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stargirl
2001-Dec-01, 03:35 AM
Has anyone else seen the article by Kendrick Frazier in the November/December
issue of Skeptical Inquirer about the book Rare Earth by paleontologist
Peter D. Ward and astronomer Donald Brownlee.
It says that astronomer David Darling makes a point by point critique of Rare Earth in his own book Life Everywhere: The Maverick Science of Astrobiology.
In his own book Darling also reveals that the two Rare Earth authors were
significantly influenced by a University of Washington astronomer named
Guillermo Gonzalez.
This is important because according to Darling Gonzalez is pro Intelligent Design and regularly authors articles supporting ID for religious publications. It goes on to say that Gonzalez's mainstream scientific articles make no mention of his belief in divine intervention.
When asked Peter D. Ward says that he was unaware of this, (Gonzalez's theistic approach to science.)
Gonzalez responded to Ward saying, (as quoted in Darling's book and printed
in the SI article) *... I will not apologize for admitting that my theistic
theological views motivate my science and vise-versa.*
Can anyone say secret agenda?
I can't comment on Darling's book because I haven't read it yet.
But it looks like there might be a better chance for life out there after all.

Azpod
2001-Dec-01, 07:33 PM
On 2001-11-30 22:35, stargirl wrote:
Has anyone else seen the article by Kendrick Frazier in the November/December
issue of Skeptical Inquirer about the book Rare Earth by paleontologist
Peter D. Ward and astronomer Donald Brownlee.
It says that astronomer David Darling makes a point by point critique of Rare Earth in his own book Life Everywhere: The Maverick Science of Astrobiology.
In his own book Darling also reveals that the two Rare Earth authors were
significantly influenced by a University of Washington astronomer named
Guillermo Gonzalez.
This is important because according to Darling Gonzalez is pro Intelligent Design and regularly authors articles supporting ID for religious publications. It goes on to say that Gonzalez's mainstream scientific articles make no mention of his belief in divine intervention.
When asked Peter D. Ward says that he was unaware of this, (Gonzalez's theistic approach to science.)
Gonzalez responded to Ward saying, (as quoted in Darling's book and printed
in the SI article) *... I will not apologize for admitting that my theistic
theological views motivate my science and vise-versa.*
Can anyone say secret agenda?
I can't comment on Darling's book because I haven't read it yet.
But it looks like there might be a better chance for life out there after all.


Sorry, but this is a classical example of an ad hominem attack: you question the motives of the authors of Rare Earth, but don't criticize the book based on its content. I'm hoping that Darling's book doesn't make the same mistake. I thought Rare Earth brought up some good points, some of which I have not heard before. I would like to see someone argue with them, point by point-- provided that it doesn't read like a textbook. While I agree with most of what was written in Rare Earth, I would be quite happy to find that it was wrong.

Of course, the whole field of astrobiology is more speculation than testable science so far. Hopefully soon, we'll find more information that can be used to test the many theories that exist about the subject.

stargirl
2001-Dec-02, 03:40 AM
Azpod,
I think you misunderstood my post, slightly. I'm certain that the authors
of Rare Earth had the best of intentions and I agree with you that many
good questions about conditions necessary for the emergence of life were
raised in their book. But neither the article in SI, David Darling, nor I
were questioning the motives of the authors of the book Rare Earth.
The person's motives that are being questioned are those of Guillermo Gonzalez.
Whom the authors acknowledge in the books preface as having changed many
of our views about planets and habitable zones.
What bothers me is that Gonzalez has an Earth-is-unique religious agenda of which the authors of Rare Earth were unaware. Even Rare Earth author Peter
Ward expressed concerns about Gonzalez's theistic agenda and asked Gonzalez
for an explanation. Part of Gonzalez's reply is quoted in my original post.
Also in his reply to Ward, as quoted in the SI article, Gonzalez says that (he recently received a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to study habitability from a design perspective.)
IMO any hypothesis put forward that is later found to have been significantly influenced by someone with a hidden agenda, an agenda that was unknown to the hypothesis author(s) should be looked at from a critical perspective.
That does not mean the original hypothesis is wrong only that it should be reexamined. And that is apparently what Darling does in his book, which I'm looking forward to reading.

