A team of scientists led by Hans Røy, an aquatic ecologist from the Aarhus University in Denmark, traveled to the North Pacific Gyre to drill core samples in the bottom of the ocean.  The Pacific Ocean is divided into five regions called gyres.  The North Pacific Gyre is the largest of the five regions and encompasses most of the ocean north of Hawaii.

Their quest was to look for microbes that lived within the sediment of the ocean floor.  Many scientists believe that nearly ninety percent of all microbes on earth live on and in the ocean floor and they know very little about them.  Røy and his team drilled several core samples in the ocean floor in order to study some of these mysterious organisms.  They wanted to study them and their rates of metabolism in the deep ocean muds.

One of their core samples went down to a depth of ninety-eight feet where they discovered a community of microbes that were still living, but only barely according to Røy.  Buried that deep in the sediment, there was very little food and oxygen supply to sustain the microbes, but they determined that they were still living.

Generally, tests reveal that oxygen rarely penetrates more than a couple of feet down in the ocean floor, but to their surprise, the team discovered a small amount of oxygen within their sample taken from ninety-eight feet

Part of the way to measure metabolic rates in many microbes is to determine how long it takes for them to divide and double their biomass.  For example, some bacteria like E coli can divide and double its biomass in as little as sixteen minutes.  The microbes that Røy and his team discovered are estimated to take as long as 1,000 years to double their biomass based upon their calculations and assumptions.

Røy also calculated that the microbes they recovered are approximately eighty-six million years old.  It appears that he calculated the extreme age based upon the extremely slow rate of sedimentation found at that depth and location.

But what would happen to his dating of the sediment if there had been a large influx of sediment at one or more times in the past?  That would make the date much younger as well as attribute to the surprising presence of oxygen they found.  What if the sediment layers that the scientists were studying had precipitated down towards the end of the Genesis Flood?  The turbulent waters of the Flood would have carried huge amounts silt to all parts of the oceans.  Eventually the silt would have settled to the bottom, quickly covering the microbes along with their food and oxygen supply.

Starting with the evidence from Scripture, I would say that the microbes they found are probably not much older than 4,500 years, not 86 million.  Yes, they no doubt have an extremely slow metabolism explaining how they could survive for thousands of years, but I find it very difficult to believe that they have lived for millions of years and that somehow a supply of oxygen managed to penetrated nearly one hundred feet of sediment when it currently only penetrates no more than two feet.  Røy’s science is good, it’s just his conclusions are wrong because they were based upon wrong worldview assumptions to begin with.

References

Boyle, Rebecca.  Buried Since the Jurassic Era, Ocean Microbes Are Still ‘Barely Alive’, Popular Science, May 17, 2012.

Pappas, Stephanie.  Tiny Deep-Sea Life Eats Dinosaur-Era Meals, Live Science, May 17, 2012.

 

Privileged Planet (DVD)

Today, most scientists and philosophers claim that Earth is an ordinary speck of dust adrift, without purpose or significance, in a vast cosmic sea. This idea (popularized by the late astronomer, Carl Sagan) is an outgrowth of the naturalistic philosophy that has dominated science for the past 150 years. Yet, remarkable evidence–unveiled by contemporary astronomy and physics-may now tell a very different story.

This hour-long documentary explores the scientific evidence for intelligent design and purpose in the universe. In the process, Earth is revealed as far more than the product of time, chance, and random natural processes.

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