Home » Extraterrestrial life, News » Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez on habitable planets: “Our universe is a small target indeed.”

Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez on habitable planets: “Our universe is a small target indeed.”

Astrobiology research is revealing the high specificity and interdependence of the local parameters required for a habitable environment. These two features of the universe make it unlikely that environments significantly different from ours will be as habitable. At the same time, physicists and cosmologists have discovered that a change in a global parameter can have multiple local effects. Therefore, the high specificity and interdependence of local tuning and the multiple effects of global tuning together make it unlikely that our tiny island of habitability is part of an archipelago. Our universe is a small target indeed.

- P. 625, The Nature of Nature

Perhaps, the less we know, the easier it is to imagine “THEY are out there” – without the undue burden of details.

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17 Responses to Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez on habitable planets: “Our universe is a small target indeed.”

  1. Privileged Planet – Observability Correlation – Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5424431

    The very conditions that make Earth hospitable to intelligent life also make it well suited to viewing and analyzing the universe as a whole.
    – Jay Richards

    further notes:

    Of Gaps, Fine-Tuning and Newton’s Solar System – Cornelius Hunter – July 2011
    Excerpt: The new results indicate that the solar system could become unstable if diminutive Mercury, the inner most planet, enters into a dance with Jupiter, the fifth planet from the Sun and the largest of all. The resulting upheaval could leave several planets in rubble, including our own. Using Newton’s model of gravity, the chances of such a catastrophe were estimated to be greater than 50/50 over the next 5 billion years. But interestingly, accounting for Albert Einstein’s minor adjustments (according to his theory of relativity), reduces the chances to just 1%.
    http://darwins-god.blogspot.co.....solar.html

    Milankovitch Cycle Design – Hugh Ross – August 2011
    Excerpt: In all three cases, Waltham proved that the actual Earth/Moon/solar system manifests unusually low Milankovitch levels and frequencies compared to similar alternative systems. ,,, Waltham concluded, “It therefore appears that there has been anthropic selection for slow Milankovitch cycles.” That is, it appears Earth was purposely designed with slow, low-level Milankovitch cycles so as to allow humans to exist and thrive.
    http://www.reasons.org/milankovitch-cycle-design

    Privileged Planet Principle – Michael Strauss – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4318884/

    The Privileged Planet – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnWyPIzTOTw

    Does the Probability for ETI = 1?
    Excerpt; On the Reasons To Believe website we document that the probability a randomly selected planet would possess all the characteristics intelligent life requires is less than 10^-304. A recent update that will be published with my next book, Hidden Purposes: Why the Universe Is the Way It Is, puts that probability at 10^-1054.

    Linked from “Appendix C” in Why the Universe Is the Way It Is
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters ? 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate ? 10^324
    longevity requirements estimate ? 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters ? 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe ? 10^22

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.
    http://www.reasons.org/files/c....._part3.pdf

    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere (10^-1054) – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347236

    Hugh Ross – Four Main Research Papers on habitability
    https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1Sl5SCBtcO6xMjwgrkKysBYIOJzjZEcXX68qZ9rwh85s

    Inspirational video and verse:

    The Mountain
    http://video.yahoo.com/editors.....60678.html

    Isaiah 40:28
    Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom.

  2. Under a design scenario I ewould think tat ETs would be a given…

  3. A bit of little known trivia to go along with the irreducible complexity revealed, in ‘the high specificity and interdependence of the local parameters required for a habitable environment’, by Dr. Gonzalez, is the little known fact that the finely tuned universal constants are also found to be irreducibly complex;

    “If we modify the value of one of the fundamental constants, something invariably goes wrong, leading to a universe that is inhospitable to life as we know it. When we adjust a second constant in an attempt to fix the problem(s), the result, generally, is to create three new problems for every one that we “solve.” The conditions in our universe really do seem to be uniquely suitable for life forms like ourselves, and perhaps even for any form of organic complexity.”
    Gribbin and Rees, “Cosmic Coincidences”, p. 269

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4323661

  4. 4

    Joseph not sure about that, according to Hugh Ross the conditions needed for life are very rare indeed.

  5. Rare if you consider a non-designed universe- and even then say 1,000,000 such civilizations existed. Given the vast number of stars they would be rare.

  6. I guess you guys missed the latest study of data from NASA’s Kepler planet-finding observatory that showns the number of sun-like stars with planets in a habitable ‘Goldilocks zone’ may number as many as 15 billion in our galaxy alone:

    New study: 1/3 of Sun-like stars might have terrestrial planets in their habitable zones

    There is some dispute over the calculations however, and the actual number may be closer to 10-12 billion. The study itself

    Terrestrial, Habitable-Zone Exoplanet Frequency from Kepler

    That goes along with the data that we actually have discovered at least 53 other exoplanetary systems and several hundred exoplanets.

    We sure must be the privileged planet all right!

  7. It takes much more than having the right star and being in the right zone. There are some twenty factors that must be met in order to get complex metazoans.

