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Review of The Privileged Planet

The Privileged Planet. Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay W. Richards.
Washington, D.C. Regnery Publishing Inc., 2004.
446 pages. $27.95 hardcover.

Do we owe our existence on Earth to chance or design? Do we occupy a privileged spot in space and time, primed for life and discovery?

Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez and philosopher/theologian Jay W. Richards firmly stand in the design camp. In The Privileged Planet, the authors have produced a comprehensive, richly illustrated and heavily notated book.

Gonzalez and Richards counter the prevailing notion among scientists that Earth is merely an average rocky planet revolving around an ordinary star on the outskirts of an undistinguished galaxy. The authors present evidence that suggests life in the cosmos is a rarity due to a variety of prerequisite conditions, such as the unique properties of water, the peculiarities of the Earth-moon system, the sheltering effects of Jupiter and Saturn, and the fine-tuned nature of the universe. The authors maintain that these same conditions allow mankind’s significant discovery of the structure of physical laws and the universe. The appendices examine a revised Drake Equation and tackle the idea of “panspermia” – the seeding of life on Earth.

Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.