Privileged Planet--New science documentary explores Earth’s extraordinary place in the cosmos

Discovery Institute
August 20, 2004
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SEATTLE, AUG. 20 – The late astronomer Carl Sagan spoke for many when he said: “Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.” The new science documentary “The Privileged Planet,” produced by Illustra Media, challenges this long-standing assumption, boldly argues that Earth is anything but an ordinary planet in an insignificant part of the Milky Way, adrift in a vast and meaningless universe.

Based on the book, “The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery” by Discovery Institute senior fellows Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez, the film explores the many ways in which Earth is ideally suited, not only for complex life, but also for observing the universe around us.

According to Richards and Gonzalez, modern scientific evidence indicates that the many factors that make Earth suitable for complex life also provide the best conditions for astronomical discovery. “The Privileged Planet” explores this intriguing correlation and its implications on our understanding of the origin and purpose of the cosmos.

Utilizing stunning computer animation and the visual archives of NASA, the Hubble Space Telescope Institute, the European Space Agency, and leading observatories throughout the world, this 58-minute film presents a spectacular and uplifting view of our planet, galaxy, and the entire cosmos. The film is narrated by Lord of the Rings actor John Rhys-Davies and features interviews with noted astronomers Robert Jastrow and David Brownlee, and physicist Paul Davies.

“The Privileged Planet” will be prominently featured at premieres in Southern California and Washington state in the fall.

Visit to see the film’s trailer, order the DVD or book, read an excerpt from it, read reviews and endorsements, and find out more about the authors.