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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Oct > Oct 18

Re: Is Ufology 'Anti-Science'?

From: Lan Fleming <lfleming5.nul>
Date: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 13:29:15 -0500
Archived: Thu, 18 Oct 2007 17:59:09 -0400
Subject: Re: Is Ufology 'Anti-Science'?

>From: Claude Mauge <claudemauge.nul>
>Date: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 19:13:06 +0200 (CEST)
>Archived: Wed, 17 Oct 2007 21:09:41 -0400
>Subject: Re: Is Ufology 'Anti-Science'?


>In the '70s and the '80s, several scientific papers had "proved"
>by simulations that there were probably in the universe many
>planetary systems basically as ours, that is with "little"
>planets between the star and much bigger planets outside: as the
>Mediocrity Principle asserts, the solar system was thus a
>mundane system. But the known exoplanets are mostly giant ones
>very close to their sun, and therefore the solar system is not
>as mundane as it was thought. Only one conclusion can be drawn:
>for the time being, we don't know; so we must await for future
>developments (a point where I agree with Franck Boitte).

The fact that the exoplanets discovered up til now are not
Earth-like only demonstrates the "observer selection" effect.
Most of the planets that have been discovered have been detected
only because they are very large and close to their parent
stars, producing a gravitational attraction strong enough to
give the stars a wobbling motion large enough to be detected
from Earth. These planets are very different from not only
Earth, but from the gas giants in our own solar system (Jupiter,
Saturn, etc.), which are too far from the sun to sufficiently
affect its motion. Another method is to detect the dimming of
the parent star when the planet passes between it and observers
on Earth. That, too, requires a very large planet orbiting very
close to its parent star. But as the detection methods and
technology have improved, gas giants farther away from their
central stars have been detected as well as at least one rocky
planet only a few times larger than Earth. I think its only a
matter of time before astronomers discover Earth-sized rocky
planets at distances far enough from their stars for surface
temperatures in the range that could support life. There is
still no reason as yet to suppose that our solar system is
anything special.

However, a better argument can be made that the Earth is special
because its moon is unusually large in relation to its parent
planet, a situation thought to be the result of a chance
collision between Earth and a proto-planet in the early years of
the solar system. The "rare-earthers" think that this is
responsible for the evolution of advanced life forms on Earth
because the moon is large enough to stabilize the Earth's
rotational axis, preventing drastic climate changes of the sort
that can occur on Mars, which has a much larger axial wobble
than Earth. Since the moon's size is probably uncommon for
Earth-like planets, that would also make advanced life uncommon
- assuming the evolution of advanced life really requires a
planet with a stable rotational axis. Whether that's actually
true is another question.

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