Home » Intelligent Design » Exoplanets: Aren’t we at risk of running out of gee whiz adjectives?

Exoplanets: Aren’t we at risk of running out of gee whiz adjectives?

From “Rocky exoplanet milestone in hunt for Earth-like worlds” (Jason Palmer, BBC News, 10 January 11), we learn,

Astronomers have discovered the smallest planet outside our Solar System, and the first that is undoubtedly rocky like Earth.

Measurements of unprecedented precision have shown that the planet, Kepler 10b, has a diameter 1.4 times that of Earth, and a mass 4.6 times higher.

However, because it orbits its host star so closely, the planet could not harbour life.

The discovery has been hailed as “among the most profound in human history”.

One can’t help wondering why, actually. Well, because

“We want to know if we’re alone in the galaxy, simply put – and this is one link in the chain toward getting to that objective.

“First we need to know if planets that could potentially harbour life are common, and we don’t know if that’s true – that’s what Kepler is aiming to do.”

Okay, but can we please leave the “most profounds” (the phrase is used twice in a short report) out for now?

Otherwise, what phrases will we haveleft when we find an extrasolar planet that can host life?

While we are at it, the phrase “a planetary missing link”, used in the story, doesn’t really work. If the conv-

NASA artist’s conception of Kepler 10b

entional explanation of planet formation is correct, Kepler 10b isn’t a long-sought link between one planet and another. And if we do find a planet that harbours life, it won’t be a link either – any more than Earth is a “link” between Venus and Mars.

A friend parses it all as follows,

We had total failure at finding Earth-like planets that might support our Darwinian assumption (and massive expenditure) that we are not unique in the universe. But now we’ve found something other than a giant-gas planet so we are less discouraged than before. But it turned out to be a solid chunk of iron at 1300 degrees orbiting a few solar radii above the star, so it isn’t what we were looking for, which is discouraging again. But we’ll call it “rocky” anyway and maybe our luck will return.

One hopes so. A summer planet would be nice. But not that one.

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24 Responses to Exoplanets: Aren’t we at risk of running out of gee whiz adjectives?

  1. Want to find an earth-like planet outside of our solar system?

    Read “The Privileged Planet” and follow their lead.

  2. I agree that the hyperbole is over the top but there is no justification for this “interpretation”:

    “We had total failure at finding Earth-like planets…”

    The Kepler mission hasn’t failed to find Earth-like planets yet, for the simple reason that it hasn’t been in operation for long enough. An “Earth-like planet” (as defined by the Kepler mission scientists is one that is similar to Earth in size and mass, and orbits within the habitable zone of the host star.

    For sun-like stars, this entails an orbital period approaching a year, and a detection is not deemed to have been made until at least three confirmed transits have been detected, and even then further ground-based measurements are required to eliminate the possibility that the transit signals are caused by a characteristic of the star (like sun-spots).

    Kepler has been returning data for 20 months, which is barely enough time to detect three transits of an “Earth-like” planet, let alone go through the rest of the process of confirmation and writing up the results.

    It could be another year or more before the Kepler team is in a position to announce the discovery of any sized planet orbiting that far out, let alone an Earth-sized one.

    Thus it is way too premature to claim that the Kepler mission has failed in any way, shape, or form.

    And say what you like, but the fact that we can detect any kind of planet around the size of Earth from over 500 light years away is still a remarkable achievement.

  3. There already is a working, valid assessment of whether there are other places in the universe where intelligent life may be.

    So how many future discovered exo-planets that are NOT life supporting will it take to suggest that there may not be any other life supporting exo-planets at all?

  4. We are just developing the technology that would allow us to detect rocky planets of similar size to earth if we are extraordinarily careful and lucky. Within a year or two of developing this technology we find a star which has a planet of this type. There are billions of stars out there. This gives good reason to suppose there are billions of such planets. What is discouraging about that?

  5. Well MarkF in order for there to be other earth-like planets tere also needs to be all the factors- the same type of star as our sun, nearly circular orbit, a large stabilizing moon, in the circumstellar habitable zone, etc., etc.

