The Bible Inside Us All

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The Bible Inside Us All

Three Billion-Year-Old Genomic Fossils Deciphered

ScienceDaily (Dec. 20, 2010) — About 580 million years ago, life on Earth began a rapid period of change called the Cambrian Explosion, a period defined by the birth of new life forms over many millions of years that ultimately helped bring about the modern diversity of animals. Fossils help palaeontologists chronicle the evolution of life since then, but drawing a picture of life during the 3 billion years that preceded the Cambrian Period is challenging, because the soft-bodied Precambrian cells rarely left fossil imprints. However, those early life forms did leave behind one abundant microscopic fossil: DNA.


Because all living organisms inherit their genomes from ancestral genomes, computational biologists at MIT reasoned that they could use modern-day genomes to reconstruct the evolution of ancient microbes. They combined information from the ever-growing genome library with their own mathematical model that takes into account the ways that genes evolve: new gene families can be born and inherited; genes can be swapped or horizontally transferred between organisms; genes can be duplicated in the same genome; and genes can be lost.

The scientists traced thousands of genes from 100 modern genomes back to those genes' first appearance on Earth to create a genomic fossil telling not only when genes came into being but also which ancient microbes possessed those genes. The work suggests that the collective genome of all life underwent an expansion between 3.3 and 2.8 billion years ago, during which time 27 percent of all presently existing gene families came into being.

Eric Alm, a professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Department of Biological Engineering, and Lawrence David, who recently received his Ph.D. from MIT and is now a Junior Fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows, have named this period the Archean Expansion.

Because so many of the new genes they identified are related to oxygen, Alm and David first thought that the emergence of oxygen might be responsible for the Archean Expansion. Oxygen did not exist in the Earth's atmosphere until about 2.5 billion years ago when it began to accumulate, likely killing off vast numbers of anerobic life forms in the Great Oxidation Event.

"The Great Oxidation Event was probably the most catastrophic event in the history of cellular life, but we don't have any biological record of it," says Alm.

Closer inspection, however, showed that oxygen-utilizing genes didn't appear until the tail end of the Archean Expansion 2.8 billion years ago, which is more consistent with the date geochemists assign to the Great Oxidation Event.

Instead, Alm and David believe they've detected the birth of modern electron transport, the biochemical process responsible for shuttling electrons within cellular membranes. Electron transport is used to breathe oxygen and by plants and some microbes during photosynthesis when they harvest energy directly from the sun. A form of photosynthesis called oxygenic photosynthesis is believed to be responsible for generating the oxygen associated with the Great Oxidation Event, and is responsible for the oxygen we breathe today.

The evolution of electron transport during the Archean Expansion would have enabled several key stages in the history of life, including photosynthesis and respiration, both of which could lead to much larger amounts of energy being harvested and stored in the biosphere.

"Our results can't say if the development of electron transport directly caused the Archean Expansion," says David. "Nonetheless, we can speculate that having access to a much larger energy budget enabled the biosphere to host larger and more complex microbial ecosystems."

David and Alm also went on to investigate how microbial genomes evolved after the Archean Expansion by looking at the metals and molecules associated with the genes and how those changed in abundance over time. They found an increasing percentage of genes using oxygen, and enzymes associated with copper and molybdenum, which is consistent with the geological record of evolution.

"What is really remarkable about these findings is that they prove that the histories of very ancient events are recorded in the shared DNA of living organisms," says Alm. "And now that we are beginning to understand how to decode that history, I have hope that we can reconstruct some of the earliest events in the evolution of life in great detail."

 

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101219140815.htm

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 Very interesting. 

 Very interesting.

 

Another possible line of though also comes to mind, specifically, that this could tie into the evolution of the sun. We are fairly sure that as the sun has developed, it has grown to be larger and hotter. This is supported by both the stellar physics and a few different lines of geochemical evidence.

 

This leads me to speculate that there is some possibility that oxygen using genes may have become more prevalent not only as a mechanism to harvest and store energy but also because there may have developed in the same time frame, a point where there was more incoming solar energy. Basically, I am speculating that a smaller, cooler sun might not have been providing the level of energy input needed to drive the chemical reactions that would be possible in a more oxygen rich environment.

 

I could, of course, be blowing so much smoke on this. However, given that we already have a few lines of evidence that are appearing to converge around the same time frame, it sees unlikely that stellar evolution would not also provide another potential line of data that might be active in the same date range.

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Just hand me a coloring book

Just hand me a coloring book and stick me in the corner.

