Lost fans will enjoy this theory my nephew, Stephen, found online recently: Andrew Smith, a "Lost Expert" from Northampton, England, suggests that scientists engineered this island community, hoping it would thrive, grow, and eventually repopulate the world after an imminent cataclysmic event.
Smith cites [alleged] real-life research conducted in the late 90s from which scientists concluded a polar reversal is imminent, meaning the Earth will someday lose its magnetosphere and become vulnerable to massive radiation from the Sun. Building on this, he thinks the Lost story starts wtih scientists who created their own magnetosphere on an island, and populated it with a cross-section of the human race (and animals) to create a self-sustaining community that could (hopefully) survive such an event.
Smith goes on to explain all of the unusual happenings and events on the island using this theory, and a lot of it seems plausible. (NB: I haven't attempted to confirm any of his assertions; the theory just seems plausible on the basis of what's contained in the post)
Until now, I'd avoided consumption of all the Lost web sites, news groups, and podcasts. There's just too much out there and I have enough trouble keeping up with the episodes themselves. But this one has sparked my interest.
I've long held that the island is a metaphor for Purgatory. Each of the main characters has sinned in some way and must look inward to resolve her/his issues before s/he can be saved. In addition to hunting down the above theory, Stephen also did some research on "Dharma Labs" and conveyed that "dharma" is a Buddhist term for individual conduct that leads to enlightenment; that is in keeping with a Purgatory/self-reflection and atonement-type theory. Jeremi took it one step further, wondering if it's possible to map the various characters to the seven deadly sins (pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, sloth). There are clear religious overtones in the show; whether it's intended to be an amalgam of several or based on just one isn't clear.
Only time will tell what the writers truly intended, but real fans will keep working overtime to discover the true story before it is revealed.