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#127065 - 01/21/10 12:07 AM Rare Earth
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Is the entire planet "back country?" Perhaps enough so that the book Rare Earth should be read by every one facsinated by the idea "where did come from and how did we get here and is anyone else out there"

Rare Earth by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee
“Maybe we really are alone”
I am going to assume that those of you who read books and this part of the forum are probably the best educated and brightest members. The subject matter of this book is about the extremely improbable events leading to higher life form on Planet Earth, if you can refer to an animal who can manipulate a planet for the purposes of over reproducing himself and causing his own extinction as well as that of thousands if not millions of other species, as a higher life form. Ahem…
The book is truly a non-fiction science book not Sci-Fi, and is written in light to medium density science. You do not have to be a biologist or physicist to understand it, but some understanding of astrophysics, chemistry, biology, paleontology, plate tectonics, fusion, evolution, geology, and genes would be helpful.

I paraphrase where needed, otherwise I quote:

All but a minute fraction of the atoms in the Planet Earth and its inhabitants were produced, long before the Earth formed, by an intricate set of astrophysical processes. <gap> During the first half hour (after the Big Bang) conditions existed that produced most of the atoms that are still the building blocks of the stars – mainly hydrogen and helium atoms that make up over 99% of the visible matter in the Universe. It did not produce oxygen, iron, magnesium, or sulfur, the elements that make up over 96% of the mass of our planet and it did not produce carbon. <gap> Carbon formation had to await the formation of red giant stars whose interiors are dense enough to create heavier atoms. Because stars become red giants only in the last 10% of their life time, there was no carbon in the Universe for billions of years. <gap> The elements heavier than Bismuth (the densest non-radioactive element) were produced in stars over ten times more massive than our sun which underwent supernova explosions. <gap> Earths oxygen content is 45% by weight and 85% by volume!!!!!!.
Paraphrased. The sun is quite rare in its abundance of heavy metals, even for its type of star. Without heavy metals the Earth would not have a hot radioactive core to produce plate tectonics and there would be no magnetic field which protects the planet from radiation from space.
Other highlights of the book:
Our moon was actually a heavy metal cored planet the size of Mars that collided with Earth and added its metal core to Earth and then went into orbit around it first at an altitude of only fifteen thousand miles. Tidal forces are moving the Moon away at a few centimeters per year and eventually the moon will escape Earths gravity field. The moon holds the Earth constantly in its minimal tilt which produces mild winters and summers so that the surface has had a very long period of time with constant temperatures for billions of years, with a warm equatorial area where most species live.
The Earth was originally seeded with bacteria from space. Fossil bacteria have been found on the moon and in Martian meteorites. No one knows where they came from but they required a wet world to originate.
It took 2 billion years for bacteria to evolve to blue green algae capable of releasing enough oxygen for other life forms to exist and it took another 2 billion years to create humans. The Cambrian explosion (not a real explosion but the beginning of more complex life forms with mineralized skeletal parts capable of leaving fossils behind) was about 500 million years ago. Since then there have been 15 known mass extinctions, some from asteroids, some from volcanoes and others of unknown causes, but after each there was a period of radiation of species to an ever more complex and increased number. Today there are 3 million to 30 million species on Earth. Today there are hundreds of species becoming extinct every day in what promises to be one of the greatest mass extinctions ever, and it is caused by the presence of humans who are intelligent enough to manipulate the planet and to destroy the habitat of other species for there own purposes.
But I digress, the book is about the extremely rare set of coincidences leading to higher animal life on Earth and explains why there may be no other intelligent life in the Universe, at least at this time.