    I bet you didn’t even read “The Privileged Planet”

  8. Summary (not exhaustive):

    Within the Galactic Habitable Zone

    Within the Circumstellar Habitable Zone

    Liquid water

    Orbit a Spectral type G2 dwarf main sequence star

    Protected by gas giants

    Nearly circular orbit-

    Oxygen rich

    Correct mass

    Large moon to stabilize the angle of rotation

    Moderate rate of rotation

    Terrestrial planet

    Ratio of water to continents

    Plate tectonic re-cycling

    Magnetic field

  9. further notes:

    Chances of Exoplanet Life ‘Impossible’? Or ’100 percent’? – February 2011
    Excerpt: Howard Smith, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, made the headlines earlier this year when he announced, rather pessimistically, that aliens will unlikely exist on the extrasolar planets we are currently detecting. “We have found that most other planets and solar systems are wildly different from our own. They are very hostile to life as we know it,” “Extrasolar systems are far more diverse than we expected, and that means very few are likely to support life,” he said.
    http://news.discovery.com/spac.....-what.html

    Compositions of Extrasolar Planets – July 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,the presumption that extrasolar terrestrial planets will consistently manifest Earth-like chemical compositions is incorrect. Instead, the simulations revealed “a wide variety of resulting planetary compositions.
    http://www.reasons.org/composi.....ar-planets

    As well, It is found that not only must the right chemicals be present on earth to have life, the chemicals must also be present on the earth in ‘specific abundances’.

    Elemental Evidence of Earth’s Divine Design – Hugh Ross PhD. – April 2010
    Table: Earth’s Anomalous Abundances – Page 8
    The twenty-five elements listed below must exist on Earth in specific abundances for advanced life and/or support of civilization to be possible. For each listed element the number indicates how much more or less abundant it is, by mass, in Earth’s crust, relative to magnesium’s abundance, as compared to its average abundance in the rest of the Milky Way Galaxy, also relative to the element magnesium. Asterisks denote “vital poisons,” essential elements that if too abundant would be toxic to advanced life, but if too scarce would fail to provide the quantities of nutrients essential for advanced life. The water measure compares the amount of water in and on Earth relative to the minimum amount the best planet formation models would predict for a planet the mass of Earth orbiting a star identical to the Sun at the same distance from the Sun.

    carbon* 1,200 times less
    nitrogen* 2,400 times less
    fluorine* 50 times more
    sodium* 20 times more
    aluminum 40 times more
    phosphorus* 4 times more
    sulfur* 60 times less
    potassium* 90 times more
    calcium 20 times more
    titanium 65 times more
    vanadium* 9 times more
    chromium* 5 times less
    nickel* 20 times less
    cobalt* 5 times less
    selenium* 30 times less
    yttrium 50 times more
    zirconium 130 times more
    niobium 170 times more
    molybdenum* 5 times more
    tin* 3 times more
    iodine* 3 times more
    gold 5 times less
    lead 170 times more
    uranium 16,000 times more
    thorium 23,000 times more
    water 250 times less
    http://www.reasons.org/files/e.....010-02.pdf

    Indeed, Just counting possible planets that might be habitable, and leaving it at that, is way too simplistic, not to mention VERY unscientific!

    Among Darwin Advocates, Premature Celebration over Abundance of Habitable Planets – September 2011
    Excerpt: Today, such processes as planet formation details, tidal forces, plate tectonics, magnetic field evolution, and planet-planet, planet-comet, and planet-asteroid gravitational interactions are found to be relevant to habitability.,,, What’s more, not only are more requirements for habitability being discovered, but they are often found to be interdependent, forming a (irreducibly) complex “web.” This means that if a planetary system is found not to satisfy one of the habitability requirements, it may not be possible to compensate for this deficit by adjusting a different parameter in the system. – Guillermo Gonzalez
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....50871.html

    Did cosmic collisions make habitable planets rare? – August 2011
    Excerpt: Most of the planets in our own solar system, including Earth, have relatively circular orbits and are lined up along a plane that isn’t tilted much from the sun’s equator. They also orbit in the same direction around the sun as our star spins. But many other solar systems are not so neatly ordered, harboring planets that move in the opposite direction of their stars’ spin on highly tilted orbits.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44.....lLOD6hEOkM

    Exoplanet Hunters Fail Predictions – August 2010
    Excerpt: There are so many surprises in this field—almost nothing is turning out as we expected. There are Jupiter-mass planets in three-day orbits. There are planets with masses that are between those of the terrestrial planets in our solar system and the gas giants in the outer part of our solar system. There are Jupiter-mass planets with hugely inflated radii—at densities far lower than what we thought were possible for a gas-giant planet. There are giant planets with gigantic solid cores that defy models of planet formation, which say there shouldn’t be enough solids available in a protoplanetary disk to form a planet that dense. There are planets with tilted orbits. There are planets that orbit the poles of their stars, in so-called circumpolar orbits. There are planets that orbit retrograde—that is, they orbit in the opposite direction of their star’s rotation. There are systems of planets that are in configurations that are hard to describe given our understanding of planet formation. For instance, some planets are much too close to one another.
    But a lot of those surprises have to do with the fact that we have only one example of a planetary system—our solar system—to base everything on, right?
    What’s interesting is that we’ve found very little that resembles our example.
    http://www.creationsafaris.com.....#20100831a

