March 17, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

From Dust to St. Patrick in 5 Billion Years Flat

Biblical creationists and evolutionists have one belief in common: we came originally from dust.  How that dust became organized is the difference.  Both views teach that our bodies are comprised of the same atoms found in dust, but creationists say an intelligent designer purposefully molded the dust into a fully-formed man and woman, whereas evolutionists claim the dust organized itself over aeons of time (see cartoon).  Several recent evolutionary articles seem to endow dust with nearly magical properties of self-organization.
    As if pulling a rabbit out of a dusty hat, Astrobiology Magazine announced, “Galactic Dust Bunnies Contain Stuff of Life.”  The basic idea is that carbon, oxygen and iron may form in stars at the centers of galaxies like ours and blow the dust into the outer regions.  The Spitzer Space Telescope detected silicates and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), rich in carbon and oxygen, near the center of the Milky Way.  “These elements are the building blocks of all planets, including our own Earth (as well as of human beings and any other life forms that may exist in the universe).”  The implication is that there is an evolutionary connection between PAH molecules (which are like the dust in your tailpipe) and you.
    The preoccupation with life-potentiating dust was also seen in another article on Astrobiology Magazine.  It began, “NASA scientists analyzing the dust of meteorites have discovered new clues to a long-standing mystery about how life works on its most basic, molecular level.”  That mystery is homochirality: the fact that all proteins in life use left-handed amino acids.  Science Now echoed the finding by Goddard astrobiologists who noticed slight excesses of one hand over the other in meteorites collected in Antarctica.  “In one of the rocks, the imbalance was 18%, the largest ever reported for a meteorite.”  The discoverers theorized that the amino acids made contact with melting ice in the parent asteroids, and become more biased toward left handedness when polarized light in space impinged on the molecules.  “Whatever the reason,” the article said (indicating these theoretical notions are not certain), “life as we know it could just as easily have been given a nudge toward the right-handed side in a different environment.”  Jeffrey Bada of UC San Diego remained skeptical.  “It’s a lot to ask from a natural geochemical process, which, basically, we know nothing about.”  Another astrobiologist mentioned the possibility that bacterial contamination of the meteorite biased the ratios.
    Problems or not, the two articles on Astrobiology Magazine were optimistic that the secret of life is inherent in dust: “The study shows that biological molecules created in space and delivered to Earth by meteorites” [i.e., space dust] “ may have had a profound effect on the development of life.”  And as to the origin of the dust from stars, the other article said, “The research is helping astrobiologists understand how elements necessary for life are formed and distributed through the Universe.”  A few billion years later, St. Patrick walks the heaths of Ireland, bringing good news to people walking in pagan darkness and fear.

Now we can add the Dust Bunny to Tinker Bell, Popeye and Yoda in the cast of characters in the evolutionary play, King Charles and His Magic Kingdom.  The Dust Bunny from space contains within herself all the potentialities of eagles, frogs, giraffes, starfish and humans: NASA tells us that galactic dust bunnies contain the stuff of life.  So the cosmic Dust Bunny, sent on a beam of starlight, falls to a planet that had just emerged from the dust of the sun.  All she needs is the awakening zap from Tinker Bell’s mutation wand, and her inherent potential begins to unfold.  Over billions and billions of years, left-handed amino acids, “for whatever reason,” join hands and invent codes, morphing into trilobites and squid and jellyfish and worms.  Under King Charles’ just laws, stuff happens: fins swim, legs walk, and eyes pop into existence.  The living dust morphs into mice and cavemen and Popeye the Sailor Man.  Minds emerge from the dust, till at the pinnacle of this long process, Yoda the scientist looks back, calls St. Patrick a fool, and explains how it all really happened.
    More primitive versions of this philosophy were called pantheism.  Darwin Party Productions, Inc., has animated the ancient play into a new epic – Pantoonism – now playing in science journals near you.  Abadabadababacadabra, that’s all, folks.

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