“Improbable Planet”

“Improbable Planet” October 15, 2020


A clear night in France!
Savant Chapel, in Ouroux-en-Morvan, Bourgogne, France, on a clear and starry night with the Milky Way overhead.  (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)


First, I share a few links that I’ve been accumulating in my files, to things that caught my interest:


“Will Natural Herd Immunity End the Pandemic?  Is natural herd immunity a viable path to controlling the pandemic? Here is why that is a terrible idea.”


“There is no ‘scientific divide’ over herd immunity: There’s a lot of talk of scientists divided over Covid-19, but when you look at the evidence any so-called divide starts to evaporate”


“How planting 70 million eelgrass seeds led to an ecosystem’s rapid recovery: The study is a blueprint for capitalizing on this habitat’s capacity to store carbon”


“Fighting fire with seeds: BYU restoring scorched landscapes after devastating wildfires”


“Asteroid Bennu was once part of a space rock with flowing water”


“The Moon’s Ancient Magnetic Field Helped Protect the Young Earth: Astrophysicists can now piece together the moon’s past, including the role of its fleeting magnetic field”


“An unexpected result from a dark matter experiment may signal new particles: The XENON1T experiment spotted an excess of events at low energies”


“A spherical star cluster has surprisingly few heavy elements: Called RBC EXT8, the cluster challenges some theories of how galaxies form and evolve”




When I was growing up, I was assured that Earth was just a mediocre planet in a mediocre solar system revolving around a mediocre star in a mediocre galaxy.  “Move along, folks!  There’s nothing to see here!”


“What several decades of research has revealed about Earth’s location within the vastness of the cosmos can be summed up in this statement: the ideal place for any kind of life as we know it turns out to be a solar system like ours, within a galaxy like the Milky Way, within a supercluster of galaxies like the Virgo supercluster, within a super-supercluster like the Laniakea super-supercluster. In other words we happen to live in the best, perhaps the one and only, neighborhood that allows not only for physical life’s existence but also for its enduring survival.” (Hugh Ross, Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity’s Home


Now, it’s true that Hugh Ross is a Protestant Christian apologist who is based in Covina, California.  However, he can’t be entirely dismissed on that basis alone.  Before founding his organization Reasons to Believe in 1986, he earned a B.Sc. in physics from the University of British Columbia and a Ph.D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Toronto, and then served for five years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), where he studied galaxies and quasars.



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