The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery
A convincing case that the rare, finely tuned conditions that allow for intelligent life on Earth are no coincidence, and that Earth was practically designed for discovery.
Publishers Weekly (02/23/2004):
A movement known as "intelligent design" has emerged in recent years to counter evolution theories that hold that the design of the universe is random. Critics have dubbed this the "new creationism," since many in the movement correlates the intelligent designer with the Judeo-Christian God. Gonzalez and Richards now take the defense of intelligent design one step further. By assessing the elements that compose our planet, they argue, we can tell that it was designed for multicellular organic life. The presence of carbon, oxygen and water in the right proportions makes it possible for organic life to exist; and this combination of minerals and chemical elements exists only on Earth. Moreover, they argue, we can measure the ways that Earth became habitable. Thus, tree rings, stomata on leaves, skeletons in deep ocean sediments and pollen in lake sediments help us to measure how life on Earth developed by design. In addition, the authors contend, the universe itself is designed for discovery ("Mankind is unusually well-positioned to decipher the cosmos. Were we merely lucky in this regard?" No, the authors respond), and because the Earth is habitable we can use it as a measure of the uninhabitability of other planets. "The myriad conditions that make a region habitable are the best overall places for discovering the universe in its smallest and largest expressions." Overall, the authors (Gonzalez is an assistant research professor of astronomy and physics at Iowa State, Richards has a doctorate from Princeton Theological Seminary) provide a reasoned case for intelligent design, but it's important to note that the vast majority of scientists reject the intelligent design argument, and this book is unlikely to persuade many to change their minds. B&w photos. (Mar. 8) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Includes bibliographical references (p. -416) and index.; Arguing that life may be rarer than some astronomers and philosophers have said, the author details the delicate balance of factors that make life possible on this planet and reveals the rarity of these conditions in the universe..
Arguing that life may be rarer than some astronomers and philosophers have said, the author details the delicate balance of factors that make life possible on this planet and reveals the rarity of these conditions in the universe.
Publishers Weekly 02/23/2004 pg. 66 (EAN 9780895260659, Hardcover)
Contributor Bio: Gonzalez, Guillermo
Gonzalez is Assistant Research Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Iowa State University. He has received fellowships, grants, and awards from NASA, the University of Washington, Sigma Xi, and the National Science Foundation.
Contributor Bio: Richards, Jay W
Richards (Ph.D., Princeton Theological Seminary; Th.M., Calvin Theological Seminary; M.Div., Union Theological Seminary) is a research fellow and director of institutional relations at Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids, MI. He has published articles in philosophy of religion Religious Studies), theology (Christian Scholars' Review) and science (Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith). His books include The Privileged Planet (Regnery, 2004), Are We Spiritual Machines (Discovery Inst. Press, 2002), The Untamed God (IVP, 2003), and Unapologetic Apologetics (IVP, 2001)..