Re: A _Rare Earth_ review

From: Amara Graps (
Date: Mon Oct 29 2001 - 01:55:20 MST

From: "Eliezer S. Yudkowsky" <>, Sun, 28 Oct 2001

>Amara, is there any Rare Earth theory that has been proposed for
>good prior reasons, but which involves such massive improbability
>that nobody would take seriously the assertion that it happened to
>Earth? [...] but once in a Universe, or once in every 10^8 Universes?

I can't think of any (if I hear of one I'll tell you). Perhaps
Anders has an idea.

The only theory I can think of that sounded extremely unlikely (at
the time) was one explanation I heard for the left-handedness of the
amino acids in our Solar System. This theory was that the
left-handed preference might have been imposed on the molecular
cloud, out of which our Solar System formed, by circularly polarized
light, which was caused by synchrotron radiation from a neutron star (*).

In 'light' of the information these past couple years about our
Local Bubble, and that several supernovae seem to have occurred,
nearby (within 1500 light years) at different times in the post, a
nearby neutron star doesn't seem that unlikely to me any more.


(*) Bonner, W.A. Origins of Life 21, 59-111 (1991).

Amara Graps, PhD email:
Computational Physics vita:
Multiplex Answers URL:
"Take time to consider. The smallest point may be the most essential."
Sherlock Holmes (The Adventure of the Red Circle)

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