I have a feature in New Scientist this week:
“WHY are we here? As questions go, it's a big 'un, beloved of philosophers and theologists in a navel-gazing, hand-wringing sort of way. Scientists often find themselves raising an objection before the others even start: we probably shouldn't be here to ask the question in the first place.
The existence of life on Earth seems to have been the product of many lucky turns of events. Take the sun's early history. According to everything we know about how stars like it develop, it should have been born feebly dim, only gradually warming to its present level. Earth, born with the sun 4.5 billion years ago, should have spent its first two billion years or so as a frozen ball of ice, devoid of life.
Yet in rocks laid down during this time we find sediments clearly deposited in aquatic environments, and ample fossil evidence of bacteria that indicate our planet was already a clement, inhabited world, perhaps within a billion years or so from the off. ...”
You can read the full article here.