At the scandalous premiere of Privileged Planet at the Smithsonian Institution several years ago, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez said something to the effect “not only are we in the right place in the universe, we’re alive at the right time!” Dr. Gonzalez, normally unexpressive and soft spoken, was uncharacteristically emphatic about being alive at the right time in cosmic history, suggesting the window of arrival of homo sapiens and modern technology happened within an exceedingly narrow time frame. He was so emphatic that one would surmise he was seeing a miracle, as if whatever was the source of the universe specially ordained this time and place in the fabric of reality.
From the prestigious scientific journal Nature: Caught in the Act
Ever since Copernicus evicted Earth from its privileged spot at the centre of the Solar System, researchers have embraced the idea that there is nothing special about our time and place in the Universe. What observers see now, they presume, has been going on for billions of years — and will continue for eons to come.
But observations of the distant reaches of the Solar System made in the past few years are challenging that concept. The most active bodies out there — Jupiter’s moon Io and Saturn’s moons Enceladus and Titan — may be putting on limited-run shows that humans are lucky to witness. Saturn’s brilliant rings, too, might have appeared relatively recently, and could grow dingy over time. Some such proposals make planetary researchers uncomfortable, because it is statistically unlikely that humans would catch any one object engaged in unusual activity — let alone several.
The proposals also go against the grain of one of geology’s founding principles: uniformitarianism, which states that planets are shaped by gradual, ongoing processes. “Geologists like things to be the same as they ever were,” says Jeff Moore, a planetary scientist at the NASA Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. The unchanging world is “philosophically comforting because you don’t have to assume you’re living in special times”, he says.
But on occasion, the available evidence forces researchers out of their comfort zone. Here, Nature looks at some of the frozen worlds that may be putting on an unusual spectacle.
Enjoy the rest of the article: Caught in the Act.
This is suggestive of ID. Remember guys, UD isn’t about YEC, so officially this is merely a science report, guys. 😉
1. Denyse, myself and others were there at the premier of Privileged Planet. In attendance was National Academy of Science member Phil Skell. What a wonderful night.
2. One of our loyal commenters complained recently of all the YEC stuff at UD. Well, personally I’ve only started 3 discussions in the last 2 months on specific YEC topics, the majority of YEC at UD has been firefights in the comment sections of various threads. However, I tried to explain to our loyal readers that I can’t suppress physical observation being made in the world of science. It’s not my fault the data might inspire our YEC readership.
3. HT Box
4. Anyone have the figures for the size of the time window that Gonzalez spoke of? It might be in his book. HELP! Thanks.
5. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Dr. Gonzalez was expelled form his academic post for suggesting we’re living on a privileged planet at a privileged time — very anti-Copernican. This reminds me that astronomer Alton Harp pointed out the stars appear to say: The Fingers of God are Pointing at You.
6. The reason the premiere of Privileged Planet was scandalous is detailed by Dr. Bergman here: Showdown at the Smithsonian.
7. YP Varshni seconds Arp (sort of): Is the earth the center of the universe?