Home » Intelligent Design » Coffee break: Billions of Earths in our galaxy?

Coffee break: Billions of Earths in our galaxy?

According to some, our galaxy has billions of Earths.

Think what that will do for the slumping real estate market …

So far, telescopes have been able to detect just over 300 planets outside our Solar System.

Very few of these would be capable of supporting life, however. Most are gas giants like our Jupiter, and many orbit so close to their parent stars that any microbes would have to survive roasting temperatures.

But, based on the limited numbers of planets found so far, Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one “Earth-like” planet.

This simple calculation means there would be huge numbers capable of supporting life.

Oh wait … what’s the market reach for extraterrestrial bacteria?

A key question, obviously, is why would a planet only have unicellular, and not multicellular life?

Also, today at Colliding Universes, my blog about competing materialist and non-materialist theories about our universe:

Lots of extraterrestrial life posts here at Colliding Universes.

Science fiction: When the numbers run out?

Science shows that the universe shows evidence of intelligent design

Science fiction: The
Losting corridor

Intelligent design of the universe as possible science finding

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21 Responses to Coffee break: Billions of Earths in our galaxy?

  1. “A key question, obviously, is why would a planet only have unicellular, and not multicellular life?”

    I’m not sure why this is a particularly key question, given that that was the case on earth earlier in its history.

    Even in the present day, there are environments here which can be tolerated only by relatively simple, if not always unicellular extremophile organisms.

  2. “given that that was the case on earth earlier in its history”

    Really? I didn’t know we had evidence of this! Could you please provide some?

  3. IRQ Conflict, “Really? I didn’t know we had evidence of this! Could you please provide some”

    You obviously still believe that life on earth has only been around for 6,000 years. All who believe otherwise, that I know of, understand that single-celled life began about 3.75 billion years ago, and that multi-cellularity only seriously took hold at the cambrian explosion, about 560 million years ago. Therefore, the only thing that needs proving is the age of the earth. If you look into it a bit, if you quit reading only info put out by the young earth community, you will discover that the case for an old earth is very strong.

  4. This guy’s general starting point is the Capernican principle. “As we are nothing special, we must be average. If we are average then there must be all these other planets.”

    This guy should read “Privelaged Planet” to discover the concept of the inhabitable zone. In it a case is strongly made that the vast majority of stars are located in a toxic location within their galaxy to ever develop a stable environment for the millions of years required to form life.

    Further, our moon is seen by many as essential to the development of life. Our moon is an oddity presumed to have been created by a cosmic collision with a planet-sized asteroid. If the “moon required for life” hypothesis is correct, the number of planets that qualify would be very short indeed.

    Hey, the guy can hunt for life out there all he wants. Power to him. However, conjecture based upon theory (Capernican principle) is hardly scientific fact.

  5. If our galaxy has aged at an equal rate of the passage of time across its extent, we must ask why multicellular life got started on Earth, but supposedly did not do so on the other planets that – we are told – can also harbour life.

    But we are told to expect only unicellular life.

    Are many of these planets not about the same age as ours? Then why do they not have multicuellular life by now?

    That is my specific question.

  6. IRQ Conflict:

    “Really? I didn’t know we had evidence of this! Could you please provide some?”

    I would just echo bFast’s reply. Isn’t it also true that Michael Behe accepts common descent? I would therefore assume Behe has no problem with the proposition that at some point in time, life on earth was all unicellular (or even less complex).

    O’Leary:

    Are many of these planets not about the same age as ours? Then why do they not have multicuellular life by now?

    My reading of the BBC “billions of earths” article is that there could be many planets capable of supporting life of some sort, but typically conditions are too hostile to support multicellular life. So we shouldn’t necessarily expect to find advanced civilizations or complex animals in our backyard. Perhaps simpler, hardier life forms, such as the extremophiles I mentioned before, are more common in these environments.

  7. all the planets in our galaxy shouldn’t be expected to be the same age, as our galaxy is at least twice as old as our sun and solar system. You’d expect a broad spectrum of ages. I suppose you would have to wait for a couple of star generations so you can get the type of heavier elements that lead to planet formation. But yea, there’s nothing that would lead anyone to insist all planets should be in sync with their development, and the development of life on them.

  8. Furthermore, even the Earth has not been “hospitable” to multicellular life for most of its history. Multicellularity requires mitochondria – only eukaryotes are truly multicellular, and all eukaryotes have mitochondria. Mitochondria require atmospheric molecular oxygen, which was not present in the atmosphere of the Earth until the evolution of non-cyclic photosynthesis about 2.7 to 2.4 billion years ago.

