RR Excerpt #4: Our Insignificant Place in the Universe

This is excerpt #4 from The Reason Revolution: Atheism, Secular Humanism, and the Collapse of Religion, a short, FREE e-book available at Smashwords, Goodreads, and Amazon

Readers are invited to post online reviews at the download site.  Thank you!

More info:  dandana.us/atheism

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This is the second of nine posts describing "Reasons for Skepticism" derived from scientific discovery, not from wishful speculations about the supernatural.  These will be followed by several "Reconciliation Theories" for bridging the growing chasm between science and religion.

2. Our insignificant place in the universe. Our sun is an unremarkable star among 400 billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy, which is an unremarkable galaxy among 100 billion known galaxies. Astronomers know that many, if not most, stars have planetary systems. They recently estimated that there are one trillion planets in the Milky Way alone, 30 billion of which might be Earth-like (i.e., having liquid water), on which some forms of life might have evolved.

Doing the math, 30 billion times 100 billion is the number of potential life-hosting planets in the universe, a number so unimaginably large there is no name for it. Astronomical spectroscopy has determined that the same chemical and physical laws apply throughout the universe. Therefore, it is probable that among that vast number many Earth-like planets exist, hosting life forms that evolved through similar processes as those on our home planet, though there is no reason to believe life forms elsewhere visually resemble humans. An increasing number of cosmologists accept that our universe is only one of perhaps an infinite number of universes in the multiverse—a scale that defies human imagination.

Regarding time, our universe burst into existence about 13.8 billion years ago with the Big Bang, the moment spacetime began (at least in our universe). Humans and our closest modern primate cousins (i.e., chimpanzees) diverged from a common ancestor about five million years ago. Again doing the math, humans have existed for only 0.000036% of the time the universe has existed.

Astronomers also know that our sun will exhaust its nuclear fuel and become an enlarged red giant star, enveloping and vaporizing the Earth, in about five billion years. Assuming that Earth's environment remains hospitable to humans and descendant species until the bloating sun incinerates its inner planets—extremely unlikely, since catastrophic events such as solar megaflares, major asteroid strikes, and mass extinctions occur every several million years—humans will have existed only 0.0014% of the maximum possible period.

How plausible is it that a creator made all this cosmic machinery solely for the benefit of our Earth-bound species, which exists for barely an instant of time and in a nearly infinitesimal spot in the multiverse? How can human grandiosity and delusions of self-importance be so out of sync with the known dimensions of space and time?

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Comment by DAN DANA on August 11, 2014 at 9:49am

Michael, thanks for your comment.  I agree fully, of course.  Take a look at the "reconciliation theory? section of my short free ebook at http://bit.ly/1xi2NUU where I anticipate the various ways religionists might weasel around the science. 

Indeed, may I ask that you post an online review at that site and/or on Amazon - http://amzn.to/WjLuWF

Much thanks.

Comment by Michael Penn on August 11, 2014 at 9:42am

Your posting is remarkable and makes a very good point. Still, you have those morons that say we do not understand. God has to "live outside our universe and outside of space and time." If that was true how would god ever interact with mankind? How would interaction between mankind and god even be possible? How could you even say that god made the universe? The reason for such idiotic assertions is to make "god" untouchable to everyone unless you are a devout theist without logic, reason, and evidence.

God is imaginary.

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