Reasons to Believe

Probabilities for Life on Earth (JUNE 2002)

© 2002 Reasons To Believe

An Estimate of the Probability for Attaining the Necessary Parameters for Life Support1-85


Probability that feature will
Fall in the required range
for physical life

local abundance and distribution of dark matter 0.1
relative abundances of different exotic mass  particles 0.01
decay rates of different exotic mass particles 0.05
density of quasars 0.1
density of giant galaxies in the early universe 0.1
galaxy cluster size 0.1
galaxy cluster density 0.1
galaxy cluster location 0.1
galaxy size 0.1
galaxy type 0.1
galaxy mass distribution 0.2
size of galactic central bulge 0.2
galaxy location 0.1
variability of local dwarf galaxy absorption rate 0.1
quantity of galactic dust 0.1
giant star density in galaxy 0.1
rate of nearby gamma ray bursts 0.1
star location relative to galactic center 0.2
star distance from corotation circle of galaxy 0.005
ratio of inner dark halo mass to stellar mass for galaxy 0.1
star distance from closest spiral arm 0.1
z-axis extremes of star's orbit 0.02
proximity of solar nebula to a type I supernova eruption 0.01
timing of solar nebula formation relative to type I supernova eruption 0.01
proximity of solar nebula to a type II supernova eruption 0.01
timing of solar nebula formation relative to type II supernova eruption 0.01
timing of hypernovae eruptions 0.2
number of hypernovae eruptions 0.1
masses of stars that become hypernovae 0.1
flux of cosmic ray protons 0.1
variability of cosmic ray proton flux 0.1
gas dispersal rate by companion stars, shock waves, and molecular cloud expansion in the Sun's birthing star cluster 0.1
number of stars in birthing cluster 0.01
star formation rate in parent star vicinity during history of that star 0.1
variation in star formation rate in parent star vicinity during history of that star 0.1
birth date of the star-planetary system 0.01
number of stars in system 0.7
number and timing of close encounters by nearby stars 0.01
proximity of close stellar encounters 0.1
masses of close stellar encounters 0.1
density of brown dwarfs 0.1
distance from nearest black hole 0.2
absorption rate of planets and planetismals by parent star 0.1
star age 0.4
star metallicity 0.05
ratio of 40K, 235,238U, 232Th to iron in star-planetary system 0.02
star orbital eccentricity 0.1
star mass 0.001
star luminosity change relative to speciation types & rates 0.00001
star color 0.4
star rotation rate 0.3
rate of change in star rotation rate 0.3
star magnetic field 0.1
star magnetic field variability 0.1
stellar wind strength and variability 0.1
short period variation in parent star diameter 0.1
star's carbon to oxygen ratio 0.01
star's space velocity relative to Local Standard of Rest 0.05
star's short term luminosity variability 0.05
star's long term luminosity variability 0.05
amplitude and duration of star spot cycle 0.1
number & timing of solar system encounters with interstellar gas clouds 0.1
galactic tidal forces on planetary system 0.2
H3+ production 0.1
supernovae rates & locations 0.01
white dwarf binary types, rates, & locations 0.01
structure of comet cloud surrounding planetary system 0.3
planetary distance from star 0.001
inclination of planetary orbit 0.5
axis tilt of planet 0.3
rate of change of axial tilt 0.01
period and size of axis tilt variation 0.1
planetary rotation period 0.1
rate of change in planetary rotation period 0.05
planetary revolution period 0.2
planetary orbit eccentricity 0.3
rate of change of planetary orbital eccentricity 0.1
rate of change of planetary inclination 0.5
period and size of eccentricity variation 0.1
period and size of inclination variation 0.1
precession in planet's rotation 0.3
rate of change in planet's precession 0.3
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon abundance in solar nebula 0.1
number of moons 0.2
mass and distance of moon 0.01
surface gravity (escape velocity) 0.001
tidal force from sun and moon 0.1
magnetic field 0.01
rate of change & character of change in magnetic field 0.1
albedo (planet reflectivity) 0.1
density 0.1
density of interstellar and interplanetary dust particles in vicinity of life-support planet 0.3
reducing strength of planet's primordial mantle 0.3
thickness of crust 0.01
timing of birth of continent formation 0.1
oceans-to-continents ratio 0.2
rate of change in oceans to continents ratio 0.1
