Friday, 4 October 2013

OUR PRIVILEGED PLANET

What makes our planet special? According to some scientists, we orbit an unremarkable star in an average galaxy in a vast universe. What makes earth special is that it's perfectly suited for life.

Even a quick look at the other planets in our solar system shows that we live in the best orbit. Venus and Mercury are too close to the sun and the other worlds are too far away. Venus also has a thick atmosphere of carbon dioxide which creates a green house effect. This planet is actually hotter than airless Mercury.

Mars, though it might have had water and a thicker atmosphere at one time is now a barren planet with almost no air. Likewise, the outer planets are unsuitable because of their distance from the sun and lack of oxygen.

Additionally, earth's moon is large enough to create tides which stir up the oceans but not enough to flood the land. During an eclipse, it covers the disk of the sun but allows us to see our star's atmosphere. If the moon was closer or larger, we wouldn't be able to see the sun's corona, Too small or far away and the eclipse would be too bright to study.

Our star is the right size as well. Too big and the earth would eventually stop rotating. One side would be endlessly facing the blazing sun while the other side would freeze.

Earth also has a spinning liquid iron core which generates a protective magnetic field. Charged particles from the sun are deflected around the planet by these magnetic field lines, thereby preserving life. Smaller planets such as Mars have no liquid iron cores. Radioactive particles bombard its surface, though the thin atmosphere does attenuate them somewhat.

Our place in the Milky Way is likewise the optimal one for astronomy. Too close to the centre and nearby stars would make it difficult to see other stars. The excess radiation would also prove deadly to life. If earth was inside a spiral arm of the galaxy, we wouldn't be able to tell which stars belonged to it and which were outside. Being between the spiral arms allows us to see the universe better. If Earth was at the edge of the galaxy, it would lack the heavier elements required for life.

Additionally, the laws of physics demonstrate how finely tuned the universe is to support life. If any of the parameters were changed, such as gravity being a bit stronger, intelligent life couldn't exist. Arguing that there are multiple universes and this one got lucky just pushes the problem down the road. The laws which allow for our universe are so finely tuned that even a slight shift wouldn't allow stars to form.

Some scientists speculate that other planets might have life on them. While it might be possible, we have no evidence of it. We appear to be the only ones in the universe and our planet shows apparent evidence of being made for us.

More evidence of our favoured position in the universe can be seen on the video The Privileged Planet produced by Illustra Media. This DVD shows that there is a purpose to this universe and our place in it.

I also wrote about how I rejected evolution in How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Virtual Bookworm Publishers.