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Author Topic:   Water As An Element of Fine-Tuning
RustyShackelford 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 1 of 100 (154895)
11-01-2004 2:18 PM


I've heard it asserted that life could potentially arise without the presence of water. But I've also heard it asserted that, if it wasn't for the fact that water expanded when it froze, the oceans would freeze solid. So, how could life be sustained for long on a world where the basic solvent was ammonia or something other than water? And, if life can't arise without water, shouldn't the existance of a universal solvent that is the only substance in existance which expands when frozen be considered an element of fine-tuning by an intelligent designer?

Or is the nature of water dependant on the physical laws of our universe? In another universe, with different physical laws, could H20 be a less effective solvent? And maybe in another universe, it's ammonia which expands when frozen? I don't know, which is why I'm asking.......but if water is the only concievable solvent, regardless of varying physical laws, which could expand when frozen, then I'd have to say that the existance of water is one of the stronger arguments for fine-tuning.

BTW, Admin, I don't know where this thread should go.......it contains questions on both chemistry (the composition of water) and cosmology (varying physical laws). Wherever you want to place it is fine, I suppose.


Replies to this message:
 Message 3 by Loudmouth, posted 11-01-2004 2:33 PM RustyShackelford has responded
 Message 4 by Lammy, posted 11-01-2004 2:59 PM RustyShackelford has responded
 Message 5 by Coragyps, posted 11-01-2004 3:47 PM RustyShackelford has responded
 Message 7 by Silent H, posted 11-01-2004 5:35 PM RustyShackelford has responded
 Message 12 by sidelined, posted 11-01-2004 9:55 PM RustyShackelford has responded
 Message 16 by Nic Tamzek, posted 11-04-2004 12:29 AM RustyShackelford has responded
 Message 65 by RAZD, posted 11-06-2004 11:23 AM RustyShackelford has responded

  
AdminNosy
Administrator
Posts: 4754
From: Vancouver, BC, Canada
Joined: 11-11-2003


Message 2 of 100 (154896)
11-01-2004 2:20 PM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Loudmouth
Inactive Member


Message 3 of 100 (154912)
11-01-2004 2:33 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RustyShackelford
11-01-2004 2:18 PM


quote:
Or is the nature of water dependant on the physical laws of our universe?

It is dependent on how electrons arrange themselves, ie atomic theory. Because the hydrogens bond on one side of the oxygen atom (think mickey mouse) this causes a slight negative charge on one side and a slight positive charge on the other side of the water atom. When ice forms the water molecules line up in a hexagonal pattern, nose to tail. Kind of like magnets sticking together. The open structure of ice crystal is less dense than water which causes ice to float.

Water is no more fine tuned than any other chemical known to man since all chemicals follow the same rules as water.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RustyShackelford, posted 11-01-2004 2:18 PM RustyShackelford has responded

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 Message 8 by RustyShackelford, posted 11-01-2004 6:45 PM Loudmouth has not yet responded

  
Lammy
Member
Posts: 3611
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 4 of 100 (154932)
11-01-2004 2:59 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RustyShackelford
11-01-2004 2:18 PM


RustyShackelford writes:

I've heard it asserted that life could potentially arise without the presence of water.


Are you refering to a reputable source somewhere or are you refering to someone that was cloud talking?

All life as we know it are water based. Since we haven't encountered a single lifeform that could exist without the presence of water, I really can't see how anyone could propose that "life could potentially arise without the presence of water."

But I've also heard it asserted that, if it wasn't for the fact that water expanded when it froze, the oceans would freeze solid.

This is very true. Marine life as we know it can't live and metabolize in ice. There are a few examples where the creatures hibernates in solid ice until the ice melts... but that's a different story.

The question you should be asking is would there be some kind of life unknown to us that could arise in solid water? Until we encounter one, we just can't know for now.

And, if life can't arise without water, shouldn't the existance of a universal solvent that is the only substance in existance which expands when frozen be considered an element of fine-tuning by an intelligent designer?

Again, you are assuming that life can only arise with the presence of water. This is like saying everybody likes chocolate because I like chocolate.

There is nothing wrong with saying life as we know it can only exist with the presence of water. Again, just because you like chocolate doesn't mean that everybody you don't know don't like chocolate.

Or is the nature of water dependant on the physical laws of our universe?

There's nothing special about the laws of physics in regard to water. Everything follow the same basic laws including water. The difference between water and other solvents is that the water molecule happens to have a strong hydrogen bond property due to its dipole moment and structure. The hydrogen bond, although much weaker than the kinds of bonds that bond atoms together to form molecules (covalent, etc.), is much stronger than most intermolecular forces we know. Because of this, water molecules tend to get into a special formation when they freeze and become less dense than when they were liquid.

