Our sun is just a typical star?
|April 30, 2014||Posted by News under Extraterrestrial life, Fine tuning, Intelligent Design|
A friend wants to know how to respond to this sort of claim, which surfaced for example in Astrophysical Journal (2008):
If the origin of life and the evolution of observers on a planet is favoured by atypical properties of a planet’s host star, we would expect our Sun to be atypical with respect to such properties. The Sun has been described by previous studies as both typical and atypical. In an effort to reduce this ambiguity and quantify how typical the Sun is, we identify eleven maximally-independent properties that have plausible correlations with habitability, and that have been observed by, or can be derived from, sufficiently large, currently available and representative stellar surveys. By comparing solar values for the eleven properties, to the resultant stellar distributions, we make the most comprehensive comparison of the Sun to other stars. The two most atypical properties of the Sun are its mass and orbit. The Sun is more massive than 95 -/+ 2% of nearby stars and its orbit around the Galaxy is less eccentric than 93 +/- 1% of FGK stars within 40 parsecs. Despite these apparently atypical properties, a chi^2 -analysis of the Sun’s values for eleven properties, taken together, yields a solar chi^2 = 8.39 +/- 0.96. If a star is chosen at random, the probability that it will have a lower value (be more typical) than the Sun, with respect to the eleven properties analysed here, is only 29 +/- 11%. *These values quantify, and are consistent with, the idea that the Sun is a typical star. If we have sampled all reasonable properties associated with habitability, our result suggests that there are no special requirements for a star to host a planet with life.
Well, some of us think Enrico Fermi had the right answer here: If there are “no special requirements for a star to host a planet with life” (= any old fireball will do), where are all those space aliens?
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (cosmology) for why people need to believe that Earth is not unusual, and the nonsense that is fronted in order to maintain the belief.
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