*****Miscellaneous information pertaining to the subject; Mankind almost became extinct about 70,000 years ago, probably due to the Yellowstone super volcano eruption. Genetic studies indicate that only 40 to 100 human females (and an unknown number of males) survived. In the last 70,000 years, a tick on the geological clock, man has covered the planet like slime in a petri dish and is causing a mass extinction. There are billions of humans and even if 99% of humans vanished tomorrow, by the end of this century, at present rates, they would have replenished that lost percentage. It is ironic that it took billions of years – up to 15 billion in fact to create an intelligent life form that will cause his own extinction and that of millions of other species.
Where did the bacteria in space come from? Where there other equally intelligent and short lived species out there? What are the odds of two intelligent species living at the same time in different solar systems? Why is the Earth so rare? Why couldn’t life evolve on a planet nearer the center of a galaxy or around a binary pair? Read the book for your selves, but be prepared to be saddened by the story of mans very improbable ascension to perhaps the highest pedestal in the Universe, only to destroy his world that was created for him by a set of exceptional events equal to winning the lottery every day for the last 70,000 years.
Jim


Edited by Jimshaw (01/21/10 02:43 PM)
Edit Reason: edited to separate the information below the *** as Miscellaneous information pertaining to the subject; AND to remove an erroneous reference to a particular volcano
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#127074 - 01/21/10 02:08 AM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Jimshaw]
kevonionia Offline
member

Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 1322
Loc: Dallas, TX
Jim:

Oh . . . I thought you were talking about this Rare Earth. cool cool

Enjoyed reading your post.
_________________________
- kevon

(avatar: raptor, Lake Dillon)


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#127076 - 01/21/10 03:52 AM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Jimshaw]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Interesting, until you get to this:
Quote:
The Earth was originally seeded with bacteria from space. Fossil bacteria have been found on the moon and in Martian meteorites. No one knows where they came from but they required a wet world to originate.

That's quite a jump to make with that statement, where there is zero proof. The jury is very split on that Martian meteorite (found on earth!) and no fossil bacteria has been found on the moon. And, how does genetics point to a near human extinction, 70,000 years ago??

Where did all this come from? Easy answer! How? Not so easy.
Quote:
only to destroy his world that was created for him by a set of exceptional events equal to winning the lottery every day for the last 70,000 years.

wink Let the God vs. Science debate begin! (again)
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#127077 - 01/21/10 08:42 AM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Jimshaw]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
I also enjoy engaging conversations like this, concerning Earth's geology. I was never too concerned about it until preparations leading up to my Grand Canyon trips. Now I read an absorb everything I can get my hands on, about it. I will definitely be reading this book.

I do see a few items that are contradictory to things that I have read, such as the Yellowstone eruptions causing mass human extinctions 70,000 years ago. The last known supervolcanic eruption was 640,000 years ago. There was an eruption 70,000 years ago but it was not an explosive eruption. It was merely a lava flow.

Quote:
The loosely defined term 'supervolcano' has been used to describe volcanic fields that produce exceptionally large volcanic eruptions. Thus defined, the Yellowstone Supervolcano is the volcanic field which produced the latest three supereruptions from the Yellowstone hotspot. The three super eruptions occurred 2.1 million, 1.3 million, and 640,000 years ago; forming the Island Park Caldera, the Henry's Fork Caldera, and Yellowstone calderas, respectively[5]. The Island Park Caldera supereruption (2.1 million years ago), which produced the Huckleberry Ridge Tuff, was the largest and produced 2,500 times as much ash as the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption. The next biggest supereruption formed the Yellowstone Caldera (640,000 years ago) and produced the Lava Creek Tuff. The Henry's Fork Caldera (1.2 million years ago) produced the smaller Mesa Falls Tuff but is the only caldera from the SRP-Y hotspot that is plainly visible today.[6]

Non-explosive eruptions of lava and less-violent explosive eruptions have occurred in and near the Yellowstone caldera since the last supereruption. The most recent lava flow occurred about 70,000 years ago, while the largest violent eruption excavated the West Thumb of Lake Yellowstone around 150,000 years ago. Smaller steam explosions occur as well; an explosion 13,800 years ago left a 5 kilometer diameter crater at Mary Bay on the edge of Yellowstone Lake (located in the center of the caldera).[7][8] Currently, volcanic activity is exhibited via numerous geothermal vents scattered throughout the region, including the famous Old Faithful Geyser, plus recorded ground swelling indicating ongoing inflation of the underlying magma chamber.[9]




Quote:
No eruption that big has occurred while humans have walked the earth,

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Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#127088 - 01/21/10 11:28 AM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Dryer]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Dryer, actually there is now lots of proof accepted by biologists that there is bacteria in space, NAA evidence is there. You of course do not have to believe that, but you can research this easily online.