  6. Wiki summary.

  7. F/N: Observe from the BBC article the summary of the ladder of inferences on the actual — in the main, spectral and magnitude — observations that are the basis for the conclusion that we have a planet there.

    No direct image of the planet has been made. The temperature of 1300 C or so, seems to have been inferred from the estimated orbit radius, some 1/20th Mercury’s orbit radius.

    I find it fascinating to compare the carefully neutral white image of the inferred planet at the top-right of the Wiki article, with the BBC’s red hot NASA artist’s conception image at the top of the BBC article, and the textual description far down in the Wiki article:

    Kepler-10b is 1.4 times the size of the Earth. It orbits its star, Kepler-10, in less than a day, at less than a twentieth of the distance from Mercury to the Sun. Its surface temperature is approximately 1600 K, which is as hot as a blast furnace and hot enough to melt gold.

    In a situation where more and more of science is about inferred results, we need to make that presence of a ladder of inferences — as opposed to elements of actual direct observation — clear to the onlooking public.

  8. Joseph here is a bit more on your ‘etc. etc.’ for dependency factors for a life supporting planet:

    There is also a well researched statistical analysis of the many independent ‘life-enabling characteristics’ that gives strong mathematical indication that the earth is extremely unique in its ability to support complex life in this universe and shows, from a naturalistic perspective, that a life permitting planet is extremely unlikely to ‘accidentally emerge’ in the universe. The statistical analysis, which is actually a refinement of the Drake equation, is dealt with by astro-physicist Dr. Hugh Ross (1945-present) in his paper ‘Probability for Life on Earth’.

    Probability For Life On Earth – List of Parameters, References, and Math – Hugh Ross
    http://www.reasons.org/probabi.....h-apr-2004
    http://www.meaningfulscience.c.....ghRoss.pdf

    A few of the items in Dr. Ross’s “life-enabling characteristics” list are; Planet location in a proper galaxy’s ‘habitable zone’; Parent star size; Surface gravity of planet; Rotation period of planet; Correct chemical composition of planet; Correct size for moon; Thickness of planets’ crust; Presence of magnetic field; Correct and stable axis tilt; Oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere; Proper water content of planet; Atmospheric electric discharge rate; Proper seismic activity of planet; Many complex cycles necessary for a stable temperature history of planet; Translucent atmosphere; Various complex cycles for various elements etc.. etc.. I could go a lot further for there are a total of 322 known parameters on his list which have to be met for complex life to be possible on Earth, or on a planet like Earth. Individually, these limits are not that impressive but when we realize ALL these limits have to be met at the same time and not one of them can be out of limits for any extended period of time, then the condition becomes ‘irreducibly complex’ and the probability for a world which can host advanced life in this universe becomes very extraordinary. Here is the final summary of Dr. Hugh Ross’s ‘conservative’ estimate for the probability of another life-hosting world in this universe.

    Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters =10^-388
    Dependency factors estimate =10^96
    Longevity requirements estimate =10^14
    Probability for occurrence of all 322 parameters = 10^-304
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in universe =10^22

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^282 (million trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion) exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.

    Dr. Hugh Ross, and his team, have now drastically refined this probability of 1 in 10^304 to a staggering probability of 1 in 10^1054:

    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.
    http://www.reasons.org/does-probability-eti-1

    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

    supplemental note:

    The Privileged Planet – video
    http://video.google.com/videop.....ed+planet#

    Privileged Planet – Observability Correlation – Gonzalez and 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

  9. bornagain77,

    I was too lazy to link to the etc, etc:

    factors required for complex life

    and

    Stars:

    Total number estimated in the Milky Way- 100 billion

    Over 80% are low-mass red dwarfs (most likely lack a habitable zone)

    1-2% are massive short-lived blue giants

    Only about 4% of the stars are early G-type, main-sequence stars like our Sun

    50% of those are in binary systems

    Then we have to consider what % of those are in the Galactic Habitable Zone

    Earth-like planets:

    We now know that our solar system is not typical

    We do know other planets exist
    At least 4% of Sun-like stars have giant planets at least as massive as Jupiter.