    Ergo, even the Earth would fit the definition in the BBC article for almost half of its entire history.

  9. In other words, if one is searching essentially randomly for signs of life on other planets, there is a very high probability that one will find either no life at all, or unicellular life. There is a very small probability that one will find multicellular life, but that would almost certainly require searching a much larger number of planets than have heretofore been examined.

    It’s like buying lottery tickets; the fact that one hasn’t yet bought a winning ticket is no proof at all that there is a winning ticket. Indeed, the way lotteries are structured, there always is at least one winning ticket eventually.

  10. Sorry, that should be “isn’t” in the second paragraph.

    I do very much wish this website had the ability to edit comments for a limited period of time after initial posting (Telic Thoughts does).

  11. bFast #4

    “You obviously still believe that life on earth has only been around for 6,000 years.”

    Give or take, yes.

    “All who believe otherwise, that I know of, understand that single-celled life began about 3.75 billion years ago, and that multi-cellularity only seriously took hold at the cambrian explosion, about 560 million years ago.”

    See, if you were really trying to convince me and show me the error of my ways, you should have made a statement like this: ‘All who know otherwise’ and ‘know that single-celled life began about..’

    And then for time and space savings directed me to the appropriate link that showed the knowledge (science) behind the claim. Without that, I consider it mere opinion and it hasn’t done much to change my mind.

    I am no scientist but I have been lied to, too many times to just trust what men say.

    I have seen many ‘proofs’ and ‘reasons’ that could lend itself to multiple world views. For now, I stand on the literal interpretation of Scripture. Unless I find my interpretation flawed to the degree that I can no longer support that position.

    Kirk.

  12. Searching for life on another planet, and finding it, is like buying a lottery ticket. As winning a lottery is designed to occur so it will be with the life that we eventually discover.

  13. BleacherBum,

    Of course this is assuming that life can arise by chance. We have never seen it happen, nor has it been created within lab experiments (by chance scenarios). So in that sense, such a conjucture is completely without warrant and resides within a priori believes.

    I thought only IDists did that… :P

  14. I really doubt that there is anybody out there besides God and the angels.

  15. 15

    The search for planets that could support life is in it’s infancy, and is driven by the belief that wherever the conditions for life exist, there life will be.

    If another planet was found that had conditions exactly like Earth, could there not be life there?

  16. This is just Darwinists grassping at strams trying to salvage their awful and wrong theory of origins.

    Also. This is probably as good of place as anywhere to state that I intend to redidicate my life to Christ and try my best to live a Christian life. If you are a believer please keep me in your prayers.

  17. Indeed! Consider it done Platonist.

    ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ 10In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

  18. Michael Haanel,

    There could be, but given that DNA, in all its poly-functionality exists within life, it’s perhaps completely, if not entirely unlikely. But even granting that life may exist on other planets doesn’t get rid of DNA, nor does it even remotely answer the question of what life we should find. We could find planets just like ours, but that wouldn’t mean they evolved, or even that we did. It could simply mean a creator likes creating life. It most definitely would not answer atheists or theists questions. Intelligence seems to be behind everything though, and I mean everything.

    Platonist,

    Hey man, I’ll do my best to keep you in my prayers. :) Remember, God’s got your back!

  19. 19

    Domoman~

    With regards to life on other planets, I’m a biosphere supporter. We all live on a thin green sphere that is dependent on just the right conditions of light and water and oxygen, and all those precious elements that were created in super nova… and plenty of time. ID adherents would add a chef to the recipe, at some point, doing something. I’m still confused as to what the chef did?

    Domoman, you say with emphasis, “Intelligence seems to be behind everything though, and I mean everything.”

    But what is intelligence? It seems like such a global term, dare I say religious, when you say it. But to me intelligence means an intelligent being. And for a being to be intelligent it must have language. And for a being to have a complicated language such as ours, requires the evolution of societies, and the evolution of their knowledge.

    Can there possible be chef involved in everything, that didn’t go to school?

  20. Mitochondria require atmospheric molecular oxygen, which was not present in the atmosphere of the Earth until the evolution of non-cyclic photosynthesis about 2.7 to 2.4 billion years ago.

    What a(nother) fortunate coincidence :-)

    Join me now in worship.

    Oh Goddess of Chance, good night, smile once more; turn thy wheel!

  21. Thanks IRQ Conflict and Donoman for the kind words. It is appreciated.

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