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Basic Worldview:
102 Atheism vs. Theism

Scientists: Life on Earth
Imported from Outer Space

Prelude: "Atheism/Theism" vs. "Science, the Bible, & Creation"
Atheism: Introduction and Charges
Charge 1, Deduction and Induction
Charge 2, Question 1
Charge 2, Questions 2 and 3
Charge 2, Summary and Question 4
Charges 3 and 4, Definitions
Empirical Evidence
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 1
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 2
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 3
Occam's Razor and Conclusions
Footnote 1
Footnote 2 and 3
Proof of Life
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 1
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 2
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 3
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 4
Scientists: Life on Earth Imported from Outer Space
Atheisms Circle of Reasons
Is God a White Crow?

For reasons that we will soon detail, scientists now believe that life on earth had to originate from some other planetary body. As such, Atheism and Agnosticism as well as all of naturalistic (atheistic) evolutionary theory now hang on the notion that life on earth as we know it did not come about from the evolution of a living cell on this planet, but from the evolution of a living cell on another planet that came here most likely through a meteor shower of some kind. The quotes below are intended to demonstrate that this remarkable claim, that life on earth came from outer space, is now a major premise in the scientific search for an unintelligent explanation for the origins of life.

1) On the other hand, it is believed that our young planet, still in the throes of volcanic eruptions and battered by falling comets and asteroids, remained inhospitable to life for about half a billion years after its birth, together with the rest of the solar system, some 4.55 billion years ago. This leaves a window of perhaps 200-300 million years for the appearance of life on earth.

This duration was once considered too short for the emergence of something as complex as a living cell. Hence suggestions were made that germs of life may have come to earth from outer space with cometary dust or even, as proposed by Francis Crick of DNA double-helix fame, on a spaceship sent out by some distant civilization.
- American Scientist article

NOTE: The reason that scientists now assume that life on earth had to be imported from some other planetary body (perhaps even via a space ship) is that earth's history involved major cataclysmic events that would make it impossible for life to have evolved on earth. The next quote from Discover will describe these reasons in greater detail.

2) Astronomers and geologists were discovering that Earth had a violent infancy--hundreds of millions of years after the planet had formed, giant asteroids and comets still crashed into it, burning off its young atmosphere and boiling away its oceans. In the process, they also destroyed all the chemicals that researchers assumed were in liberal supply on the early Earth, including the building blocks of lipids.

Research now suggests that the source was extraterrestrial. Comets and meteorites evidently brought seeds of creation to replace the ones they had destroyed, in the form of hundreds of different organic carbon molecules synthesized when the solar system was a swirling disk of gas and dust. After the last atmosphere-killing impacts--about 4 billion years ago--smaller comets, meteorites, and dust from space could, in the space of a few hundred million years, have brought enough organic carbon to cover the planet in a layer ten inches deep.

Deamer wondered whether space could also supply him with his membranes; specifically, he wondered whether he could dig them out of a 200-pound meteorite that had fallen in Murchison, Australia, in 1969 and that was positively tarry with organic carbon. In 1985 he traveled to Australian National University in Canberra to study it. "The question was," he says, "are there any things in the meteor that form bilayers?" If so, it would be fair to assume that after impacts of similar meteorites in the ocean billions of years ago, such substances could have washed up onshore in a tide pool, dried, and then been rehydrated.

Deamer ground a piece of the Murchison meteorite and extracted the organic carbon, made it into a slurry, dried it, and then added water again. "I took that ordinary extract and put it on a slide; I didn't know what I was going to see. It was a wonderful surprise--the whole slide began to fill with these beautiful little vesicles. I started taking pictures immediately. It's like what they say about seeing a UFO--you want to get your shots in. I can remember running downstairs to a lunch group of my colleagues and showing the pictures, and they looked at them and said, ‘From meteorites?' It was pretty hard to believe."
- Discover article

NOTE: According to this longer description, the early history of the earth involved bombardments from meteors and such which would have followed any initial developments of life on this planet, and which would have destroyed any such developments in the process. Both of these two quotes also clarify that, due to these series of cataclysms, a long enough time frame would not be available for life to originate on earth. Thus, life on earth, must have fallen from the heavens, as the following two quotes also exemplify.

3) To what extent these substances arose on earth or were brought in by the falling comets and asteroids that contributed to the final accretion of our planet is still being debated. - American Scientist article

4) Deamer was encouraged by this work--he had found hints that meteorites supplied material to form membranes that could have enclosed complex genetic molecules and could have trapped energy. - Discover article

NOTE: Now we will conclude this article with a series of similar quotes, all of which indicate that scientific theory incorporates the notion that life arose on some other planetary body and then came to earth.

5) The clues come from the earth, from outer space, from laboratory experiments, and, especially, from life itself. - American Scientist article

6) The final demystification of organic chemistry has been achieved by the exploration of outer space. - American Scientist article

7) That such processes indeed take place is demonstrated by the presence of amino acids and other biologically significant compounds on celestial bodies--for example, the meteorite that fell in 1969 in Murchison, Australia, Comet Halley (which could be analyzed during its recent passage by means of instruments carried on a spacecraft), and Saturn's satellite Titan, the seas of which are believed to be made of hydrocarbons. - American Scientist article

8) The first hints that this might be so came from the laboratory, before evidence for it was found in space, through the historic experiments of Stanley Miller, now recalled in science textbooks. - American Scientist article

9) Although the primitive atmosphere is no longer believed to be as rich in hydrogen as once thought by Urey, the discovery that the Murchison meteorite contains the same amino acids obtained by Miller, and even in the same relative proportions, suggests strongly that his results are relevant. - American Scientist article

10) According to most experts who have considered the problem--notably, in relation with the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence project--there should be plenty of such sites, perhaps as many as one million per galaxy. If these experts are right, and if I am correct, there must be about as many foci of life in the universe. Life is a cosmic imperative. The universe is awash with life. - American Scientist article


September-October 1995
The Beginnings of Life on Earth
by Christian de Duve

First Cell
By Carl Zimmer