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"How Is Possible That We Are Here: A Talk Summary"

"How Is It Possible That We Are Here?, An Illustrated Talk Summary" Dr. David G. Penney, Ph.D. will explore the scientific theories of how how life exists on Earth, at the Libary Oct. 20, 2016 at 7PM.
  • When Oct 20, 2016 from 07:00 PM to 08:00 PM (US/Eastern / UTC-400)
  • Where Betsie Valley District Library
  • Contact Name
  • Contact Phone 231-378-2716
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"How Is It Possible That We Are Here?, An Illustrated Talk Summary" 
Dr. David G. Penney, Ph.D. will explore the scientific theories of how how life exists on Earth, at the Libary Oct. 20, 2016 at 7PM. Dr. Penney states, “In previous talks I have spoken about the Milky Way galaxy; its physical structure. Now we want to ask the question, “How is it possible that life, and we as intelligent beings are here?.” Life developed on earth, or did it? If not here, where? Regardless, can we identify the factors, the favorable characteristics, that would be beneficial to life sustaining and even flourishing in our galaxy, in our solar system, and on our planet. What are the factors that would work against life beginning, spreading, and evolving on our world. We know of 5-12+ major extinction events in the past 1/2 billion years, that 99% of all species that ever lived on earth became extinct. How have we been so lucky to avoid extinction?

What I and others have done is to consider various favoring characteristics and to what extent they would have been efficacious for life. I have identified nearly 50 such factors. Some authors have identified over 200. I along with others have also modeled the cumulative effects of negative factors over time on factors that lead to extinction. This would include vulcanism, solar brightness variability, sea level change, continental drift, frequency of large impactors, supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and black holes. I will demonstrate the effects of simulated supernovae, gamma-ray bursts, and stellar-mass black holes on life on earth over several billions of years.

The questions surrounding the transition from single-celled life, to multi-cellular life, to intelligent life is even more complex. Is intelligent life inevitable when life evolves over billions of years? How is it that intelligent hominids appeared so quickly during the past two million years? Why is it that we have brains with capabilities far out-stripping the hunter-gatherer environments within which we evolved? In short, why are we so smart while our evolutionary history was so humble?

I will discuss the implications of this new science.”

David G. Penney, Ph.D.

Earth picture

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