From: Chris Capel (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Jul 19 2005 - 16:01:14 MDT
On 7/19/05, Robin Lee Powell <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> On Tue, Jul 19, 2005 at 01:26:49PM -0700, Phillip Huggan wrote:
> > 10^11 and 10^11 are the figures for the # of stars and galaxies in
> > the universe. Ignoring earlier 1st generation stars which tend to
> > be very metal poor, and marginal brown dwarf star surfaces and
> > radioactive asteroid cores, there are ten planets in each stellar
> > system capable of facilitating the emergence of life.
> Umm, what?
> Last I checked, we had no idea whatsoever how many planets the
> "average" stellar system has.
I think the point is that this is a conservative assumption. Many of
his steps could be off by one or two orders of magnitude. If there
were fewer planets, which seems likely--though we don't really
know--then it would strengthen his point. Overall, I wouldn't be
surprised if this argument is off by five or more orders of magnitude,
in either direction, but it is certainly a fascinating line of
reasoning, and if some more fact gathering and hashing were done on
each step, I'd be willing to give the final number some credence.
Especially useful would be to come up with a reasonable margin of
error on each step and show the accumulated margin of error along with
the final number.
-- "What is it like to be a bat? What is it like to bat a bee? What is it like to be a bee being batted? What is it like to be a batted bee?" -- The Mind's I (Hofstadter, Dennet)
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