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Adam Grise
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I've had to give the rebuttal to this argument many times, as well. I like to use a hand of cards analogy, too. The thing people mix up with probabilities is that people make the mistake of thinking that complex life couldn't have developed without all those premises falling perfectly into place (the variables that make Earth habitable, variables that influence abiogenesis and evolution). We apply significance to the hand of cards the universe has because we're in it. But it's not significant. It's clear by the vastness of the universe. There are presumably hundreds of trillions of stars in the universe, each with their own solar system, each with a habitable zone for life. Even if the universe had developed in a very different layout (gotten a different hand of cards, and equally as unlikely), the stars would still be there, and there'd likely be stars elsewhere that had planets orbiting in their habitable zone. It's plausible that Earth is not the only habitable planet out there.
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May 11, 2010