    Thank God for Jupiter – July 2010
    Excerpt: The July 16, 1994 and July 19, 2009 collision events on Jupiter demonstrate just how crucial a role the planet plays in protecting life on Earth. Without Jupiter’s gravitational shield our planet would be pummeled by frequent life-exterminating events. Yet Jupiter by itself is not an adequate shield. The best protection is achieved via a specific arrangement of several gas giant planets. The most massive gas giant must be nearest to the life support planet and the second most massive gas giant the next nearest, followed by smaller, more distant gas giants. Together Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune provide Earth with this ideal shield.
    http://www.reasons.org/thank-god-jupiter

    New Definition Could Further Limit Habitable Zones Around Distant Suns: – June 2009
    … liquid water is essential for life, but a planet also must have plate tectonics to pull excess carbon from its atmosphere and confine it in rocks to prevent runaway greenhouse warming. Tectonics, or the movement of the plates that make up a planet’s surface, typically is driven by radioactive decay in the planet’s core, but a star’s gravity can cause tides in the planet, which creates more energy to drive plate tectonics…. Barnes added, “The bottom line is that tidal forcing is an important factor that we are going to have to consider when looking for habitable planets.”
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....124831.htm

    Music and verse:

    Third Day – God of Wonders
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CBNE25rtnE

    Genesis 2:4
    These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD God made the earth and the heavens,

  10. If one is YEC its impossible to believe in alien life. If iD or evolutionist its possible I guess.
    Just the odds. ID seeing the odds as terrible for evolution here much less out there.
    iI say the universe is empty and was made for a eternal living human civilization to colonize and have dominion over it.
    Being eternal would make a great population here and elbrow room would of been needed.
    So it would make sense we need all that room.
    Its just undeveloped property.
    Something went very wrong.

  11. Guillermo Gonzalez & Stephen Meyer on Coral Ridge – video (Part 1)
    http://www.truthinaction.org/i.....=CRH1118_F

    Guillermo Gonzalez & Stephen Meyer on Coral Ridge – video (Part 2)
    http://www.truthinaction.org/i.....=CRH1119_F

  12. Don’t leave off: not destabilised by interacting and wandering gas giants — a biggie.

  13. Thanks- I was going to go through the book again and post all of the factors.

  14. OT: A Mathematician Explains the Irreducible Complexity of Metamorphosis – Evolution News & Views
    Excerpt: Now we are not talking about climbing Mount Improbable, we are talking about building a bridge across an enormous chasm, between caterpillar and butterfly. ,, Until construction of this extremely long and complicated bridge is almost complete, it is a bridge to nowhere. Unless a butterfly (or another organism capable of reproduction) comes out at the end, the chrysalis only serves as a casket for the caterpillar, which cannot reproduce. Now we do not have to simply imagine uses for not-quite-watertight vacuum chamber traps, we have to imagine a selective advantage for committing suicide before you are able to reproduce, and that is a more difficult challenge!
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....52461.html

  15. Why would a YEC be against alien life? Certainly YEC, meaning young *this* earth, doesn’t contradict the idea of aliens on *a different* earth.

    Further, I can’t see any reason why even a Biblical literalist would object to the idea of life, even intelligent life, elsewhere. Sheesh, angels, visions, visitations of those who have passed from this life to another realm . . . these are all standard fare in the Bible. Why on earth (pun intended) would a Biblical literalist think that life only exists on this earth?

  16. First because Adams sin/rebellion was the origin for death on earth and in the universe. The universe is full of smashed things and one could die out there.
    Its impossible for life living on another planet to be living in the original state of eternity. As if we could walk over to them and touch them.

    then the bible says Gods spirit was the origin for life and it covered the earth in the beginning.
    life out there would need that help too.
    Then clearly man is the point for creation and not intelligent life elsewhere.

    YEC always rejects alien life based on the fall issue.
    I like the science fiction if its great but reality is here.
    The universe was just for eternal mans use.

  17. 17
    englishmaninistanbul

    Why should this be so surprising to people?

    I’m serious. Life is incredible, in fact, a miracle. Walking on water? Meh. But life?? Can you make life in a laboratory? Nope. And as Richard Feynman said, “What I cannot create, I do not understand.” Life is a miracle. QED.

    By rights even we shouldn’t exist. So why should it be so surprising that life probably doesn’t exist elsewhere either?

    Might it be something to do with 100 years of sci-fi pop culture filling all our heads with the idea that life can just turn up on any old planet? Gene Roddenberry, methinks you have a lot to answer for my friend.

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