List, Alfredo,

A copy of this book (.pdf):
"Rare Earth: Why Complex 
Life is Uncommon in the 
Universe" by Peter Ward 
and Donald Brownlee can 
be downloaded (free) from 

Simply type "rare earth 
peter ward" into the search 
box and click "Search."

Peter Ward has a certain 
reknown as a contrarian 
in evolutionary theory. 
Many people know of the 
"Gaia" hypothesis of James 
Lovelock, that our planet 
is natually constituted to 
promote the emergence 
and long elaboration of life. 
Hence the term "Mother 
Earth" (which is what the 
divinity "Gaia" meant in 
Greek mythology).

Of course, that's more of 
a kind of generalization 
about theories, rather than 
an actual theory, but we 
do tend to like that idea, 
naturally; it flatters us.

Peter Ward has proposed 
the opposite: the "Medea" 
hypothesis, that "Mother 
Earth" wants to and has 
always "wanted" to stamp 
out this infestation of life 
by any means possible. (In 
the Greek myths, Medea 
murdered all her own 

Stomp, Stomp, STOMP. 
He's written almost a 
dozen (11) books that 
elaborate that theory.
They're full of convincing 
evidence and many good 
arguments and are, well, 
immensely depressing 
to read.

But the fact that some book 
bothers your innate (possibly 
unconscious) biases is not 
really a very good argument 
against it. When Darwin was 
quite elderly (but when "his"
evolution was still being 
argued against), a group of 
Victorian ladies asked him 
if his "ideas" about life's 
evolution had taught him 
anything about God.

Darwin pondered for a 
moment and replied, "Well, 
He does seem to have been 
inordinately fond of beetles." 
(There are 500,000+ species 
of beetle on Earth.)

Perhaps He feels that same 
way about habitable planets?
Or not. (Here's a good book 
that presents FIFTY reasons 
why there are no inhabitable 
planets with life:
"If the Universe is Teeming 
with Aliens, Where is Every-
body?" by Stephen Webb (pub.
by Praxis, 2002; it can be 
found for free on that same 
website I named above.)

Sterling Webb 

From: Meteorite-list [] On
Behalf Of Alfredo Petrov via Meteorite-list
Sent: Sunday, April 08, 2018 9:55 PM
Cc: meteorite list
Subject:Re: [meteorite-list] Why Extraterrestrial Life May Be More Unlikely
Than Scientists Thought

Apart from possible paucity of phosphorus, there are several other reasons
why advanced life could be much rarer than previously thought. Currently
everyone is looking for planets in the "habitable zone" around stars, but we
don't know what % of planets within a habitable (ie. temperature suitable
for liquid water) zone could develop advanced life. So far we only know of
one such planet, our own. It is likely that plate tectonics is a necessary
condition, for nutrient recycling, climate control, etc. Earth has it; Mars
and Venus do not. How commonly do Earth-like planets develop plate
tectonics? We don't know. 
A large moon will likely be a requirement for advanced life too, for several
geophysical reasons, and large moons seem to not be common with Earth-like
inner planets. Mars and Venus, again, don't have one. And so on... Books
have been written on this topic, years ago. I just finished one that was
written about 20 years ago, by Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee: "Rare Earth:
Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe"


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