Series: "The Case for a Creator, The Evidence of Astronomy: The Privileged Planet "

As we survey all the evidence, the thought insistently arises that some supernatural agency—or, rather, Agency—must be involved. Is it possible that suddenly, without intending to, we have stumbled upon scientific proof of the existence of a Supreme Being? Was it God who stepped in and so providentially crafted the cosmos for our benefit? Astronomer George Greenstein

Astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say “supernatural”) plan. Nobel laureate Arno Penzias

There’s nothing unusual about Earth. It’s an average, unassuming that’s spinning mindlessly around an unremarkable star in a run-of-the-mill galaxy—“a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark,” as the late Carl Sagan put it.  The fact that life flourishes on our planet isn’t exceptional. Creatures of all kinds undoubtedly abound, we’re told, in countless locations among the ten trillion billion stars in the universe. Some scientists have estimated there are up to ten trillion advanced civilizations. Sagan put the number at one million for our Milky Way galaxy alone. After all, the forces of nature are so automatic that life is sure to have evolved wherever water exists. That’s why whenever scientists raise new speculation about liquid water being present on another celestial body—the underground worlds of Jupiter’s frozen moons Europa and Ganymede are currently the most fashionable examples—then the automatic assumption is that living organisms must necessarily and inexorably follow. If life can emerge from nonlife so quickly and efficiently on a planet as undistinguished as ours, they reason, then why not throughout the universe’s hundreds of billions of galaxies? To them, life is like a soup mix: just add water!

“The universe that we observe,” said Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, “has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”

Earth’s location, its size, its composition, its structure, its atmosphere, its temperature, its internal dynamics, and its many intricate cycles that are essential to life—the carbon cycle, the oxygen cycle, the nitrogen cycle, the phosphorous cycle, the sulfur cycle, the calcium cycle, the sodium cycle, and so on—testify to the degree to which our planet is exquisitely and precariously balanced.

if you can just find a place anywhere in the universe where water stays liquid for a long enough period of time, then life will develop, just as it did on Earth,”

“It’s true that in order to have life you need water—which is the universal solvent—for reactions to take place, as well as carbon, which serves as the core atom of the information-carrying structural molecules of life. But you also need a lot more. Humans require twenty-six essential elements; a bacterium about sixteen. Intermediate life forms are between those two numbers. The problem is that not just any planetary body will be the source of all those chemical ingredients in the necessary forms and amounts.”

Some science fiction writers have managed to speculate about extra-terrestrial life that’s built in a radically different form—for instance, creatures based on silicon instead of carbon.
That just won’t work, Chemistry is one of the better understood areas of science. We know that you just can’t get certain atoms to stick together in sufficient number and complexity to give you large molecules like carbon can. You can’t get around it. And you just can’t get other types of liquids to dissolve as many different kinds of chemicals as you can with water. There’s something like half a dozen different properties of both water and carbon that are optimal for life. Nothing else comes close. Silicon falls far short of carbon.

Some people see life as being easy to create. They think it’s enough merely to have liquid water, because they see life as an epiphenomenon—just a piece of slime mold growing on an inert piece of granite. Actually, the Earth’s geology and biology interact very tightly with each other. You can’t think of life as being independent of the geophysical and meteorological processes of the planet. They interact in a very intimate way. So you need not only the right chemicals for life but also a planetary environment that’s tuned to life.





Have an Intelligent Faith!!

-Nelis