One last thing, the field of astrobiology is all speculation at this point.
But hopefully in the next few decades we'll penetrate the surface of the ice moons of Jupiter and Saturn and perhaps find some exotic form of aquatic life. Or perhaps we'll find traces of industrial smog in the atmosphere of an earth type extrasolor planet. Better yet, how about a verifiable SETI signal. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: stargirl on 2001-12-01 22:45 ]</font>

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: stargirl on 2001-12-01 23:11 ]</font>

aurorae
2001-Dec-03, 05:51 PM
When I have head Ward and Brownlee speak, they (especially Ward) are rather embarrassed or perhaps amused by the attention that their book has garnered among the religious right.

As to the other gentleman you name, he is a graduate of UW, but is not faculty. You can see this on:

http://www.astro.washington.edu/dept/people.html

I would say that this seems to be rather a tempest in a tea pot. Ward and Brownlee state numerous times that they expect that life is common in the universe, their hypothesis is that advanced life is rare.

Your posts here seem to be rather overblown.

Azpod
2001-Dec-03, 07:30 PM
On 2001-12-01 22:40, stargirl wrote:
That does not mean the original hypothesis is wrong only that it should be reexamined. And that is apparently what Darling does in his book, which I'm looking forward to reading.


Actually, that was what I primarily concerned about. It's quite easy to blow off someone's hypothesis because it is based on some agenda. But that doesn't make it more or less valid. Should it be reexamined? Certainly, but by the nature of the hypothesis, I think it would be reexamined, regardless of any possible theological origin.

Personally, I don't understand why Rare Earth is making such waves with the religious right; the authors certainly aren't claiming that the Earth was created in 7 days, nor are they claiming that humans are the only intelligent species in the universe.

I'll probably comment more after I read Darling's book. Hopefully the Christmas rush won't delay its delivery too much! /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

aurorae
2001-Dec-03, 09:08 PM
On 2001-12-03 14:30, Azpod wrote:
<snipped good stuff>

Personally, I don't understand why Rare Earth is making such waves with the religious right; the authors certainly aren't claiming that the Earth was created in 7 days, nor are they claiming that humans are the only intelligent species in the universe.



I guess they have to take their victories, no matter how small, wherever they can get them. Just having some sort of validation in science for the possibility that we are alone in the universe makes them all happy.

junkyardfrog
2004-Jul-11, 01:03 AM
I'm one of those Christians who don't believe in the alleged aliens. Here's a recent scientific observation:


PRESS RELEASE
Date Released: Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Source: Johns Hopkins University

Glimpse at Early Universe Reveals Surprisingly Mature Galaxies

Observations challenge standing view of how and when galaxies formed

A rare glimpse back in time into the universe's early evolution has revealed something startling: mature, fully formed galaxies where scientists expected to discover little more than infants.

"Up until now, we assumed that galaxies were just beginning to form between 8 and 11 billion years ago, but what we found suggests that that is not the case," said Karl Glazebrook, associate professor of physics and astronomy in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences at The Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and co-principal author of a paper in the July 8 issue of Nature. "It seems that an unexpectedly large fraction of stars in big galaxies were already in place early in the universe's formation, and that challenges what we've believed. We thought massive galaxies came much later."

Using the Frederick C. Gillett Gemini North Telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii, Glazebrook and a multinational team of researchers called the Gemini Deep Deep Survey (GDDS) employed a special technique called the "Nod and Shuffle" to peer into what had traditionally been a cosmological blind spot. Called "the Redshift Desert," this era - 8 billion to 11 billion years ago, when the universe was only 3 billion to 6 billion years old - has remained relatively unexplored until now, mainly because of the challenges inherent in collecting data from the faintest galactic light ever to be dissected into the rainbow of colors called a spectrum. In all, the team collected and analyzed spectra from 300 galaxies, making it the most complete sample ever taken from the Redshift Desert.

"This was the most comprehensive survey ever done covering the bulk of the galaxies that represent conditions in the early universe," Glazebrook said. "We expected to find basically zero massive galaxies beyond about 9 billion years ago, because theoretical models predict that massive galaxies form last. Instead, we found highly developed galaxies that just shouldn't have been there, but are."


http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/home04/jul04/earlyuni.html


As another poster, here, noted:

As far as I can see, this supports the 'Rare Earth' hypothesis. If

1. mature galaxies have been around for 11 billion years

2. it takes 4 billion or so years to develop technological societies

3. technological societies are common in the universe.

