Day 1 – The origin of life on earth

Day 1 – The origin of life on earth

To find out about the meaning of life, let’s start by finding out how life started. Let’s see what scientists have discovered.

To make life possible on a planet, you need at least 2 important things. That is what a well known scientist, Carl Sagan, found out in 1966.

At first there has to be the right kind of star: The energy source (a sun).
Secondly the distance from a planet to the star has to be right. Too far away and it will be too cold. When the sun is too close, it will be too hot for life.

Carl Sagan calculated that there were about 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets in the universe that are suitable for life.

What happened since 1966? Scientists learned more about life and the universe. As we studied more, also much more criteria were found that are necessary to make life possible on a planet!

No chance for life on earth?!

After more research, many new criteria were found. At first 10, later 20, and even to more than 50! All necessary to make life possible on a planet. Therefore the number of planets that could support life dropped down rapidly!

Actually… no planet at all (not even earth!) could support spontaneous life! According to all the essential criteria, we shouldn’t even be alive! Still here we are… Alive… and even thinking about life.

Knowing all of this, it might not be a surprise that we did not find any life on other planets so far.

There is even more

Today science has discovered that at least 200 parameters are necessary for a planet to support life. Not only that, every single one must have the right values and many depend on eachother. If they are not in the right proportion, the whole thing falls apart.

For example: a massive planet (like Jupiter) is needed nearby. The gravity of Jupiter draws away asteroids, preventing thousands of them from hitting Earth’s surface.

This is just one example of the many criteria that are needed to make life possible*.

The odds against life in the universe are simply incredible!

Anyway we do exist!

Yet here we are, not only existing, but we are talking about existence. How is this possible? Is it sheer luck these parameters have all been set perfectly for the planet earth?

At what point is it fair to admit that life on earth is not the result of random forces? Especially when considering that the fine-tuning necessary for life to exist on a planet is even “simple” compared to the fine-tuning required for the whole universe to exist at all!

An example: Astrophysicists now assume that the values of the four fundamental forces (gravity, the electromagnetic force, and the “strong” and “weak” nuclear forces) were determined within less than one millionth of a second after the big bang. Alter any one value and the universe could not exist. For instance, if the ratio between the nuclear strong force and the electromagnetic force had been off by the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction -by even one part in 100,000,000,000,000,000-… no stars could have ever formed at all!

Are you surprised?

Feel free to do research on your own at this topic. Try to find out yourself what facts science has discovered up till now. Please be aware that also scientists do have some prejudices that will color their interpretation of the findings.

No coincidence

The chances of a situation where all known parameters are set in the right conditions, is similar to tossing a coin and having it come up “heads” 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 times in a row. Would this really be possible?

What about the big bang?

Fred Hoyle is an astronomer who invented the term “Big Bang”. A well known theory that explains the start of all life by a big blast in the universe billions of years ago.

Although Fred Hoyle was an atheist, he turned out to be “greatly shaken” by all the parameters necessary for life to exist on a planet. Hoyle wrote “a common-sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super-intellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology…”

If even scientists cannot fully explain the origination of life, what else could be the source of life?

Why is everything so complex that we cannot fully understand, even after many many years of scientific research?

To think about for today

This is all for Day 1. You can think about this for the rest of the day.
Some helpful questions for you:

  • Is life on earth based on coincidence or could there be some form of intelligence behind all of it?
  • If you’d like to do some more research on the criteria that are required for life, please do.
  • Why am I different to other people?
  • Is there a reason for my existence?

Please come back tomorrow for your next day.

Continue to Day 2

Some factors that are needed to make life possible on Earth

The image below shows you a few of the many factors that are needed to support life on earth. These conditions need to be available in exact the right amount and proportion, otherwise life would not be possible at all.

infographic Some of the Factors That Allow Life on Earth to ExistMore about factors that are needed for life exist on a planet: What are the factors making life possible on earth?

Continue to Day 2