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In this provocative book, Guillermo Gonzalez and...
In this provocative book, Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards present a staggering array of evidence that exposes the hollowness of this modern dogma. They demonstrate that our planet is exquisitely fit not only to support life, but also to give us the best view of the universe, as if Earth were designed both for life and for scientific discovery. Readers are taken on a scientific odyssey from a history of tectonic plates, to the wonders of water and solar eclipses, to our location in the Milky Way, to the laws that govern the universe, and to the beginning of cosmic time.
In The Privileged Planet, you will discover:
Why the best scientific evidence refutes the misnamed Copernican Principle—the widely held idea that there is nothing special about Earth or its place in the universe
Why the sheer number and size of galaxies does not mean that Earth’s capacity to sustain life is the result of blind chance
How Earth is precisely positioned in the Milky Way—not only for life, but also to allow us to find answers to the greatest mysteries of the universe
Striking ways in which water doesn’t behave like most other liquids—and how each of its quirks makes it perfectly suited for the existence of creatures like us
The harmony of Earth and the Moon: how they work together to sustain Earthly life as one intricate system—and how that system produces the best solar eclipses where Earthly observers can see them
How Jupiter and Saturn protect Earth from cataclysmic destruction
How the laws and constants that govern the universe must be narrowly fine-tuned for the existence of any complex life
The Privileged Planet's astounding findings should lead any individual to reevaluate entrenched assumptions about the universe—and even to reconsider our very purpose on what so many have dismissed as nothing more than an accident of cosmic evolution.
|Section 1.||Our Local Environment|
|Chapter 1||Wonderful Eclipses||1|
|Chapter 2||At Home on a Data Recorder||21|
|Chapter 3||Peering Down||45|
|Chapter 4||Peering Up||65|
|Chapter 5||The Pale Blue Dot in Relief||81|
|Chapter 6||Our Helpful Neighbors||103|
|Section 2.||The Broader Universe|
|Chapter 7||Star Probes||119|
|Chapter 8||Our Galactic Habitat||143|
|Chapter 9||Our Place in Cosmic Time||169|
|Chapter 10||A Universe Fine-Tuned for Life and Discovery||195|
|Chapter 11||The Revisionist History of the Copernican Revolution||221|
|Chapter 12||The Copernican Principle||247|
|Chapter 13||The Anthropic Disclaimer||259|
|Chapter 14||SETI and the Unraveling of the Copernican Principle||275|
|Chapter 15||A Universe Designed for Discovery||293|
|Chapter 16||The Skeptical Rejoinder||313|
|Conclusion: Reading the Book of Nature||331|
|Appendix A||The Revised Drake Equation||337|
|Appendix B||What about Panspermia?||343|
Posted November 26, 2004
This is good science from top to bottom. Carl Sagan gained praised for reasoning for chance. Gonzalez applies updated, and more thorough analysis. His findings suggest that much is unlikely rather than likely. Gonzalez deserves as much favorable notoriety as Sagan. But it is unlikely that this will be forthcoming. The reason is that the philosophical implications differ. His answer to the Hitchhiker's questions on 'the meaning of life, the universe, and everything else' may not be the same as that preferred by Sagan. But is this preference science? Any who enjoys science, reason, and reasoned scientific debate, should love this book. Book of the year and the decade!
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I think we are entering a period in which science begins to reveal things about reality that makes people feel uncomfortable, i.e. traditional evolutionary theory, anatomy and physics (especially in the quantum world). We are beginning to see that traditional perceptions of the universe and science is insufficient for adequate explanation as to the most important question: Why? In other words, the "hows" are begining to bore us and so we search for the whys. This book is rather arduous to read carefully but quite intriguing to skim. Regardless, I sympathize for its point of views. I used to be an avid believer in a "Darwinian" theory of evolution and a purely "naturalistic" view of the universe, but have been disappointed time and time again by vague, slow-coming and contradictory scientific explanations by doggedly stubborn scientists who "want" a particular theory to be the best theory rather than being indifferent as to what really is the best theory.
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i find it rather ironic that the previous reviewer mentions and critiques the work of Carl Sagan. The very same man who actually was a strong opponent to exactly this type of supposed scientific reasoning and claims. its called pseudoscience, pick up a dictionary and read it. then pick up and read the "demon haunted world" by carl sagan. as for "priviliged planet"... well I'll let Carl Sagan speak for me... "Extraorinary claims, require extraordinary evidence".
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Posted December 3, 2011
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