, ready and waiting for you in the morning.

Your Gut Is a Thriving City

Futuristic city? Not really. These are just some of the things that bacteria do every day in our digestive systems. In fact, the human digestive system is the most densely populated ecosystem on earth, with hundreds of species of bacteria, yeast, and viruses interacting daily in this environment.1
Each species of bacteria is present in such high numbers that the total population is in the trillions. In fact, if we consider all the bacteria on the human body, there are ten for every human cell. This means that, by sheer numbers alone, you are more bacteria than human!
<em>Escherichia coli</em> (<em>E. 
Escherichia coli (E. coli) is a bacterium commonly found in the lower intestine. Most E. coli strains are harmless and can produce vitamin K2 or prevent harmful bacteria from successfully invading the intestine. Picture copyright of Rocky Mountain Laboratories.

In the intestines, good bacteria provide nutrients, break down waste, and act as an immune system that prevents harmful bacteria from infecting our body. In fact, the human digestive system may need bacteria to be present before it can develop properly after birth.2 Similar to the vehicles in the futuristic city above, many bacteria have elaborately designed mechanisms to move around in this dynamic, ever-changing environment. It is as though they were created to live there.

Microbes, Microbes, Everywhere

Bacteria are members of a group of microscopic creatures called microbes. Microbes include a variety of one-celled creatures, such as fungi, mold, and algae.3 Microbes are found not only in the human body but also in every environment on earth, from high in the atmosphere to deep below the earth’s surface, where they survive by eating things like oil and rocks.

Microbes thrive in boiling hot springs, ice and snow, the dry heat of deserts, acids, high salt concentrations, rubber stoppers in bottles, and even hand soap.

Microbes, Microbes, Everywhere

Microbes Are Our Friends

If most bacteria and other microbes don’t cause disease, just what are they doing? Since the Bible states that God made everything “very good” at creation, creationists would expect to see the microbes’ very good function all around us, on a grand scale.4
Quite remarkably we find that microbes play a vital role in distributing and recycling nutrients all over the planet.4 For example, every living thing needs carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen. Many bacteria specialize in recycling these nutrients through the air, water, and land. This crucial process, called biogeochemical cycling, takes place on an unimaginably huge scale (see “The Necessary Matrix of Bacteria” below).
Many, many microbes must work in concert to perform this cycling. Once thought to be a sterile wasteland, the deep earth appears to be a major chemical factory, filled with a mass of bacteria that could be greater than the combined mass of all plants and animals living on the surface.

Without the millions of different microbes, the earth’s vast resources would be useless to us. We need their help to get the necessary chemicals out of the earth and into our bodies. We couldn’t even eat steak or salad without bacteria in our stomach to help break food down. So every day, throughout the day, God displays His infinite love and wisdom, caring for every living thing even at the lowest, molecular level.
Microbes play a vital role in distributing and recycling nutrients for living things all over the planet.
Consider just one example—nitrogen recycling. Unlike the oxygen in the atmosphere, the nitrogen that we breathe is basically useless to humans and animals. The chemical bonds are just too strong. But a few bacteria and other microbes have the incredible ability to break the bonds of nitrogen and make it useful to living things.

In fact, many plants have specialized organs attached to their roots that house these nitrogen-loving bacteria. This relationship between plants and bacteria is a common phenomenon called mutualism, a form of symbiosis. It is a relationship whereby each partner benefits by living with the other partner.

Nothing Lives Alone

All creatures on earth live in symbiotic partnerships, including lowly single-celled pond-dwelling organisms. It appears that the Creator wants us to “clearly see” in these pervasive symbiotic relationships how much we depend on others—and ultimately Him—for life. From the very beginning of time, all the different creatures on earth had to be alive and working together, and we continue to depend on them (and God) for a healthy life.

So, what are all these symbiotic microbes doing? Creationists have noted several major things, such as providing nutrition and influencing reproduction of insects. Let’s consider just a couple of other interesting examples from the animal kingdom.

Defending plants and animals. Microbes are also involved in defending plants and animals against attack by other organisms. For example, consider that in the early 1900s a fungus almost wiped out the majestic American chestnut tree. A few trees survived the blight, however, and they were found to possess a virus that modified the blight, causing the fungus to be less potent. Now scientists are breeding resistant chestnut trees that could once again grace American forests.

