Which Came First, Life or Earth?
There is a tendency for people to think science knows more than it knows. We hear phrases like “gaps in our knowledge” all the time, when in fact what we mainly have is knowledge in our gaps.
The vastness of our scientific ignorance is especially evident when it comes to explaining how life arose on earth. There is not only no consensus view on the subject, there is not even any consensus on which of the many available candidate theories deserve to be candidate theories.
The difficulty of the problem was aptly summed up by Lynn Margulis (the scientist who first proposed a bacterial-endosymbiont theory of mitochondrial origin). “To go from a bacterium to people,” she said, “is less of a step than to go from a mixture of amino acids to a bacterium.”