The Undesigned Universe
January 9, 10, 11 2007 | Stafford Little Lecture
This is a three-part lecture.
Part 1: “Designs on Life.” Beginning with various definitions of life and a brief history of how life arose and evolved on Earth, the first lecture will consider the diversity of possible life, basic precepts of Darwin’s theory of evolution and the theory’s battles with creationism, and finally how life is a series of biological compromises superimposed on historical contingencies and structural constraints.
Part 2: “Designing a Habitable Solar System.” This lecture will discuss the notion of a “habitable zone” around any sun, what a star system optimally designed for life would look like, and finally how our solar system measures up.
Part 3: “The Construction of the Cosmos” begins with a brief history of the cosmos and a discussion of the threats to the existence of any galaxy. The notion of “bio-friendliness” and the optimization of life will be juxtaposed with the concept of a “galactic habitable zone,” which suggests a finite age for life in the cosmos and thus a refutation of intelligent design