Posted by John Ester on Jul 02, 2019
Self-described amateur astrophysicist David Penney gave us a PowerPoint presentation on the improbability of life and humans existing on earth today. 
David Penney discovered a love for astronomy in the fifth grade but pursued education in other fields, obtaining a PhD in physiology and biochemistry from UCLA and teaching at the University of Illinois in Chicago and Wayne State's School of medicine. He did not come back to astronomy until he retired thirteen years ago. 
A Platte Lake summer resident, Penny now gives lectures on topics like dark matter and black holes at libraries and schools in Traverse City and Florida, where he spends his winters.
Through a series of slides Dr. Penney illustrated how fortuitous we are that everything fell into place for our planet and how unlikely is the existence of extraterrestrial life. In his summary Dr. Penney endorsed the treatment of the subject in the book Rare Earth:  Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe, by Peter D. Ward and Donald Brownlee. As the New York Times stated with respect to this book, "Maybe we are alone in the universe after all."