Chemosynthesis Another Design for Life

In order for man to live on this planet, there are an enormous number of conditions and materials that have to be very carefully planned. When a group of scientists attempted to build a totally closed self-sustaining habitat in which humans could live (called Biosphere), it was such a colossal failure that even those who had predicted its demise were amazed at how quickly conditions inside the facility became intolerable.

One thing that seems to sustain man on the earth is the sheer quantity of life on this planet. We find organisms in the air, in all kinds of water, in the ground, in our bodies, and even inside our machines. One of the most interesting discoveries made in recent years has been the discovery that life exists in hydrothermal vents, over a mile below the surface of the ocean. As scientists have studied this life, they find it is very similar to life on the surface of the water except it functions without light. Complex chemical reactions fix carbon dioxide by a process known as the Calvin cycle both in light dependent organisms and in chemically driven organisms. The difference is that light dependent organisms use chloroplasts to produce the carbon dioxide, and chemosynthesis organisms are sulfide oxidizing bacteria. Hydrogen sulfide is given off by the vents on the sea floor. The bacteria take the sulfur in the hydrogen sulfide and oxidize it producing energy. This energy drives all life forms in the deep sea vents, producing sugars, fats, and amino acids in living forms very much as plants do, but based on sulfur. Like photosynthesis this process is highly complex, but it sustains a huge number of animals in the sea and may sustain life elsewhere.

It is hard to visualize how rotten egg gas (the nickname for hydrogen sulfide) could be used to support abundant quantities of life. The design of the system not only produces abundant life, but it removes natural sulfur pollution from the sea. God's biosphere works because of the wide variety and interdependence of living things. When you realize that humans armed with computers and huge amounts of data and hardware could not design a biosphere that would work, it would seem that believing chance to be the creating force of life on planet Earth would be out of any reasonable possibility. Chemosynthesis and photosynthesis speak loudly about God's wisdom and planning in the cosmos.

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