poly: Cosmological revolutions

From: Richard Schroeppel <rcs@cs.arizona.edu>
Date: Thu Jul 16 1998 - 11:36:42 PDT

I would add one more data point to "we're in for a cosmological
revolution": the existence of life.

The most plausible model for the origin of life is that it requires
10^100+ chemical trials for the right combination of circumstances
to occur.

If the universe is a mere 20GY old, that isn't enough time.

Life -> a much older (or much larger) universe.

There's an interesting historical precedent:
In the late 1800's, physicists calculated how long the sun would last,
assuming a coal-burning source of energy. The answers were Usherish,
less than 100KY. The geologists insisted from rock&sediment evidence
that the minimum age for the earth was more like 100MY. This anomaly
could have been read as "the sun must run on a more powerful energy
source than coal, or must be renewed somehow". Eventually, fusion
was discovered, resolving the problem.

Rich Schroeppel rcs@cs.arizona.edu
Received on Thu Jul 16 18:34:29 1998

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