Copyright © Nils Jansma
2008 - 2020, All Rights Reserved
THE DESIGN OF THE PLANET EARTH
If the universe was not caused, what is the alternative?
If the universe was both caused and had a beginning, what
final question must we ask?
If the cause was personal, what kind of creation would we
expect to find?
What means will we use to interpret the significance of the
“just right” conditions found to exist on the earth?
What problems arise when one looks for the “right kind” of
galaxy to support human life?
Why would our solar system have to be carefully positioned
within a galaxy?
What are the odds of finding a sun like ours situated
within the safe region of a galaxy?
Name some of the problems that arise when searching for the
right kind of star to serve as a life-supporting sun?
What is “Roche’s Limit?”
What other factors must we consider in searching for a
What odds do we eventually end up with?
q-24.3 How does water relate to the earth’s distance
from the sun?
What does “planetary tilt” have to do with maintaining right
temperatures on the earth’s surface?
What three other features of the earth are related to
maintaining its tilt and to protecting it from being hit by
destructive meteors and/or “charged particles” which are
continuously radiating from the sun?
Why is it good design for the
earth to have more water in the southern
hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere?
q-27.1 How do the large outer
planets protect the earth?
q-27.2 What is the difference between
something happening individually or
q-28.1 How do you figure the
probabilities of multiple events happening
q-28.2 Based on simple probabilities,
what are the odds that a planet like the
earth would develop accidentally?
What are the odds that you could survive
jumping out of an airplane without a
q-29.2 What questions are raised by
the “parachute” example?
– End of Chapter.
Source Workbook - Answers
Nils Jansma 2018, All Rights Reserved
Chapter 2 – THE DESIGN OF THE PLANET EARTH
Page 19 q-19.1 If the universe was not caused, what is the
The alternative must be that, out of a complete void, matter
just “popped” into existence. Interestingly, also included along
with matter is the space to contain it and the time to regulate
it. The normal idea one often associates with the Big Bang
“popping” into existence is that it happened in a great expanse
of existing space. However, the term “void” is used to denote an
undefined “spaceless” location because space and time were
included as a part of the created universe. It has been
determined that intergalactic space, or the space between the
galaxies of the universe, is filled with an unsubstantiated
plasma matter that has an average density of less than one atom
per cubic meter. Science calls this plasma the “*spacetime
continuum,” which seems to be comprised of a “fabric” of dark
matter and energy as defined by Einstein's gravity *field equations.
q-20.1 If the universe was both caused and had a beginning,
what final question must we ask?
Was the cause personal or non-personal? In other words, was it
caused by an intelligence or did it just happen naturally by
processes which are unknown at present?
q-20.2 If the cause was personal, what kind of creation would
we expect to find?
We would expect to find a creation that exhibits attributes such
as intelligence, purpose, design and planning. We should also
find a body of natural laws that would allow us to investigate
its cause and existence. This means that the cause would not be
a scientific “*magic bullet.”
* Spacetime continuum -- The four-dimensional coordinate
system (3 dimensions of space and 1 of time) in which physical
events are located. Usual synonym: space-time
* Field – Fields can be described as “force fields”
which are thought to be forces that can influence objects
without any apparent connecting cause. The two most familiar
fields would be electrical/magnetic and gravitational. This is a
complicated matter and a subject of continuous research to find
additional subatomic particles within a family of particles
called “gauge bosons,” which may be
“connecting causes” that make the fields work across empty
* Magic Bullet:
quick and easy solution for a difficult
problem, or a means of accomplishing the
q-21.1 What means will we use to interpret
the significance of the “just right”
conditions found to exist on the earth?
will use the mathematical laws of
“probability” to determine if all of
earth’s obviously hospitable conditions are
a chance happening or evidence for creation
by an intelligent designer.
What problems arise when one looks for the
“right kind” of galaxy
to support human life?
Not all galaxies are the same and most of
them cannot support life as we know it.
There is good evidence to show that only
about 1% of all the galaxies in existence
could possibly support life. We need to
find a “type Sb” (normal) spiral galaxy.
Therefore, we will use the number 1 in 100
(1%) to describe the odds of finding a
galaxy to support life by chance alone.
What do we expect this investigation to
would expect to find a creation that
exhibits attributes such as intelligence,
purpose, design and planning. We should
also find a body of natural laws that would
allow us to investigate its cause and
existence. We actually honor God when we seek to
discover the mysteries of His creation. See Figure 2.2
q-22.1 Why would our solar system have to
be carefully positioned within a galaxy?
