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ID Film Privileged Planet & talk by Jay Richards & links on PP

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  • John Johnson
    Discovery Institute Event Wed. March 20, 7 pm (free) Film showing of “The Privileged Planet”, and Film discussion by Jay Richards, Ph.D., He is co-author
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 19, 2013
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      Discovery Institute Event Wed. March 20, 7 pm (free)
      Film showing of “The Privileged Planet”, and
      Film discussion by Jay Richards, Ph.D.,
      He is co-author of the book “The Privileged Planet”,
      with astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, who is
      featured in the film. Announcement at:
      It will be held at St. Margaret of Scotland Church
      3221 - 14th Ave. W , (West) Seattle , WA 98119
      Description: “Many have claimed that Earth is an
      insignificant speck of dust, adrift in a vast cosmic sea.
      But astronomical evidence suggests otherwise.
      Only a precise set of factors makes Earth suitable for
      complex life. Astonishingly, those same factors provide
      the best conditions for scientific discovery.
      The Privileged Planet explores this eerie correlation
      between life and discovery, and considers whether
      the universe is designed for a purpose.” 
      Bio of Speaker and co-author of the
      Privileged Planet – Jay Richards
      Senior fellow at the Discovery Institute.
      (with links to articles by him)
      (A) Book Synopsis:
      Excerpt: Contrary to all expectations, the laws of physics
      seem precisely "fine-tuned" for the existence of complex life….
      our Earthly location is extraordinarily well suited to allow us
      to peer into the heavens and discover its secrets…those same
      rare conditions that produce a habitable planet--that allow for
      the existence of complex observers like ourselves-also provide
      the best overall place for observing. 
      (B) Book reviews:
      Amazon Reader reviews (4 out of 5 stars – higher when
      You realize that the 1 star reviews are clearly by Skeptics
      Who likely have not read the book since they claim it is an ID book (it is not).
      Rather their thesis has to do with the design of earth to do observations of science
      And thus obtain and confirm theories like the fact that the speed of light is the same
      Regardless of motion, which led to Einstein’s theory of relativity.
      (C) Online Video of The Privileged Planet:
      Video on youtube (1 hour, 12 parts)
      (D) Book endorsements:
      Owen Gingerich, senior astronomer emeritus at the Smithsonian
      Astrophysical Observatory and Professor Emeritus of Astronomy
      and History of Science at Harvard University , says:
      “Not only have Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards written a
      book with a remarkable thesis, they have constructed their
      argument on an abundance of evidence and with a cautiousness
      of statement that make their volume even more remarkable.”
      (E) Positive reviews of the book:
      (1) David Hughes, astronomer, at the Royal Astronomical Society
      (2) Amy Coombs, Astronomy magazine
      (3) Philip Gold , Washington Times
      (4) Michael Martin, Hispanic Magazine
      Excerpt quotes:
      “[Galactic habitable zones] is a very, very interesting idea.,”
      says Dr. William Borucki, a research scientist in the Planetary
      Studies Branch of the NASA-Ames Research Center . [says]
      “I like how Gonzalez has imagined the consequences of planets
      existing at different parts of the Galaxy.”
      Gonzalez: “The stuff of life on Earth-like planets is unique, refined,
      and inherently rare, Gonzalez says.”Take water. It doesn't behave
      like most other liquids, yet each of its quirks makes it perfect for
      the existence of creatures like us.We also breathe cosmically rare
      air. Our atmosphere helps protect us from harmful radiation, but it
      also has just the right-sized window open to the helpful radiation—
      sunlight and warmth—crucial for our everyday existence.”
      (F) Film reviews by non-ID people:
      (1) Denyse O’Leary, science writer (non-ID but anti-Darwin humorist)
      The link to her book, “By Design or by Chance? The Growing
      Controversy over the Origins of Life in the Universe” is at
      (2) Lawrence Gage, Ph.D. Physics,
      (G) Book reviews by anti-ID people – with JNJ response:
      (1) A book review by astronomer William Jefferys on the anti-ID
      site NCSE. It is very clear that his “book review” is barely about the
      book – more than the first half is a diatribe against ID.
      Excerpt: “In another section, Gonzalez and Richards also attempt
      to refute the so-called "Many Worlds Hypothesis" (MWH), which
      postulates the existence of a very large or even actually infinite
      collection of universes called the multiverse (p 268 and following).
      I should first point out that they are simply wrong to think that the
      motivation for the MWH is to get around the fine-tuning problem.
      In fact, it is a consequence of the leading theory of cosmology —
      the theory of chaotic inflation — which is the theory best supported
      by the evidence (including that from the recent Wilson Microwave
