Oldman asked an interesting bunch of questions, which at the time i could not reply to because of the context Basically it was questions about the unlikelihood of life or more exactly our sort of life. the questions came up in the "Beyond" forum, relative to quantum gravity---various theories of what comprises space or spacetime and what underlies the fundamental constants. In a larger sense these questions are ones of COSMOLOGY and especially fall in the area of PHILOSOPHICAL ISSUES OF COSMOLOGY how improbable is it that the universe should be hospitable to our kind of life So last night I remembered an essay written by George Ellis (this is the GFR Ellis who was co-author with Stephen Hawking of a standard reference work "The Large Scale Structure of Space-Time") Ellis was invited to contribute the article on Philosophical Issues in Cosmology for the ENSEVELIER HANDBOOK IN PHILOSOPHY OF PHYSICS. fortunately his chapter is available online free for download. http://xxx.lanl.gov/abs/astro-ph/0602280 http://arxiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0602280 the thing is Ellis is a world-class cosmologist and also able to function as a philosopher (he also has religious views, he's a Quaker, but he keeps that separate so it does not intrude here). and this is one of the topics where it actually helps to have some philosophical depth! Issues in the Philosophy of Cosmology George F. R. Ellis To appear in the Handbook in Philosophy of Physics, Ed J Butterfield and J Earman (Elsevier, 2006). "After a survey of the present state of cosmological theory and observations, this article discusses a series of major themes underlying the relation of philosophy to cosmology. These are: A: The uniqueness of the universe; B: The large scale of the universe in space and time; C: The unbound energies in the early universe; D: Explaining the universe -- the question of origins; E: The universe as the background for existence; F: The explicit philosophical basis; G: The Anthropic question: fine tuning for life; H: The possible existence of multiverses; I: The natures of existence. Each of these themes is explored and related to a series of Theses that set out the major issues confronting cosmology in relation to philosophy."