baudrunner's space: Another skeptic bites just dust
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Monday, April 21, 2008

Another skeptic bites just dust

A professor Andrew Watson from the University of East Anglia has produced a mathematical model which suggests that the probability for life emerging on earth-like planets is low. Specifically, he says other earth-like planets. He did not compute the probability of life happening here of course, because that would throw his numbers completely out of whack. To my mind, this reeks of the accommodation of his mathematics for a desire to see the outcome of personal theory expressed in the results of his calculations.

How does he account for the determination that life proliferates here on earth even in the most unearthly places? It is apparent that against all the odds that professor Watson has given against that probability that reality seems to be engaged in a deliberate attempt to contradict him. Life is profuse. It oozes out of the very ground through the cracks in our sidewalks. It is swallowed up by the ton by giant lumbering baleen whales. It is superfluous in the algae blooms that form giant lakes of ocean life that can be photographed from space. It swarms by the billions in giant clouds that obliterate the sun and blacken the sky for hours on end. It can be captured by the boatfull in one random toss of a fish net. It has to be tamed by gardening tools lest it take over our environment on a regular basis. We find it in places that can burn us to a crisp and that can cause us to lose our fingers to frostbite. Anaerobic life that expires at the mere touch of an oxygen molecule lives in the backs of our throats and in the ferrite strata containing oil deposits producing methane gas. Life was here on earth before professor Watson's earth had all the earth-like conditions that he says provide a low probability for the life that now exists.

I think that professor Watson is missing a whole lot of factoring into his equations. Doesn't he realize that life is the rule rather than the exception? That even when a comet kills every life form on a planet it will resurge. Even though entire species and families of life grow extinct some other will always emerge to replace it. What compels that, professor Watson?

The man has no philosophy. The man has no science. People like him reach for mathematics, because math can prove the impossible, make plausible the improbable.

Life is superfluous and resilient. You can swipe it all away and it will just come back. His math says no. Life says yes. I think that professor Watson thinks that he is special. The Earth has news for him.

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