Bode, Johann Elert (1747–1826)
Bode enthusiastically endorsed an extreme form of pluralism and natural theology. He argued, in two influential texts on astronomy – his Anleitung of 1768 and Erlauterung of 1778 – that essentially every significant object in space, including the Sun, stars, planets, moons, and comets are inhabited by rational beings (see plenitude, principle of). For him, habitability was "the most important goal of creation" (see teleology). Concerning the key Christian issues of incarnation and redemption, he suggested that extraterrestrials everywhere "are ready to recognize the author of their existence and to praise his goodness." As for objections against the habitability of planets too far from or close to the Sun, he replied that varying atmospheric conditions compensate for the different levels of solar radiation in order to make life possible, and further noted that "the rational inhabitants, and even the animals, plants, etc. of the other planetary bodies are characterized by forms different from those which occur on our earth." This flexibility was especially important in his argument for life on comets: "Who can conceive what special arrangements of the wise Creator in regard to the climate, zones, dwelling places, sectioning of creatures, natural products, may not be expected for all those on a cometary body?" Concerning the Moon, he cited Schröter's reports of changes on the lunar surface which "may indicate natural upheavals and a culture perhaps organized by its inhabitants" (see Moon, life). Bode was among the earliest advocates of the much wider cosmos, with its "island universes" (external galaxies), envisaged by Immanuel Kant and William Herschel.
Related category• ASTRONOMERS AND ASTROPHYSICISTS
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