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Peer-Reviewed Scientific Paper Cites Guillermo Gonzalez’s Galactic Habitable Zone as Evidence Earth is a Privileged Planet

In the previous post, I discussed a peer-reviewed scientific paper co-authored by engineer Dominic Halsmer titled “The Coherence of an Engineered World” in the journal International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics. The paper reviews the work of a number of leading ID proponents and concludes that from the macroscale of the universe, to the structure of our galaxy, to the microscopic features of life, nature shows evidence of design.

Halsmer and his co-authors also look at various examples of cosmic fine-tuning, concluding that “[t]hese optimalities suggest the influence of a calculating intentionality or some kind of transcendent cosmic engineer.” One example given is the expansion rate of the universe:

This expansion rate is very specific in that it is based on the density of the universe and the gravitational pull caused by this density. With an increase in universal density on the order of just 1:1060, the gravitational pull would cause the universe to collapse on itself, while a density slightly lower by the same amount would cause the universe to expand at such a rate that galaxies would most likely never form at all, let alone contain life. This evidence suggests the influence of a calculating intentionality that engineered the large-scale structure of the universe in accordance with the laws of nature to support one or more life sites.

D. Halsmer, J. Asper, N. Roman, T. Todd, “The Coherence of an Engineered World,” International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics, Vol. 4(1):47-65 (2009) (internal citations removed).

They also cite a concept co-developed by Guillermo Gonzalez, the Galactic Habitable Zone, as an example of fine-tuning:

On the universal scale, however, one can see that our planet is in a comparatively narrow region of space known as the “Galactic Habitable Zone”. This zone allows for the right surface temperature, stable climate metallicity, ability to hold liquid water, and many other conditions necessary for life. There is no practical reason why the universe has to contain life, but the fact that it does gives great importance to this zone for the benefit of our existence.

Halsmer and his co-authors then explain Gonzalez and Jay Richards’s Privileged Planet argument:

Not only does this zone satisfy the requirements of life but also it endowed humans with a prime position to view the wonders of the universe. There are many qualities that make the earth an excellent place from which to study the universe. First of all is the transparency of the atmosphere. Our atmosphere admits the radiation necessary for life while blocking most of its lethal energy. This transparency also allows humans to see into space without the distortions caused by a thick atmosphere as would be the case on Venus. Secondly, the regularity of our solar system’s orbits makes time calculation of planetary events more predictable, even allowing for estimations of planetary orbits millions of years ago. Finally, the gas and dust in our region of the Milky Way are diffuse compared to other regions in the local mid-plane. This allows humans to view 80% of the universe without blockage. If our solar system was moved farther away, perpendicularly to the mid-plane, we would be able to see the other 20%. However, this would cause a large percentage of our current view to be blocked by dust as well as the luminosity of stars in close proximity.

Humanity’s place in the universe is amazingly unique when it comes to discovery. Planet earth is in prime position for the gleaning of knowledge from the stars.

In a final post on this paper I’ll discuss how it also advocates biological design.

Casey Luskin

Associate Director and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Casey Luskin is a geologist and an attorney with graduate degrees in science and law, giving him expertise in both the scientific and legal dimensions of the debate over evolution. He earned his PhD in Geology from the University of Johannesburg, and BS and MS degrees in Earth Sciences from the University of California, San Diego, where he studied evolution extensively at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. His law degree is from the University of San Diego, where he focused his studies on First Amendment law, education law, and environmental law.



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