For as long as modern science has existed, scientists have attempted to answer such unanswerable questions by trying to either reconcile science and religion, like Galileo did in defending his theories against the Inquisition and Ada Lovelace did in considering the interconnectedness of the universe, or at least to relegate them to different realms of inquiry.
Adding to the canon of these meditations is the celebrated English cosmologist and astrophysicist Sir Martin Rees, Trustee of the Institute,—the last European court astronomer in his position as Astronomer Royal to the House of Windsor and science adviser to the Queen of England.
“We humans of the present are certainly not the summit of Creation. Species more intelligent than us will inhabit the earth. They might even appear quite soon. These days evolution is no longer driven by slow natural development, as Darwin described it, but by human culture. So a post-human intelligence might be made by us ourselves. And I hope that our successors have a better understanding of the world.”
Read more at Brain Pickings.