It's not very often that my two favorite fields of science have exciting news for me two days in a row. Today's news, however, is far more exciting: it seems that European scientists have discovered a new planet. Now, I know what you're thinking: they've already discovered over 200 other planets, not counting the 8 1/2 in our solar system. Yes, but--this is the closest thing to Earth they've ever found. Closer in the sense of similarity. They think this planet has a mean temperature of between 0° and 40°C (which roughly equates to 32°-104°F--sound familiar?). Oddly, tho, it orbits its sun in just 13 days. Anyway--scientists think it may have liquid water, and liquid water = life.
The other exciting thing about this is that, if true, it puts us at yet another crazy intersection of science and religion. I don't know if any of you remember, but when Darwin came out with his stuff, one of the hardest parts for religious types to swallow was the idea that humanity could be on the same level as the animals (which evolution claims). Uniquity among the animals was central to their "in the image of God" theology. We've gotten away from that, but a lot of überconservatives now hold high a new idea that I call "what are the chances?" theology. Basically, some people assert that life is so fickle and hard to sustain that it's almost impossible for life to exist. So close to impossible, in fact, that randomness could not have done it. Ergo, some higher being had to put it all together just right so that life could exist. I don't disagree with the conclusion, but I detest the analysis. What are the chances? Who cares? I think that life is determined to survive: that's what it does. If things had been only slightly different, then life would be slightly different.
If you're going to try to put God and science together, do it well. This new planet will force them to rethink (hopefully) this theory and figure out a much better reason to give God the credit.
That's all I have to say about that.