Don Bye’s praise of Judy Wesselhoft and his personnel deity (Letters, “Wesselhoft’s letter refreshing,” Jan. 13, Gazette) deserves mention of a few corrective details. Without a tilt in our axis of some amount, areas of the earth would indeed freeze and others would bake. In all habitable zones, life should do as well it does now in currently stable environments such as the edge of the ice and hot springs.
Once upon on a time, the moon was much closer, the tides did indeed cover broad stretches of the coast, and some inter-tidal forms of life did very well.
If the sun gave only half of its radiation, Venus would be much better suited for hosting life than it is now. There does seem to be a high improbability that any given planet will support life, but there are so many planets that some will surely be suitable habitats.
The mathematics by which he rejects the possibility of achieving life comes from between his ears and not from any knowledge of the actual mechanism or true possibility. Indeed, many processes can be considered to be possible players on the road to life, and there is some likelihood that several pathways could lead to life.
What seems most improbable is that the universe geared up some 13 billion years ago to produce the last 5,000 years on this particular planet of which Wesselhoft and Bye believe so much and understand so little.