It Came from Outer Space? Astrobiologist: Not Likely
On today’s ID the Future astrobiologist Guillermo Gonzalez and host Casey Luskin discuss the idea of undirected panspermia. Gonzalez explains the basic idea and what the best current evidence says about its plausibility. The occasion is his chapter on panspermia in the new anthology A Comprehensive Guide to Science and Faith, co-edited by Casey Luskin, associate director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Undirected panspermia is the idea that the first life on our planet came from outer space, carried by chance processes from a faraway living planet on space dust, asteroids, or comets either from within our solar system, or from another star system to here. The idea of panspermia was inspired by the extreme difficulty of satisfactorily explaining the chance origin of life on planet Earth. Two of the idea’s earliest proponents, Gonzalez notes, were the scientists Lord Kelvin and Svante Arrhenius, each with a different take. Gonzalez argues that our increasing knowledge about the conditions of interstellar space renders the idea of life successfully hitchhiking around trillions of miles and millions of years from a faraway star system to our big blue marble unlikely in the extreme.