There is an opinion, common among scientists and intellectuals, that our Earthly existence is not only rather ordinary, but in fact, insignificant and purposeless. The late astronomer Carl Sagan typifies this view in his book Pale Blue Dot:
Because of the reflection of sunlight the Earth seems to be sitting in a beam of light, as if there were some special significance to this small world. But it’s just an accident of geometry and optics. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
But perhaps this melancholy assumption, despite its heroic pretense, is mistaken. Perhaps the unprecedented scientific knowledge acquired in the last century, enabled by equally unprecedented technological achievements, should, when properly interpreted, contribute to a deeper appreciation of our place in the cosmos.
In this 60-minute video documentary we will explore a striking feature of the natural world. A feature as widely grounded in the evidence of nature as it is wide-ranging in its implications: the conditions that allow for intelligent life on Earth also make it strangely well suited for viewing and analyzing the universe.
But is this correlation between the existence of complex life and our ability to make scientific discoveries simply a coincidence or the result of blind chance? Or does it point to a deeper explanation? The Privileged Planet will examine these questions in a remarkable search for evidence of design and purpose within the universe.