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VIDEO: Guillermo Gonzalez lectures at UC Davis on the Privileged Planet thesis

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WK has pointed out a vid sequence at YouTube, in which Dr Gonzalez lays out a good summary of the privileged planet thesis. Here is the start:

[youtube inUlX0oWHbw]

WK (what, you haven’t bookmarked and speed-dialled this blog yet? tut, tut!  . . . ) summarises on points of significance for reflection:

  • What is the Copernican Principle?
  • Is the Earth’s suitability for hosting life rare in the universe?
  • Does the Earth have to be the center of the universe to be special?
  • How similar to the Earth does a planet have to be to support life?
  • What is the definition of life?
  • What are the three minimal requirements for life of any kind?
  • Requirement 1: A molecule that can store information (carbon)
  • Requirement 2: A medium in which chemicals can interact (liquid water)
  • Requirement 3: A diverse set of chemical elements
  • What is the best environment for life to exist?
  • Our place in the solar system: the circumstellar habitable zone
  • Our place in the galaxy: the galactic habitable zones
  • Our time in the universe’s history: the cosmic habitable age
  • Other habitability requirements (e.g. – metal-rich star, massive moon, etc.)
  • The orchestration needed to create a habitable planet
  • How different factors depend on one another through time
  • How tweaking one factor can adversely affect other factors
  • How many possible places are there in the universe where life could emerge?
  • Given these probabilistic resources, should we expect that there is life elsewhere?
  • How to calculate probabilities using the “Product Rule”
  • Can we infer that there is a Designer just because life is rare? Or do we need more?

There’s more there too.

Such as, this thought or two on design inferences in the broader sense:

  • Are the habitable places in the universe also the best places to do science?
  • Do the factors that make Earth habitable also make it good for doing science?
  • Some places and times in the history of the universe are more habitable than others
  • Those exact places and times also allow us to make scientific discoveries

I think this vid sequence  is a very good use for an hour of our time. END

PS: This review paper on the habitable Zones concept is also well worth perusing.

Thanks. I had to re-enable my visual editor to find that icon you mentioned. Thanks again! scordova
Barb: Yup, we have very special location indeed, not known if unique, but rare and privileged. Which goes to how the actual accessible space for life in the cosmos is based on much closer to 10^57 - 60 atoms than 10^80. Yet again, the UPB is conservative. We need to think about the impications of sampling resources in the face of the FSCO/I challenge. KF kairosfocus
SC: I had that problem too. There is on the panel of buttons a little TV symbol, this is DIREKT. It will send you to post vids from YouTube etc, and will have a slot for the number of the vid, not its URL. Insert that and click the button that indicates you want such a vid of number DDDDDD at host GGGGGG into the post. It will appear as a square bracket in the draft in progress. Check on Preview before posting, as there may easily be problems. make sure of host and actual video number which often appears as a part of the displayed URL. That should work, but you have no control on size of the screen etc. Check with the blog master for more if that is not good enough to help. KF kairosfocus
KF, How do I embed video in my posts as you did above? I want to do that with a youtube video. When ever I cut and paste embed code, wordpress just deletes it. Can you help. Sal scordova
In real estate, it's said that "location is everything." This is also true of the earth. Our address often includes our country, city, and street. By way of comparison, let’s call the Milky Way galaxy earth’s “country,” the solar system—that is, the sun and its planets—earth’s “city,” and earth’s orbit within the solar system earth’s “street.” To begin with, our “city,” our solar system, is in a part of the Milky Way that many scientists call the galactic habitable zone. This zone is about 28,000 light years from the center of the galaxy and contains just the right concentrations of the chemical elements needed to support life. Farther out, those elements are too scarce; farther in, the neighborhood is too dangerous because of the greater abundance of potentially lethal radiation and other factors. “We live in prime real estate,” says Scientific American magazine. No less “prime” is earth’s “street,” or orbit within our solar system “city.” About 93 million miles from the sun, this orbit is in what scientists call the circumstellar habitable zone, where life neither freezes nor fries. Moreover, earth’s path is almost circular, keeping us roughly the same distance from the sun year-round. The sun, meanwhile, is the perfect “powerhouse.” It is stable, it is the ideal size, and it emits just the right amount of energy. For good reason, it has been called “a very special star.” If you had to choose a “next-door neighbor” for the earth, you could not improve on the moon. Its diameter measures just over a quarter of the earth’s. Thus, when compared with other moons in our solar system, our moon is unusually large in relation to its host planet. This, however, is no coincidence. For one thing, the moon is the principal cause of ocean tides, which play a vital role in the planet’s ecology. The moon also contributes to earth’s stable spin axis. Without its tailor-made moon, our planet would wobble like a spinning top, perhaps even tipping right over and turning on its side, as it were! The resulting climatic, tidal, and other changes would be catastrophic. Barb

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