Well, Here We Are…

SkyHarbor, 2013/12/02 

Most of us have at least a vague idea of how our Earth first formed from the dust and debris orbiting the nascent middling star we call ‘Sol’ some 4.567 BILLION years ago. SO many fortuitous events have occurred since then to form the planet we know and for beings like ourselves to evolve upon it and even to begin to wonder at it all!

How critical the Moon to everything we know?
How critical a molten, convecting Nickel-Iron core and magnetic field?
How critical the quick evolution of Cyanobacteria to produce vast quantities of oxygen (and incidentally the ‘Ozone layer’)?

And on and on!

It’s almost as if the Universe ‘WANTS’ to be alive! (like Pinocchio?)
I often muse upon and marvel at such things!

4 Comments »

  1. Cat-eyes wrote,

    Careful – this is essentially the basis of the Intelligent Design argument: that there are too many coincidences and therefore it was planned. It is also known as the anthropomorphic argument. But what people fail to consider is scale. Yes, I know one of my favorite keys for understanding. The universe is large – really too large for our puny little brains to fully comprehend. Two, it’s been around for a really long time – again really hard for our puny little minds to wrap around it honestly. We are small and short. The largeness and the longitudinal scope of the universe satisfies two mathematical necessities that make it not as improbable as we intuitively believe: the Law of Large Numbers (size) and the statistical requirement of a huge sample size.

    Flip a coin enough times and we humans start to see patterns – that’s essentially what our brains are, pattern recognition detectors. Heck, even our DNA and RNA are patterns that get chemically detected to produce the variety of phenotypes we see as sizes, colors, and shapes, not to mention the diversity of genotypes that give us the array of species, past, present, and future.

    The anthropomorphic theory is really a vainglorious concoction that is intended to put humans back at the center of, well, everything. But, we’ve learned over and over again that that belief is an illusion, think Copernicus and Darwin for starters.

    There’s the adage that given enough time, typewriters, and monkeys that Shakespeare’s sonnets could be reproduced by them. So now consider that all the life on this planet is just a recombination of just four nucleotides in DNA or RNA that determines the specific amino acid sequence in the synthesis of proteins. That’s like a four letter alphabet. The proteins are words and the strings create the stories that shape the creatures. Diversity is what the universe is programmed for – if anything – it’s a grand experiment in stochasticity. In probability theory, a purely stochastic system is one whose state is non-deterministic so that the subsequent state of the system is determined probabilistically. So, with the givens of size and time, it is not really that improbable that we monkeys produced Shakespeare’s sonnets nor that the Universe produced us monkeys.

    Comment on 2013/12/03 @ 7:08 am

  2. byronius wrote,

    I tend to think of it as Implied Design, although I am well aware of Cat’s warnings about the inability of the human mind to appreciate the true span of Time, and the tendency of the human to see patterns in the random noise.

    I would argue, however, that our existence, and the existence of billions of other planets that could possibly support life, probably means that there are many other life forms developing as I write this, and that that is effing cool. I don’t think any reader of this blogwort would disagree, except for perhaps Thumper, who is surely crossed over and knows for certain.

    However, political events of late have left me a little uncertain as to our eventual expression. A planet of hyper-wealthy slave owners (the GOP dream!) or a Dickian Blade-Runner reality are a little too close for my comfort. I’ve been working on a screenplay that suggests a solution for this, however. A Gentle Solution.

    Comment on 2013/12/03 @ 8:16 am

  3. SkyHarbor wrote,

    Fear not. I’m not going ‘Creationist’ on you! ;-)
    I’m simply pointing out some of the more or less low probability events which had to occur for our Earth to become a life-bearing planet.

    Cat-eye’s caution about scale is well taken – our little minds can’t really encompass the times and distances involved! But we try anyway!

    More Drake equation than ‘Holy writ’! ;-)

    Comment on 2013/12/03 @ 11:45 am

  4. SkyHarbor wrote,

    History has shown us repeatedly the danger in assuming anything even approaching ‘complete’ knowledge… Nature then gives us a swift kick in the arse and shows us how little we really know! ;-)

    Comment on 2013/12/03 @ 12:14 pm

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