Skip to comments.Uncommon Earth - Simulation shows the solar system could only form under rare conditions
Posted on 08/07/2008 9:57:23 PM PDT by neverdem
Goldilocks isnt the only one who demanded everything to be just right. The Earth and its fellow seven planets also needed perfect conditions to form as observed, and those right conditions occur rarely, a new computer simulation shows.
The new simulation, described in the Aug. 8 Science, is the first to trace from beginning to end how planetary systems form from an initial gas disk encircling a baby star.
The really striking result of the new model is how chaotic and even violent the average story of a planets birth is, says Edward Thommes, an astrophysicist now at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada.
The process is typically a big mess. Planets get into each others' personal space, gravitationally scattering each other. They compete with each other for gas from the disk that gives birth to them and lots of planets are lost along the way, he says. It's almost like reality TV.
(Excerpt) Read more at sciencenews.org ...
Hat tip to Matchett-PI. He gave me the link on another thread.
Creationists have been talking about this for years - it is called the Anthropic Principle. And the concept was developed initially by non-creationists.
Although we may be weird, were by no means unique, he says.
Of course, there are many meanings of the term “anthropic principle”...but the point is, “perfect conditions for humans” is absolutely no evidence toward creationism.
I am old enough to remember way back when we did not have the technology to detect planets around other stars. Most scientists believed that planets were extremely rare.
A few of us, who believed in conservation of angular momentum, felt that planets were fairly common, but we just didn’t have the technology to see them.
Now that we have the technology to see planets, but not earth-like ones, we have started to believe that planets are common, but earth-like planets are rare.
In a few more years we will be able to detect earth-like planets, and will discover that there are a lot more of them than anyone suspected...
Yep. It's why I find it particularly amusing whenever they show some over-educated starry-eyed cosmologist on TV insisting that he's certain that life is common in the universe....
Scientists start with just as many assumptions if not more than your average Joe.
Conclusive evidence? No, of course not...short of a time-machine (or direct revelation) such evidence is not possible. And that would be "perfect conditions" for all forms of life on Earth, not merely humans.
However, if it can be shown that life on Earth is plausibly unique in all the unimaginably large universe...that does cause one to ponder.
The whole (now common) "life is common" theory in science about the universe is based on definite evolutionary assumptions--that time and chance are all that are necessary for creation, even of life--and the idea of a Supreme Being is cut out of the picture by default.
That is what led Frank Turek to write a book titled, I Don’t Have Enough Faith To Be An Atheist
Though around what type of star? Ours is a G2V. There's one nearby, but it's part of a trinary system. The next one is hundreds of light years distant.
Conditions for technological life might well be a lot rarer than we once thought.
These scientists better keep working hard to find my home.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
I was fortunate to have spent some time in conversation with one of the leading physicists in the world a few years ago at a conference he keynoted. He is intensely uncomfortable with the observed "tuning" of the constants of the general model BECAUSE it points to a creator who did the tuning--the tuning is way too improbably to have happened by chance. Even worse, from his perspective, it points to a tuner who planned on having humans around.
He has spent a good deal of the past decade working on theories to get around that implication with not much success.
Thanks for posting this article.
OK. But in an ‘infinite’ universe, rare is still a large number.
“However, if it can be shown that life on Earth is plausibly unique in all the unimaginably large universe...that does cause one to ponder.
The whole (now common) “life is common” theory in science about the universe is based on definite evolutionary assumptions—that time and chance are all that are necessary for creation, even of life—and the idea of a Supreme Being is cut out of the picture by default.”
Cause one to ponder what? Why a “Supreme Being” would need to create “billions and billions” of stars, and wait for billions of years (16 billion, at least, according to the latest estimate I saw) to create our itty bitty, “unique” Earth so he could provide a place for humans to evolve from earlier forms of hominids? I had hoped we would find the Supreme Being could snap his supernatural fingers and create our physical domain a little more quickly and efficiently. But no, we got stuck with the “slow God,” I guess. You religious people crack me up.
“perfect conditions for humans is absolutely no evidence toward creationism.”
Perfect conditions for a type of life form to exist, suited to the environment, might be.
God has many creatures. Many. Heck, we haven’t even found all the currently existing forms of life, on this little rock.
“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. And the earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.”
“Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.”
“Thus the heavens and earth were completed, and all their hosts.”
“This is an account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven.”
(from verses in Genesis 1 & 2)
If a “Creator” did some “tuning” to create an Earth that is so “unique,” why did that “Creator” have to create a universe that is so unfathomably large, and then have to wait 16 billion years before that “unique” Earth spawned human life? I hate to cast aspersions on your deity, but your god is one slow and inefficient creator.
Two fleas were sitting on a dog.
One flea said to the flea: “There is no dog.”
Seriously, does any of that make sense to you? The dark Earth was created first, then light? The sheepherders who concocted the creation myths in Genesis obviously flunked Physics in high school.
