Secularist Death Match - Darwin v. Global Warming
It seems safe to say that most people who believe chemical evolution would consider the Miller-Urey experiment a part of the scientific consensus that supports Darwin's theory of evolution. This was an experiment that created organic chemicals (e.g. amino acids) in a controlled atmosphere of water, methane, ammonia and hydrogen (chemically this is a reducing atmosphere as opposed to an oxidizing atmosphere ). It is from this experiment that the popular conception of life arising from a "primordial soup" arises. The theory proceeds to the first formation of life, then the creation of bacteria, followed by photosynthesis which converted carbon dioxide to free oxygen in the atmosphere and ultimately animal life which converted oxygen back into carbon dioxide through respiration. This balance of photosynthesis versus respiration forms part of the modern carbon cycle.
[From Wikipedia] "Early in the Earth's history—about 3.5 billion years ago—there was 1,000 times as much methane in the atmosphere as there is now. The earliest methane was released into the atmosphere by volcanic activity. During this time, Earth's earliest life appeared. These first, ancient bacteria added to the methane concentration by converting hydrogen and carbon dioxide into methane and water. Oxygen did not become a major part of the atmosphere until photosynthetic organisms evolved later in Earth's history. With no oxygen, methane stayed in the atmosphere longer and at higher concentrations than it does today" (emphasis added).
This raises two quite interesting questions.
1) If the primordial atmosphere contained significant amounts of carbon dioxide and/or methane, wouldn't the global warming effect be extreme? They are two of the most commonly cited greenhouse gases.
2) Where was all the oxygen that currently is found in the atmosphere and oceans sequestered in the primordial atmosphere, in carbon dioxide and water?
The presence of free oxygen would break down the organic chemicals of the promordial soup, so the chemical evolution theory does not allow the presence of free oxygen in th eatmosphere. Yet the current atmosphere is 21% by volume (and 23.15 % by mass) molecular oxygen and 0.0383% by volume (0.0582 % by mass) carbon dioxide. The proposed conversion reaction, photosynthesis, has a chemical formula 6 CO2 + 12 H2O + Photons = C6H12O6 + 6 O2 + 6 H2O.
Simply put, the creation of six oxygen molecules required six carbon dioxide molecules (an equal number) in the primordial atmosphere. Today's atmosphere has a sea level pressure of 14.7 pounds per square inch. That means that there is 3.40 pounds of oxygen in the atmosphere over every square inch of the Earth's surface at sea level (14.7 x .2315), or about 490 pounds per square foot! Even where the surface is at a higher elevation, there is still a significant amount of oxygen (at the peak of Mount Everest, there is about 150 pounds per square foot).
The molecular weight of carbon dioxide is 44, while oxygen is 32. So for every pound of oxygen today, there had to be 44/32 or 1.375 pounds of carbon dioxide in the primordial atmosphere.
That means there was 674 pounds per square foot of carbon dioxide (150 x 1.375) then, while there is only 0.0086 pounds (14.7 x 0.000582) today.
That's almost 80,000 times as much carbon dioxide!!! How's that for global warming? The nearest analog would be the atmosphere of Venus, where surface temperatures are high enough to melt lead and water does not exist in liquid form. (If there was methane, the greenhouse effect would be much higher still. "Methane in the Earth's atmosphere is an important greenhouse gas with a global warming potential of 25 over a 100 year period. This means that a 1 tonne methane emission will have 25 times the impact on temperature of a 1 tonne carbon dioxide emission during the following 100 years."
We also know that today’s oceans include vast amounts of oxygen in chemical combination with hydrogen as liquid water (H2O). Each water molecule consists of one oxygen atom (atomic weight of 16) plus two hydrogen atoms (atomic weight of 1 each). So 89% of the oceans water is oxygen atoms. The combination of seawater and atmospheric oxygen means that there is a huge supply of oxygen at the earth’s surface.
Where was all that oxygen in the primordial era?