Again, I'd like to remind you that you can't make any kind of presumption for other kinds of life that we don't know about simply because we don't know that life as we know it is the only kind of life that can exist. Just because you like chocolate and liking chocolate is what makes you unique doesn't mean that everybody you don't know has to like chocolate as well.

I don't know, which is why I'm asking.......but if water is the only concievable solvent, regardless of varying physical laws, which could expand when frozen, then I'd have to say that the existance of water is one of the stronger arguments for fine-tuning.

How so? Explain to me more!

This message has been edited by Lam, 11-01-2004 03:02 PM


He's not dead. He's electroencephalographically challenged.

The longest word in the English language is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RustyShackelford, posted 11-01-2004 2:18 PM RustyShackelford has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 10 by RustyShackelford, posted 11-01-2004 7:02 PM Lammy has responded

    
Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5398
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 5 of 100 (154972)
11-01-2004 3:47 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RustyShackelford
11-01-2004 2:18 PM


the only substance in existance which expands when frozen

Urban legend. The element bismuth and several of its alloys do that too. They're exceptionally crappy solvents, but they expand when they freeze.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RustyShackelford, posted 11-01-2004 2:18 PM RustyShackelford has responded

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crashfrog
Inactive Member


Message 6 of 100 (154978)
11-01-2004 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Coragyps
11-01-2004 3:47 PM


Well, hooray for bismuth.

This message has been edited by crashfrog, 11-01-2004 03:52 PM


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Silent H
Member (Idle past 4075 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 7 of 100 (155028)
11-01-2004 5:35 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RustyShackelford
11-01-2004 2:18 PM


It might also be worth mentioning that we still have no idea where and under what conditions life formed and so can have no idea what impact water's expansion would or could have had on life.

For example if life began at undersea vents, which is one of the more popular theories around today, then the nature of water's expansion means absolutely nothing. The vents would have prevented any ice ever forming and so messing with life.

This is not to mention that in any case life is thought to have formed in the ocean which is unlikely to ever have frozen solid (even if ice began to form at the bottom instead of the top) and so the nature of how water freezes is again... moot.

Someone could correct me if I am wrong, but salinity alone, not to mention vents and surface warming by the sun (esp. at the equator) would have kept the possibility of life pretty much open.

I am unsure where this idea that water's not freezing at the bottom first is so "important" to life. That would have its greatest impact on shallow fresh water lakes, ponds and rivers, where most life does not necessarily exist.

One also wonders what important life saving qualities might be had if water did not expand. For example people could be frozen and not suffer cell damage as ice crystals expand and rupture cell walls.

Ah well.


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RustyShackelford, posted 11-01-2004 2:18 PM RustyShackelford has responded

Replies to this message:
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RustyShackelford 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 8 of 100 (155055)
11-01-2004 6:45 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by Loudmouth
11-01-2004 2:33 PM


It is dependent on how electrons arrange themselves, ie atomic theory. Because the hydrogens bond on one side of the oxygen atom (think mickey mouse) this causes a slight negative charge on one side and a slight positive charge on the other side of the water atom. When ice forms the water molecules line up in a hexagonal pattern, nose to tail. Kind of like magnets sticking together. The open structure of ice crystal is less dense than water which causes ice to float.

Could this happen, in another universe, with a chemical that wasn't water? Or would water be the same, regardless of physical law? I mean, I know that in some universes water wouldn't exist at all, but are those the only options? Either water doesn't exist at all or water exists and it's the only effective solvent that expands when frozen?

This message has been edited by RustyShackelford, 11-01-2004 06:51 PM


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RustyShackelford 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 9 of 100 (155058)
11-01-2004 6:47 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Coragyps
11-01-2004 3:47 PM


Urban legend. The element bismuth and several of its alloys do that too. They're exceptionally crappy solvents, but they expand when they freeze.

Ok, still, as you said, crappy solvents don't support life.......


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 Message 5 by Coragyps, posted 11-01-2004 3:47 PM Coragyps has not yet responded

  
RustyShackelford 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 10 of 100 (155065)
11-01-2004 7:02 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by Lammy
11-01-2004 2:59 PM


Again, you are assuming that life can only arise with the presence of water.

Didn't you just refer to an assertion to the contrary as "cloud-talking"?

Again, I'd like to remind you that you can't make any kind of presumption for other kinds of life that we don't know about simply because we don't know that life as we know it is the only kind of life that can exist.