global distribution of continents 0.3
frequency, timing, & extent of ice ages 0.1
frequency, timing, & extent of global snowball events 0.1
silicate dust annealing by nebular shocks 0.02
asteroidal & cometary collision rate 0.1
change in asteroidal & cometary collision rates 0.1
rate of change in asteroidal & cometary collision rates 0.1
mass of body colliding with primordial Earth 0.002
timing of body colliding with primordial Earth 0.05
location of body's collision with primordial Earth 0.05
position & mass of Jupiter relative to Earth 0.01
major planet eccentricities 0.1
major planet orbital instabilities 0.05
drift and rate of drift in major planet distances 0.05
number & distribution of planets 0.01
distance of gas giant planets from mean motion resonances 0.02
orbital separation distances among inner planets 0.01
mass of Neptune 0.1
total mass of Kuiper Belt asteroids 0.1
mass distribution of Kuiper Belt asteroids 0.2
average rainfall precipitation 0.01
variation and timing of average rainfall precipitation 0.01
atmospheric transparency 0.01
atmospheric pressure 0.01
atmospheric viscosity 0.1
atmospheric electric discharge  rate 0.01
atmospheric temperature gradient 0.01
carbon dioxide level in atmosphere 0.01
rate of change in carbon dioxide level in atmosphere 0.1
rate of change in water vapor level in atmosphere 0.01
rate of change in methane level in early atmosphere 0.01
oxygen quantity in atmosphere 0.01
nitrogen quantity in atmosphere 0.01
carbon monoxide quantity in atmosphere 0.1
chlorine quantity in atmosphere 0.1
aerosol particle density emitted from forests 0.05
cobalt quantity in crust 0.1
arsenic quantity in crust 0.1
copper quantity in crust 0.1
boron quantity in crust 0.1
flourine quantity in crust 0.1
iodine quantity in crust 0.1
manganese quantity in crust 0.1
nickel quantity in crust 0.1
phosphorus quantity in crust 0.1
tin quantity in crust 0.1
zinc quantity in crust 0.1
molybdenum quantity in crust 0.05
vanadium quantity in crust 0.1
chromium quantity in crust 0.1
selenium quantity in crust 0.1
iron quantity in oceans 0.1
tropospheric ozone quantity 0.01
stratospheric ozone quantity 0.01
mesospheric ozone quantity 0.01
water vapor level in atmosphere 0.01
oxygen to nitrogen ratio in atmosphere 0.1
quantity of greenhouse gases in atmosphere 0.01
rate of change in greenhouse gases in atmosphere 0.01
poleward heat transport in planet's atmosphere 0.2
quantity of forest & grass fires 0.01
quantity of sea salt aerosols 0.1
soil mineralization 0.1
quantity of anaeorbic bacteria in the oceans 0.01
quantity of aerobic bacteria in the oceans 0.01
quantity of anaerobic nitrogen-fixing bacteria in the early oceans 0.01
quantity, variety, and timing of sulfate-reducing bacteria 0.00001
quantity of geobacteraceae 0.01
quantity of aerobic photoheterotrophic bacteria 0.01
quantity of decomposer bacteria in soil 0.01
quantity of mycorrhizal fungi in soil 0.01
quantity of nitrifying microbes in soil 0.01
quantity & timing of vascular plant introductions 0.001
quantity, timing, & placement of carbonate-producing animals 0.00001
quantity, timing, & placement of methanogens 0.00001
phosphorus and iron absorption by banded iron formations 0.01
quantity of soil sulfur 0.1
ratio of electrically conducting inner core radius to radius of the adjacent turbulent fluid shell 0.2
ratio of core to shell (see above) magnetic diffusivity 0.2
magnetic Reynold's number of the shell (see above) 0.2
elasticity of iron in the inner core 0.2
electromagnetic Maxwell shear stresses in the inner core 0.2
core precession frequency for planet 0.1
rate of interior heat loss for planet 0.01
quantity of sulfur in the planet'score 0.1
quantity of silicon in the planet's core 0.1
quantity of water at subduction zones in the crust 0.01
quantity of high pressure ice in subducting crustal slabs 0.1
hydration rate of subducted minerals 0.1
water absorption capacity of planet's lower mantle 0.1
tectonic activity 0.05
rate of decline in tectonic activity 0.1
volcanic activity 0.1
rate of decline in volcanic activity 0.1
location of volcanic eruptions 0.1
continental relief 0.1
viscosity at Earth core boundaries 0.01
viscosity of lithosphere 0.2
thickness of mid-mantle boundary 0.1
rate of sedimentary loading at crustal subduction zones 0.1
biomass to comet infall ratio 0.01
regularity of cometary infall 0.1
number, intensity, and location of hurricanes 0.02

