And yet, here and there…

The finely tuned universe provides a provocative picture of cosmic evolution, but it would be a mistake to ignore the details of the curious path that this biofriendly universe took from the seeming chaos of the big bang to our remarkable planet.  It would also be a mistake to overlook the interesting collateral that was produced along the way.  For every star capable of hosting a biofriendly solar system like our own, a billion dead zones appeared along the way; for every earth-like planet revolving happily around its life-giving sun, there are a million sterile orbs where life could never exist; in between the uncountable interesting lights that dot the night sky are vast swaths of emptiness, implacably hostile to any kind of life.  And yet, here and there, in our vastly extravagant cosmos, there are earth-like planets orbiting sun-like stars.  We live on one such planet.

From The Language of Science and Faith by Karl Giberson and Francis Collins

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10 comments on “And yet, here and there…

  1. shoreacres says:

    Strange, but it occurs to me that the dynamic outlined here should give a good bit of comfort to creators of any sort – painters, writers, scientists, explorers, chefs, gardeners. For every success, every happy occurence, there may be a good number of “dead zones”. Better to think of them as a natural part of the creative process, perhaps, rather than as “failures”.

    Now there’s a thought. God as creator, trying to figure out how to cope with his failures. 😉

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  2. I have been giving some thought, along with a good many other folks, as to the possibility that Mars, for instance, was once a very hospitable planet and perhaps where our species spent some time previous to Earth. It has been suggested by many and not just sci fi writers. Love the quote and the implications for understanding that we are not the only life in the universe that is conscious. New definitions and new ways of seeing are unfolding before our very eyes…

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    • Bill says:

      “our vastly extravagant cosmos” is a good phrase. The more I learn about cosmology and the nature of the universe, the more mind-blowing it all seems. It’s good for our perspective, I think. Even as what we know about the universe is rapidly increasing, its clear that what we know is only a tiny fraction of what there is to know.

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  3. Love the possibilities evoked by this passage. The scale of it.

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    • Bill says:

      Yes, I agree. The scale is almost incomprehensible. If the currently popular theories for the existence of multiverses are true, then the scale is truly beyond comprehension.

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  4. bobraxton says:

    I view my “creative” work (writing) mostly as destruction – breaking language into syllables (which I count). It is out of materials of destruction that new creation is formed.

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    • Bill says:

      Excellent observation. For example, the first generation of stars (which slowly formed over billions of years following the big bang) were comprised entirely of helium and hydrogen (as was the entire universe). Within the dense furnaces in the core of those stars elements combined, forming, among other things, carbon. When those stars eventually went to supernovae and exploded, they spewed out carbon and heavy elements into the universe. When that matter (over billions more years) collected into a new generation of stars and planets, the carbon became the building block of life (at least here on earth). So we are stardust and out of the destruction of those early stars, new creation was formed.

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  5. Leigh says:

    A very provocative picture indeed. I really like the term “biofriendly.”

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    • Bill says:

      I love that term too. I’ve fascinated by what is called the “anthropic principle.” The universe appears to be finely tuned for life, even though the vast majority of it is void of anything. Mind-boggling stuff.

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