Of course I can, because we understand exactly what role water plays in our origin and existance and, based on that knowledge, it isn't theoretically likely that life would evolve very far without water.......even if ammonia life arose, it's evolution would come to a dead halt with every ice age. And even if microbes survived until the ice melted, and could start to evolve, the more compliacted (I.E. fragile) marine life which evolved would go extinct at the next ice age, leaving evolution to start over with the microbes again......


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by Lammy, posted 11-01-2004 2:59 PM Lammy has responded

Replies to this message:
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RustyShackelford 
Inactive Suspended Member


Message 11 of 100 (155066)
11-01-2004 7:07 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Silent H
11-01-2004 5:35 PM


For example if life began at undersea vents, which is one of the more popular theories around today, then the nature of water's expansion means absolutely nothing. The vents would have prevented any ice ever forming and so messing with life.

This is not to mention that in any case life is thought to have formed in the ocean which is unlikely to ever have frozen solid (even if ice began to form at the bottom instead of the top) and so the nature of how water freezes is again... moot.

But life wouldn't have evolved very far if ice contracted, correct, since the ice would have killed more complicated (I.E. less harty) life forms?


This message is a reply to:
 Message 7 by Silent H, posted 11-01-2004 5:35 PM Silent H has responded

Replies to this message:
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sidelined
Inactive Member


Message 12 of 100 (155090)
11-01-2004 9:55 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by RustyShackelford
11-01-2004 2:18 PM


Rusty

And, if life can't arise without water, shouldn't the existance of a universal solvent that is the only substance in existance which expands when frozen be considered an element of fine-tuning by an intelligent designer?

Let us examine this.If water was not a universal solvent and life such as ours did not exist and there was a universe here without life such as ours but a universe nonetheless.And this universe were filled with wonderous interactions of a sort totally alien to ours and where the laws of physics were different in their outcome would you then consider it to be intelligently designed?


[W]hen people thought the Earth was flat, they were wrong. When people thought the Earth was spherical they were wrong. But if you think that thinking the Earth is spherical is just as wrong as thinking the Earth is flat, then your view is wronger than both of them put together
This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by RustyShackelford, posted 11-01-2004 2:18 PM RustyShackelford has responded

Replies to this message:
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Lammy
Member
Posts: 3611
From: Chicago
Joined: 03-29-2004


Message 13 of 100 (155093)
11-01-2004 10:00 PM
Reply to: Message 10 by RustyShackelford
11-01-2004 7:02 PM


Rusty writes:

Didn't you just refer to an assertion to the contrary as "cloud-talking"?


Huh?

Of course I can, because we understand exactly what role water plays in our origin and existance and, based on that knowledge, it isn't theoretically likely that life would evolve very far without water.......even if ammonia life arose, it's evolution would come to a dead halt with every ice age. And even if microbes survived until the ice melted, and could start to evolve, the more compliacted (I.E. fragile) marine life which evolved would go extinct at the next ice age, leaving evolution to start over with the microbes again......

Again, you are using what we know of life as we know it to try to apply to everything that we don't know. Just because you like chocolate doesn't mean everybody you don't know also likes chocolate.


He's not dead. He's electroencephalographically challenged.

The longest word in the English language is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 10 by RustyShackelford, posted 11-01-2004 7:02 PM RustyShackelford has responded

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 Message 18 by RustyShackelford, posted 11-04-2004 12:46 AM Lammy has not yet responded

    
Coragyps
Member
Posts: 5398
From: Snyder, Texas, USA
Joined: 11-12-2002


Message 14 of 100 (155094)
11-01-2004 10:02 PM


But life wouldn't have evolved very far if ice contracted, correct, since the ice would have killed more complicated (I.E. less harty) life forms?

It's not so terribly hard to imagine a world where the temperature never gets below 5 degrees Celsius, and ice doesn't happen...
Replies to this message:
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Silent H
Member (Idle past 4075 days)
Posts: 7405
From: satellite of love
Joined: 12-11-2002


Message 15 of 100 (155141)
11-02-2004 5:27 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by RustyShackelford
11-01-2004 7:07 PM


But life wouldn't have evolved very far if ice contracted, correct, since the ice would have killed more complicated (I.E. less harty) life forms?

I don't see this as true at all. Why would it be?

But for sake of argument let's say this is true. Then you simply wouldn't have them developing, or living in, environments with such temperatures.

The earth has a large belt where water does not come close to freezing at all. That is also where much of life prospers. And as far as I understand the evolutionary theory regarding human origins, that is where we came from.

You need to establish that water's freezing has much of a connection to life at all. Most human life freezes dead whether from the top or the bottom. Heck, you don't even need ice to kill a human.


holmes
"...what a fool believes he sees, no wise man has the power to reason away.."(D. Bros)
This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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