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Water and the Origin of Life

Discussion in 'Spiritual Articles' started by dalvindersingh grewal, Jan 23, 2010.

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  1. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal India
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    Introduction

    Scientific and theological perspectives often coexist peacefully (1) as they are strongly interrelated. The fundamental of any religion remains natural science (2) and science draws its roots from the religion. Albert Einstein supporting the compatibility of religion and science wrote: “I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.... The serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people (3). With this realization, the scientists have started looking towards religion and religion towards science. In 1998, the Pope released an encyclical entitled "Faith and Reason" in which he declared that "Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to contemplation of the truth."

    A fundamental principle of the Bahá'í Faith is the harmony of religion and science. Bahá'í scripture asserts that true science and true religion can never be in conflict. `Abdu'l-Bahá, the son of the founder of the religion, stated that religion without science is superstition and that science without religion is materialism. He also admonished that true religion must conform to the conclusions of science (4) (5) (6). In the Medieval era, some leading thinkers in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, undertook a project of synthesis among the religion, philosophy, and natural sciences. For example, the Islamic philosopher Averroes, the Jewish philosopher Maimonides, and the Christian philosopher Augustine of Hippo, held

    the view that if religious teachings were found to contradict certain direct observations about the natural world, then it would be obligatory to re-evaluate either the interpretation of the scientific facts or the understanding of the scriptures. (7) The best knowledge of the cosmos was seen as an important part of arriving at a better understanding of the Bible. The Supreme Sikh scripture Sri Guru Granth Sahib has been found to be a repertoire of religion developed in scientific temperament.(8)

    The fact that religion and science not only coexist but also are very fundamental sources for each other and it gives credence to the case for convergence of science and religion. In this paper attempt has been made to correlate the facts covered by science and religion on water. Metaphors of creation and cosmogony get their strengths and rationale in aquatic symbols because water is the essence of life. Every aspect of human life and divine interferences on earth are possible to express with water symbolism. (9)

    Religious Aspect

    Water has been dealt only by some religions in relation to the origin of life. During the creation story (Genesis 1:1), water was created before plants, land, and even light. It is significant that water is mentioned almost immediately during the creation story, as a main ingredient for life. It is shown that all of the earth depends on water for existence since it was necessary to create water before even light or land. Islam considers, ‘Water is life, water is alive.”(10). Water is mentioned in the Bible 442 times in the New International Version and 363 times in the King James Version: 2 Peter 3:5(b) states, "The earth was formed out of water and by water". In Islam, not only does water give life, but every life is itself made of water: "We are made from water like other living thing". (11)

    According to Sri Guru Granth Sahib, water is considered to be the most important for the origin of life (12). God has created the world by combining air, water and fire (13). God first created air then water by combining Hydrogen and Oxygen. The entire universe was then created from water and light of the Lord exists in every body (14). Water is present everywhere and there is no place without water (15). It has been estimated that 70% of the surface of earth is covered by water. Water not only initiates life on the earth but also seems suitable for driving other inorganic life forces. Water is not only essential for life and economic development (16), but also required for maintaining all the activities concerning life (17).

    Human body consists of air, water and fire (18). Water content of the body varies from 50% to 70% (19). There is a need of 1 to 7 liters of water per day for the proper functioning of the body (20). Like fish, life cannot survive without water (21). Out of five elements, water is the major component of the universe which is also known as the creator and destroyer (22).

