Consider the Odds!


Consider the odds!

Scientists estimate that there are about a billion galaxies in the known universe. Within each of these galaxies are about a billion stars. That means that there are approximately 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the visible universe. If, as some believe, planets circle some small percentage of these stars, let's say only .0001% (one ten thousandth of one percent, a very conservative figure) that would mean that there are 10,000,000 stars with planets orbiting them.

Now, of those 10,000,000 planets, most will be gas giants like our own Jupiter, Neptune and Saturn, places not very hospitable to life as we know it. Some will have the requisite rocky surface but will be either too close or too far away, causing the surface to be either locked in eternal frozen winter like Pluto or hot enough to melt lead like our own Mercury.

Again, let's assume a truly small percentage of the remaining planets fall into earth-like parameters of liquid water and an atmosphere consisting of oxygen and nitrogen and the other trace gases as well as a star at just the right distance from the planet for the heat and light necessary for life as we know it. If only .0001% can be categorized "earth-like" then we have a grand total of 1,000 (one thousand) inhabitable planets in all of the universe.

The odds of another of these exceptional planets being found in the same galaxy as ours are enormous. In fact, the odds against a planet like ours being in any other galaxy within a million light years is astronomical.

Now, on these thousand or so planets we will assume that each, at some time in their sun's existence, provided a perfect laboratory for a long enough period of time for life and evolution to begin its slow process. If, as most scientists agree (at the moment), the universe is about ten billion years old and the M Class of stars such as our own began forming about 6 to 8 billion years ago, then these one thousand planets could have been harboring life during any part of that time.

How many of the possible civilizations which grew on these worlds are still in existence? If the example of Homo Sapiens here on earth is an acceptable example, we have lived as a civil whole for only about 4,000 to 5,000 years. In that time, hundreds if not thousands of separate civilizations have grown, flourished and then disappeared from history. This last attempt in which we are living has come within a hair's breadth of annihilating itself through the stupidity of creating weapons it isn't mature enough to control as well as the myriad toxic poisons we allow to be poured into our environment in the name of "progress" and "profit".

Now then, since our very existence is as near to a miracle as the mathematics of possibility allows one would think that we would concentrate our energies on protecting the environment our very lives depend on and in providing a decent standard of living for every citizen of this possibly unique planet as well as investigating the rest of our cosmic neighborhood and even in the esoteric search for the truth about the existence of God. Since we may well be the only life forms in the entire universe that are self-aware and has the ability to consider possibilities other than the reality we face one would think that we would use our extreme good fortune to assure that all of humanity possesses a comfortable life and future.

Nevertheless, what do we concentrate our energies on?

We try to acquire more of the limited resources of the planet than our fellow passengers and then we worship and respect that greed and possessiveness as a virtue even though the fact that one having so much condemns the many to lives of misery.

We hate and kill one another over unprovable religious assumptions.

One nation happily kills hundreds of thousands of other human beings in order that 5% of the world's population can, without a trace of irony or guilt, sponge up 20% of the world's energy and resources and can continue to do so without the interference of nations less able to militarily force their opinions on the rest of the world.

We pour filth onto our home while delaying remedies and denying responsibility, then demand that our government clean it up and complain and moan and demand "smaller government" when we finally get the bill for the job.

We worship simple athletic ability and ignore or even ridicule those who have superior mental capabilities.

Basically, we act as if we had the right to spoil an entire planet for the benefit of the few. We act as if God approves of the few enjoying plenty while the masses suffer and starve. We act as if war is an acceptable alternative to intelligent thought. Overall, we behave like very ill-mannered children who have never been shown how to conduct oneself like an adult. We are, when one considers all that we have been provided with, a truly sorry spectacle and unworthy of the wealth that God has, against all odds, bestowed upon us.

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Copyright 6/27/98