- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Baker Books (September 6, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801016894
- ISBN-13: 978-0801016899
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 145 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Improbable Planet: How Earth Became Humanity's Home Hardcover – September 6, 2016
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From the Inside Flap
Are we really just the result of innumerable coincidences?
Or is there a more reasonable explanation?
Most of us remember the basics from science classes about how Earth came to be the only known planet that sustains complex life. But what most people don't know is that the more thoroughly researchers investigate the history of our planet, the more astonishing the story of our existence becomes.
The number and complexity of the astronomical, geological, chemical, and biological features recognized as essential to human existence have expanded explosively within the past decade. An understanding of what is required to make possible a large human population and advanced civilizations has raised profound questions about life, our purpose, and our destiny.
This fascinating book helps nonscientists understand the countless miracles that undergird the exquisitely fine-tuned planet we call home--as if Someone had us in mind all along.|Hugh Ross (PhD, University of Toronto) is founder and president of Reasons to Believe (www.reasons.org). He is the author of many books, including More Than a Theory and Why the Universe Is the Way It Is. An astronomer and a member of the pastoral staff of a church near Caltech, Ross has addressed students and faculty on over three hundred campuses in the United States and abroad on a wide variety of science-faith topics. From science conferences to churches to government and private research labs, Ross presents powerful evidence for a purpose-filled universe. He lives in the Los Angeles area.
From the Back Cover
"With his typical clarity, insight, and precision, Ross shows how recent scientific findings undermine naturalism while simultaneously providing evidence that there is a plan, purpose, and design in the universe."--Sean McDowell, professor, Biola University; bestselling author of over fifteen books, including A New Kind of Apologist
"In Improbable Planet, Ross holds readers' hands, leading them in a readable yet gently technical format through a compelling layer-upon-layer argument for the distinctiveness of the planet on which we live and of the preparation for inimitable life on Earth. The text is replete with references from primary scientific articles in some of the most well-respected journals, underscoring the highest academic rigor taken in substantiating the factual claims. Only the shamefully flippant could dismiss this book as being a faith-filled presentation rather than the scholarly work it represents."--James M. Tour, T. T. and W. F. Chao Professor of Chemistry, Rice University; R&D magazine's 2013 Scientist of the Year
"Hugh Ross brilliantly silences those who would claim that this Earth, this solar system, this galaxy, and this universe are nothing but a mere accident. Improbable Planet is technical yet poetic; thoroughly scientific yet faith-inspiring. I commend it to anyone who seriously contemplates the wonder of this planet we call Earth."--Pat Robertson, founder/chairman, The Christian Broadcasting Network, Inc.
"Hugh Ross takes us on a riveting tour of the scientific story, from the beginning of the cosmos to present humankind. He shows how that story pushes us toward the conclusion that purpose has driven the whole story, with the different pieces intertwined and each supporting the production of an ideal habitat for human beings right here and right now. Not only will this commend Christian faith to scientifically minded inquirers, but it will also strengthen the confidence of believers that we inhabit and participate in a meaningful and purposeful story."--C. John "Jack" Collins, professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary
"With thorough notations and research, Hugh Ross takes us on a journey through time and space to bring us firmly back to our own planet, formed by one Creator. For those who need a scientific explanation of our universe and the life-forms within it, you will be satisfied. For those who already believe that God's divine hand created the world and all life within, you will be validated. Hugh Ross writes to stretch our intellect and to strengthen our faith. Improbable Planet does the improbable--demonstrates that the language of science does not threaten but instead augments the prose of evangelism."--Ed Young, senior pastor, Second Baptist Church, Houston, TX
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The relevance of this book is that it offers clear answers to felt macro-questions:
* What does Earth's history reveal about the value of human life, including my life?
* If human life is so valuable, then why are billions of people living in miserable conditions?
* What do the ongoing massive changes in Earth's conditions suggest about the future of Earth and the future of humanity?
* Why does human life need such a massive universe in which 50 billion trillion stars comprise only 1% of its total mass?
Using the scholarly research of world-renowned scientists and refereed academic journals,
Hugh Ross presents an elaborate set of scientific facts garnered from several different scientific disciplines (astrophysics,
biophysics, chemistry, geology, biology). His main contribution is to synthesize those facts, authenticate them with Scripture,
and then show the general public (along with academic elites) what scientific truth reveals: that Earth was specially made for people and also specially made to accommodate human redemption. In other words, the history of Earth reveals its miraculous inception (creation) and its space-time capacity for being the venue for the miracle of redemption.
Here are some key lines from the book (in quotes) which may or may not be followed by explanatory comments from me:
* "Earth is . . . a planet with a very long history of life, a history that led to the appearance of human beings. We are not constrained to a low population in a few restricted areas. Humans currently occupy all of Earth's landmasses. We have multiplied to a population exceeding 7 billion individuals, and have achieved a high-level technology that continues to advance on a global scale. All these features of current human existence and civilization would be impossible unless life originated on Earth as early as physically possible." (p. 93)
* "The anthropic principle has become the prebiotic principle" (p.21). In other words, whereas naturalistic scientists have long claimed
that humanity's existence places severe constraints on the Milky Way Galaxy, the solar system, and Earth, scientist
Marcelo Gleiser (Brazilian Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College) has said that what was formally seen as
constraints is now understood to be nothing more than "the preconditions for primitive life."
* "What would be easier to take for granted than dirt? However basic is may seem, the ubiquity of dirt represents no small coincidence.
The complex story traces back to . . . "
Hugh Ross explains the history of dirt, mountains, oceans, the moon, and more. That's why I have long stated that Hugh Ross, Ph.D. is my favorite worship leader. All these many facts vividly declare the glory of God.
I highly recommend this book and hope it is used as required reading in classrooms all over the world.
We are certainly going to use it in Right On Mission Vocational Seminary. See rightonmission.org.
No one asked me to write this book review; I did so freely of my own volition.
My next step is to try to distill what I learned into what I can remember for conversations, to give at least the general idea of how much went into making earth habitable for us!
The price of this book is a steal and despite its somewhat short length, it is full of meat and no filler. I simply have not encountered another work which has so much detailed information on its topic, in such a short span of pages. It is not the 'easiest' read, but certainly one of great value.