1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Very readable but not the whole story,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The Reason Why: The Miracle of Life on Earth (Kindle Edition)
Gribbon's books are always well written, well researched and up-to-the-minute. 'The Reason Why...' is no exception. An absorbing tale of the narrow sets of parameters needed for life to exist and the role of chance in keeping it going. It does not answer the question of exactly how life began, but it covers pretty well how life could not begin, and tries to answer the question of whether other intelligences are likely to exist. I have some reservations, however, with this kind of speculation. Firstly, the odds of life arising in this planet are 1, certainty, since we are here. To understand how unlikely that event actually is, doesn't really prove anything about our or anyone else's presence in the galaxy. Because we do not have enough (or indeed any) observations of similar conditions that do not produce life, there is no way our probabilities are anything more than speculative. We already know that planets seem to exist in configurations that were thought impossible just a few years ago. While Gribbon discusses past extinctions and their evolutionary role he does not go into the last and most pertinent term of the Drake Equation, the window of opportunity for a civilisation. This is the one that will tell us why there are no other civilisations visible in the galaxy. It is the future probability of extinction not our past luck that will determine how far life gets in the universe.
Sort: Oldest first | Newest first
Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 7 Nov 2015, 17:41:16 GMT
I. Holton says:
"....the odds of life arising in this planet are 1, certainty, since we are here. " Right, and no doubt when I win the lottery, the odds of it happening will be 1, because I have.
In reply to an earlier post on 7 Nov 2015, 23:43:41 GMT
Exactly. Probabilities of this kind (as distinct to quantum probabilities) only have meaning inb relation to what doesn't occur. Since we cannot have knowledge of that these estimations are far from interesting.
‹ Previous 1 Next ›