    The life originates from four different sources namely eggs, wombs, earth and perspiration (23). Appropriate words used for these sources are andj (eggs) (24), jeraj (placenta) (25), setj (sweat) (26), heat and filth (27), and utbhuj (earth and vegetation (28). Water is the origin of all these sources. Every body came in to existence from water. (29). As the life cannot exist without water so it has been called as father of the world in “Sri Guru Granth Sahib” (30). In ‘jerj, the life originates from semen which contains water as the base. Human beings and animals borne out of womb originate from semen and are developed in the watery womb. They move due to blood which contains water. In ‘utbhuj’ process of life cannot start without water because only when water is available, seed germinates into a plant. In ‘andj’ too, the source of origin is the semen and development takes place inside the egg which contains water. In ‘setj’ life comes from sweat which is a mixture of water and body salts. ‘Andj’, jerj’, and ‘utbhaj’ are well known whereas the term ‘setj’ has not been used earlier in the literature. Guru Nanak Dev Ji coined and used this term for the first time which was subsequently used by Guru Ram Das Ji and Guru Aran Dev Ji. (31). God created water and air from sunn (concentrated energy) as per Guru Granth Sahib Ji and there after the universe was created to accommodate all the bodies. The fire, water and life are different form of God’s light controlled by the sunn (32). Lord created three worlds from water and infused his light in every heart (33).

    Water is considered as a purifier and is used for initiation ceremonies in most religions. Major faiths that incorporate ritual washing (ablution) include Christianity, Hinduism, Rastafarianism, Sikhism, Islam, Shinto, Taoism, and Judaism. Immersion or aspersion or affusion of a person in water is a central sacrament of Christianity, where it is called baptism. In baptism the initiate dies in water and he is then reborn from it in the kingdom of God. It is also a part of the practice of other religions, including Judaism (mikvah) and Sikhism (Amrit Sanskar). In addition, a ritual bath in pure water is performed for the dead in many religions including Judaism and Islam. In Islam this is reflected through the rituals of ‘wudu’ and ‘ghusl’, the small and the large ablution, which form an integral part of the prayer ritual. In Shinto, water is used in almost all rituals to cleanse a person or an area e.g., in the ritual of misogi. (34)

    Water is often believed to have spiritual powers. In Celtic mythology, Sulis is the local goddess of thermal springs; in Hinduism, the Ganges is also personified as a goddess, while Saraswati have been referred to as goddess in Vedas. Also water is one of the "panch-tatva"s (basic 5 elements, others including fire, earth, space, air). Alternatively, gods can be patrons of particular springs, rivers, or lakes: for example in Greek and Roman mythology, Peneus was a river god, one of the three thousand Oceanids. (35)

    For orthodox Greeks of Istanbul and by Muslims, holy water is considered to bring luck and effect cures. Places called hagiasma (holy springs) (ayazma in Turkish) are considered as sacred springs. There are around hundreds hagiasmas in Istanbul. (36) Mosques and madersas are often designed around fountains and other water features, whereas the larger religious complexes also incorporate a bathing house or hamam (37)

    Purity also plays an important role in Judaism where the “living waters” have the capacity to spiritually purify the believers. Those who immerse themselves in the Jewish ritual bath, the mikvah, must first thoroughly cleanse themselves physically before being allowed to enter the water. Full immersion in this bath, which is filled with rain or river water, is therefore not a physical purification, but a spiritual rebirth, a transformation through which the believer achieves an elevated spiritual status (38). Water has been worshiped in Shantoism as "suijin" from ancient time. The word "jin" means deity and "sui" means water (39).

    Water thus is considered as the originator, purifier, preserver, protector and developer of life in most of the religions. However, the clarity with which it has been described as originator of life has been found only in Sri Guru Granth Sahib.
    Scientific Aspect

    From a biological point of view, water has many distinct properties that are critical for the proliferation of life. It allows organic compounds to react that ultimately lead to replication. All known forms of life depend on water for their existence. Water is vital both as a solvent and as an essential part of many metabolic processes within the body. (40)

