FoxNews recently published two articles (see here and here) about extrasolar planets and extraterrestrial life. Although skepticism is supposed to be a hallmark of science, one evolutionary scientist quoted, Steven Vogt, boasts that he has “no doubt” that there is life on this newly discovered extrasolar planet: “Personally, given the ubiquity and propensity of life to flourish wherever it can, I would say, my own personal feeling is that the chances of life on this planet are 100 percent,” said Steven Vogt, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics at the University of California, Santa Cruz, during a press briefing today. “I have almost no doubt about it.” Let me make sure I understand this right. Dr. Vogt has “almost no Read More ›
New Scientist is reporting: “Last month, a team of astronomers announced the discovery of the first alien world that could host life on its surface. Now a second team can find no evidence of the planet, casting doubt on its existence.”
Discovery Senior Fellow Bruce Gordon was recently published in The Washington Times calling Stephen Hawking’s message that God is not necessary to create the universe “a matter more of fiery sentiment than of coolheaded logic“: Mr. Hawking asserts that “as recent advances in cosmology suggest, the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.” But “spontaneous creation” minus any cause illustrates the lack of an explanation rather than scientific comprehension. It also runs counter to a question Mr. Hawking Read More ›
Seth Borenstein of the Associated Press is reporting that astronomers have discovered an extrasolar planet in the “goldilocks” zone of its star. That is, the planet appears to be in the circumstellar habitable zone where water can persist at liquid temperatures on its surface. The planet, named Gliese 581g, is a mere 20 light years away from Earth. The article is referring to the circumstellar habitable zone, though presumably it is also in the galactic habitable zone since it’s so close to Earth. That means that Gliese 581g may have two of the major factors needed to make a planet hospitable to life. Unfortunately, we’ve seen hundreds of reports like this, so I now read them with a bit of Read More ›
Today’s Washington Post has a handful of letters about the dust-up at the Smithsonian over the screening of The Privileged Planet later this month, both good and bad. First the good.