      Anisotropy Probe, or WMAP). Chaotic inflation was invented to
      explain certain observed facts about our universe, for example its
      flatness and homogeneity. One consequence of inflation is that
      the universe is actually infinite in extent both in space and time,
      containing infinitely many regions that have each inflated into
      expanding universes much like ours, but perhaps with physical
      constants different from ours. Indeed, this multiverse is so vast
      that it would contain infinitely many universes exactly like ours,
      as well as infinitely many others that differ from ours in only
      subtle ways, for example ones in which I [William Jeffreys]
      am an ID creationist and the authors are attempting to refute
      my pro-ID arguments, or ones where I have a long green tail,
      or ones in which a particular gene in my genotype has a C
      substituted for an A (see [Charles] Seife’s [book Alpha and Omega]
      in 2004). 
      JNJ response: This musing about doppelgängers of an identical
      person in another universe, except the alter ego is a creationist,
      is metaphysical nonsense. The claim of an actual “infinity of
      universes” is vast overstatement not claimed by the most ardent
      proponent of parallel universes if they understand the limitations
      of string theory, which is highly speculative with no evidence.
      Charles Seife is a science writer, not a mathematician and
      neither is William Jefferys. Apparently neither understands the
      extreme largeness of combinatoric possibilities even given
      a modest number of choices.  A better upper guess of possible
      multiverses from Superstring theory (itself speculative but
      elegant mathematics) is 10^500 (500 zeros) is by astrophysicist
      Conlon, J.P., (2006. Contemporary Physics, Vol.47, 119-129).
      This seemingly immense number does not even come close to
      attaining the number of character combinations in a 500-character
      (2) Similarly, philosopher Vic Stenger also spends most of his words
      venting against ID.
      Excerpt: “Gonzalez and Richards marvel at the fact that we
      happen to live on a planet where total solar eclipses are
      observable and present this as a prime example of design
      for discovery. Indeed, science may have been triggered
      when, in 585 BCE, Thales of Miletus predicted a total eclipse
      that supposedly ended a war. In more recent times, observations
      made during total eclipses have been used to verify Einstein's
      theory of general relativity, specifically the bending of starlight
      near the sun's rim. Gonzalez and Richards seem to think general
      relativity would not have been discovered (assuming that the
      theories of physics are "out there" to be discovered) had we
      lived on a planet without the coincidence of angular diameters.
      That is very dubious, since many other tests of general relativity
      have been made that do not involve eclipses.”
      JNJ response: Stenger ignores the fact that all other tests of
      general relativity (before spacecraft) were dependent on have a
      translucent atmosphere, which was necessary to observe that
      the speed of light was the same independent of motion, one of
      their other chapters.
      (3) Religious studies professor Hector Alvalos also rails on ID
      Proponents, but very little discussion about  the book.
      (he is overtly biased against ID and organized a smear
      campaign against Intelligent Design and specifically
      against tenure for Guellermo Gonzalez):
      Excerpt: ‘The best explanation that TPP can muster for its
      selection is apparently on p. 303: "When considering universes,
      everyone recognizes, unless they're trying to avoid a conclusion
      they find distasteful, that a habitable universe containing
      intelligent observers has an intrinsic value that an uninhabitable
      one lacks."… [But] Intrinsic value… a very self-serving and
      circular argument. 
      JNJ response: Yes, Alvalos is correct that this claim does not
      support his thesis, but neither is the claim fallacious - it is just a
      judgment call about value. But this is an aside comment that
      hardly affects main thesis the previous 302 pages about how
      the universe is designed for us to observe it and do science.
      If this is all he can comment on than probably he is did not
      follow the thesis, and was cherry picking what he could pick on.
      Excerpt:  “if this planet were designed to facilitate scientific
      discovery, it leaves unexplained the fact that 99.99999% of our
      planet's 4.5 billion-year history was not inhabited by creatures
      that could record measurements. One might just as easily
      postulate that the Designer meant for earth to be inhabited
      mostly by creatures that made no intelligent measurements.”
      JNJ response: Clearly Alvalos has trouble with math. Taking the
      complement of his figure gives humans only living for .00001% of
      4.5 billion years, which works out to 450 years, well short of even
      the most strict creation estimate of 6000 years! 
       A more detailed refutation of Alvalos’ “review” is at:

      Prepared with comments by John N. Johnson, Applied mathematician

      John N. Johnson
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