Again you need to do some study. Geneticists have found that there is not enough genetic diversity in the human race. My friend Dr Ot-Hopkins, the chair of the science department at our local college and a biology professor loaned me the book and said that genetics has shown that maybe as few as 40, and probably no more than 100 human females survived a cataclysmic catastrophe, about 50,000 to 70,000 years ago and they ASSUME that it was the Yellowstone super volcano (but the actual reason is unknown) I stand corrected... as the only surviving humans lived in southern Africa where perhaps the worlds weather patterns carried the dust and smoke far enough north that a few humans survived.

As far as god vs science, you mean Bible vs science. No one knows where the bacteria came from. We do know that there is bacteria in space, maybe god is really a bacteria, but now I know what "the meek shall inherit the Earth" meant. Bacteria and cockroaches, not humans. Frankly I personally think god created DNA and seeded the universe with it, I do not believe that life itself evolved from chemicals, but I do believe that animals did evolve from bacteria. But then that's my belief and may vary from yours.

Your mileage may vary and if this seems controversial, it was meant to be.
Dryer - try this one http://www.panspermia.org/bacteria.htm
Jim


Edited by Jimshaw (01/21/10 11:52 AM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#127092 - 01/21/10 11:38 AM Re: Rare Earth [Re: scottyb]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
ScottyB See my revised comment, no one actually knows what event triggered the cataclysm 50,000 to 70,000 years ago, it is assumed to have been a volcanic eruption. IT WAS MY ERROR TO SUGGEST THE YELLOWSTONE SUPER VOLCANO AS A POSSIBLE CULPRIT, I WAS THINKING THAT IT HAPPENED ON THE RIGHT TIME SCALE, I CHECKED MY REFERENCES AND I WAS WRONG, I STAND CORRECTED BY SCOTTYB. There have been very severe eruptions in recent geologic history, perhaps not tens on the scale, but still very very big.

Again this is a book report with some other "scientific data" thrown in and some acknowledged paraphrasing, people should read the book and do their own online research. Every university on the planet has information posted on all of these subjects.
Jim


Edited by Jimshaw (01/21/10 12:46 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#127097 - 01/21/10 01:29 PM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Jimshaw]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Quote:
You of course do not have to believe that, but you can research this easily online.

I have, for years, before there was an 'online'. Astronomy/scope building has been my thing since the 2nd grade. There are many who "want to believe" there is bacteria in space but there is no proof or evidence of it at all. Panspermia.org is one such "want to" .org. I've looked at that site in the past.
There may be bodies the resemble (panspermia uses that word often) fossil bodies, but "resemble" ain't good enough and doesn't discount cross contamination. Most of what they site was found on this planet and lay here for millennia.
I'm not discounting the possibility, but you can't state facts that aren't facts, and build a creation model ,from it.
Panspermia as a method of propagating life is certainly a possibility, but it's not 'fact'....yet, and there is good evidence that our earth would be the originator of anything floating around in our solar system, since we are the only ones in the neighborhood with verifiable 'life'. There is even speculation that your Martian meteorite may have made the trip twice. I grant you there is much study on upper atmosphere micro critters, but that is still "earth" and there is no evidence that those critters originated from anywhere else.
Can't say about the 70,000 year old annihilation of 99.99999912543% of humanity. Was that just the North American continent, as it was then, or the entire earth?


_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#127104 - 01/21/10 02:49 PM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Dryer]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Dryer I can ask Dr Ot about that question but my understanding of her statement is that there were no humans on North America at that time and that ALL humans everywhere on the planet died except for a handful in southern Africa. That we are ALL descendant from 40 to 100 females that survived.

