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How the Mediocrity Principle invented life on other planets

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In 3-D and Technicolor.

Also called the Copernican Principle, it solves so many problems around lack of evidence. What cannot be demonstrated can merely be asserted:

… planet scientists felt free to assert in 2011 that there were billions of worlds. Some bid as high as ten billion or tens of billions: We learn that “Every star twinkling in the night sky plays host to an average of 1.6 planets, a new study suggests.” “That implies there are some 10 billion Earth-sized planets in our galaxy.” And “Using a technique called gravitational microlensing, an international team found a handful of exoplanets that imply the existence of billions more.”

Inspired by the Kepler mission’s science chief William Borucki, one reporter enthused:

How’s this for an astronomical estimate? There are at least 50 billion exoplanets in our galaxy. What’s more, astronomers estimate that 500 million of these alien worlds are probably sitting inside the habitable zones of their parent stars.

A 2013 estimate pegged alien planets that could support life at 60 billion. More.

Such pronouncements are as definitive as Abracadabra!, and every bit as likely to help us toward the desired prize.

And, as always, when magical thinking is invoked, there is an underlying price to pay, in terms of what we must forget.

Another fine product from methodological naturalism TM.

See also:

What Has Materialism Done for Science?

Big Bang exterminator wanted, will train

Copernicus, you are not going to believe who is using your name. Or how.

This post introduces: “Behold, Countless Earths Sail the Galaxies … That Is, if You Would Only Believe

OT: Stephen Meyer and Michael Medved Discuss the Amazing Success of the Bestselling "Darwin's Doubt" - interview http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9LeRv3Trkg&list=PL7Wwl5TzliiH9TlzXoYtryoVgA7bpkAHg&index=1 "What is Speciation?" - podcast http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2013-11-06T13_25_10-08_00 bornagain77
Of interest: Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky?
Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies, which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic\cite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropies\cite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sources\cite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth's rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
HT: Lifepsy Chance Ratcliff
OT: Today on the Medved Show, David Berlinski Asks: Is Western Civilization Getting Progressively More Civilized -- Or Less? - November 6, 2013 Excerpt: What role did science play in making possible the horrors of the 20th century? What are the cultural origins of World War I? Find out in the second hour of the Medved show, 1 pm Pacific time or 4 pm Eastern. Listen live on the radio or go here to listen online. - http://www.michaelmedved.com/ http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/11/today_on_the_me_5078721.html bornagain77
There is no question that there are billions of other planets out there and that their number can be roughly estimated given known examples. However, estimating how many of those planets harbor living organisms is squarely in pseudoscience territory since we only have one example to work with, planet earth. Mapou
a few related notes;
The Place of Life and Man in Nature: Defending the Anthropocentric Thesis - Michael J. Denton - February 25, 2013 Summary (page 11) Many of the properties of the key members of Henderson’s vital ensemble —water, oxygen, CO2, HCO3 —are in several instances fit specifically for warm-blooded, air-breathing organisms such as ourselves. These include the thermal properties of water, its low viscosity, the gaseous nature of oxygen and CO2 at ambient temperatures, the inertness of oxygen at ambient temperatures, and the bicarbonate buffer, with its anomalous pKa value and the elegant means of acid-base regulation it provides for air-breathing organisms. Some of their properties are irrelevant to other classes of organisms or even maladaptive. It is very hard to believe there could be a similar suite of fitness for advanced carbon-based life forms. If carbon-based life is all there is, as seems likely, then the design of any active complex terrestrial being would have to closely resemble our own. Indeed the suite of properties of water, oxygen, and CO2 together impose such severe constraints on the design and functioning of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems that their design, even down to the details of capillary and alveolar structure can be inferred from first principles. For complex beings of high metabolic rate, the designs actualized in complex Terran forms are all that can be. There are no alternative physiological designs in the domain of carbon-based life that can achieve the high metabolic activity manifest in man and other higher organisms. http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/article/view/BIO-C.2013.1/BIO-C.2013.1 “Dr. Michael Denton on Evidence of Fine-Tuning in the Universe” (Remarkable balance of various key elements for life) – podcast http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2012-08-21T14_43_59-07_00 Hugh Ross - Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347236/
The existence of billions of planets in a habitable zone is simply a question of fact. Either there are or there aren't. And if a reasonable estimate based on Kepler or other avenues of study comes up with a number in the billions, then fine. The existence of planets in the habitable zone doesn't mean they are habitable. And it doesn't mean they are inhabited. And even if they are inhabited, it certainly doesn't mean the life forms came about through purely natural and material processes. Some of the latest information is here: http://planetquest.jpl.nasa.gov/news/139 The search for exoplanets is a very interesting area of science. Frankly, it seems some of the objections to the search for life beyond Earth are religiously motivated. Let's be a little more discerning with objections. Yes, if someone is proclaiming that life just arises in the cosmos through natural and material means, then they should be called on the carpet. But that doesn't mean the effort to discover habitable planets, or even to search for extraterrestrial life, is unscientific. We're lucky to be around at a time when this search is happening. Eric Anderson
JLA states:
Didn’t you see the articles that say NASA has calculated – not estimated – that there are 8.8 billion planets in our galaxy alone. I would say that the Copernican principle applies here. So much wasted space for such a tiny planet such as ours.
Didn't you know that advances in science have now overturned the Copernican (mediocrity) principle?
The Galileo Affair and Life/Consciousness as the true "Center of the Universe" Excerpt: I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its 'uncertain' 3D state is centered on each individual conscious observer in the universe, whereas, 4D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism, Christian Theism in particular, offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe. [15] Psalm 33:13-15 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BHAcvrc913SgnPcDohwkPnN4kMJ9EDX-JJSkjc4AXmA/edit
JLA : Any calculation, be it by NASA or anyone, is only as good as the input figures used within the calculation. A *huge* number of assumptions must be made by NASA in order to make its calculations and, not coincidentally, those assumptions rest upon a Materialistic worldview. In short, you are assuming that which you must first demonstrate. Jorge
News, you are behind the times. Didn’t you see the articles that say NASA has calculated – not estimated – that there are 8.8 billion planets in our galaxy alone. I would say that the Copernican principle applies here. So much wasted space for such a tiny planet such as ours. JLAfan2001

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