    Then we have the factors required for a planet to host complex life-
    Summary:

    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

    Both plate tectonics and the magnetic field require the core have enough heat to keep it liquid.
    The convection currents mix the minerals before recycling and also produce the required magnetic field as it flows around the iron inner core.

  10. Joseph the 21%/79%, plus traces, translucent atmosphere that allows light to reach earth should be enough to convince most people of design:

    Visible light is also incredibly fine-tuned for life to exist. Though visible light is only a tiny fraction of the total electromagnetic spectrum coming from the sun, it happens to be the “most permitted” portion of the sun’s spectrum allowed to filter through the our atmosphere. All the other bands of electromagnetic radiation, directly surrounding visible light, happen to be harmful to organic molecules, and are almost completely absorbed by the atmosphere. The tiny amount of harmful UV radiation, which is not visible light, allowed to filter through the atmosphere is needed to keep various populations of single cell bacteria from over-populating the world (Ross; reasons.org). The size of light’s wavelengths and the constraints on the size allowable for the protein molecules of organic life, also seem to be tailor-made for each other. This “tailor-made fit” allows photosynthesis, the miracle of sight, and many other things that are necessary for human life. These specific frequencies of light (that enable plants to manufacture food and astronomers to observe the cosmos) represent less than 1 trillionth of a trillionth (10^-24) of the universe’s entire range of electromagnetic emissions. Like water, visible light also appears to be of optimal biological utility (Denton; Nature’s Destiny).

    Fine Tuning Of Universal Constants, Particularly Light – Walter Bradley – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4491552

    Fine Tuning Of Light to the Atmosphere, to Biological Life, and to Water – graphs
    http://docs.google.com/Doc?doc.....aGh4MmdnOQ

    It should be noted that all other planets with substantial atmospheres in our solar system do not have this ‘trillionth of a trillionth’ translucence.

    Venus’ atmosphere consists almost entirely (97%) of carbon dioxide, with clouds containing droplets of sulfuric acid along with compounds of chlorine and fluorine.
    http://www.daviddarling.info/e.....atmos.html

  11. Markf @3

    I’m just wondering…If the huge number of galaxies in the entire universe can be counted as some kind of evidence that intelligent life must exist other than on Earth, then at what number of exo-planets that are discovered to NOT be life supporting could one reasonably conclude that the Earth is the only intelligent life supporting planet?

    And….why would somebody appeal to the very high numbers of galaxies, stars and planets in the universe as a means of justifying a belief that intelligent life exists apart from on earth…but then avoid discussion of the very high number of finely tuned, necessary parameters that must be met for intelligent life to exist?

  12. Markf @4

    I’m just wondering…If the huge number of galaxies in the entire universe can be counted as some kind of evidence that intelligent life must exist other than on Earth, then at what number of exo-planets that are discovered to NOT be life supporting could one reasonably conclude that the Earth is the only intelligent life supporting planet?

    And….why would somebody appeal to the very high numbers of galaxies, stars and planets in the universe as a means of justifying a belief that intelligent life exists apart from on earth…but then avoid discussion of the very high number of finely tuned, necessary parameters that must be met for intelligent life to exist?

  13. Can a moderator plz delete the first of two nearly identical posts. Sorry!

  14. Bantay #12 or #11

    I’m just wondering…If the huge number of galaxies in the entire universe can be counted as some kind of evidence that intelligent life must exist other than on Earth, then at what number of exo-planets that are discovered to NOT be life supporting could one reasonably conclude that the Earth is the only intelligent life supporting planet?

     

    With current technology we are not able to determine whether an exo-planet has life or not. Nor are we able to tell whether any given star has planets that have the characteristics we think are necessary for life.  All those stars could have planets of suitable characteristics and each of those planets might be teeming with life. Out technology is just not up to it.  All we can currently do is just once in a while when conditions are just right detect that some stars have planets that have some (but not all) of the desired characteristics.

     

    If one day we have the technology to thoroughly explore other stars and find no suitable planets, or even more miraculously explore suitable planets and find no life – then it would begin to count against there being no other life in the universe.  It is an interesting but very academic question as to how many failures would be needed to conclude no life.

