SEATTLE, MAR. 7– The late astronomer Carl Sagan spoke for many when he said: “Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.” The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos is Designed for Discovery by Discovery Institute senior fellows Jay Richards and Guillermo Gonzalez challenged this long-standing assumption when it was published in March 2004, boldly asserting that Earth is anything but an ordinary planet in an insignificant part of the Milky Way, adrift in a vast and meaningless universe.
“Modern scientific evidence indicates that the many factors that make Earth suitable for complex life also provide the best conditions for astronomical discovery,” said co-author Guillermo Gonzalez, assistant professor of astronomy at Iowa State University. “In The Privileged Planet we explored this intriguing correlation and its implications on our understanding of the origin and purpose of the cosmos.”
Though controversial, The Privileged Planet has received positive endorsement or reviews from such leading scientists as Cambridge’s Simon Conway Morris, Harvard’s Owen Gingerich, and David Hughes, a Vice-President of the Royal Astronomical Society, who called it “pacey, informative, thought provoking, contentious, well referenced, and extremely hard to put down.”
This lucidly written and daringly original book sparked a debate that continued as it later became a documentary film, airing on PBS and premiering at the Smithsonian Institute in June 2005. While leading scientists responded to Gonzalez and Richard’s arguments with both enthusiasm and criticism, the Sagan lobby quickly denounced the film as “faith-based,” completely ignoring the scientific evidence presented by the authors except to decry it as a use of science to promote religion.
Now, two years after constructing their argument on an abundance of evidence, Richards and Gonzalez have returned to produce The Privileged Planet Teacher Guide. This supplement is appropriate for high school through advanced undergraduate students studying introductory astronomy, a general science course, or a college-level astrobiology course. While the full guide will not be available until later this spring, Discovery Institute has a free preview of Privileged Planet Teacher Guide now available online at www.discovery.org and www.privilegedplanet.com.
To receive a copy of the preview via e-mail, or to schedule an interview with one of the co-authors please contact Rob Crowther at email@example.com.