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New Scientist on the New Earthlings 2

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Naturalism, like many religions, features an apocalypse. One prophecy is for wastage by a comet. From New Scientist:

“Some say the deep microbial biosphere couldn’t survive because if you wipe out the surface ecosystem, sooner or later the nutrients they need will disappear,” says Ward.

So if life here were extinguished, could it start again? “You could argue that it happened once, so it would likely happen again,” says David Kring at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas. “But it’s difficult to say because strictly speaking, we don’t know what the steps were from an abiotic world to a biological one.”

One thing’s for sure: conditions on Earth post-annihilation would be more favourable than first time around. More.

But wait! In the context, what does “more favourable” mean? We are assuming (reasonably perhaps) that life of the same kind would get started, and would develop in easier conditions. But we don’t know that. We still don’t know anything.

Science fiction is easier if we start from a more restricted set of assumptions: What if dinosaurs had survived and evolved intelligence?

See also: What we know and don’t, know about the origin of life

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