One in ten quintillion

Fifty years ago the astronomer Carl Sagan said there were two criteria necessary for a planet to support life: The right kind of star, and a planet the right distance from that star. But today there are more than two hundred known parameters necessary for a planet to support life — every one of which must be perfectly met, or the whole thing falls apart. Multiply each single parameter by all the other necessary conditions, and the odds against the universe existing are so astronomical that the notion that it all “just happened” defies common sense. It would be like tossing a coin and having it come up heads ten quintillion times in a row. No wonder that Fred Hoyle, the astronomer who coined the term “big bang”, said that his atheism was “greatly shaken” at these developments

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