In this assignment, students will analyze the current literature regarding the role of biochemistry in the creation of life on earth and explore the views of various scientists, experts on creation, theologians, and their own beliefs on how the earth was created while comparing them from the perspective of the Christian worldview.
In the book, A World from Dust: How the Periodic Table Shaped Life, biochemist Ben McFarland states, “Life is carried by a river made of chemistry that is pulled along, not by gravity, but by the predictable rules of chemical stability.”
After reading Chapter 1: Arsenic Life, explain in at least 250 words why McFarland believes that phosphorus is needed to make nucleic acids and why arsenic could not be a substitute for phosphorus in nucleic acids.
In Chapter 9: Cracked Open and Knit Together by Oxygen, McFarland details his thoughts on why there was an explosion in the number of fossil species found during the Cambrian period. In at least 250 words, explain what changes may have led to the “explosion” of species in the Cambrian period. Include your opinion as to whether these changes may have led to a dramatic increase in life during this time.
The Cambrian period in time is believed to have begun approximately 542 million years ago based on the abundance of the carbon-13 isotope. This period is characterized by a dramatic “explosion” in the number of different body plans that were found in the fossil record. The article “The Fossil Record of the Cambrian “Explosion”: Resolving the Tree of Life,” by Miller, discusses some of the controversies surrounding the Cambrian period. Read this article, and in at least 250 words, compare your viewpoints and beliefs on the creation of the earth with the viewpoints expressed by both Miller and McFarland about the Cambrian “explosion” events. Use supporting evidence from at least two other scientists, experts on creation, and/or theologians as you discuss why you agree or disagree with the viewpoints of the authors and compare these various viewpoints with biblical teachings from the perspective of the Christian worldview.
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