Perhaps I am different than most other people in that I have not answered many of life's questions. Additionally, I prefer to keep an "open mind" with regards to some topics instead of coming to a hard and fast conclusion about them. One could view this ambivalence as timidness; I prefer to view it as rational. With that said, here are some of the things, great and small, that I continue to ponder.
Are we alone? While I have little doubt that primitive life may exist on other worlds; I am not sure intelligent life exists anywhere else in the universe except on Earth. One the one hand, there are likely to be millions or even billions of planets that are capable of supporting advanced civilizations. The planets are both old enough, large enough, with the right environment (could be something other than an oxygen/nitrogen/carbon one) to support the growth and development of highly advanced life forms. On the other hand, it is quite difficult for primitive, single celled organisms to evolve into multicelluar entities. It is also difficult for a multcelluar organism to progress to the point where it reaches a human (or near human) level of intelligence/capability. Finally, the evolving organism would have to luck out and develop during a time when its planet did not suffer from any major calamities, ie. it isn't hit by an asteroid, it doesn't suffer from a surge in volcanic activity, etc. The answer to my question may come in my lifetime or it might not.
When does human life begin? Most people that I've met have answered this question for themselves. Whether they believe human life begins at conception, or at a certain point in the pregnancy, or at birth, etc. They have made up their minds on the subject. For my part, I could posit a viewpoint to support any begin point I chose and that worries me. So for now, I have decided to say, I don't know at what point in a pregnancy the fetus become human.
If something changes radically over a period of time, has its essential being also changed? I find it very difficult to expostulate on this one in an ad hoc (off the cuff manner), but here it goes. Many things, from corporations, to sports teams (which are usually corporations), to religious organizations, to ourselves change radically over time. In some cases, the only thing that seems to link a corporation, a team, a religious body, or a person over time is its (his/her) name. When this is the case, do these entities share some continuity to their old selves that fans/followers/etc. can celebrate? If for example, Team X of today exhibits a different culture, has 100% different players, coaches, staff, plays in a new city than Team X of 40 years ago, do the Team X's share something important besides the name? Are fans of Team X deluding themselves when they trace their loyalties back generations or when they do something else that conflates the two. I do not think I have explicated the question well; nonetheless, I hope you understand. Anyway, I am not sure I will ever be able to answer this question.
Okay, that is all for now.
Clip art courtesy of Microsoft Office