One of the so-called anthropic coincidences is that in order for a planet to be capable of supporting life it has to have a moon the size and distance of our own in order to stabilize its axis. Some scientists have argued recently that this claim is exaggerated. Specifically, they argue that the larger planets in the solar system would have had a similar effect on the earth, preventing the earth's axis from fluctuating more than about 10 degrees, and that is not significant enough to prevent the existence of life. The earth -- and by extension, any potential life-site -- does not require a moon like the one we have. The article, unfortunately, does not cite a scientific study showing this, only that "astronomers at the University of Idaho have shown" it. Regardless, this is an interesting claim, since most of the studies on the anthropic principle have been in the direction of showing more numerous and more extreme examples of anthropic coincidences, so to have an example going the other way is intriguing. I mentioned this criterion in my series on the anthropic principle (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4), but my focus on it was in the final entry where I pointed out that having a moon the particular size and distance of our own allows for scientific observation rather than the possibility of life.
Discuss this post at the Quodlibeta Forum