Life’s dependency on carbon was so distinctive to aliens in Star Trek, they nicknamed humans “carbon units.” With its four valences, carbon is able to form an almost infinite number of complex molecules based on chains (polymers) and geometric shapes. But does the presence of carbon in abundance explain the appearance of life? Evolutionists desire a unified, “bottom-up” story that derives complex life from particles exploding out of the big bang by undirected processes and natural law. Here’s a look at stages in the grand story.
- Whence carbon? Over a half century ago, flamboyant astrophysicist Fred Hoyle realized that a finely-tuned resonance state in nuclear reactions going on in the interiors of stars was responsible for carbon nucleosynthesis. Now, according to PhysOrg, researchers at North Carolina State University have modeled the Hoyle State state from first principles and proved it correct. Dean Lee at NC State commented, “This work is valuable because it gives us a much better idea of the kind of ‘fine-tuning’ nature has to do in order to produce carbon in stars.”
- Whence carbon-rich planets? Once you have carbon, what happens to it? Much of it remains in stars, but supernovas can blast it and other heavy elements out into molecular clouds. As theory has it, these clouds condense and form planets (but see 05/21/2009,06/09/2009, 08/21/2009). Rocky planets might have abundant carbon.
Science news outlets are asking if the Kepler spacecraft has found one. Space.comasked, “Is the Rocky Alien Planet Gliese 581d Really Habitable?” It’s seven times bigger than earth, but appears to lie in the circumstellar habitable zone (see other habitable zone requirements in the 02/26/2011 commentary). Beyond that, nobody knows if it has the requirements for life, and detection of life is beyond current capabilities.
Guillermo Gonzalez, astrobiologist, intelligent design advocate and co-author of The Privileged Planet (see video version on YouTube), was asked about the likelihood of life on this world on ID the Future. He said that other factors, such as plate tectonics and the right atmosphere and temperature, will have to be evaluated….
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