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Ronny Nalin - Is the Earth Special?

The search for extraterrestrial life is a fascinating enterprise that has spurred the birth of a dedicated line of scientific inquiry, known as astrobiology. Yet, at present, the earth remains the only place in the universe where humans have been able to empirically detect life and its signatures. Why is it so? Is the earth special? Answering this question requires a basic understanding of some of the parameters that make our planet habitable. This presentation aims at offering a synthetic review of several of these parameters, also incorporating some information gained from the study of exoplanets. Following this review, the presentation tries to relate the current scientific findings on planetary habitability with the Genesis account of creation, highlighting both areas of convergence and tension, and introducing a theological reflection on the original question about the earth being special or not.