It seems likely that God originally designed certain viruses as part of the immune system of plants.

Bioluminescence. Another interesting partnership is the bioluminescent (light-producing) bacteria that grow inside special light organs in creatures such as the Hawaiian bobtail squid.5 The bioluminescence may help protect the squid against predators that swim under them at night. Perhaps the glowing squid appears as moonlight to predators lurking below, or perhaps the squid uses the light to see its way through murky water or at night. Whatever the bacteria’s function, recent studies show that bioluminescent bacteria play an important role in the great depths of the ocean.

These are just a couple of the interesting symbiotic partnerships of bacteria and other microbes. Their amazing abundance and their life-supporting functions suggest that the Creator—our “living God” (Psalm 84:2)—made microbes to form a massive, life-sustaining, life-promoting biomatrix on earth.

When you look closely at the microbial world, two major themes are inescapable. One is that our living God intended to “fill the earth” with life, evidenced by the pervasive, life-sustaining biomatrix of microbes, animals, and humans. Second is the Creator’s emphasis on relationships. A vast multitude of living things interact with each other as God designed it to be and as He sustains it.

For in Him we live and move and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

Dr. Joe Francis, Professor of Biological Sciences at The Master’s College, earned his PhD from Wayne State University and served as a research scientist at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Francis serves as a board member of the BSG (a creation biology study group). 

Frankly, the discovery that a bacteria can eat something is no surprise.  Now finding substances they CANNOT is much harder.   This entire Arsenic Bacteria story is an equivocation.   It is not a new form of life, it is a pre-existing bacteria.   NASA should not take any credit for research on mud from California.   This has nothing to do with outer space.  This bacteria has a DNA coding mechanism and like other bacteria can adjust what it eats.   If left alone, it prefers phosphorus.   If forced to choose arsenic or die, there are some specimens that eat arsenic.   Hey, if forced to choose spaghetti or die, my son Dave would eat spaghetti.  But he will eat almost anything else first.  His brother Robert loves spaghetti.   Neither of them are an indicator of a new kind of life and neither are the arsenic-eating bacteria. 

Truth is, we find that life is all about symbiosis and complex relationships, pre-existing complex information preloaded into all of life and no life without reproduction.   You find a microbe or a mouse, they came from another microbe or mouse and did not just *poof* into existence,   Oh, and "astrobiologists" ought to be lumped in with sorcerers and scientologists

The Radar series will continue on Monday as scheduled.   Don't be fooled by the hype, a "new" kind of life has NOT been discovered and it has NOTHING to do with outer space.


Jon Woolf said...

Yap yap yap ... So the mass media misstated and exaggerated a scientific discovery. Like that's never happened before!

In your ignorant yapping, however, you (as usual) completely miss the actual significance of this. To all organisms above the bacterial level, arsenic is instantly and violently toxic. Even most bacteria merely tolerate arsenic. No one has ever seen an organism that could live on arsenic instead of phosphorus. No one has ever seen an organism that used arsenic in its DNA. DNA is always made up of the same six elements: hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, sulfur, phosphorus, and nitrogen. In every lifeform ever examined, in every known habitat and environment, across the entire kingdom of Life. Until now.

It enormously expands the possible scope of life-supporting chemistry, and makes it that much more likely that we might someday find extraterrestrial life.

But of course, as a creationist you have no imagination, no vision, and no romance in your soul, so understanding the scope of this discovery is beyond your limited comprehension.

Anonymous said...

"But of course, as a creationist you have no imagination, no vision, and no romance in your soul, so understanding the scope of this discovery is beyond your limited comprehension."


Anonymous said...

Radar, despite your ham handed handling of the "arsenic bacteria" story, it appears that your primary beef lies with the mainstream (unscientific) science media. You'll have to get in line behind the vast majority "Darwinist" scientists when it comes to this particular issue, by-the-way Radar.

If anyone is interested, here is a critique of the actual study itself by someone with an actual PHD in the field in question.

- Canucklehead.

radar said...

Not sure what to say to the latest round of comments on my last three or four posts. Darwinists do not think the Law of Biogenesis is a law now. They are not too clear on the laws of thermodynamics, either.

