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13 January 2012

Profoundly Emotional for Science

Over at the RatSkep forums, a poster started a thread about the profound emotional experiences a person can feel when they are exposed to some natural wonder.  Generally people experience this when looking up at the stars.  Looking at the sky is indeed a very humbling experience.  Now we know that we are looking out at a vast, vast expanse.  A universe so large, that our little planet is a statistically insignificant part of the universe.  That's right, statistically insignificant!  If we assume that the earth is the only known planet to have life, if we used the entire volume of the earth as life supporting planet, then that means roughly 0.0% of the universe is capable of actually supporting life.  Of course, the other part of that insignificance should be that we are indeed here, and it's the wonders of the universe that allow for that.  While we may seem incredibly remote and disconnected from the stars, we are only here because of the stars.  As Lawrence Krauss said:
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing I know about physics: You are all stardust. You couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded, because the elements - the carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, iron, all the things that matter for evolution and for life - weren’t created at the beginning of time. They were created in the nuclear furnaces of stars, and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. So, forget Jesus. The stars died so that you could be here today.” 
I also found this video that I wanted to share.  It's a sort of anthem/creed for science that I heartily agree with.  Sorry to be on this video binge, but it sure is easier than reading my ramblings.

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