dependency factors estimate ≈ 1039
longevity requirements estimate ≈ 1013

Probability for occurrence of all 200 parameters ≈ 10-237
Maximum possible number of planets in universe ≈ 1022

Thus, less than 1 chance in 10215 (one hundred billion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion) exists that even one such planet would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.


All the references in Fine-Tuning of Physical Life Support Body by Hugh Ross (Pasadena, CA: Reasons To Believe, 2002) apply. What follows are references that are in addition to those.

  1. Yu N. Mishurov and L. A. Zenina, “Yes, the Sun is Located Near the Corotation Circle,” Astronomy & Astrophysics, 341 (1999), pp. 81-85.
  2. Guillermo Gonzalez, “Is the Sun Anomalous?” Astronomy & Geophysics, in press (2000).
  3. Ray White III and William C. Keel, “Direct Measurement of the Optical Depth in a Spiral Galaxy,” Nature, 359 (1992), pp. 129-130.
  4. W. C. Keel and R. E. White III, “HST and ISO Mapping of Dust in Silhouetted Spiral Galaxies,” American Astronomical Society Meeting, 191, #75.01, December, 1997.
  5. Raymond E. White III, William C. Keel, and Christopher J. Conselice, “Seeing Galaxies Through Thick and Thin. I Optical Opacity Measures in Overlapping Galaxies,” Astrophysical Journal, 542 (2000), pp. 761-778.
  6. M. Emillio and J. R. Kuhn, “On the Constancy of the Solar Diameter,” Astrophysical Journal, 543 (2000), pp. 1008-1010.
  7. Douglas Gough, “Sizing Up the Sun,” Nature, 410 (2001), pp. 313-314.
  8. John Vanermeer, et al, “Hurricane Disturbance and Tropical Tree Species Diversity,” Science, 290 (2000), pp. 788-791.
  9. Nicholas R. Bates, Anthony H. Knap, and Anthony F. Michaels, “Contribution of Hurricanes to Local and Global Estimates of Air-Sea Exchange of CO2,” Nature, 395 (1998), pp. 58-61.
  10. John Emsley, The Elements, third edition (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1998), pp. 24, 40, 56, 58, 60, 62, 78, 102, 106, 122, 130, 138, 152, 160, 188, 198, 214, 222, 230.
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  13. A. Evans, N. J. Beukes, J. L. Kirschvink, “Low Latitude Glaciation in the Palaeoproterozoic Era,” Nature, 386 (1997), pp. 262-266.
  14. Hugh Ross, “Rescued From Freeze Up,” Facts & Faith, v. 11, n. 2 (1997), p. 3.
  15. Hugh Ross, “New Developments in Martian Meteroite,” Facts & Faith, v. 10, n. 4 (1996), pp. 1-3.
  16. Paul Parsons, “Dusting Off Panspermia,” Nature, volume 383 (1996), pp. 221-222.
  17. P. Jonathan Patchett, “Scum of the Earth After All,” Nature, volume 382 (1996), p. 758.
  18. Hubert P. Yockey, “The Soup’s Not One,” Facts & Faith, v. 10, n. 4 (1996), pp. 10-11.
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  22. Hugh Ross, “Wild Fires Under Control,” Facts & Faith, v. 11, n. 1 (1997), pp. 1-2.
  23. Peter D. Moore, “Fire Damage Soils Our Forest,” Nature 384 (1996), pp. 312-313.
  24. A. U. Mallik, C. H. Gimingham, and A. A. Rahman, “Ecological Effects of Heather Burning I. Water Infiltration, Moisture Retention, and Porosity of Surface Soil,”  Journal of Ecology, 72 (1984), pp. 767-776.
