An Estimate of the Probability for Attaining the Necessary Parameters for Life Support

Parameter Probability that feature will fall in the required range
galaxy size .1
galaxy type .1
galaxy location .1
star location relative to galactic center .2
star distance from closest spiral arm .1
z-axis extremes of star's orbit .1
proximity of solar nebula to a supernova eruption .01
timing of solar nebula formation relative to supernova eruption .01
number of stars in system .2
star birth date .2
star age .4
star metallicity .05
star orbital eccentricity .1
star's distance from galactic plane .1
star mass .001
star luminosity relative to speciation .0001
star color .4
3H+ production .1
supernovae rates and locations .01
white dwarf binary types, rates, and locations .01
planetary distance from star .001
inclination of planetary orbit .5
planetary axis tilt .3
rate of change of axial tilt .01
planetary rotation period .1
rate of change in planetary rotation period .05
planetary orbit eccentricity .3
surface gravity (escape velocity) .001
tidal force .1
magnetic field .01
albedo .1
density .1
planetary crust thickness .01
oceans-to-continents ratio .2
rate of change in oceans-to-continents ratio .1
global distribution of continents .3
frequency and extent of ice ages .1
asteroid and comet collision rate .1
change in asteroid and comet collision rates .1
mass of body colliding with primordial Earth .002
timing of collision with primordial Earth .05
rate of change in asteroid/comet collision rate .1
proximity and mass of Jupiter .01
major planet eccentricities .1
major planet orbital instabilities .1
drift rate and rate change of major planets .1
atmospheric transparency .01
atmospheric pressure .1
atmospheric electric discharge rate .1
atmospheric temperature gradient .01
carbon dioxide level in atmosphere .01
oxygen level in atmosphere .01
chlorine level in atmosphere .1
iron quantity in oceans .1
tropospheric ozone quantity .01
stratospheric ozone quantity .01
mesospheric ozone quantity .01
water vapor level in atmosphere .01
oxygen-to-nitrogen ratio in atmosphere .1
quantity of greenhouse gases in atmosphere .01
frequency and extent of forest and grass fires .01
soil mineralization .1
quantity of sea-salt aerosols .1
quantity of decomposer bacteria in soil .01
quantity of mycorrhizal fungi in soil .01
quantity of nitrifying microbes in soil .01
quantity of sulfur in soil .1
quantity of sulfur in planet's core .1
tectonic activity .1
volcanic activity .1
decline in volcanic activity .1
viscosity of Earth's core at core boundaries .01
biomass to comet-infall ratio .01
regularity of cometary infall .1
dependency factors (estimate) 100,000,000,000
longevity requirements (estimate) .00001

Probability for combined occurrence of all 75 parameters = 10-99

Maximum possible number of planets in universe = 1023

Taken from Ross, H. 1998. Big Bang Refined by Fire. Reasons To Believe, Pasadena, CA.

By putting together probabilities for each of these design features occurring by chance, we can calculate the probability of the existence of a planet like Earth. This probability is 1 chance in 1099. Since there are estimated to be a maximum of only 1023 planets in the universe (10 planets/star, see note below), by chance there shouldn't be any planets capable of supporting life in the universe. Our existence suggests divine intervention and design. The design and care with which the laws of physics, the universe, our galaxy, our solar system, and the planet Earth were crafted suggests that God is caring and loving. He put in a lot of time in the design and creation of the universe so that we would have a nice place to live for such a short period of time.

Back to The Incredible Design of the Earth

Note: This is most likely a huge over estimate. In a recent survey of globular cluster 47 Tucanae, scientists found zero extrasolar planets out of 37,000 stars searched (Astronomers Ponder Lack of Planets in Globular Cluster from the Hubble Space Telescope).

References Top of page

Cited literature for the estimates presented here can be found on the main design page, The Incredible Design of the Earth.

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