“Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed”. Does it mean that making babies does not add mass/matter to the planet ?


“Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed”. Does it mean that making babies does not add mass/matter to the planet ?

In: Biology

I guess yes. The components of the baby’s body are taken from the planet afterall.

Also, it isn’t “creating” a baby. It’s more akin to manufacturing one.

Yeah all the chemicals needed to make a human come from the food we eat.

We’re just a bunch of atoms arranged in a way they become a chemical chainreaction that is able to sustain itself

Absolutely. They grow using nutrients from the mother, which comes from her food, drink, and respiration.

“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

And at one point you’d hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

And you’ll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they’ll be comforted to know your energy’s still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you’re just less orderly.”

Correct. All you’re doing when you produce a baby is taking a bunch of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms, along with a load of other types of atoms as well, and rearranging them. You got the same amount of atoms you started with, they’re just in the shape of a baby instead of the shape of a bowl of cereal.


The human body is basically a giant combination factory/engine. When we consume fuel (eat), we transform it into energy (motion) and mass (growth). When a woman is pregnant, a portion of what she eats is used to grow the baby inside her.

The earth is a mostly closed ecosystem. Occasionally a meteor comes into the atmosphere and there are times when we spend a space probe off planet. Other than that, we’re not getting deliveries of things like water, dirt, wood, iron, and oxygen from other planets. We add to our inventory of stuff by extracting things from the earth, or by deconstructing existing things.

When it comes to human growth, we eat food and then our bodies have mechanisms to use that fuel to build on to ourselves, or even to build reproduction parts to start a new human. That fuel comes from the same closed loop of things within the earth’s ecosystem.