“Two fleas were sitting on a dog. One flea said to the flea: There is no dog.
Interesting logic. Let me explain to you why it means nothing in this discussion.
We see the flea conversation as amusing, because we know there IS a dog, even though the fleas are unaware of it. We have the perspective to know the dog is there, even if the fleas don’t. If necessary, we can prove the dog is there, even if the fleas don’t see it.
Do I need to explain to you why that has nothing to do with your speculation that there is an invisible, supernatural deity?
God created the Universe, as a means of creating an ever growing, and ever changing host for the expression of his spirit, which is to live, to know, to do.
This universe has an innumerable variance of different environments, and the key to cellular life is to survive.
The Sun is the real host life form. It is created by the Universe. If you want to see life, go look at the Sun. Without it, there would be none here.
Look up at the sky at night. Is there life out there?
Well, every point of light you see is one, or ten, or 20 million ‘suns’ , in every flavor imaginable.
God didn’t limit the life he was creating, nor the length of time it would go on. That’s what infinite is supposed to mean.
So there is life everywhere in the universe. The Stars are the hosts of life. The cellular life that grows on a planet, as a result of the ‘vibes’ the ‘sun’ puts out, are parasites.
The biggest surprise in finding extra-solar planets are the large number of “hot Jupiters” (giant planets in close to the sun). Granted we should be finding these most given the techniques being used, but statistics have shown that the sampling bias does not account for this large number unless such formation is more typical than our formation.
We are also seeing systems with much more eliptical orbits than we experience in our Solar System. Both hot Jupiters and elliptical orbits would be an issue for life to develop in the same fashion as it did in our Solar System.
These factors make scientists conclude that our type of Solar System (rocky interior planets with large screening gas giants to the outside) is rare.
I think most scientists believe that simple life can readily take form, but multi-cellular organisms will be extremely rare (not to mention the additional improbability of developing intelligence capable of technology). It took 3 Billion years to go from single cell to multi-cell organisms on Earth according to the fossil record.
It should also be remembered that a generation of star formation and death had to occur before the formation of our Solar System.
Our moon which plays an important part in our life cycles is very unique when compared to the other moons in the Solar System.
The gas giants (in particular Jupiter) screens us somewhat from asteroid and comet impacts (another unique feature).
I think we understand enough physics to appreciate how unlikely faster than light travel and communication are. If that is the case I suspect we live in a very lonely corner of a galaxy with few if any other technologically advanced species in it. No Federation or Galactic Empire for us.
“In a few more years we will be able to detect earth-like planets, and will discover that there are a lot more of them than anyone suspected...”
I’d venture a guess that the number of Earth-like rocks vs. non, is the same as the number of humans vs. non-human life, on Earth.
Did he actually admit that, or is that just what you observed?
I don’t pretend to know the mind of God, whose ways are past our finding out. Someone touting physics so, should know better than to ask such a question. It is the essence of relativity. Time is relative to the observer (you and I) and God is not subject to the physics of tiny minds who know only an infinitesimal amount of what there is to know. As a matter of fact, they don’t even know, what there is to be known, that they don’t know.
You observe only the terrestrial, but God the celestial. You state times relative only to your observations. The Creator is not subject to time and knows no time except that which he has used for the understanding of men.
“The dark Earth was created first, then light? “
First, you are correct. The story in Genesis of the creation of the Earth, does seem a bit simplistic.
Because it is. No one back then had the advanced scientific knowledge we have today to describe the unfolding of the entire universe and eventual evolution of the Earth and the parasites that grow on it.
There are planets in our solar system, that still are dark.
But, to get a planet to where the electromagnetic shield, and greenhouse gases provide a relatively stable and hospitable environment for life, takes a long, long time.
Those sheepherders had no high school, nor Physics class available.
It is we, who should be smarter, who can interpret the intent of Genesis, instead of the literal description of an ancient sheepherder.
Regardless to whether we accept the sheepherder’s dictation, or current scientific concepts on the creation of Earth, or the Universe, there is no proof either is true, or that they both don’t amount to the same thing.
Man, they sure seem to know a lot for a bunch of ‘scientists’ who have never gone anywhere. Pretty easy to set up your own models and your own conditions and then ‘discover’ what you wanted to find in the first place. Sociologists and psychologists do this all the time but the physical sciences can do it too if they put their minds to it.
It’s interesting stuff but in the end it’s conjecture.
“Conditions for technological life might well be a lot rarer than we once thought. “
Actually, it was pretty rare here on planet Earth, until very, very recently.
er, like one God?
We are alone.
In contrast: the 'strong' Anthropic principle is about the chances of the Universe having the right parameters to support life in any shape or form. The idea here is that the elements of the periodic table, the existence of atoms, the existence of baryonic matter itself, and many other life-critical platforms - are all either the result of incredible fluke or a sign of intent by a Divine Creator.
Why would you believe that? 16 Billion years is only a long time to us. How can even a Trillion years be a long time to the Being that created time and space?
