Ten years ago, I retired from a busy cardiology practice at Cone Health in Greensboro, NC. I was Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina Teaching Service in Greensboro and had a busy practice in interventional cardiology. I was a co-founder and past chairman of the LeBauer-Brodie Center for Cardiovascular Research and Education. Our Greensboro cardiology group has been a leader in cardiovascular research, and we were pioneers in the treatment of heart attacks with coronary stenting and adjunctive therapies.
When I retired from medicine, I set out on my own journey in an attempt to understand how we got here, how our evolutionary past has shaped the way we are, and where we might be headed. Why Are We Here? is the culmination of that research and that journey.
I have a science and biochemistry background and hold a degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University and a medical degree from Washington University in St. Louis. I have had an active and productive career in medicine and interventional cardiology. No one can be an expert in the many fields encompassed by this book, which include cosmology, physics, chemistry, biochemistry, genetics, geology, paleontology, psychology, evolutionary biology, evolutionary psychology, neuroscience, anthropology, computer science, and more. What I have tried to do in more than seven years of study and research is draw from scientific publications and books written by many experts in these diverse fields, develop a synthesis of their knowledge and ideas, and present these ideas with a unified perspective for a general audience.
Eclecticism has limitations in the pursuit of new knowledge and new theories, but it may be a requirement for the synthesis of a field as broad as the origin and evolution of life. My goal in this book is to educate the reader about the origin of our planet and solar system, how chemistry may have come to life, and how the evolutionary process has led us to the diverse life that inhabits our planet today. I hope to give the reader an appreciation how science has helped us to understand the process of evolution, while leaving the reader with an appreciation of the limitations of our knowledge. I hope to provide a perspective how we humans fit into the big picture of a Universe that is infinite in time and space, and I hope this story will leave the reader with a lasting sense of wonder at the amazing mystery of life and our Universe. An understanding of our evolutionary past and an appreciation of possible scenarios for our future provides a basis for seeking answers to the existential questions of life – why are we here?