With minor exceptions, most of the area
within a galaxy would not be life
supporting. The region within a galaxy that
can support life is called the Galactic
Habitable Zone (GHZ). The GHZ is determined
by satisfying two basic requirements: the
availability of material to build a
habitable planet and adequate protection
from harmful cosmic threats. The big bang
produced hydrogen and helium and little
else. Over the next 10 billion years or so,
stars were processing this raw mix of simple
elements into a rich stew of complex or
heavy elements. Within their hot cores, the
ratio of metal atoms to the
number of hydrogen atoms—that is, the
“metallicity”— gradually increased to its
present value. When such a mature star finally finishes its life cycle, it explodes, leaving a large amount of heavier elements behind
that can form another smaller star with
accompanying rocky planets. In this
way, metallicity is an important part of
planet-building. Without enough metals
in the original parent star, no planets can
form at all from its remains, because rocky
chunks of a certain minimum size are needed
to start the new planet-building
The resulting star around which the planets
form will reflect the metallicity of its
deceased parent star. We believe it is
by God’s design that our sun itself is about
40 percent richer in metal than other stars
that formed at about the same time and
location in the galactic disk. This
increased metal content made it possible for
the Earth to be positioned at the proper
location which gave life the head start it
needed to flourish. (Scientific American,
q-22.2 So what are the odds of finding a
sun like ours situated within the safe
region of a galaxy?
By using volumetric calculations, we can
determine the odds to be about 1 in 150.
q-23.1 Name some of the problems that arise
when searching for the right kind of star to
serve as a life-supporting sun?
are said to be over 100 billion stars in a
galaxy, only a small number would have the
characteristics necessary to support life.
The Hubble telescope was used to determine
that about 5% or about 5 billion of all the
stars in the galaxy could possibly qualify
for the sun’s role.
q-23.2 What is “Roche’s
The Roche limit, sometimes referred to as
the Roche radius, is the minimum distance a
semi-solid planet can orbit its parent star
or sun. The closer a planet gets, the
greater the force-difference in the pull of
gravity between the planet’s front and back
side. This makes the planet’s shape begin
to deform to look like a sideways tear drop
when it starts to elongate toward the star,
as shown in Figure 2.3. If it gets closer
than the Roche radius, then the planet's
side closest to the star will start stretching so
much that the planet tears into pieces.
Structurally stiff bodies, such as space
satellites, are strong enough internally so
that they do not change shape due to the
pull of earth’s gravity. For that reason,
they will never be torn apart no matter how
close they get. The term Roche-radius is
named after Édouard Albert Roche, the French
astronomer who first calculated this
theoretical limit in 1848. See Figure 2.3
q-24.1 What other factors must we consider
in searching for a sun-like star?
We have to eliminate a number of improperly
sized stars from our list.
q-24.2 What odds do we eventually end up
with for getting a sun-like star?
After carefully considering all of the
qualifying factors, we can estimate that
approximately 100 million or about 2% of the
remaining 5 billion stars will be acceptable
as sun-star possibilities. This reduces to
a probability ratio of finding the right
star to about 1 in 1000. (100 billion
original total stars divided by 100 million
How does water relate to the earth’s
distance from the sun?
It is important that the earth be just
the right distance from the sun for the
earth’s surface temperature to allow water
to exist in all three of its phases. These
phases are ice, water, and steam, all of
which have specific temperature requirements
associated with them.
q-24.4 What are the odds of finding a
planet just the right distance from its sun?
Using our solar system as a model and
including the asteroid belt as an unformed
planet, we will conservatively estimate the
odds to be 1 planet (earth) in 10 solar
system planet positions or about 1 in 10.
As stated, this probability model also
includes the asteroid belt situated between
the planets of Mars and Jupiter. For
the sake of simplicity, we will apply this
10 to 1 model in our calculation estimate
involving all the necessary life supporting
features inherent in our solar system.
As a point of interest, we should note why
the asteroid belt didn’t form into a planet
and what possible consequences this poses
for earth today. It is because the
belt of unformed planetary debris is
positioned in a transition zone that is
subject to the conflicting gravitational
forces that exist between the inner rocky
planets and the large outer gas planets.
As a result, the millions of rocks, (Figure 2.4) now
called asteroids, couldn’t stick together to
form a planet due to constantly being pulled
in two different directions at the same
time. Even today, the conflicting
forces occasionally cause a large sized
asteroid to leave the belt and head for our
sun by a path that may intercept the earth’s
orbit. Also, for convenience, we will
continue to recognize Pluto as a planet
because a 1 in 10 probability model is more
convenient to use.
q-25.1 What does “planetary tilt” have to
do with maintaining right temperatures on
the earth’s surface?
The earth’s tilt (inclination) varies
between 22.1 and 24.5 degrees. Because of
this, when the orbit of the earth places it
farthest from the sun (apogee), the part of
the earth with the greatest land mass is
mostly facing the sun. Conversely, when the
earth is closest to the sun, the part of the
earth with the greatest water area is
closest to the sun. This differing ratio of
land area vs. water area causes the heat
from the sun to be properly distributed over
the earth’s surface, even though the distance
from the sun varies during the earth’s
annual orbit. Figure 2.5
What three other features of the earth are
related to maintaining its tilt and to
protecting it from being hit by destructive
meteors and/or “charged particles” which
are continuously radiating from the sun?
The three other features are the moon, the
atmosphere, and the earth’s magnetic field.