    Water is composed of two Hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Hydrogen constitutes approximately 73% of the mass of visible universe whereas Helium makes up 25% and others represent 2%. Water has been first formed on earth over 4 billion years ago involving an intense bombardment of inner solar system. Today’s earth is about 4.6 billion years old only a third of the age of our universe. The earth was formed with very little water or no water at all. Comets are the most primitive members of our universe which are frozen fossils of a long past epoch. Asteroids are most numerous and contain little water, mainly rocks and metal. Ice within the comet traps noble gases as well as a cocktail of other chemicals such as silicates, carbons and interplanetary dust. One of the most intriguing molecules found into comets are amino acids which are building blocks for biogenetic activity. Racing towards our planet at 120,000 kilometers/hours, these projectiles of chemical gifts represent the births of oceans and our own genesis. Within the first billion years, most of the water had arrived and first signs of life are believed to have commenced replication. The Largest part of today's water comes from proto-planets formed in the outer asteroid belt that plunged towards the earth. (41)

    There are two sets of theories for explaining the origin of life. According to first set of theory, life originated on some other star or comet and was later on transported to the earth through bombardment. Comets and some asteroids could be the key to justify this. Miller et al reported the formation of 7 different amino acids and 11 types of nucleo bases in ice when ammonia and cyanide were left in a freezer for 25 years (42,43,44). Hauke Trinks showed the formation of 400 bases long RNA molecule under freezing condition (45) originated on earth itself. Lazcano and Miller suggested (1994) that rapidity of the evolution of life is dictated by the rate of re-circulating water through mid ocean submarine vents. Complete recirculation takes 10 million years. They have estimated that development of 10 kilo bases genome of DNA/protein primitive heterotroph in to 7000 gene filamentous cyano-bacterium would have required only 7 million years (46).

    Scientists have two approaches regarding the origin of life. One group of scientists believed that the life was spontaneously generated or self-created. It was also known as “Abiogenisis”. Second group of scientists claimed that that every living thing came from a pre-existing living thing. ("Every living thing comes from an egg"); this theory was known as “Biogenesis”. The basic question about the origin of life is how the first nucleic acids came in to existence. Self assembly of viruses within the host cells gives credence to the hypothesis that life could have started as self assembling organic molecules (47).

    Keeping in view, both religious and scientific aspects, it may be concluded that water played the most important role in the origin of life and life without water cannot exist. This fundamentally proves the points from Sri Guru Granth Sahib ‘pehla panani jeo hai’ (12) meaning water is the first source of life, from which the entire living forms originated. It also proved that science and religion converge together at vital points. Hence we must take into account the ancient scriptures for scientific empirical verifications.

    References:

