God is in the Rain

Specifically, God is in water.  More specifically, water is biocentrically fine-tuned to allow life to exist.  Even more specifically than that, the unique properties of water, every single one of them, are fine-tunely designed to allow large mammalian life to exist. 

All I ask, is that people think outside the box a bit here.  Why is water the way it is?  How did it’s molecular structure form itself to give water unique, law-violating properties?  The laws of physics didn’t have to be the way they are.  Water didn’t have to have the properties it has, there is no “law of water” that forced it to become this way.  But most importantly, IF the laws of physics were fine-tuned to allow large mammalian life, what would we find?

The Necessity of Liquid

Life exists in a liquid medium.  A complex chemical system that assembles, reassembles and replicates itself as well as manipulating it’s atomic and molecular components and drawing it’s vital nutrients from it’s environment would not exist without a liquid medium.

Solid and gaseous mediums would be excluded.  Atoms in solids are held together in a regular or irregular packed, rigidly stuck to each other where the dynamic interactions that life requires would be unable to happen.  Gases, on the other hand, are far too volatile for the chemical matrix of life to occur there. 

Life can be appropriately defined as a complex chemical system capable of assembling and replicating itself, of manipulating it’s components and drawing its vital nutrients and constituents from its environment.  If the laws of physics had decided that only solid and gaseous states would exist, then life, as it is defined above, would certainly not exist.  Frankly, everything that a cell has to do to survive must happen in a liquid medium.  Stick with me, I’ve got a point.

Unique Thermal Properties

There are several thermal properties of water that allow it to STAY in a liquid state.  What good a liquid medium to life if that liquid medium cannot sustain it’s liquid form in the real world?

For instance, water contracts as it gets colder (technically, it gets more dense).  If water were to contract all the way to the freezing point, then water would freeze bottom to top.  If this were the case, large bodies of water would be unthawable.  In fact, we are able to boil water on the surface without thawing out the bottom freeze so it wouldn’t matter how hot the surface water would get, the bottom freeze of a body of water wouldn’t thaw.  In fact, all the oceans would have long ago been frozen solid as each winter would have expanded the amount of frozen water without summer being able to undo winter’s action. 

However, as it is, water expands at the freezing point, forcing frozen water to the top of a body, allowing that ice to be thawed once the temperature is no longer at the freezing point.  This anamolous property of water expanding below 4 degrees celcius, and expanding further at the freezing point, are in violation of a general law of liquids, solids, and gases.  Shortly, without water’s particular property to contract when cold, yet expand when frozen, we would have no standing bodies of water, it would all be ice.  Life, as we define it, certainly wouldn’t exist. 

The thermal conductivity of ice is very low.  In fact, ice is unable to create an ice pack any more than a few meters deep no matter how cold the ambient temperature gets.  If the thermal conductivity of ice was any higher than, again, our large bodies of water would be made mostly of ice.  If the thermal conductivity of ice was higher, than life would have no thermal insulation underneath ice.  Many species that requires this insulation, including humans living in ice environments, would be unable to survive.

Latent Heat of Freezing

When ice melts, heat is absorbed from the environment and heat is released when the reverse happens.  This is a phenomena called “latent heat”.  The latent heat of freezing of water is one of the highest of all known fluids.  In fact, in the ambient temperature range, only ammonia has a higher latent heat.  Water’s latent heat of evaporation is the highest of all liquids in the ambient temperature range.

If the latent heat of water was similar to other substances, then the climate would be subject to much more diverse temperature changes.  Small lakes and rivers would vanish and reappear constantly. 

Biocentrically speaking, warm-blooded creatures would have a MUCH harder time releasing heat from their bodies.  Heat is needed to be released in large quantities in warm-blooded animals such as humans.  There are three ways of doing this, conduction, radiation, and evaporation.  But as we know, releasing heat by conduction and radiation just doesn’t happen in anything but small amounts,  “Evaporative cooling is therefore the only significant means of temperature reduction” (Lawrence Henderson, The Fitness of the Environment, 1913).  Water has a unique ability to allow such heat reduction via evaporation, and if it’s properties were any different, it wouldn’t happen. 

What this means is that large mammals would be much more greatly affected by the environment and any kind of strenuous activity would cause our organs to overheat and fail on us.  This would greatly limit the size of mammalian life and any increase in size probably would not be selected for because of the enormous energy costs.