  25. Hugh Ross, “Evidence for Fine-Tuning,” Facts & Faith, v. 11, n. 2 (1997), p. 2.
  26. Herbert J. Kronzucker, M. Yaeesh Siddiqi, and Anthony D. M. Glass, “Conifer Root Discrimination Against Soil Nitrate and the Ecology of Forest Succession,” Nature, 385 (1997), pp. 59-61.
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  28. Christine Mlot, “Tallying Nitrogen’s Increasing Impact,” Science News, 151 (1997), p. 100.
  29. Hugh Ross, “Rescued From Freeze Up,” Facts & Faith, v. 11, n. 2 (1997), p.3.
  30. Hugh Ross, “Life in Extreme Environments,” Facts & Faith, v. 11, n. 2 (1997), pp. 6-7.
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  32. Hugh Ross, “‘How’s the Weather?’—Not a Good Question on Mars,” Facts & Faith, v. 11, n. 4 (1997), pp. 2-3.
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  34. Ron Cowen, “Martian Rocks Offer a Windy Tale,” Science News, 152 (1997), p. 84.
  35. Hugh Ross, “Earth Design Update: The Cycles Connected to the Cycles, Facts & Faith, v. 11, n. 4 (1997), p. 3.
  36. Hugh Ross, “Earth Design Update: One Amazing Dynamo,” Facts & Faith, v. 11, n. 4 (1997), p. 4.
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  59. Hugh Ross, “Bacteria Help Prepare Earth for Life,” Connections, v. 3, n. 1 (2001), p. 4.
  60. Crisogono Vasconcelos and Judith A. McKenzie, “Sulfate Reducers—Dominant Players in a Low-Oxygen World?” Science, 290 (2000), pp. 1711-1712.
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  62. Jochen Erbacher, Brian T. Huber, Richard D. Morris, and Molly Markey, “Increased Thermohaline Stratification as a Possible Cause for an Ocean Anoxic Event in the Cretaceous Period,” Nature, 409 (2001), pp. 325-327.
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  65. Fred C. Adams and Gregory Laughlin, “Constraints on the Birth Aggregate of the Solar System,” arXiv:astro-ph/0011326 (Nov. 16, 2000).
  66. Ian A. Bonnell, Kester W. Smith, Melvyn B. Davies, and Keith Horne, “Planetary Dynamics in Stellar Clusters,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2001), in press.
  67. Aylwyn Scally and Cathie Clarke, “Destruction of Protoplanetary Disks in the Orion Nebula,” Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2001), in press.
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  69. Qingjuan Yu and Scott Tremaine, “Resonant Capture by Inward-Migrating Planets,” Astronomical Journal, 121 (2001), pp. 1736-1740.
  70. Zhang Peizchen, Peter Molnar, and William R. Downs, “Increased Sedimentation Rates and Grain Sizes 2-4 Myr Ago Due to the Influence of Climate Change on Erosion Rates,” Nature, 410 (2001), pp. 891-897.
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Subjects: Earth/Moon Design, Galaxy Design, Solar System Design, Universe Design

Dr. Hugh Ross

Reasons to Believe emerged from my passion to research, develop, and proclaim the most powerful new reasons to believe in Christ as Creator, Lord, and Savior and to use those new reasons to reach people for Christ. Read more about Dr. Hugh Ross.