    (1) John Habgood, (1964), Religion and Science, Mills & Brown, pp., 11, 14-16, 48-55, 68-69, 90- 91, 87
    (2) Stanford, (2007), Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Religion and Science.
    (3) (a) Albert Einstein, (1949), The World as I See It, Philosophical Library, New York, pp. 24 - 28.
    (b) Albert Einstein, (November 9, 1930), New York Times Magazine, pp 1-4
    (c) Reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, (1954), Crown Publishers, Inc., pp 36 – 4.
    (4) Hatcher, William (1979), "Science and the Bahá'í Faith", Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science 14 (3): 229–253.
    (5) Smith, P, (1999), A Concise Encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford, UK: One world Publications. pp. 306–307.
    (6) Mehanian, Courosh; Friberg and Stephen R. (2003), "Religion and Evolution Reconciled: `Abdu'l-Bahá's Comments on Evolution", The Journal of Bahá'í studies 13 (1-4): 55–93.
    (7) Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (1126 -1198 CE), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    (8) Grewal, D.S., (2008), Scientific Vision of Guru Nanak, published by National Book Shop, New Delhi.
    (9) John Habgood, (1964), Religion and Science, 1964, pp., 11, 14-16, 48-55, 68-69, 90-91, 87
    (10) Palash, Khan Wahid, (2005), ‘Water is life, water is alive’: Contesting perceptions of water and their embedded relation to religion in Bangladesh, Fourth Conference, International Water History Association, Water and Civilization , Paris, France, held in December 2005.
    (11) Sura of Al-Anbiya 21:30
    (12) Sri Guru Granth Sahib, p. 472, Pahila paanee jeeo hai jit(u) haria sabh(u) koi., (Water is the first source of life. The entire life originated from it). Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) is the supreme Sikh scripture. Originally compiled by the Fifth Sikh Guru, Guru Arjan and given the present form and status of Guru by Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. It contains the hymns of 6 Sikhs Gurus and others saints from various religious denominations in the published form on 1430 pages. It is available from Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, Punjab, India. The descriptive account about water is in the hymns of First, Fourth and Fifth Sikh Guru.
    (13) SGGS, p.1113, Paun paanee agn(i) badhe gur(i) khel(u) jagt(i) rachaia. (14) SGGS Saache te pavna bhaya pavnai te jal(u) hoi. Jal te tribhavan(u) sajia ghat(i) ghat(i) jot(i) smoi. p.10.
    (15) SGGS, p.1282, Jal thal chah(u) dis(i) varsda khaalee ko thao nah(i).
    (16) SGGS, p. 955, Jal mah(i) jant upaian(u) tina bh(i) rojee de(i).
    (17) Chris Middleton 2005, The Origin of Water, Bottled Water - Comprehensive Worldwide Bottled Water Resource - FineWaters.com, The Water Connoisseur
    (18) SGGS, p.659, Paun paanee agnee ka bandhan kaia kot(u) rachaida. p.1036, Jal kee bheet(i) pavan ka thamba rakt boond ka gara. Haad maas naadee ko pinjar(u) pankhee basai bichara.
    (19) Chris Middleton 2005, The Origin of Water, Bottled Water - Comprehensive Worldwide Bottled Water Resource - FineWaters.com, The Water Connoisseur
    (20) ibid
    (21) SGGS, p.1420, Jal mah(i) jeea upai kai bian(u) jal marn (u) tineh(i). p. 59, Jal hee te sabh upjai bin(u) jal bin pias na Jai.
    (22) SGGS, p.1240, Paanee pita jagt ka fir(i) paanee sabh khai.
    (23) (a) Macauliff, M.A., (1909), The Sikh Religion, Vol 1, P.228.
    (b) Manmohan Singh, (1962), Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Vol. 3, SGPC Amritsar, p. 1540. (egg born; womb born; earth born and sweat born),
    (c) Gurbachan Singh Talib, (1988), Sri Guru Granth Sahib, Vol. 2, p.990, (Of the creatures born of sources in eggs, placenta atmosphere and sweat), Vol. 4, 1258 (The creatures by way of egg, of placenta, by sweat and atmosphere and sweat: All grades of creation-egg born, mammals, perspiration born, earth born)
    Sahib Singh (Prof.), (1964), Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darpan, Vol. 3, p. 641 (jerj: living beings, animals, men etc born out of placenta; setj: swetj; beings, lice etc., born out of sweat; utbhuj: vegetation; born out of earth),
    (d) Bhai Veer Singh, (1958), Guru Granth Sahib, Vol 6, p.2874 (khanee: The entire living beings of the universe is of four kinds; from eggs, from placenta, from both; other than this from sweat and nature). Andj, jeraj, utbhujan, khanee, setjanh (M.1, p:467), Andj, jeraj, utbhuj, setj, tere keete janta (M 1; p:590), Andj, jeraj, setj, utbhuja prabh kee ih kirt(i) (M 5, P: 816) Andj, jeraj, setj, utbhuj sabh(i) varn roop jeea jant upaia (M 4, P: 835), Andj, jeraj, setj, utbhuj, bahuparkaaree palka (M 5, P:1084), Andj, jeraj, setj, utbhuj, ghat(i) ghat(i) jant samaanee. (M 1, p: 1109),