     

    What we have been able to do is produce some evidence that there are stars with planets of a suitable size and speed with which we came across such planets given the incredible difficulty of detecting them, this suggests they are rather common, which means the chances of some of them meeting the other required characteristics has increased.

     

    And….why would somebody appeal to the very high numbers of galaxies, stars and planets in the universe as a means of justifying a belief that intelligent life exists apart from on earth…but then avoid discussion of the very high number of finely tuned, necessary parameters that must be met for intelligent life to exist?

    There are two types of “fine tuning parameters”.  Some are to do with the structure of the universe – physical constants and such like. We can discuss the plausibility of them being fine tuned, but we know the universe is that way so they are irrelevant to the discussion of the chances of life elsewhere. There are other parameters relating to the properties of a particular planet – is it in the Goldilocks zone etc.  I don’t know of anyone who is avoiding this discussion.  But you have to be careful.  It is no really known how essential many of these things are for life – much of this is conjecture.  We continue to be amazed by the conditions where life thrives on earth.  A good example is the Goldilocks zone.  Astrobiologists have now come to realise that this may not be essential.  There are other ways for planets to maintain a temperature suitable for liquid water – hence the interest in Europa.

  15. markf you do not seem to realize just how impossible life is elsewhere in this universe, from a purely materialistic/naturalistic perspective, even if the universe were filled to the brim with nothing but planets that were capable of supporting life. For one thing the ‘just add water’ mentality for inferring life elsewhere in the universe is known to be wrong from a thermodynamic perspective:

    water is considered a ‘universal solvent’ which is a very thermodynamic obeying and thus origin of life defying fact.

    Abiogenic Origin of Life: A Theory in Crisis – Arthur V. Chadwick, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: The synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids from small molecule precursors represents one of the most difficult challenges to the model of prebiological evolution. There are many different problems confronted by any proposal. Polymerization is a reaction in which water is a product. Thus it will only be favored in the absence of water. The presence of precursors in an ocean of water favors depolymerization of any molecules that might be formed. Careful experiments done in an aqueous solution with very high concentrations of amino acids demonstrate the impossibility of significant polymerization in this environment. A thermodynamic analysis of a mixture of protein and amino acids in an ocean containing a 1 molar solution of each amino acid (100,000,000 times higher concentration than we inferred to be present in the prebiological ocean) indicates the concentration of a protein containing just 100 peptide bonds (101 amino acids) at equilibrium would be 10^-338 molar. Just to make this number meaningful, our universe may have a volume somewhere in the neighborhood of 10^85 liters. At 10^-338 molar, we would need an ocean with a volume equal to 10^229 universes (100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000) just to find a single molecule of any protein with 100 peptide bonds. So we must look elsewhere for a mechanism to produce polymers. It will not happen in the ocean.
    http://origins.swau.edu/papers.....fault.html

    Water is by no means the only impossibility facing origin of life research as Stephen Meyer’s “Signature In The Cell’ clearly points out. In fact the ‘impossibility’ for the naturalistic origin of life is narrowed down to the sheer poverty of material processes to explain information:

    Stephen C. Meyer – The Scientific Basis For the Intelligent Design Inference – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4104651

    There remains one and only one type of cause that has shown itself able to create functional information like we find in cells, books and software programs — intelligent design. We know this from our uniform experience and from the design filter — a mathematically rigorous method of detecting design. Both yield the same answer. (William Dembski and Jonathan Witt, Intelligent Design Uncensored: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the Controversy, p. 90 (InterVarsity Press, 2010).)

    By the way, there is a one million dollar ‘Origin-of-Life’ prize being offered.

    “The Origin-of-Life Prize” ® (hereafter called “the Prize”) will be awarded for proposing a highly plausible mechanism for the spontaneous rise of genetic instructions in nature sufficient to give rise to life.
    http://www.us.net/life/index.htm

    markf, perhaps you should turn to the One who conquered death to seek adequate explanation for the origin of Life in the first place????

