Saturday, 3 May 2014

“Life Is the Product of Many Lucky Turns of Events” : The Dilemma of Snowball Earth

Some scientists speculate that the mythical snowball earth might have looked like Antarctica (above) today. Image courtesy of Stephen Hudson, via Wikipedia.

Joel Kontinen

Writing in New Scientist, Stuart Clark says: “The existence of life on Earth seems to have been the product of many lucky turns of events. Take the sun's early history. According to everything we know about how stars like it develop, it should have been born feebly dim, only gradually warming to its present level. Earth, born with the sun 4.5 billion years ago, should have spent its first two billion years or so as a frozen ball of ice, devoid of life.”

In a purely materialistic /naturalistic scenario that relegates the Sun to an ordinary star and Earth to a run-of-the-mill planet, our existence might indeed appear to be a series of lucky accidents:

Yet in rocks laid down during this time we find sediments clearly deposited in aquatic environments, and ample fossil evidence of bacteria that indicate our planet was already a clement, inhabited world, perhaps within a billion years or so from the off. This mismatch, known as the faint young sun paradox, has many potential solutions. None quite has the ring of truth. But as suggestions accumulate and are discarded, one conclusion seems ever harder to ignore: we are even luckier to be here than we thought .”

Sounds more like fine-tuning than luck. But matter always has priority over mind in a purely naturalistic world. And the belief in billions of years brings enormous problems that could easily be avoided in a younger solar system.

Stuart then goes on to speculate how Earth might have become a planet capable of hosting life through “many lucky turns of events”.

This might cause one to ask whether luck is any more scientific than design.

The entire universe, and especially our solar system, seems to be fine-tuned for life. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1, NKJV).


Clark, Stuart. 2013. How was Earth's life kindled under a cold sun? New Scientist 2904, 44–47.