Monday, February 16, 2015

Ant That Somethin'?

If someone were to ask you what land dwelling creature possessed the greatest total mass on Earth today, I'm betting the word "ant" would not come to mind. According to Hugh Ross, "the ubiquitous ant comprises 15-25% of the total mass of living animal tissue on the continents ... [not only that but] both the ants' population size and behaviors have helped compensate for the Sun's increasing luminosity over the 3.5 billion years since life originated on the Earth."
 
Here's how.
 
The Sun, like any other star, is basically a nuclear furnace that emits heat and light from the continuous fusion of hydrogen into helium at its core. As this process becomes more efficient over the life of the star, it brightens. In fact, astronomers have calculated that our Sun burns 25% brighter today than it did 3.5 billion years ago.
 
"So what?"
 
Scientists also calculate that a mere 1-2% increase in the brightness of the Sun is enough to burn the Earth and render it uninhabitable for life. Yet, here we are.

Enter, ants.
 
It turns out that one of the many curious design features of our "Privileged Planet" is the delicate balance that has been maintained in the Earth's atmosphere as the Sun has progressively brightened. The Earth's ecosystem has simultaneously managed, through the combined efforts of organismal and geological processes, to compensate for the Sun's increased luminosity by removing heat-retaining gases from the atmosphere to maintain a livable temperature on the surface of the Earth.
 
According to Ross:
"weathering of silicates (silicon compounds) is the most effective way living creatures remove greenhouse gases. In this process, atmospheric carbon dioxide reacts with rainwater to make carbonic acid that, in turn, reacts with continental silicates to yield sand and carbonates. Depending on the life-forms involved, more or fewer continental silicates are exposed to rainwater and more or less carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere. Recently, a geologist discovered that ants may well be the latest major contributors to atmospheric carbon dioxide reduction.
During the Paleogene Era (66-23 million years ago), many new ant species emerged, greatly expanding their total biomass. Field studies establish that the weathering of calcium and magnesium silicates is enhanced by a factor of 50-300 times in the vicinity of ant colonies. Thus ants indirectly played a significant role in making it possible for life to persist [Yon the Earth]."*
I'm not trying to make a mountain out of an ant hill, but this is just one of many such design features that we find in the interwoven characteristics of our Solar System -- as well as in the delicate design of the Sun-Earth-Moon system that holds eerie "coincidences" that have to be just the way they are for life to be possible on the Earth. You can read more about these kinds of things in several of Hugh Ross's writings, as well as in "Privileged Planet ," by Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonz├ílez (also available in video form at discovery.org).
 
It seems to me that it ought to make even the most serious skeptic pause to consider how it could be possible to establish and discover such a connection between the physics of nuclear fusion at the core of the Sun and the compensatory design features of plants ... and ants ... on the Earth.
 
I would never go so far as to say that the ant connection is a serious "proof" for the existence of God, but it is certainly consistent with the Design Argument for God ... especially when you consider that it is just one among many, many similar "coincidences."

I offer it for what it's worth ...

__________________

* This quote and the general idea of the post are based on the article, "Ants: Amazing Agents of Change," by Hugh Ross, Reasons To Believe Newsletter, January/February 2015.



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