Your religious viewpoint has caused you to throw away tested and verified scientific law to believe in fairy tales like abiogenesis. You also need a copy of the scientist's guide to urban legends. Behe's assessment of the bacteria flagellum has not been falsified, there is no valid research that can account for an RNA world, there is no research that can pull either RNA or DNA out of the natural world's hat and there is no natural source for information.

Darwinists lie. No big surprise. But I am not wasting much time on the obvious ones. Anybody who has half a brain can research the problem of chirality and will realize that it is an insurmountable problem for naturalists.

Woolf clearly misses the point of the Arsenic bacteria. He doesn't understand the structure of DNA, obviously, which is NOT a matter of elemental structure but rather the four...OMG, no, I am not going to explain it all in a comments thread since I have spent long articles specifying the structure and workings of DNA. The DNA of arsenic bacteria is not unusual.

Meanwhile, they want me to prove abiogenesis is not true?! Wow, how about spontaneous generation? Was that proven to be untrue?

No, I could not get up on stage and prove that the flying spaghetti monster does not exist. I could not get on stage and prove that there is NOT a monster under your bed that is invisible but real. I could not get on stage and demonstrate conclusively that Peter Pan does not exist, either.

And enough of these idiotic references to some Joe Blow in Kokomo who is working on some massive problem with Darwinism, such as the chirality issue or something similar. NO! That is Darwinist gobbledygook. Darwinists never come up with a solution to these problems, they tell you they are "working on them" and by the way the check is in the mail.

Woolf, in your ignorant yapping you missed the point that these bacteria live in an environment full of arsenic which is not toxic to them but they prefer phosphorus. All this research found was, that as phosphorus was removed and arsenic left as a source of sustenance, some of the bacteria were able to survive for a time on the arsenic but, when given the choice, they avoided the arsenic and preferred the phosphorus. You obviously do not have the slightest idea of what you are talking about.

Jon Woolf said...

"They are not too clear on the laws of thermodynamics, either. "

The First Law of Thermodynamics: In a closed system, the total amount of energy remains the same over time. Also known as "the law of conservation of energy."

The Second Law of Thermodynamics: In a closed system, the distribution of energy tends to change in the direction of equilibrium.

The Third Law of Thermodynamics: As temperature approaches absolute zero, all physical processes cease and entropy decreases to a minimum.

Now, can you explain why these three laws forbid evolution, which occurs across living organisms which are not closed or thermodynamically isolated systems?

No, you can't. Because they don't.

"He doesn't understand the structure of DNA, obviously,"

[snicker.wav] I understand it better than you do, Radar. This has nothing to do with the alleged information in DNA, or with genetics. This is a much more basic level of chemistry. DNA is a polymeric nucleic acid formed by connecting nucleotides into two long complementary chains, which then connect down the center to form the characteristic double helix. Nucleotides are molecules built up of a sugar, a nucleobase, and a series of 1-3 phosphate groups. Phosphate groups, it may surprise you to learn, bear that name because they contain an atom of phosphorus. Thus, phosphorus is an essential ingredient for making DNA. Or at least that's what we thought until now.

Anonymous said...

"Darwinists never come up with a solution to these problems, they tell you they are "working on them""

Which they actually do, which is why mainstream science makes progress and creationists do not, instead confining themselves to propaganda to ensnare the uninformed.

Anonymous said...

The above link doesn't work, my bad. It's here:

radar said...

In Woolf's ignorant yapping, he again misses the point that the DNA has not been the issue here. The pro-evolution ScienceBlogs agree. Sloppy science intended to get headlines that is refuted by careful study, like the Lenski Citrate bacteria and the Mars bacteria and etc.

Again Jon, "my limited comprehension" is less limited than yours, so either you need to revise your self-image or admit that you were wrong again, or both.
Why don't you stop and just deal with issues instead of a continual attempt to make this about "creationists are stupid." Because it has nothing to do with evidence to go on in that way and it begins to make you look bad.

Then your vainglorious monologue about romance in the soul and all that garbage sounds kind of silly now, doesn't it? "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?"

William also said: "The love of heaven makes one heavenly." I will agree with Mr. Shakespeare on that one.

“Science will never be able to reduce the value of a sunset to arithmetic. Nor can it reduce friendship to formula. Laughter and love, pain and loneliness, the challenge of beauty and truth: these will always surpass the scientific mastery of nature.”-
Dr. Louis Orr,(past) President, Journal of the American Medical Association