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A Rational Look at Christianity; Basing Reason in Truth

More Evidence for Earth being a Privileged Planet

"Now, pull all of this together -- the inner region of the galaxy is much more dangerous from radiation and other threats; the outer part of the galaxy isn't going to be able to form Earth-like planets because the heavy elemetns are not abundant enough; and I haven't even mentioned how the thin disk of our galaxy helps our sun stay in its desirable circular orbit. A very eccentric orbit could cause it to cross spiral arms and visit the dangerous inner regions of the galaxy, but being circular it remains in the safe zone.

"All of this," he said, his voice sounding a bit triumphant, "works together to create a narrow safe zone where life-sustaining planets are possible."
The Case for a Creator, pp. 169-170, quoting Guillermo Gonzalez, Ph.D., Iowa State University.

The burdgeoning science of Intelligent Design has spread into many fields. One of these fields is astronomy where more and more scientists are beginning to realize that, contrary to the expectations of as little as twenty years ago, the likelihood that there are millions of planets that contain life is probably greatly overstated. Science if finding more and more that most stars lie in areas of galaxies that are completely inhospitable to life arising or even planets forming that are capable of sustaining life. The likelihood that a planet can support life even if it is the right size diminishes if it doesn't orbit the right type of star at the right distance with the right orbit. The orbits of neighboring planets, the number of astroids and comets, and the regularity of the planet's tilt on its axis and strength of its magnetic field can all impact the ability of that planet to support life. Not just human life, but any feasible type of life.

The earth, being in just the right place in the galaxy, being just the right distance from the sun, having a mostly circular orbit, having the right type of neighbors to deflect comets and astroids while not swinging so wide in their own orbits as to interfere with Earth, having a moon that stabalizes the tilt of the Earth's axis, having the right type of tectonic activity, seems more and more to be a rarety -- if not unique -- among our heavenly neighbors. Recent reports keep adding more weight to the increasing evidence of our planet's uniqueness.

For example, it appears that Earth's circular orbit may be the result of a nearby supernova that kept our solar system from having really odd orbits as so many other observable planetary systems do. According to "A Different 'Big Bang' May Have Saved Earth from RedNova news:

An exploding star in our solar system's infancy may have saved Earth from extinction.

Astronomers studying the planet-forming disks of dust that orbit young, distant stars are hoping to solve the mystery of our own solar system's youth. Why is our system so different in form and function from others they can see?

It's a difference that may have saved Earth, because the scientists suspect that Jupiter and Saturn would have collided with the planet -- or slung it out of the solar system like a slingshot -- if the disk surrounding our young sun hadn't been so damaged.

* * *

Glances at nearby disks, and some leftover clues, are telling researchers how things began for our sun. And it looks like we may inhabit a solar system that's something of a runt because of the damage from an exploding star.

* * *

The supernova that blasted our solar system may explain some of its other peculiarities:

* Planets in our solar system follow nearly circular orbits far from the sun. Most planets detected orbiting other, nearby stars follow either highly elongated orbits or circle incredibly close to their stars. Scientists suspect that a stellar explosion could have stopped these developments in our solar system.

* Dust disks seen orbiting nearby stars typically contain much more material, sometimes 100 times more, than our solar system. A Spitzer Space Telescope survey of 26 nearby sun-like stars known to have planets found evidence that six of them have comet belts. But all appear filled with about 100 times more comets than our own.

''There's good evidence the solar system had a stunted formation when the (supernova) injection happened,'' Desch says. And that may have been very good for Earth.

Many astronomers believe that Jupiter and Saturn formed deep in space, far beyond Pluto's orbit, and spiraled into the solar system. Why they stopped a safe distance from the sun and left Earth undisturbed -- unlike the history of many other solar systems seen nearby -- is the final mystery that disk studies may help answer."

The article has more to say, and I would quote the whole thing if I wasn't concerned about violating copyright laws. I encourage everyone to read the whole article.

But what is the import of this? Well, it adds evidence to the fact that the earth is uncharacteristic of what we expect to find as far as planets go. It notes that most planets have odd orbits that would take them outside the zone where life is likely to flourish either because it will become too hot or too cold to support life, or it will take the planet into zones where other dangers could result (such as excess radiation zones or astroid belts) that would make the planet less likely to support life. The article also points out that we have a much smaller astroid belt than the other planetary systems we have observed thus far. These differences, which make life much more possible, appear (according to the article) to be the result of the good luck of having a supernova occur within a short distance of earth which actually stunted our solar system's development. If this supernova hadn't done its job, the scientists involved believe that there may have been no life on earth.

Do the words "divine providence" have any application here?

(Edited to correct two misspellings and some poor grammer in the first publication)

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