Another "Just Right" Element in our Solar System

I have another entry from Sky & Telescope magazine that adds further evidence that the Privileged Planet is More Privileged Than We Thought. In a news item entitled, "Our 'Goldilocks' Solar System," the magazine discusses a new scientific discovery regarding planet-building necessities.

Not too hot, not too cold. . . that's just part of what it takes to make a nice world like ours. Recent planet-building computations have found a new constraint. The protoplanetary disk of gas and dust that spawns a planetary system must be neither too massive nor too sparse.

If it's too massive, may giant planets will form. They interact and pull each other's orbits into chaos, expelling or wrecking any smaller worlds. Too little mass, and big planets wouldn't form at all. Our own solar system, which does have giant planets but in safe, distant, nearly round orbits, appears to be an unusual, right-on-the-balance case.

This in turn suggests that having giant planets in round orbits is somehow important for a terrestrial planet to develop intelligent life. If this were not so, we would be unlikely to find ourselves in a system of this unusual type.

Comments

Goliath said…
Ah yes, the old canard..."If things would be different, then things would be different! But they're not! So Gawd must exist!!!1!!eleventyones!!"

Pathetic.
Layman said…
Actually, it is your strawman that is pathetic. The claim is not that things would be just be "different," but that in order for life to exist at all there are a lot of technical specifications that must be met which are uniquely met on this planet, in this solar system, in this galaxy, in this universe, with these sets of natural laws.
Leslie said…
It's always fun to see a skeptic ignore the actual argument, and insert their own purposed misrepresentation of the argument to attack. You could at least pretend to pay attention to what's being said. Besides, if it's so pathetic, why are you bothering to take the time to leave a comment, especially one with no real intellectual value to it?
A Hermit said…
"Fine tuning" arguments all suffer the same flaw; we see the kind of life that suits the conditions in which it arose because that is the kind of life those conditions produced. If conditions were different a different form of life may have arisen. It's the old line about the puddle in the pothole; teh pothole wasn't made to fit the puddle, the puddle is that shape because it's in that pothole.
Goliath said…
"The claim is not that things would be just be 'different,' but that in order for life to exist at all there are a lot of technical specifications that must be met which are uniquely met on this planet"

That claim is wrong. In order for life as we know it to exist at all, there very well may be a lot of such technical specifications that need to be met. As Hermit mentions above, that's another point where your argument fails.
Anonymous said…
Doesn't this "fine-tuning" argument contradict God's purported omnipotence? He had to make the universe exactly as it is or there would be no life.......
So in the beginning there was God and a set of natural laws God had to bow down to.
Layman said…
Anon,

No. It means there was a law of non-contradiction by which God is bound. The whole point of creating natural laws is that they be stable.

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