Top Story: September 13, 2012

What is Life Worth?

Dr. Richard Bartlett

That question can take you in many directions, but this week a group of 8,000+ scientists asked it in regard to the 100 most threatened species on the planet.

The team of researchers, working for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), released a report called Priceless or Worthless? In addition to being online and in print, the report was presented at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in South Korea on Tuesday.

The report (a must read!) lays out the statistics of these rapidly declining plants and animals and explains why it’s important to save them, regardless of how much they help the human race.

“The donor community and conservation movement are leaning increasingly towards a 'what can nature do for us' approach, where species and wild habitats are valued and prioritized according to the services they provide for people,” says Jonathan Baillie, Director of Conservation at the Zoological Society of London. “This has made it increasingly difficult for conservationists to protect the most threatened species on the planet… While the utilitarian value of nature is important, conservation goes beyond this. Do these species have a right to survive or do we have a right to drive them to extinction?”

As Baillie implies, humans are at the root of most of these threats. The report describes funding, policy, legal and even marketing standpoints of why we need to and how we can save these species.

And while you can see galleries of these threatened species on National Geographic, New Scientist and Wired, really, go read and look at the report online. The images are phenomenal and the urgency of the risks of extinction leap from the page. (Did we mention it’s a must read?)

From plants and fungi to amphibians and mammals, all life is valuable. A quote from Georgina Mace in the report perhaps explains it best:

Every living species represents one unique pathway to success, developed over millions of years. What we lose with each passing species can never be replaced.

Image: Dr. Richard Bartlett/Wikipedia


  • bgrnathan


    Just having the right conditions to support life doesn’t mean life can come into existence from non-life spontaneously or by chance.

    What many don’t realize is that although oxygen is necessary for life’s processes, the presence of oxygen would prevent life from coming into being. This is because oxygen is destructive unless there are mechanisms already in place to control, direct, and regulate it such as what we find in already existing forms of life.

    Evolutionists must assume that the early earth had no oxygen. But, then that would mean there was no ozone layer in the atmosphere to protect from harmful radiation that would destroy life or even any budding form of life. Ozone is made-up of oxygen. It’s a Catch-22 situation for evolutionists. In fact, there are numerous Catch-22 situations for evolutionists when it comes to the origin of life issue. The latest scientific evidence from geology shows that there, indeed, was oxygen in the earth’s earliest atmosphere.

    Miller, in his famous experiment in 1953 (and he made sure not use oxygen), showed that individual amino acids (the building blocks of life) could come into existence by chance. But, it’s not enough just to have amino acids. The various amino acids that make-up life must link together in a precise sequence, just like the letters in a sentence, to form functioning protein molecules. If they’re not in the right sequence the protein molecules won’t work. It has never been shown that various amino acids can bind together into a sequence by chance to form protein molecules. Even the simplest cell is made up of many millions of various protein molecules.

    The probability of just an average size protein molecule arising by chance is 10 to the 65th power. Mathematicians have said any event in the universe with odds of 10 to 50th power or greater is impossible! The late great British scientist Sir Frederick Hoyle calculated that the the odds of even the simplest cell coming into existence by chance is 10 to the 40,000th power! How large is this? Consider that the total number of atoms in our universe is 10 to the 82 power.

    The cell could not have gradually evolved. A partially evolved cell would quickly disintegrate under the effects of random forces of the environment, especially without the protection of a complete and fully functioning cell membrane. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years for chance to make it complete and living! In fact, it couldn’t have even reached the partially evolved state.

    Of course, once there is a complete and living cell then the code and mechanisms exist to direct the formation of more cells. The problem for evolutionists is how did the cell originate when there were no directing code and mechanisms in nature. Natural laws may explain how a cell or airplane works but mere undirected natural laws could not have brought about the existence of either.

    What about natural selection? Natural selection doesn’t create or produce anything. It can only “select” from what is produced that has survival value. Natural selection can only “select” from variations that are possible. If a variation occurs that helps a species survive, that survival is called ” natural selection.” It’s a passive process. There’s no conscious selection by nature, and natural selection only operates in nature once there is life and reproduction and not before, so it would not be of assistance to the origin of life.

    Science can’t prove we’re here by chance or design. Neither was observed. Both are positions of faith. The issue is which faith is best supported by science. Let the scientific arguments of both sides be presented.



    Babu G. Ranganathan*
    (B.A. Bible/Biology)

    Author of the popular Internet article, TRADITIONAL DOCTRINE OF HELL EVOLVED FROM GREEK ROOTS

    *I have given successful lectures (with question and answer period afterwards) defending creation before evolutionist science faculty and students at various colleges and universities. I’ve been privileged to be recognized in the 24th edition of Marquis “Who’s Who in The East” for my writings on religion and science.

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