Surface Tension

The surface tension of water is exceeded by only a few substances.  It’s very high surface tension allows for water to be pulled up the roots and into the branches and leaves of plants.  Certainly without this high surface tension, large terrestrial plants would be an impossibility and along with it every species that relies on them, including humans.  Not to mention the oxygen creation that all of life requires and large terrestrial plants provide. 

The very high surface tension of water also draws water into the crevices and cracks of rocks, assisting in the process of weathering and washing chemicals from the rocks.  Also, as the water freezes (and expands) the rocks are fragmented, helping to create soils and further release minerals into the environment to be used by life.

This is an instance when the properties of water are literally adapted for a role in forming the physical environment for life while at the same time being fit for a number of specific biological functions, without either of which large mammalian life wouldn’t exist.

Viscosity and Diffusion

Viscosity is a liquids’ resistance to flow (it also is a resistance to shearing forces).  The viscosity of liquids varies greatly.  For instance, tar has viscosity 10 billion times greater than water and glycerol has a viscosity a thousand times greater than water.  Water has one of the lowest known for any fluid, however there are a few that have viscosities less than water.  Ether is four times lower while liquid hydrogen is one hundred times lower.

If the viscosity of water was any lower biological tissues would not be able to hold together under shearing forces.  Delicate biological structures would be subject to much more violent forces and even under “normal” stress, they would be unable to maintain their structure.  The delicate molecular architecture of the cell probably almost surely wouldn’t be able to hold together.

On the other hand, if the viscosity of water was any higher, then nothing we now call a fish would be able to exist.  Imagine how hard it would be for a fish to swim through olive oil or treacle!  Also, no microorganism or cell would be able to move, not to mention perform the vital processes such as cell division and the action of the mitochondria and other organelles.  Life just wouldn’t exist.

Viscosity also has everything to do with the process of diffusion.  Diffusion is essential for not only microscopic but also large mamallian life.  Due to the viscosity of water, diffusion rates in water are very rapid over small distances (thin membranes).  Oxygen, through diffusion, will cross the average body cell in about one hundredth of a second.  This explains why microscopic life, including small multicellular life, doesn’t need a circulatory system.  If the viscosity of a liquid goes up, the diffusion rates go down.

For instance, if the viscosity of water was just ten times higher, and therefore the rate of diffusion ten time lower, cells would have to be a thousand times smaller.  As a result, only the very simplest of microscopic cells would be possible, anything bigger just wouldn’t be able to feed itself.

An important characteristic is that diffusion rates are very rapid over short distances but very slow if there is far to go.  This brings us to the question of what would happen with large mammalian life with vastly complicated circulatory systems.

Viscosity and the Circulatory System

Diffusion is a greatly inefficient as a transport mechanism over distances greater than a fraction of a millimeter.  Yet, all large organisms, in order to survive, must somehow get nutrients to their cells.  In mammals, billions of tiny capillaries permeate all the tissues of the body. No cell can survive unless it is within 50 microns of a capillary.  For instance, in the active muscles of a guinea pig, there may be 3,000 open capillaries per square millimeter of muscle.  This is a huge number, taking up about 15% of the volume of the muscle.  It’s equivalent to 10,000 tiny parallel tubes running down a pencil lead.

Due to the miniscule nature of these capillaries, only a liquid with a very low viscosity could travel down them.  Imagine attempting to push treacle through a narrow glass tube!  Water is extraordinarily fit for this purpose.  A two-fold increase in viscosity would cause the flow to half.  If the viscosity of water had been only a few times greater than it is, pumping blood through a capillary bed would require an enormous amount of pressure and almost any circulatory system just wouldn’t work. 

There is more:  We just finished saying that the tube must be small enough to make sure that each cell is within 50 microns of a capillary.  Yet, if the capillary tube was only one half smaller, the resistance to flow would be increased by sixteenfold!  (It’s inversely proportional to the fourth power).  Put another way, to achieve the same rate of blood flow through a capillary of only half the size would either require a lowering of viscosity by sixteen times OR a sixteenfold increase in pressure.  Since we can’t change the viscosity of water, to accomplish a sixteenfold increase in pressure would be a biological engineering impossibility. 

The smallest capillaries are 3-5 microns in diameter.  Considering all the limitations described above, 3-5 microns is nothing short of a physiological constant!  It couldn’t be any higher (capillaries would take up too much space) or lower!

