The Bikecast Episode #7a: Human Futures, The Race Between Complexity and Chaos
In this bikecast, I anthropomorphize the tendency of matter to increase in complexity when provided an energy source. In the case of earth, I posit a race in which DNA attempts to give rise to an organism complex enough to escape the destruction of the earth and the end of the sun. A specific episode of this race is the rise of humankind–a species entirely capable of spreading off planet and out of the local solar system. If we fail, but the earth and sun remain, DNA will carry on building increasingly complex organisms which will face their own clock in trying to survive and escape.
The other position is that we manage not to eradicate ourselves, embrace stateless atheism and stay one step ahead of entropy until heat death of the universe–or maybe beyond as in this must-read Azimov short story: http://www.multivax.com/last_question.html
I believe the highest hurdle before DNA-as-human spreading throughout the universe is the rationally trivial but psychologically near-impossible task of accepting the equality of all humans and recognizing as vile and anti-human the use of violence as a means of social organization.