    (24) Kahn Singh Nabha, (1930), Mahan Kosh, p. 113 (birds, fish, snakes etc., born out of eggs); Punjabi University, (1984), Punjabi-English Dictionary, p. 31 (Andj; Born from egg, one of four classes of animate creation-Birds and reptiles as different from mammals.
    (25). Kahn Singh Nabha, (1930), Mahan Kosh, p. 532 (jerj; Sanskrit jarauj; born out of placenta) Punjabi University, (1984), Punjabi-English Dictionary, p. 379 (placental, mammal).
    (26)
    (a) Kahn Singh Nabha, (1930), Mahan Kosh, p. 227; Setj: sredj- born out of sweat; lice etc.
    (b) Sri Guru Granth Sahib Darpan, p.641, setj: sredj- born out of sweat; lice etc. A type of being which is created from earth’s/body’s heat and sweat. Spontaneous generation;
    (c ) Sahib Singh, (1964), Bhai Veer Singh, (1983), Sri Guru Granth Kosh, p.122 setj: Sanskrit¬sredj-insects born in warm places out of sweat, moisture or heat; the world of ants, lice etc.
    (27) Punjabi-English Dictionary, p. 135: setj- created being grown out of filth, heat and moisture.
    (28) Kahn Singh Nabha, 1930, Mahan Kosh, p. 7, which comes out of the earth; vegetation, plants, etc. Punjabi-English Dictionary, p. 7, vegetation.
    (29) First life is water from where everything came to life.
    SGGS (a) Pahila paanee jeeo hai jit(u) haria sabh(u) koi. P.472,
    (b) Agn(i) bimb jal bheetar nipjay kaahey kamm uipaay. P.156, line 10,
    (c ) Jal te tribhavan saajia ghat(i) ghat(i) jot (i) smoi, hee te sabh upjai bin(u) jal pias na Jai.
    p.1420,
    (d) Jal mah(i) jeea upai kai bian(u) jal marn (u) tineh(i). p. 59,
    (e) Jal meh jee-a upaa-ay kai bin jal marn(u) tineh(i). Mahila 1, p. 39 line 19.
    (30), SGGS, p.1240, Pavan (u) guru paanee pita mata dhart(i) mahat(u). p.8, Paanee pita jagt ka fir(i) paanee sabh khai..
    (31) SGGS (a) Andj, jeraj, utbhujan, khanee, setjanh (M.1, p: 467),
    (b) Andj, jeraj, utbhuj, setj, tere keete janta (M 1; p: 590),
    (c) Andj, jeraj, setj, utbhuj, ghat(i) ghat(i) jant samaanee. (M 1, p. 1109);
    (d )Andj, jeraj, setj, utbhuj sabh(i) varn roop jeea jant upaia (M 4, p. 835)
    (e) Andj, jeraj, setj, utbhuja prabh kee ih kirt(i) (M 5, p. 816),
    (f) Andj, jeraj, setj, utbhuj, bahuparkaaree palka (M 5, p:1084).
    (32) SGGS Paun(u) paanee sunnai te saaje. Srist(i) upai kaia garh raaje.
    (33) SGGS, p. 1037, Agn(i) paanee jeeo jot(i) tumaaree sunnai kala rahaida.
    (34) Jörn Müller, Harald Lesch (2003): Woher kommt das Wasser der Erde? - Urgaswolke oder Meteoriten. Chemie in unserer Zeit 37(4), pg. 242 – 246, Origin of water on Earth - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    (35) ibid
    (36) Sezer, Sezim, (1-4 Dec 2005), Water and religious traditions in an Imperial City: Istanbul/ Constantinople’s Fountains and Hagiasmas, Fourth Conference International Water History Association, Water and Civilization, Paris, France.
    (37) Ibn Rushd (Averroes) (1126 - 1198 CE), Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    (38) De Chatel, Francesca, (2005), The Hammam and the Mikvah: Physical and Ritual Purity in Islam and Judaism, Fourth Conference International Water History Association, Paris, France.
    (39) Inukai, Takao, (2005), Water and Religion in Japan, Deities and Power of Water, Fourth Conference International Water History Association, Paris.
    (40) Jörn Müller, Harald Lesch (2003): Woher kommt das Wasser der Erde? - Urgaswolke oder Meteoriten. Chemie in unserer Zeit 37(4), pg. 242 – 246, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_water_on_Earth
    (41) ibid
    (42) Koonin EV, Senkevich TG, Dolja VV (2006). "The ancient Virus World and evolution of cells". Biol. Direct 1: 29.
    (43) Wilde SA, Valley JW, Peck WH, Graham CM (January 2001), "Evidence from detrital zircons for the existence of continental crust and oceans on the Earth 4.4 Gyr ago", Astroscience Magazine, Nature 409 (6817): 175–8.
    (44) Martin, William; Russel, Michael J. (2003). "On the origins of cells: a hypothesis for the evolutionary transitions from abiotic geochemistry to chemoautotrophic prokaryotes, and from prokaryotes to nucleated cells". Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 358 (1429): 59–85.
    (45) Jörn Müller, Harald Lesch (2003): Woher kommt das Wasser der Erde? - Urgaswolke oder Meteoriten. Chemie in unserer Zeit 37(4), pg. 242 – 246, "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_of_water_on_Earth
    (46) Lazcano, A., Miller, S. L. (1994), "How long did it take for life to begin and evolve to yanobacteria?", Journal of Molecular Evolution 39: 546–554.
    (47) Szostak, Jack W. (June 4, 2008). "The Origins of Function in Biological Nucleic Acids, Proteins, and Membranes". HHMI. Retrieved on 2008-11-29.
     