Water Did Not Have To Be This Way

It is also evident that this could have been different.  Each substance, solid, liquid or gas that we have investigated have properties that have no mutual dependence on any other substance.  That is to say that there is no law governing the properties of water, they could have been different.  That these independent laws of substances fit together in such a way that if it was any different, life could not have developed.  This points to design.

In Conclusion

The question we must ask ourselves is this:  Is all of this just coincidence upon coincidence?  The viscosity of water must be very close to what it is to be a fit medium for life.  It’s sufficiently high enough to provide protection against shearing forces and sufficiently low enough to provide enough diffusion across cell membranes to allow cellular life to obtain nutrients.  In the case of large mammalian life, it is suffiently low enough to allow diffusion across capillaries that must be the biological constant of 3-5 microns in diameter. 

Water also has unique properties that make it fit for sustaining itself as a liquid.  These properties are, a high thermal capacity, the conductivity of water, the expansion of water upon freezing, expansion of water below 4 degrees Celcius, low heat conductivity of ice, latent heat of freezing, relatively high viscosity of ice. 

The brief evidence reviewed above indicates that water is uniquely adapted and fit for it’s biological role as life’s liquid medium in every single one of it’s characteristics.  There is no other fluid that is competitive with water as the sustaining fluid for carbon-based life.  If water did not exist, it would have to be invented.  The bottom line, we are brought dramatically face to face with an extraordinary body of evidence of precisely the sort we would expect on the hypothesis that the laws of nature are uniquely fit for our own type of carbon-based life as it exists on Earth.

(This post was gleaned from the second chapter of Michael Denton’s Nature’s Destiny:  How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe.  Since the book is fairly technical, I summarized and paraphrased as much as I could but sometimes I just didn’t know how to say it any differently than Dr. Denton did, so there are some verbatim passages in here too).

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8 Comments on “God is in the Rain”

  1. Eric Kemp Says:

    Anonomous

    Yes, I deleted your comment.

    I’ve actually never done this before, but your comments are nothing more than vehement, belligerent insults. In fact, every time I’ve seen you post elsewhere your comments are exactly the same. If there was any argument with those insults, I would approve your comment. If at any point you include argument in your insults, I’ll approve your comment. Until then, as long as your comments are nothing more than insult, they will not appear in my comments section.

  2. DeadEnd Pete Says:

    The Paraphrased words of Douglas Adams are an insult? Critical thinking must be one too.

  3. Eric Kemp Says:

    DeadEnd Pete

    See, your comment included a question with the insult and I approved it, that wasn’t that hard was it?

    Pete, Anonomous, whoever you are, I have no problem with anyone quoting anyone. However, if the quote is merely an insult with no attempt at discussion or anything to respond to, unless I was fond of flamewars, I’m not going to approve it. Now, like I said, if you have something constructive to say with your insult, then let’s discuss!

    Your critical thinking sarcasm is actually quite hilarious, because I’m the only one between you and I who reasons through his position, lays itout clearly, and has a point to what they are saying. I mean, I have even seen a post of yours where you say God pisses you off and you hate Him. Critical thinking at it’s best!

  4. DeadEnd Pete Says:

    “I’m the only one between you and I who reasons through his position”

    LOL if that is what you call “reason” I’d hate to see the opposite.

    “I mean, I have even seen a post of yours where you say God pisses you off and you hate Him.”

    Show your work or all you have is non sequitur attacks.

  5. Eric Kemp Says:

    DeadEnd Pete

    Ah, you claim I have no reason but give me no reason why. Well done. And pun intended.

    Are you denying that you’ve made these statements about God or are you just trying to point out the impossible task of finding a random comment you saw one time?

  6. dwilli58 Says:

    Getting past the comments of an unbelieving “troll,” it’s amazing how God reveals Himself through His creation, isn’t it? I can’t add a great deal, scientifically, to the discussion, but I appreciate what you’re doing on this site! I’ve added your site to my links on my sites!

  7. Eric Kemp Says:

    Dwilli

    Thanks for the encouragement! What sites are these?

    Eric

  8. dwilli58 Says:

    I’m trying to write as God leads me, but it isn’t always easy, as I’m sure you’re aware! Here are my sites:

    http://www.theoutsiderview.net/
    http://www.seekingyaweh.com/

    Dave


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