Over on X someone posted a quote from the media “scientist” Bill Nye that observes the seeming insignificance of human beings in relation to the vastness of space: “”We are just a speck, on a speck, orbiting a speck, in the corner of a speck, in the middle of nowhere.”

OK. This is elsewhere called the Fermi paradox. It might be stated thus: ““There are billions of stars out there like the sun. Therefore, statistically there must be billions of planets like earth where intelligent life has developed. Given the vast amount of time and the vast number of possible “other earths” there must be other intelligent life forms who have invented space travel. So where are they?”

I have written about this point of view before. You can read the post here. Simply put, this is what C.S.Lewis somewhere named the heresy of Size-ism. The ludicrous idea that something is important (or not) simply and only because of its size. We don’t make this logical mistake when the relative sizes are not very great, but somehow we do when the relative sizes become vast–cosmic even.

So we do not look at a human infant or an elephant and judge the elephant to be more important than the infant simply because Jumbo is big and baby is small. No. We regard the infant as more important than the elephant. Neither do we regard the mosquito as less important than the elephant simply because he is small. Now we might regard the mosquito as more important because he could bite us and give us malaria, but that judgement is not because he is bitty, but because of his bite. Similarly we might regard the elephant as important because of his size (he might trample us) but in this case his actual size is not the point of judgement, but how he might use his weight advantage should he be riled.

It is true that we, as puny humans ought to be awestruck by the immensity of the universe, but the vastness needn’t necessarily intimidate us for most of outer space is just that: space. Why should I be intimidated by empty space? I might just as well be frightened or awestruck by an empty box mightn’t I?

Furthermore, what is important is not the empty space–even though there is a lot of it, but the things that are in that empty space. Surely what is THERE is more important than what is NOT THERE. The stars and planets must surely hold some interest for us, but I do not see any particular need to apologize for being more interested in one planet and solar system more than any other. I am interested in this solar system and this planet because I live here and I love my home.

And as far as importance goes in relation to size thing about this: If you were in the Sahara desert you might find there in the midst of the miles and miles of sand one beautiful, priceless diamond. Who then would care about all the sand? That one diamond would be worth more than all the sand and the empty dunes.

To leapfrog over Bill Nye’s seemingly profound statement about specks, If that speck is an immortal diamond then it doesn’t matter one bit if it seems small because if it is destined to live forever it outweighs all the light years of empty space and barren planets hurtling their way through nothing.