Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Theoretical physicist plus biology equals?

I've just got to chapter 8 in Parallel Worlds by Michio Kaku - "Designer Universes", oh dear. I think it should have been re-headed "I don't know what I'm talking about". He starts off with something told to him by a teacher as proof that God loves the human race apparently the 'fact' He placed the Earth in just the right position from the Sun; yep it's the 'Goldilocks' factor.

Kaku then goes on to find other amazing things; the Earth has just the right mass to keep an atmosphere, the Moon steadies the tilt and wobble, Jupiter sucks in or fires off the asteroids that would hit us, we're far enough out from the centre of our galaxy not to be bombarded with radiation, blah blah blah. He then mentions that cosmologists have found lots of these 'Goldilocks' factors

Uh-huh "cosmologists", now out of curiosity how many of these cosmologists hold a degree in biology?

The reason we're here looking at all these factors is simply that if they weren't present we (in our current shape and form) wouldn't be here to look at them, we'd be wondering abut how amazing it is that we're close enough to the sun to provide enough energy, how lucky we are not to have a satellite that could cause fluctuations in our tilt, how the lack of a gas giant means in its early life our planet was constantly seeded by asteroids delivering the rare metals that make up 'our' bodies etc.

I've said something like this before, but it obviously needs repeating - Kaku you're a theoretical physicist not a biologist! You want to start spouting off about the conditions required to form life you might want to run your text past someone who's got a degree in that subject first; because what you're saying has been out of date for a couple of decades now and, to be blunt, makes you look silly.