Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Anthropic wonders

I just read a blog entry that closed by discussing the actions of our sun's heliosphere in countering the destructive forces of cosmic rays.

That got me thinking about the chain of anthropic wonders we've discovered. Yes, I understand that I wouldn't be here to comment on it if it wasn't so, but emotionally I still feel privileged to be here.

Why did life arise and continue to live on Earth? Because:

(1) Gravity causes matter to coalesce, counteracting the dissipation of entropy, thus forming stars from some of the matter;

(2) Gravity continues to press inwards on those stars, causing them to fuse; some eventually produce carbon (but only because the triple-alpha energies are just right!) and other heavier elements. The stars expel the heavier elements into space as they die.

(3) Gravity continues to cause matter to coalesce, but now the matter includes heavier elements, forming planets as well as stars;

(4) Gravity presses inwards on the new stars, causing them to fuse and provide continuous energy to those planets, making anti-entropic chemical reactions possible in the mix of lighter and heavier elements, thus allowing matter to organize itself into life;

(5) That same fusion creates a solar wind and a magnetic field that protects the new life on the planets from being destroyed by receiving too much disruptive radiation.

And now that all the above conditions have created our own sentient form of life, with the ability to build or destroy this assemblage of matter and life, what shall we decide to do with that ability in the time we have left before our planet becomes uninhabitable for us?

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