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Chuckle

 

Brian37 wrote:

Just hand me a coloring book and stick me in the corner.

 

It's a bit like that with this stuff...

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Atheistextremist

Atheistextremist wrote:

 

Brian37 wrote:

Just hand me a coloring book and stick me in the corner.

 

It's a bit like that with this stuff...

My co workers think I am smart, but when I read stuff like this I feel like Rain Man, "Wapner comes on at 3. Gotta buy my underwear at K-Mart. Gotta fly Quantas".

"We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers."Obama
Check out my poetry here on Rational Responders Like my poetry thread on Facebook under BrianJames Rational Poet also on twitter under Brianrrs37


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As it happens I bought

 

 

a biochem text book hoping to assist me in the comprehension of the fundamentals of life. What a disaster. Next I bought biochem for dummies. Have to keep plugging away at it. Can't be taking any of this weird shit on faith...

 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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AS Answers in Gene... Put It

         Yes, very interesting .  

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Answers in Gene Simmons

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
We are fairly sure that as the sun has developed, it has grown to be larger and hotter.


 

You got the "larger" part correct...

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:Answers in Gene

Kapkao wrote:

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
We are fairly sure that as the sun has developed, it has grown to be larger and hotter.

You got the "larger" part correct...

Any remember that a larger sun is probably that way because of greater energy being released inside it, and that that greater energy will eventually contribute to a greater amount of total energy radiated, even though the surface temperature is lower because the energy is spread over a larger area.

So larger and cooler (redder) suns may still radiate more total heat - from our perspective, a larger sun will likely indeed be hotter.

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

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BobSpence1 wrote:Kapkao

BobSpence1 wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
We are fairly sure that as the sun has developed, it has grown to be larger and hotter.

You got the "larger" part correct...

Any remember that a larger sun is probably that way because of greater energy being released inside it, and that that greater energy will eventually contribute to a greater amount of total energy radiated, even though the surface temperature is lower because the energy is spread over a larger area.

So larger and cooler (redder) suns may still radiate more total heat - from our perspective, a larger sun will likely indeed be hotter.

Oh, I thought we were talking about the star itself, not what might be observed on earth...

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:BobSpence1

Kapkao wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

Answers in Gene Simmons wrote:
We are fairly sure that as the sun has developed, it has grown to be larger and hotter.

You got the "larger" part correct...

Any remember that a larger sun is probably that way because of greater energy being released inside it, and that that greater energy will eventually contribute to a greater amount of total energy radiated, even though the surface temperature is lower because the energy is spread over a larger area.

So larger and cooler (redder) suns may still radiate more total heat - from our perspective, a larger sun will likely indeed be hotter.

Oh, I thought we were talking about the star itself, not what might be observed on earth...

The only relevant factor in the context of this thread is the amount of heat received by the Earth from the Sun, not so much what "might be observed on earth", rather what might be experienced on earth, in terms of received heat and radiation. And an expanding Sun will normally warm the Earth, that is the point as to its effect on the evolution of life.

Can you please get your thoughts sorted out before trying to drop 'smart' comments?

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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BobSpence1 wrote:Can you

BobSpence1 wrote:

Can you please get your thoughts sorted out before trying to drop 'smart' comments?

I thought they were.

"We are fairly sure that as the sun has developed, it has grown to be larger and hotter."

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


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Kapkao wrote:BobSpence1

Kapkao wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Can you please get your thoughts sorted out before trying to drop 'smart' comments?

I thought they were.

"We are fairly sure that as the sun has developed, it has grown to be larger and hotter."

Which is true. It puts out more heat. And its core has got hotter. Which has caused it to expand.

You seem to be assuming "hotter" can only refer to surface temperature, or that of the outer layers, which is the only aspect of its temperature or heat output which hasn't increased. The surface may well be cooler, and outputting less heat per unit area, with less heat per unit volume, since even a 10% expansion increases the total volume by 33%, and the surface area by 21%.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


Kapkao
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BobSpence1 wrote:Kapkao

BobSpence1 wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Can you please get your thoughts sorted out before trying to drop 'smart' comments?

I thought they were.

"We are fairly sure that as the sun has developed, it has grown to be larger and hotter."

Which is true. It puts out more heat. And its core has got hotter. Which has caused it to expand.

You seem to be assuming "hotter" can only refer to surface temperature, or that of the outer layers, which is the only aspect of its temperature or heat output which hasn't increased. The surface may well be cooler, and outputting less heat per unit area, with less heat per unit volume, since even a 10% expansion increases the total volume by 33%, and the surface area by 21%. 

