Cosmological revolutions

Richard Schroeppel (rcs@CS.Arizona.EDU)
Thu, 16 Jul 1998 11:36:42 MST

I would add one more data point to "we're in for a cosmological revolution": the existence of life.

The most plausible model for the origin of life is that it requires 10^100+ chemical trials for the right combination of circumstances to occur.

If the universe is a mere 20GY old, that isn't enough time.

Life -> a much older (or much larger) universe.

There's an interesting historical precedent: In the late 1800's, physicists calculated how long the sun would last, assuming a coal-burning source of energy. The answers were Usherish, less than 100KY. The geologists insisted from rock&sediment evidence that the minimum age for the earth was more like 100MY. This anomaly could have been read as "the sun must run on a more powerful energy source than coal, or must be renewed somehow". Eventually, fusion was discovered, resolving the problem.

Rich Schroeppel