At the end of a fascinating new podcast episode of Great Minds with Michael Medved, our host poses the question to Jay Richards: If life in the universe is singular, if we’re it and there is no other life, whether intelligent or otherwise, what’s the bad news about that, and what’s the good news? For materialists, there is only bad news, since it would strongly imply that life on Earth was somehow intended. Intention behind life wrecks the materialist view of reality, which is why they fight so hard against any notion of any exceptional status for our planet or for human beings.
For others, for those who are simply open-minded and uncommitted philosophically, such a result if it could be known (and it can’t) might be a disappointment. But it would also open up wondrous possibilities not only of intention but of ultimate, transcendent purpose behind our privileged existence.
Dr. Richards is co-author of The Privileged Planet and he talks with Mr. Medved about the incredibly precise and unforgiving requirements that would have to be met for life even to be remotely possible on any given planet elsewhere in the cosmos. That is to the point that a planet capable of sustaining life would in all likelihood be remarkably similar to our own, down to details like experiencing total solar eclipses. News of freshly discovered “Earth-like” planets is a staple of popular science reporting. But as Richards points out, still to this day the most Earth-like planet we know of is Mars, and that is a lifeless waste land.
Jay is a great explainer who says he would be “tickled pink” by evidence of extraterrestrials, much as he is not holding his breath waiting for it. You’ll thoroughly enjoy their conversation. Watch or listen at the Great Minds with Michael Medved website, dedicated to exploring questions whose urgency and importance never go away. The audio is up now, and the video will follow later this morning. While you’re at the site, you can subscribe — it’s all FREE. But please do make sure to donate to keep this excellent podcast going strong.