[meteorite-list] Why Extraterrestrial Life May Be More Unlikely Than Scientists Thought

From: Sterling K. Webb <sterling_k_webb_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2018 17:44:59 -0500
Message-ID: <mailman.1.1523314506.9924.meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com>

List, Alfredo,

A copy of this book (.pdf):
"Rare Earth: Why Complex
Life is Uncommon in the
Universe" by Peter Ward
and Donald Brownlee can
be downloaded (free) from

Simply type "rare earth
peter ward" into the search
box and click "Search."

Peter Ward has a certain
reknown as a contrarian
in evolutionary theory.
Many people know of the
"Gaia" hypothesis of James
Lovelock, that our planet
is natually constituted to
promote the emergence
and long elaboration of life.
Hence the term "Mother
Earth" (which is what the
divinity "Gaia" meant in
Greek mythology).

Of course, that's more of
a kind of generalization
about theories, rather than
an actual theory, but we
do tend to like that idea,
naturally; it flatters us.

Peter Ward has proposed
the opposite: the "Medea"
hypothesis, that "Mother
Earth" wants to and has
always "wanted" to stamp
out this infestation of life
by any means possible. (In
the Greek myths, Medea
murdered all her own

Stomp, Stomp, STOMP.
He's written almost a
dozen (11) books that
elaborate that theory.
They're full of convincing
evidence and many good
arguments and are, well,
immensely depressing
to read.

But the fact that some book
bothers your innate (possibly
unconscious) biases is not
really a very good argument
against it. When Darwin was
quite elderly (but when "his"
evolution was still being
argued against), a group of
Victorian ladies asked him
if his "ideas" about life's
evolution had taught him
anything about God.

Darwin pondered for a
moment and replied, "Well,
He does seem to have been
inordinately fond of beetles."
(There are 500,000+ species
of beetle on Earth.)

Perhaps He feels that same
way about habitable planets?
Or not. (Here's a good book
that presents FIFTY reasons
why there are no inhabitable
planets with life:
"If the Universe is Teeming
with Aliens, Where is Every-
body?" by Stephen Webb (pub.
by Praxis, 2002; it can be
found for free on that same
website I named above.)

Sterling Webb

From: Meteorite-list [mailto:meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com] On
Behalf Of Alfredo Petrov via Meteorite-list
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2018 9:55 PM
Cc: meteorite list
Subject:Re: [meteorite-list] Why Extraterrestrial Life May Be More Unlikely
Than Scientists Thought

Apart from possible paucity of phosphorus, there are several other reasons
why advanced life could be much rarer than previously thought. Currently
everyone is looking for planets in the "habitable zone" around stars, but we
don't know what % of planets within a habitable (ie. temperature suitable
for liquid water) zone could develop advanced life. So far we only know of
one such planet, our own. It is likely that plate tectonics is a necessary
condition, for nutrient recycling, climate control, etc. Earth has it; Mars
and Venus do not. How commonly do Earth-like planets develop plate
tectonics? We don't know.
A large moon will likely be a requirement for advanced life too, for several
geophysical reasons, and large moons seem to not be common with Earth-like
inner planets. Mars and Venus, again, don't have one. And so on... Books
have been written on this topic, years ago. I just finished one that was
written about 20 years ago, by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee: "Rare Earth:
Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe"
Received on Mon 09 Apr 2018 06:44:59 PM PDT

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