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  3. spnadmin

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    This is really an interesting analysis.
     
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  4. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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    Awesome!
    I don't think abiogenesis and biogenesis are competing theories in the scientific world.
     
  5. Tejwant Singh

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    Each of us, irrespective of our hue,creed or faith, is a drop of water in this ocean called the Milky Way and beyond. Hence, the question of partition does not arise because if we separate the atoms of hydrogen and oxygen, then it ceases to be water, scientifically speaking.

    The only way for us humans who have been blessed with the intellect is to live like water, the indivisible, and only indivisibility breeds harmony.

    Being a drop of water eager to merge with the ocean is another way of looking at merging with The ONE, which is the end result of harmony, unity, sangam- no partitions, no divisions, no walls- either the visible or the invisible ones.


    Tejwant Singh
     
  6. BhagatSingh

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  7. Tejwant Singh

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  8. BhagatSingh

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    So it can't really be thought of as merging with the one... we are already a part of it. :ice:
     
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  9. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Yes, we are part of it, provided we do not live as drops. I would like you to read and understand the gist of the whole post, not just the " part" of it.:)
     
  10. BhagatSingh

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    yes I read it.
    That has nothing to do with the universe though. Just the ocean of humans that has been separated into lakes, ponds and puddles by religion, countries and our own ego...
     
  11. Tejwant Singh

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    Thanks for proving my point. When we decide to live as drops because of our so called intellect, what you said above takes place.
     
  12. Sinister

    Sinister
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    did anyone else get real thirsty after reading that post? :Missy:

    what if science somehow proves that life can exist without water where would that leave this analogy? and that such types of living creatures is widespread throughout the universe.

    "Possibilities for methanogenic life in liquid methane on the surface of Titan" -C.P McKay & H.D Smith

    Abstract:
    Photochemically produced compounds on Titan, principally acetylene, ethane and organic solids, would release energy when consumed with atmospheric hydrogen, at levels of 334, 57, and 54 kJ mol−1, respectively. On Earth methanogenic bacteria can survive on this energy level. Here we speculate on the possibility of widespread methanogenic life in liquid methane on Titan. Hydrogen may be the best molecule to show the affects of such life because it does not condense at the tropopause and has no sources or sinks in the troposphere. If life is consuming atmospheric hydrogen it will have a measurable effect on the hydrogen mixing ratio in the troposphere if the biological consumption is greater than [​IMG]. Life could develop strategies to overcome the low solubility of organics in liquid methane and use catalysts to accelerate biochemical reactions despite the low temperature. The results of the recent Huygens probe could indicate the presence of such life by anomalous depletions of acetylene and ethane as well as hydrogen at the surface.
     

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