Study: Photosynthesis Evolved a Billion Years Earlier than Thought

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According to a recent study, there’s been a minor tweak in the evolutionary story of the early evolution of life. Photosynthesis, the process by which plants, algae, and some microbes produce oxygen, might have evolved a billion years earlier than previously thought, and faster too. Linear calculations put the origin of photosynthesis older than the earth itself! Yep, just a minor tweak!

The original evolutionary story went this way: cyanobacteria were the first life to produce oxygen. Since there was no oxygen before these microbes started making it, oxygen wasn’t available until about 2.7 billion years ago, with life first evolving 3.8 billion years ago. The earth itself is believed to be 4.5 billion years old.

But researcher Dr. Tanai Cardona wanted to discover the origin of oxygenic photosynthesis (there are two kinds of photosynthesis: one produces oxygen, the other, anoxygenic, does not). Previously, researchers had looked for oxygen in rock layers to try to detect the earliest evidence of it. (Interestingly, they keep finding oxygen in rocks that are older and older by their secular dating methods.)

The reason evolution doesn’t work is evolutionists have the wrong starting point.

Dr. Cardona, however, looked at the enzymes that carry out photosynthesis instead and, using assumed rates of evolution, discovered (based on his evolutionary assumptions) there must have been earlier bacteria that evolved oxygenic photosynthesis, only evolving later to carry out anoxygenic photosynthesis instead. And this could have happened as long as 3.6 billion years ago.

This means life had only 200 million years to evolve the extraordinarily complex system of photosynthesis—a process we haven’t even begun to fully understand. But this date is utterly arbitrary. The article reporting on Dr. Cardona’s research says,

One surprising finding was that the evolution of the photosystem was not linear. Photosystems are known to evolve very slowly—they have done so since cyanobacteria appeared at least 2.4 billion years ago. But when Dr. Cardona used that slow rate of evolution to calculate the origin of photosynthesis, he came up with a date that was older than the earth itself. This means the photosystem must have evolved much faster at the beginning—something recent research suggests was due to the planet being hotter. (Emphasis added)

His calculated date, based on his evolutionary assumptions about the rates of evolution, put the origin of photosynthesis before the supposed origin of life—and even the earth! Rather than questioning his assumptions and these highly inflated dates, he then assumed evolution must have occurred faster in the past and then adjusted the dates to account for this assertion. Note that regardless of what they find, such scientists are committed to their religion of naturalistic evolution—they won’t even entertain the possibility that the Bible’s account of Genesis could be correct!

Evolution is nothing more than a story based on many layers of assumption! It’s an attempt to explain the origin of life and the universe without God, but, as the contradictions prove, it simply doesn’t work. And the reason it doesn’t work is evolutionists have the wrong starting point. They begin with man’s fallible ideas instead of God’s infallible Word that gives us the true history of life and the universe:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

Get More Answers on Answers News

This item was discussed on Answers News today with regular cohosts Bodie Hodge and Dr. Georgia Purdom and guest AiG staff writer Avery Foley. Answers News is our twice-weekly news program filmed live before a studio audience here at the Creation Museum and broadcast over my Facebook page. We also discussed the following topics:

  • Is “Generation Z” the least Christian ever?
  • Is evolution “surprisingly predictable” in Hawaii?
  • Expert’s debunk “human hybrid” claims.
  • And more!

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Thanks for stopping by and thanks for praying,

This item was written with the assistance of AiG’s research team.

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