    Glorious Day (Living He loved me) ~Casting Crowns
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXp6xcY5IqU

  16. In a designed universe I would expect other habitable plantets with complex living organisms, even technologically advanced organisms.

    And as I said “The Privileged Planet” has told us what to look for and all we have to do is listen and follow their lead.

  17. Markf

    I definitely share your optimism for the progress of science. However, I think we are optimistic for different reasons. You appear to be optimistic on the potential for science to provide data that will be reasonably interpreted as strengthening a hypothesis of chance, unguided natural processes.

    Whereas I am optimistic for the advance of science because the trend already appears to be toward increasing evidence supporting a design hypothesis. Since I am not held to a naturalistic faith that requires me to ignore what the evidence already best explains, I as a Christian eagerly look forward to new scientific discoveries.

    You said

    “Nor are we able to tell whether any given star has planets that have the characteristics we think are necessary for life.”

    I think that is simply false. For example, we DO know of at least 800 finely tuned parameters that must be met for intelligent life to exist, and about 500 parameters need to be finely tuned for even simple life to exist for up to 3 months. The odds of that are one chance in 10 to the 333rd power. Since there are only an estimated 10 to the 23rd power number of potential life support bodies in the universe, this means that the probabilistic resources fall short by orders of magnitudes for life to exist for any length of time, anywhere else in the universe.

    http://www.reasons.org/files/c....._part3.pdf

    Thus, since we DO know with mathematical rigor at least 500 parameters that need to be met to a nearly miraculous precision for even simple life to exist other than on earth, the question is no more about whether there is or is not data, but about what a reasonable response is to the data. In my opinion, ignoring what the scientific data clearly implies is the best explanation (design) is unreasonable.

    You said here “It is an interesting but very academic question as to how many failures would be needed to conclude no life.”

    I agree. However, the question was more directly related to how many failures would be needed to conclude there is no other life in the universe, when those failures are based solely on the assumption of large numbers of planets, and without considering other, known data like all the required right-for-life parameters that must be met with near miraculous precision.

    You then said “There are other parameters relating to the properties of a particular planet – is it in the Goldilocks zone etc. I don’t know of anyone who is avoiding this discussion. ”

    It would appear that you are avoiding discussion of these parameters. In your statements thus far, you consistently have refused to acknowledge the sheer magnitude of the number and degree of precision of known parameters required for even simple life (around 500 known so far), but have instead chosen to appeal to some future, unknown technology. Is this reasonable?

    Also, I applaud BornAgain77′s posts and the links he has provided. I encourage you to investigate closely the following link, a presentation by Dr. Hugh Ross demonstrating that in virtually every branch of science is now faced with an increasing challenge from data that clearly demonstrates a design hypothesis to be the best explanation.

    http://video.google.com/videop.....3183645446


  18. It would appear that you are avoiding discussion of these parameters. In your statements thus far, you consistently have refused to acknowledge the sheer magnitude of the number and degree of precision of known parameters required for even simple life (around 500 known so far),

    I don’t think any one asked me to debate this issue – maybe BA77 did – I don’t read his comments. Happy to discuss it. Here are few comments on the list that you link to.
    * Many of them are facts about the structure of the universe which we know to be true. These might be considered “reasons to believe” but they are irrelevant to calculating the probability of another planet harbouring life as we know them to be true.

    * Many appear to be things that happen to be requirements for life as it currently exists on this planet. It is surely nothing but a hypothesis that life is impossible unless the proportion of cadmium, copper, boron etc in the ground are within certain parameters.

    * Some appear to me to be highly dubious as requirements even for life on this planet. e.g. Life has thrived on this planet with concentrations of oxygen in the atmosphere that have varied from almost zero to the current 20%.

    * Some of the probabilities seem to have been dreamed up. How can anyone know the probability of a planet containing the appropriate amount of chlorine in its atmosphere given our extremely limited knowledge of any planets outside our solar system.

    * The total probability appears to have been calculated by multiplying all the individual probabilities together. This is only valid if they are independent and many of them clearly are not.

    And so on

    Without wanting to avoid the discussion this could a very long topic indeed. Are you sure it is worth the effort?