Then the ol' Fermi Paradox. Where are they? Instead of having 4 billion years to reach us, communicate with us, or send probes to us, they'd have 7 billion years. Even at sub-light speeds, that's deep time.


http://www.arn.org/boards/ubb-get_topic-f-14-t-000889.html

PhantomWolf
2004-Jul-11, 10:14 AM
I think that Astronomy is showing us more and more how rare Earth really is. Whether that means life is rare of niot, I'm not going to comment because that has to get into belief not fact.

Most of the systems we hve found outside of our own would be unable to support life as we know it. With huge Jovian planets having swept in towards their suns, absorbing or kicking out any Earth-like planets. From what we are seeing this seems to be the norm, not the exception.

Add to that all the other things that even makes Earth uniquie in our own system and we start to have a very improbable planet. Regardless of you accept E or C, you can't ignore that fact. How you view that affect the chances of life and Intelligent life outside our system, well again that's personal belief.

Maksutov
2004-Jul-11, 11:20 AM
I think that Astronomy is showing us more and more how rare Earth really is. Whether that means life is rare of niot, I'm not going to comment because that has to get into belief not fact.

Most of the systems we hve found outside of our own would be unable to support life as we know it. With huge Jovian planets having swept in towards their suns, absorbing or kicking out any Earth-like planets. From what we are seeing this seems to be the norm, not the exception.

Add to that all the other things that even makes Earth uniquie in our own system and we start to have a very improbable planet. Regardless of you accept E or C, you can't ignore that fact. How you view that affect the chances of life and Intelligent life outside our system, well again that's personal belief.

As usual the state of scientific knowledge is in flux. Right now our observational methods limit us for the most part to detecting Jovian-size planets around other stars. It would be premature to make conclusions based only on this evidence. Within 10 to 20 years (maybe sooner) our observational methods will allow us to detect terrestrial-sized planets around other stars. In the case of one space-based telescopic array, we may be able to do this through direct observation.

Once we have extensive data from those observations, then we will be able to conclude whether our planet is uncommon or typical, within the local galactic region.

dvb
2004-Jul-11, 11:44 AM
I totally agree with Maksutov. The only reason we've found jovian sized planets so far is because our telescopes aren't powerful enough to detect smaller earth like planets.

Also going with what aurorae said, I would think that advanced life must be pretty rare when you consider the countless species of animals on this planet, and yet we're the only somewhat advanced species of them all.

Brady Yoon
2004-Jul-11, 06:25 PM
I agree too. Earth sized planets would be hundreds to thousands of times harder to detect than Jupiter sized planets.

um3k
2004-Jul-11, 06:31 PM
Anyone else notice that this thread is over two years old? #-o

mutineer
2004-Jul-11, 08:26 PM
Anyone else notice that this thread is over two years old? #-o
So clearly we know the views of junkyardfrog on resurrection . . . :D

dvb
2004-Jul-11, 10:34 PM
Anyone else notice that this thread is over two years old? #-o

LOL :lol:

I didn't even notice, if I did, i probably wouldn't have replied to it lol.

junkyardfrog
2004-Jul-15, 06:18 AM
Anyone else notice that this thread is over two years old? #-o
So clearly we know the views of junkyardfrog on resurrection . . . :D

LOL

8)

Sorry about that. It's a bad habit I have of cruising through the archives....

Ya never know what you might find!

:)

genebujold
2004-Jul-15, 10:57 AM
I'm one of those Christians who don't believe in the alleged aliens. Here's a recent scientific observation:


PRESS RELEASE
Date Released: Wednesday, July 07, 2004
Source: Johns Hopkins University

Glimpse at Early Universe Reveals Surprisingly Mature Galaxies

Observations challenge standing view of how and when galaxies formed

A rare glimpse back in time into the universe's early evolution has revealed something startling: mature, fully formed galaxies where scientists expected to discover little more than infants.

"Up until now, we assumed that galaxies were just beginning to form between 8 and 11 billion years ago, but...

Wouldn't that be a hoot, to find out no matter how far "back" we go that galaxy maturation is essentially the same? And wouldn't it also be a hoot to discover a mechanism explaining the apparent vast distances, only to discover the universe is much younger than imagined?

Who knows? One of these we'll either invent FLT and can get there, and find out, Jesus will come and establish a millennial kingdom, or we'll all die one future year or another amidst billions, only to have our ashes reabsorbed into the cosmic soup.

Regardless, have faith in God (or whatever you choose), maintain a keen scientific intellect, and don't forget to spend time with family - they're what really matters, after all.