There has been a lot of work on the bacteria from space thing. They did find bacteria on the moon and they have found fossil bacteria in meteorites. A lot of this work has been done since 2000 and many university microbiology web site can offer more detail under extremophile prokaryotes. But its not my job to convince you... thanks
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#127106 - 01/21/10 03:10 PM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Jimshaw]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Quote:
They did find bacteria on the moon and they have found fossil bacteria in meteorites.


Who? And don't say the Apollo camera incident. grin
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paul, texas KD5IVP

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#127108 - 01/21/10 03:33 PM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Jimshaw]
scottyb Offline
member

Registered: 05/28/08
Posts: 278
Loc: Texas Hill Country
Just as a follow-up.

Population Bottleneck

Toba Catastrophe

Stromatolites
Quote:
Photosynthesizing cyanobacteria were responsible for the creation of Earth's oxygen atmosphere during the Archaean and Proterozoic Eras, and in doing so these relatively primitive organisms played a tremendously important role in shaping the course of succeeding evolution and ecological change throughout Earth's history. The oceans and atmosphere had a very different chemistry lacking free oxygen, unsuitable for life as we know it today, prior to the appearance and activity of cyanobacteria. They were the dominant lifeform on Earth for over 2 billion years and the builders of Earth's first reefs.


_________________________
Just because you don't take an interest in politics doesn't mean politics won't take an interest in you.... Pericles (430 B.C)

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#127121 - 01/21/10 06:33 PM Re: Rare Earth [Re: scottyb]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
scottyb
really good sleuthing dude. I just spoke with doctor Ot and she said it is know that it was the mt Toba eruption that killed off most all of the humans. They know its date and where its erupted material went. The genetic reference she gave me is http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2009/1008/3 (how we lost our genetic diversity) but it seems you need a membership to read it. I'm having dinner with her tomorrow on my birthday so I'll see if she can come up with another reference or a quote for us.
hers one I found http://www.michaelbalter.com/HominidHighlights/10_09_2009%7CHow_We_Lost_Our_Diversity.php
Jim


Edited by Jimshaw (01/21/10 06:40 PM)
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#127124 - 01/21/10 06:43 PM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Dryer]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Dryer, its not my job nor my interst to try to convince you of anything, you can read the book, study online literature, or not, I don't care. No offense, but I am not going to engage you or your beliefs.
Jim
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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#127128 - 01/21/10 08:41 PM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Jimshaw]
aimless Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/05/03
Posts: 2838
Loc: Portland, OR
Jim, there's no need to stretch the definition of "backcountry book" as drastically as you wish, in order to shoehorn this discussion onto BPL. There's a perfectly serviceable Off-Topic forum where this subject would feel right at home.

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#127146 - 01/22/10 12:37 AM Re: Rare Earth [Re: Jimshaw]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3569
Loc: Texas
Quote:
but I am not going to engage you or your beliefs.


Beliefs? I'm talking about facts. There are no fossils on the moon, nor has anyone found deep space bacteria, living, dead, or fossilized. There are theories that material containing fossilized organic matter was blasted from earth and ended up on the moon...and Mars, but it is still terrestrial. Firm discoveries like that would turn the scientific community on its ear....just ain't so. Pseudo science is everywhere and of course says otherwise. And, there is no proof that life here came from anywhere but from here....again...YET, I have an open mind. There's plenty of online junk that would have us believe proof Sasquatch or ET is alive and well, or that god was ancient astronaut, but none of it stands up to scrutiny. I guess I should cancel my Sky and Telescope and Nature...they are as biased as me. grin
Believe what you want, Jim.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#127178 - 01/22/10 04:35 PM Re: Rare Earth [Re: aimless]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Aimless, well is is a book report. I just thought it was a really interesting book about, well everything in the backcountry and front country too. It is mostly about the evolution of higher plants and animals on Earth.

Anyway the promised references to the genetic work was from Stanley Anbrose, and Weber on Toba volcano-Toba the website address didn't come across, its on www.andaman.org

States 40 to 600 female homo-sapiens females. Other human populations at the time including neanderthals are not included because they are not our ancestors.
_________________________
These are my own opinions based on wisdom earned through many wrong decisions. Your mileage may vary.

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