December 17, 2003 | David F. Coppedge

Photosynthesis Began a Billion Years Earlier Than Thought

According to the BBC News, some scientists have pushed back the evolution of photosynthesis a billion years earlier than previously believed, to 3.9 billion years ago.  This is based on uranium-thorium ratios of rocks in Greenland that led Danish researchers to conclude that they were deposited under oxidizing conditions.  Others are not sure the data warrant the conclusion.  Dr. Roger Buick, an astrobiologist at University of Washington, is cautious about the claim, but admits, “The biochemistry needed for oxygenic photosynthesis requires lots of bacterial evolution.  If their findings are correct, life was very sophisticated, very early on in Earth history.”  Not only that, but it had to withstand pounding by meteorites that presumably decreased 3.8 billion years ago.  “You would think those sorts of conditions would be pretty hostile to oxygenic photosynthesisers,”  he said.  “But life may be older and more robust than we thought.”  (Emphasis added.)

You would think that those sorts of conditions would be pretty hostile to astrobiological theory.  But metaphysical naturalism may be older and more robust than we thought.  Do you guys have any vague conception of how complicated photosynthesis is?  And you want to push it back a billion years, making it magically emerge in brainless bacteria in the midst of a meteor terror war?
    Thank you, Roger, for your winning entry in Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week.

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Categories: Dumb Ideas, Origin of Life

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