100% Questionable

on December 22, 2010

The recent discovery of a unique (so far) planet outside our solar system has caused a lot of excitement and speculation.

Commenting on Gliese 581g, which orbits a star about 20 light-years from earth, a California astrophysicist said, “Given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say . . . that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” adding “I have almost no doubt about it.”*

Researchers noted that the distance from star to planet would make it neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to sustain life.

What is the basis of this certainty? So far, despite wishful thinking and desperate searching, life has turned up on only one planet—earth. And while it is true that life flourishes even in extreme environments on earth, there is no reason to believe that it evolved spontaneously. No life can exist if God does not choose to create it.

Astrophysicists would be well-advised to hold back from such 100% claims, especially given the field’s history (and 100% record) of unfulfilled hype about life in outer space.


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