Let me start by saying I don’t believe interpretation of facts will bring people to the Lord. I think that is a Holy Spirit thing. My hope is to grow a ministry that affords people the ability to stand fast in what I consider authoritative scripture. Today, we will address the chances of other earth like planets supporting life, as a follow up to my UFO’s and God article.
Several years back NASA published a famous picture of earth from space (shown here) showing just how not-special we were, a distant spec among millions of others. It was named ‘the pale blue dot’. Promoter of anti-creation sentiment Carl Sagan famously commented, “Consider again that dot [Earth]. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there – on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.”
Well, of course the creationist community was in a scramble, trying to prove that this little blue marble wasn’t so matter-of-fact, and insignificant. After all, our bibles tell us we are a special creation, made in His image. Despite the many problems with the big bang, and the several brands of evolution that must exist to generate life
[Cosmic evolution: the origin of time, space, and matter from nothing in the “big bang”,
Chemical evolution: all elements “evolved” from hydrogen
Stellar evolution: stars and planets formed from gas clouds,
and Organic evolution: life begins from inanimate matter]
the crux of Sagan’s criticism was that the odds of other planets like ours existing goes up exponentially with our understanding of the vastness of the universe. This would seem like reasonable logic, but I don’t mind telling you, this has been debunked, and very soundly at that.
Consider odds, since that is all this is based on, conjecture that it simply must be. First science began to determine what factors were needed to have a planet capable of supporting the diversity of life we find here. Abundant factors were apparent: We must be within a galactic habitable zone, be around the right type of star, protected by gas giants, distance from sun, nearly circular orbit, oxygen atmosphere, a terrestrial planet, large amounts of water, one moon the correct size (I could do an amazing write up on the extraordinary moon alone),correct mass, iron core for magnetism, proper thickness of earth’s crust, plate tectonics, heat within its interior, and on and on, and furthermore they are all factors that must be met at one place and at one time, or the possibility of life fails. Just to extrapolate a bit on one factor alone, we can consider the sun. It is technically classified as a spectral type G-2 dwarf main sequence star. If it were less massive, like 90% of the stars in our galaxy, the habitable zone would be smaller, and we’d have to be closer to remain within livable boundaries, but increased gravity would lock our planets rotation into synchronization to its orbit, forcing one side of the earth to continually face the sun, exposed to radiation and heat, while the other side would lay in a frozen state of perpetual ice. To say we existed within a delicate balance would be the scientific understatement of the century.
Of course, as one considers this, one could still say, “Yes it would be rare, but hey, we are talking about the whole universe here. Billions and billions of stars, right?” So we will consider actual odds. In an attempt to estimate the probability of attaining this perfect combination of factors, a conservative 1 in 10 chance was applied to each. Once you multiply the probabilities of 20 factors needed, you get 10 to the -15, or one one thousandth of one one trillionth. Some estimate there may be as many as 200 separate factors, but I’ll let you do the math. Once those odds were overcome, we would have to then consider odds of random chance creating the order necessary to produce a complex living cell, which are even more tumultuous odds for evolutionists, as it is mathematically impossible. If you wish to read a short article to provide insight on that, here is a link by Dr. Henry Morris, an author and apologist.
The bible says God stretched out the heavens, and further states, “He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name.” Psalms 147:4. Space is vast, to be sure, which naturally fills us with awe and wonder. But depending on perspective, some look up at the night sky, and feel insignificant, like Mr. Sagan. Others look up and and feel blessed at how special they are, and can be nothing but grateful that the Lord placed us under all that glory, one of many ways He chose to love us.