Like any artist creating a masterpiece, God has made sure the Frame is worthy of the Picture. The majesty of created time and space does honour to us, who stand at the focal point of His great work. Time and Space are part of His creation, not a constraint under which He must work.
There was no Physics, and there was no high school at that time. Genesis is not a Physics manual. It is a story with a religious meaning. Does any of that make sense to you?
It sounds as if your physicist friend was engaging with the Strong Anthropic principle, which I'll try and do some justice to.
The Strong Anthropic principle
First, we should distinguish the strong Anthropic Principle from the weak one.
The weak one is roughly along the lines of isnt it lucky we live just far enough away from the Sun to live. And similar arguments, like lucky that humans got a chance to evolve when the Dinosaurs cacked it etc. Its weak because this argument can be countered by the humans are simply self-selecting observers who live on one lucky ball of rock argument.
The strong version of the Anthropic Principle is the observation that this Universe appears to have been designed to allow life to exist. In any form. At all.
Out of all the infinitely variable boundary conditions of the Universe (the Gravitational constant, the relative strength of the Strong and Weak forces, and many others) the Universe just *happens* to have, or to embody, the exact set of parameters which make matter, space and life itself possible.
Note the emphasis on possible. We are not talking about there being a universe which happened to give rise to humans, baboons and bacteria. That would be the weak Anthropic principle.
We are talking about there being a universe where life is possible in any form whatever. If one of the Universes constants were to change by a few decimal places then the Universe would consist only of hydrogen, or only of baryons - or it would have lasted only a few millenia before crunching back on itself. The prima-facie odds of getting even carbon-synthesis to work are extraordinarily remote, and everything else has to be just right as well
The odds are literally infinitesimal that our Universe just happened to get it right. The religious, supernatural theory that the Universe was designed - and designed for us - is strongly supported by the extraordinary unlikelihood of the Universe being able to support any kind of life.
The usual (materialistic or atheistic) counter-argument against the (strong) Anthropic Principle is the theory that there are quadrillions of parallel Universes, one of which is ours. Ours is only special in that we are in it to observe its existence.
This parallel universe theory (apart from being a tired Star-Trek trope) turns out to be a non-disprovable. Any other Universe would have to be completely orthogonal to this one, with no interaction of any kind. If a scientist could detect another Universe, he would have - by definition - simply have detected more of the Universe. The so-called universes of Brane theory, hyperdimensional regions of dark matter interacting weakly with our own - these are part of the Universe, which is revealed to be a multiply-connected region.
Strict materialists would therefore have to adopt the position that there exist unthinkable infinities of rigidly unknowable and undetectable Universes covering the gamut of all possible physical constants in order for us to have become self-selected observers of this one Universe - the one that happens to have the right conditions for life.
This position might be true - but by its very nature it cannot be proven (Hey! I've detected a Universe which (by definition) is totally orthogonal from this one is a statement that cannot be true). Materialists have to move to a position not readily distinguishable from religious belief in order to contest the logical consequence of the (strong) Anthropic Principle - which is that this Universe has been extremely precisely tailored to the existence of life.
Hope this is helpful/useful.
I vote for this entry for the stupidest beginning line ever.
Isn’t it an amazing coincidence that every lottery winner held the ticket with numbers that matched the winning ones?
Not conclusive evidence that it’s miraculous, but wow.
And what are the chances that a single team of nearly evenly matched ones can win EVERY game out of a long single-eliminatino tournament bracket? Does the Champion look back and say, “It seems like a miracle that we won.” How can he, when any of the teams could have been that one?
Maybe, just maybe, you can’t look back from the final result to claim the beginning was miraculous, since we wouldn’t be here unless things were right.
“The Earth and its fellow seven planets ...”
Will I’m a little confused, how many planets are there in the Solar System?
People make their choices. For a Creator, against a Creator.
Then they look at the evidence and interpret it to their already preconceived viewpoint.
For the atheist, their reasoning is often that they understand the implications of a Creator, and reject it for narcissistic reasons - there’s something in their life they’d have to give up, usually Pride related.
Don’t spend too much time trying to convince the hardened heart. There are too many out there looking for the real truth that are actually open to hearing it.
Well, He's God and I'm not. I don't pretend to understand His mind or what the concept of 16 billion years means to Him. He made time. Do you see how meaningless it is to judge the maker of time by our ideas about how He should have accomplished things or how we could have done a better or more efficient job of creation. The Soviet Union was a very small scale attempt at "creation."
Weak analogy, due to our comparatively limited understanding, but here goes:
Imagine a ruler laying on a table in front of you. You can move to the left, right, above, below it, pick it up, move it, turn it around, and most of all, see the whole thing at once. You definitely are not constrained to living on that ruler. You could even smash it and get a different ruler if you wanted, or have several rulers on your desk.
That ruler is represents all dimensions of the universe, including time, forever, as viewed by God.
Have you read “Privileged Planet”?