The range of the earth’s tilt varies between
22.1° and 24.5°, during a 41,000-year
period. At present, the tilt is in its
decreasing mode. This small 2.4 degree
range is maintained primarily by the moon's
gravitational influence. Other
without such a stabilizing
influence, may have an unacceptable tilt
variation. For example, on Mars the
is believed to be between 15° and 35°.
2) The atmosphere acts to protect the earth
from space debris. If we
didn’t have a thick atmosphere, the earth’s
surface would be more likely to resemble the
pocked-marked surface of mars or the moon.
3) The magnetic field of the earth is believed
to be caused by what is called the “dynamo
effect” due to the earth’s rotation. At the
heart of our planet lies a solid iron ball,
with a temperature equal to the sun’s
surface. Researchers call it "the inner
core." The inner core is 70% as wide as the
moon, and it spins at its own rate, which is
about 0.2 degrees of longitude per year
faster than the Earth’s surface above it.
Surrounding the inner core is a much deeper
layer of liquid iron known as "the outer
core." The earth's magnetic field comes
from this outer ocean of iron that seethes
and roils like water in a pan on a hot
stove. The outer core also has hurricanes
powered by the Coriolis forces caused by the
earth's rotation. To determine our
probability ratio, we have again used the
solar system model to set the odds for these
necessary features to have occurred by
accident at 1 in 10. Figure 2.6
q-26.2 Why is it good design for the earth to have more water in the southern
hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere?
There is a more balanced distribution of
heat over the earth because a land mass area
reflects less energy and absorbs more heat
at a much faster rate than a volume of
water. So when the sun is closest, we
need a larger area of water facing it
(southern hemisphere) to reflect a
significant portion of the heat away,
causing the water to warm slowly.
Conversely, when the sun is farthest away,
we would want a larger land mass area facing
the sun (northern hemisphere) because it
tends to heat up quickly and not lose as
much by reflection. This is exactly
the balance we find in operation on earth
because of its tilt. These special
features also reduce to a 1 in 10 chance or
odds of occurring accidentally. Figure 2.7
|Figure 2.7: See the difference between the Northern and Southern hemispheres' distribution of land. The South has 20% more water area than the North
q-27.1 How do the large outer planets protect the earth?
The outer planets act as
gravitational magnets that draw interstellar
asteroids and comets away from hitting the
The odds of 1 in 10 for this
beneficial feature to have happened by
chance are again based upon the solar system
model. For a recent
example, in 1994 over twenty fragments of
comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with the
planet Jupiter. The comet, discovered the
previous year by astronomers Carolyn and
Shoemaker and David Levy,
was observed by astronomers at hundreds of observatories around
the world as it crashed into Jupiter's southern hemisphere.
q-27.2 What is the difference between something happening
individually or simultaneously.
Multiple events acting simultaneously are far less likely to
happen than individual events acting alone.
do you figure the probabilities of multiple events happening
The total probability of a
series of events is determined by multiplying all of the
individual probabilities together as shown in The
Source Figure 2.4. For
instance, if you flip one coin, you will have a 50% chance that
it will come up heads. However, if you flip two coins together,
you will have only a 25% chance (0.5 x 0.5 = 0.25) that both
will come up heads.
Based on simple probabilities, what are the odds that a planet
like the earth would develop accidentally?
As shown in The Source Figure 2.4, the odds work out to be 1 in
150 thousand million million (150 x 1,000 x 1,000,000 x 1,
000,000). This can also be expressed in scientific notation as
150 x 10^15 or 150 followed by 15 zeros. A similar but more
exhaustive calculation was made by Hugh Ross. His calculation
estimated that, for the 322 hospitable conditions for the earth
to have occurred accidentally, the probability would to be ~
10^304 . He also noted that an estimate, based upon scientific
principles, determined that the maximum possible number of
earth-like planets in the universe was only about ˜ 10^22 .
This leaves a staggering 1 chance in 10 followed by 282 zeros
required for all the conditions to occur.
are the odds that you could survive jumping out of an airplane
without a parachute?
This is a rather difficult question to answer because there have not been any actual studies to determine an accurate answer. However, it is recognized that the chances of survival are “slim to nothing.” Nevertheless, it is not impossible to survive. Numerous skydivers whose parachute failed to open have survived after hitting the ground in excess of 50 miles an hour. Technically, none of these experiences satisfies the conditions of our question because all of these survivors had parachutes that malfunctioned. Even so, the Guinness world record for surviving the highest fall without a parachute: 10,160 meters (33,330 ft) goes to Vesna Vulovic. She worked as a Serbian flight attendant when a bomb placed in the baggage compart exploded. She was blown out of the plane and survived the fall. She was in the hospital for 16 months after emerging from a 27 day coma and having many broken bones. Vulović maintained that she had no memory of the incident and thus had no qualms about flying in the aftermath of the crash.
What questions are raised by the “parachute”
Correspondingly, do you think that anyone
who knows the facts would choose to believe
that the earth just happened by chance when
the likelihood of being right is less than
surviving a 10,000 foot jump without a
parachute? This is an important question
because the choice can also be a life and
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of Chapter 2