Algae in Pond

Algal explosion got us here, according to articles in ScienceDaily 16 August, and ABC News and BBC News 17 August 2017, and Nature, doi: 10.1038/nature23457, Published online 16 August 2017.

Scientists at Australian National University claim to have solved the mystery of how the first animals appeared on earth, and therefore how we got here. The researchers analysed chemicals in sedimentary rocks from Central Australia, and found steroids that are found in algae, along with traces of phosphates. According to Jochen Brocks, who led the study these are the remnants of an explosion of algae 650 million years ago that allowed human and animal life to evolve.

The researchers suggest that after the earth emerged from an intensely cold period, known as “snowball earth” there was a massive influx of nutrients, especially phosphates, into the sea. This led to the rise of algae, single celled plants, which replaced the bacteria that had been the dominant life forms on earth until then. Algae are larger and more complex than bacteria, and therefore more nutritious to any animal that eats them.

Brocks explained: “These large and nutritious organisms at the base of the food web provided the burst of energy required for the evolution of complex ecosystems, where increasingly large and complex animals, including humans, could thrive on Earth”. Brocks also commented: “Without that we would not be here”.

Not all scientists are convinced. Nick Butterfield of Cambridge University accepts the results of the rock analysis but disputes the interpretation. According to the BBC, Butterfield claims it was “the rise of animals – sponges to be precise – that cleared the ecological path for algae”.

ABC, BBC, ScienceDaily

Editorial Comment: In case you are unsure about algae – they are simple plants that float in water or attach to rocks, so according to this theory we are all just glorified pond life.

We do not dispute the results of the chemical analysis of the rock either, but we can say to those on either side of the debate “you are both wrong”. It doesn’t matter whether you believe sponges or algae got there first, this story is based on the most fundamental flaw in evolutionary belief – that if you have the right matter and energy you will get new living things.

It is not matter and energy that makes new living organism, it is information and intelligence. Living organisms do need raw materials and energy to function, but the mere presence of these will not produce the genetic information required to use the energy and build the raw materials into new life forms. Therefore, the presence of algae as a nutritious food source will only allow whatever eats it to grow and flourish, but it will not add any new genes to algae eaters. Furthermore, the presence of phosphates may explain why algae could thrive, but it does not explain where the algae came from, or how they could have evolved from bacteria. Again new genetic information is needed, not just fertiliser.

Ultimately, the origin of all living things depends on information from the Creator who is outside the system. Therefore, it is not algae that got us here, it is the Creator God who made us as unique beings in His image.

Evidence News vol. 17, No. 18
27 September 2017
Creation Research Australia

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