  19. Also, I notice a trend in the popular media and sensationalist science blogosphere, to portray any “rocky” planet as being “earth-like”. This is very misleading. A planet would be “earth-like” if it had at least 500 of the known required, finely tuned parameters for even simple life. Simply being rocky, or even having water are necessary conditions, but not sufficient by themselves to conclude it is earth-like.

    After all, there is no known reason to believe that any life-supportable planet, even a planet identical to earth, would necessarily have life on it.

  20. markf,

    please note Dr. Ross is very heavily referenced by peer-review for each parameter his team has analyzed,

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-370895

    as well please note the very generous ‘dependency factor’ in his calculation (he subtracts 10^324 from the total) that directly addresses the ‘independence issue’ you brought up for each parameter. markf I don’t blame you for ignoring my posts. the references I’ve collected over the years are fairly devastating to someone who wishes to remain an atheist so it would be just as well that they shut their eyes and ears to such evidence if they wish to remain deceived and in the dark as you appear bent on being.

  21. of interest to the topic:

    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

    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

  22. Markf

    I just happened to notice that you seem to place great faith in large numbers, almost as if by themselves, large numbers of stars and planets in the universe are somehow sufficient to establish that there is other advanced life in the universe other than on earth.

    However, your faith in future scientific discoveries that you hope will salvage the materialist mantra of chance, unguided natural processes is intellectually unfulfilling, to say the least, because it is..

    1. not consistent with what recent scientific discoveries have shown.
    2. requires more faith, if only due to a a corresponding lack of evidence
    3. is inconsistent with the preponderance of where the evidence best points
    4. is a fallacious appeal to argumentum ad futurum
    5. suffers from being ad hoc, in that it introduces additional, purely speculative rationalizations for an already suffering hypothesis
    6. is not a testable hypothesis as long as naturalism is the pre-supposed philosophical bias.

    For these and many reasons, chance, unguided natural processes utterly fail to explain what the trend in what the scientific data is increasingly supporting, the hypothesis of design of the universe and of life on earth, while design explains what is intuitively sensed, scientifically observed and rightfully inferred.

    Additionally, it seems to me to be intellectually unfulfilling to put so much faith in assumptions based on alleged life-causing large numbers and hoped-for, yet still unknown technological and scientific advances that would presumably support an hypothesis that suffers from being based on a philosophical presupposition of naturalism, which itself suffers from lack of testability with anything other than itself…instead of giving equal consideration to what is known, observed and testable about the multitude of necessary conditions and parameters that even basic life requires, to a degree of mathematical precision that exceeds the probabilistic resources of the entire universe.

    I for one have no problem assessing the reasonableness between these explanatory models.

  23. #22 Bantay

    I think there is a misunderstanding. I am not at all sure there is life on other planets. All I am saying is that we have yet to find out and the discovery of planets of the size of earth has marginally increased the chances. So I am not placing any faith in future technology. In fact it is quite possible that we will never develop the technology to find the answer.

    I have given some consideration to this very odd list of “reasons to belief”. But as I say it would take a very long time indeed to go over each one, do the research, and then assess its credibility.

  24. Also, I notice a trend in the popular media and sensationalist science blogosphere, to portray any “rocky” planet as being “earth-like”. This is very misleading. A planet would be “earth-like” if it had at least 500 of the known required, finely tuned parameters for even simple life. Simply being rocky, or even having water are necessary conditions, but not sufficient by themselves to conclude it is earth-like.

    “Earth-like” as used by the astronomy community involved in the search for extra-solar planets has always been clearly defined as being a rocky planet of similar mass and size to Earth, orbiting the host star within its habitable zone. I can’t vouch for the press, though.

    These are the only three Earth-like characteristics that can be detected by today’s technology, so it would be pointless to use terms in ways that are absolutely useless for the foreseeable future.

    What you claim to be Earth-like is more like an “Earth-twin” (similar to the term Solar-twin that is already in use), or perhaps even Earth’s identical twin. Likely a useful distinction one day, but not now or for some time to come.

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