What Makes Earth So Unique?

on July 12, 2008

Earth is one special planet—and it seems the more we learn, the more we know it!

It doesn’t take a professional astronomer to identify several of the distinguishing features of Earth: abundant liquid water (and the temperature required for that), a protective atmosphere, a geological system neither overactive nor dead.

Oh, yeah, and one more thing: Earth is known for being home to all kinds of life! Space.com’s Clara Moskowitz writes, “The fact that Earth hosts not just life, but intelligent life, makes it doubly unique.”

Moskowitz’s article includes a litany of specifics on what makes Earth unique, including:

  • the existence of water at the Earth’s surface—neither too much nor too little—that is in liquid form
  • proximity to the sun—neither too much heat nor too little
  • system of plate tectonics that enables the carbon-silicate cycle regulating temperature
  • the right size—large enough to hang on to its atmosphere, but not so large to hold on to too much atmosphere and consequently too much heat
  • its protection by “big brother Jupiter,” whose gravity helps divert and vacuum up incoming debris and keep Earth safe
  • the moon’s stabilizing effect on our planetary rotation, which prevents the poles from shifting unexpectedly

“The fact that Earth hosts not just life, but intelligent life, makes it doubly unique.”

Somewhat intriguing (yet also Earth-worshipping, in a way) is the comment of astrophysicist Gregory Laughlin of the University of California–Santa Cruz: “From our anthropocentric viewpoint, we naturally separate ourselves from the planet that we live on, but if one adopts the point of view of an external observer, it is the ‘planet’ (taken as a whole) that has done these remarkable things”—remarkable things such as “fashion[ing] together tiny pieces of the metal in its crust, and has flung these delicately constructed objects to all of the other planets in the solar system” (in reference to rockets and the like).

“You hear all the time how Earth-like Mars is, but if you were taken to Mars you wouldn’t feel happy there at all,” commented (in a dramatic understatement!) University of Washington astronomer Don Brownlee. Brownlee added that “the idea that [Earth] is a typical planet is nonsensical.”

"I think we’re going to find there are literally billions of [Earth-like planets] in the galaxy.”

This is contrasted with the view of evolutionist Alan Boss, a Carnegie Institution planet formation theorist, who claimed, “[E]verything has been pointing in the direction of, ‘Hey, the solar system, which we thought was unique, is not unique at all . . . [c]ertainly there will be other planets that support life . . . I think life is actually quite common. I think we’re going to find there are literally billions of [Earth-like planets] in the galaxy.”

Boss’s evidence-less faith in life off-earth is echoed by others. For example, in a LiveScience article this week—“How NASA Might Find Rock-Eating Microbes on Mars”—the first commenter, TD, writes (regarding Martian life):

At the very least, they are probably places where microbes live just under the surface. And that means life [on] Mars. It might not be an “Imminent Discovery” in a timespan of months, like we were hoping with Phoenix, but at least the fact of life on Mars can finally be discovered. . . . The 1960’s are over—it’s time to discover life on Mars.

Both Boss and TD are exhibiting religious adherence to the dogma known as Darwinism (and its associated worldview): in spite of the evidence that Earth is indeed unique and that the existence of life on Earth is no mere accident, evolutionists cling by faith to their worldview. While it masquerades as science, the evolutionary worldview is, at heart, just as much a religious worldview as biblical creation.

Further Reading

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