Life appeared on earth about 3.8 billion years ago. The posts here discuss parts of that history as well as its results in present-day organisms. Although I’m not a scientist, gaining some understanding of this epic has become important to me as I’ve grown older. It intrigues and consoles me, stirs my imagination, and beckons me to see myself and all living things in its light.
The blog also turns out to be about time. Spans of a million or a billion years don’t have much reality for most of us. But filling them in with stories of life’s development—such as the evolution of humans over six million years—brings meaning to those eons. Time, I keep thinking, resembles what people say about deities: they can not be grasped directly, but we see them in their work.
Within this broad subject matter, the posts here come in no particular order. But for readers looking for themes to get a grip on, here is an outline of topics and some of the posts about each.
1. The Cosmos and the Origins of Life. We don’t know exactly how we living things got started, but we know about the probable process and we know approximately when.
2. The First Two Billion Years: Single Cells. The evolution of the groundwork of life was slooooww, complicated, and vital.
3. Plants and Animals. The longer you look closely, the more you see.
4. The Processes: Emergence and Natural Selection.
5. The Human Body. How we evolved and how our body works. First, we walked on two feet—without a tail.
6. Thinking and Feeling. Our brain gets us by, with some help from irrationality.
7. Competition and Cooperation. Organisms have been competing against and collaborating with each other for a long time. Humans take the second for granted.
8. Aging and Dying. Death frighten me a little less when I think about the long linkages of lives of all kinds before me, around me and after me.
9. Religion and Spirituality. Religions tell us our Story, reassure us about life after death, and urge us to live in certain ways. Can naturalism do the same?