3. The universe is composed of trillions and trillions of stars and is currently expanding after a Big Bang and 13-14 billion years of evolutionary processes.* We are just another species of animal life on a single planet orbiting one of the stars in the universe. (* The best current estimate of the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years. The best current estimate of the number of stars in the universe is from 3 to 100 × 10^22 or between 30 sextillion and 30 septillion.)
The world is not flat with everything else falling off its edges. The sun does not revolve around the earth. Our solar system is not at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. Our galaxy appears no more special than any of the other billions of galaxies in the universe. This is what this third tenet of Evolutionary Philosophy is reminding us.
But this is not something to despair over. This is not something to take away all pride. It merely takes away the false pride of ignorance that humans once had. It takes away a false pride that was dangerous in its ability to inspire overconfidence and recklessness. This is why this humbling knowledge is something to celebrate. It gives us real context and truth about our lives. We know much. We know how lucky we are to be here. We know how responsible we must be with that privilege. We know just how much more there is to learn and see and do. And for me at least, that fills me with great hope and excitement about our future. It makes me happy to do what's right and play whatever part I can to help us survive and explore this universe. That's what this third tenet means to me. What does it say to you?
It's hard to convey the wonder of the universe in just a simple blog post, but fortunately I can point to Carl Sagan on YouTube to make the case as eloquently and visually stunningly as possible in a mere five minutes.