No, I simply thought less fuel means less energy... afterall, the heavier the elements at the center of the star, less the energy their atoms emit when fused, resulting in a net loss when heavier than iron.

“A meritocratic society is one in which inequalities of wealth and social position solely reflect the unequal distribution of merit or skills amongst human beings, or are based upon factors beyond human control, for example luck or chance. Such a society is socially just because individuals are judged not by their gender, the colour of their skin or their religion, but according to their talents and willingness to work, or on what Martin Luther King called 'the content of their character'. By extension, social equality is unjust because it treats unequal individuals equally.” "Political Ideologies" by Andrew Heywood (2003)


BobSpence
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Kapkao wrote:BobSpence1

Kapkao wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Kapkao wrote:

BobSpence1 wrote:

Can you please get your thoughts sorted out before trying to drop 'smart' comments?

I thought they were.

"We are fairly sure that as the sun has developed, it has grown to be larger and hotter."

Which is true. It puts out more heat. And its core has got hotter. Which has caused it to expand.

You seem to be assuming "hotter" can only refer to surface temperature, or that of the outer layers, which is the only aspect of its temperature or heat output which hasn't increased. The surface may well be cooler, and outputting less heat per unit area, with less heat per unit volume, since even a 10% expansion increases the total volume by 33%, and the surface area by 21%. 

No, I simply thought less fuel means less energy... afterall, the heavier the elements at the center of the star, less the energy their atoms emit when fused, resulting in a net loss when heavier than iron.

Our sun is still in the hydrogen-burning phase, maybe a bit of helium burning starting.

The dynamics are all about how much hydrogen in the core gets hot enough to ignite.

It can contract and expand at different phases, as different layers get hot enough to start burning hydrogen, then burn out. It will contract, get hotter again in the core, and another layer will ignite, and it will expand again. Our sun is on the main sequence, so its fluctuations are less violent than others can be, at least at the moment, until helium takes over, and it goes red giant.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


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 Well Kap, you should

 Well Kap, you should listen to Bob as he is making some good points.

 

However, while good, they really don't address what I was saying. There is a thing called the standard solar model that is the basic theory of what is going on inside the sun. Allow me to explain.

 

At the birth of a star, the assumption is that the whole mass is essentially homogeneous. However, it does not stay that way for very long. You see, as a star starts to form, it develops that the density of the gas that makes it up will tend to increase the deeper you go into the star. Got that much?

 

Now, once the density in the central region reaches a certain value where fusion reactions can begin to occur, something new happens. The heat inside the star tends to provide a sort of support, similar to the air in a balloon which will stop it from contracting any further. At this point, the star enters what is known as the main sequence, where it will spend most of its life before developing into and older star such as a red giant.

 

Right now, our sun is believed to be just about half way through the allotted time on the main sequence. However, as it has aged, it has continued to change. Here is where things are going to become somewhat more complicated. I hope you are ready for this.

 

All of the nuclear reactions are taking place deep in the center of the sun in a region that is only about 200,000 miles across. Outside of that region, no nuclear reactions are happening but other interesting processes are going on. However, we can ignore those for the time being.

 

As the energy producing region burns off it's hydrogen to form helium, the actual composition of the core is changing. Right now, the core is just not dense enough to burn helium, so the core will tend to contract slowly over billions of years as the main fuel source runs down.

 

As the core contracts, it become hotter and more dense. Along the way, the increased density make it burn the remaining hydrogen faster. Thus the sun is getting hotter overall.

 

Now, remember that I also told you that the sun is not able to collapse any further because of the outward pressure of the radiation? Well, if the core gets hotter, then there is more pressure to support the outer layers. Thus as the sun ages, it burns fuel faster and becomes hotter overall and it also expands.

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BobSpence1 wrote:Our sun is

BobSpence1 wrote:
Our sun is still in the hydrogen-burning phase, maybe a bit of helium burning starting.

 

The dynamics are all about how much hydrogen in the core gets hot enough to ignite.

 

OK BobSpence1, according to the standard model, conditions in the core are just not right for any helium burning to be going on. That process is probably another five or so billion years out.

 

That much being said, the standard model does not have a feature where the helium burn starts slowly. Once the conditions are right, it will start very quickly. At least on the astronomical time scale. What we think is going to happen is that the whole core will go over almost at once. Then the new source of heat will force the outer layers to blow out to the red giant phase.

 

The whole process may take place over less than a hundred thousand years.  

 

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