SEVEN CLUES TO THE ORIGIN OF LIFE

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Seven Clues To The Origin Of Life

Author : A. G. Cairns-Smith
ISBN : 0521398282
Genre : Science
File Size : 50.5 MB
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This book addresses the question of how life may have arisen on earth, in the spirit of an intriguing detective story. It relies on the methods of Sherlock Holmes, in particular his principle that one should use the most paradoxical features of a case to crack it. This approach to the essential biological problems is not merely light-hearted, but a fascinating scrutiny of some very fundamental questions. 'I know of no other book that succeeds as well as this one in maintaining the central question in focus throughout. It is a summary of the best evolutionary thinking as applied to the origins of life in which the important issues are addressed pertinently, economically and with a happy recourse to creative analogies.' Nature '... a splendid story - and a much more convincing one than the molecular biologists can offer as an alternative. Cairns-Smith has argued his case before in the technical scientific literature, here he sets it out in a way from which anyone - even those whose chemistry and biology stopped at sixteen - can learn.' New Statesman
Category: Science

The Origins Of Life

Author : Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka
ISBN : 9789401734158
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 89.62 MB
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Life appears ungraspable, yet its understanding lies at the heart of current preoccupations. In our attempt to understand life through its origins, the ambition of the present collection is to unravel the network of the origin of the various spheres of sense that carry it onwards. The primogenital matrix of generation (Tymieniecka), elaborated as the fulcrum of this collection, elucidates the main riddles of the scientific / philosophical controversies concerning the status of various spheres that seek to make sense of life.
Category: Philosophy

Terrible Beauty A Cultural History Of The Twentieth Century

Author : Peter Watson
ISBN : 9781780226736
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 75.38 MB
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A history of the twentieth century which covers all the ideas, people, great events, literary and artistic movements, scientific discoveries which have shaped the twentieth century. Terrible Beauty presents a unique narrative of the twentieth century. Unlike more conventional histories, where the focus is on political events and personalities, on wars, treaties and elections, this book concentrates on the ideas that made the century so rich, rewarding and provocative. Beginning with four seminal ideas which were introduced in 1900 - the unconscious, the gene, the quantum and Picasso's first paintings in Paris - the book brings together the main areas of thought and juxtaposes the most original and influential ideas of our time in an immensely readable narrative. From the creation of plastic to Norman Mailer, from the discovery of the 'Big Bang' to the Counterculture, from Relativity to Susan Sontag, from Proust to Salman Rushdie, and Henri Bergson to Saul Bellow, the book's range is encyclopedic. We meet in these pages the other twentieth century, the writers, the artists, the scientists and philosophers who were not cowed by the political and military disasters raging around them, and produced some of the most amazing and rewarding ideas by which we live. Terrible Beauty, endlessly stimulating and provocative, affirms that there was much more to the twentieth century than war and genocide.
Category: Philosophy

Bringing Fossils To Life

Author : Donald R. Prothero
ISBN : 9780231536905
Genre : Science
File Size : 51.44 MB
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One of the leading textbooks in its field, Bringing Fossils to Life applies paleobiological principles to the fossil record while detailing the evolutionary history of major plant and animal phyla. It incorporates current research from biology, ecology, and population genetics, bridging the gap between purely theoretical paleobiological textbooks and those that describe only invertebrate paleobiology and that emphasize cataloguing live organisms instead of dead objects. For this third edition Donald R. Prothero has revised the art and research throughout, expanding the coverage of invertebrates and adding a discussion of new methodologies and a chapter on the origin and early evolution of life.
Category: Science

The God Who Lives

Author : Adam Pryor
ISBN : 9781630873226
Genre : Religion
File Size : 67.57 MB
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Christian theology has affirmed throughout its history that God is a living God. But what does it mean that God lives? Why does it matter? Does God live like us? If God does not live like us what is the difference between our living and God's living? These are the questions Adam Pryor addresses in The God Who Lives. The book considers life as a conceptual problem, examining how new studies about the emergence of life have critical implications for interpreting the religious symbol God is living. In particular, Pryor suggests how absence and desire, what is termed abstential desire, are critical principles of life for scientific and philosophical thinking today. He goes on to develop a constructive theological proposal in which the theological meaning of the symbol God is living is interpreted in terms of the insights garnered from the principle of abstential desire, concluding that God can be understood as akin to the role played by absence in living things. Life is an absent but effective whole in relation to the material parts of which it is comprised. God as living is a similarly effective absence in relation to the world.
Category: Religion

Chemical Evolution And The Origin Of Life

Author : Horst Rauchfuss
ISBN : 9783540788232
Genre : Nature
File Size : 64.52 MB
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How did life begin on the early Earth? We know that life today is driven by the universal laws of chemistry and physics. By applying these laws over the past ?fty years, en- mous progress has been made in understanding the molecular mechanisms that are the foundations of the living state. For instance, just a decade ago, the ?rst human genome was published, all three billion base pairs. Using X-ray diffraction data from crystals, we can see how an enzyme molecule or a photosynthetic reaction center steps through its catalytic function. We can even visualize a ribosome, central to all life, translate - netic information into a protein. And we are just beginning to understand how molecular interactions regulate thousands of simultaneous reactions that continuously occur even in the simplest forms of life. New words have appeared that give a sense of this wealth of knowledge: The genome, the proteome, the metabolome, the interactome. But we can’t be too smug. We must avoid the mistake of the physicist who, as the twentieth century began, stated con?dently that we knew all there was to know about physics, that science just needed to clean up a few dusty corners. Then came relativity, quantum theory, the Big Bang, and now dark matter, dark energy and string theory. Similarly in the life sciences, the more we learn, the better we understand how little we really know. There remains a vast landscape to explore, with great questions remaining.
Category: Nature

Origins Of Life

Author : Freeman Dyson
ISBN : 1139425765
Genre : Science
File Size : 46.60 MB
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How did life on earth originate? Did replication or metabolism come first in the history of life? In this book, Freeman Dyson examines these questions and discusses the two main theories that try to explain how naturally occurring chemicals could organize themselves into living creatures. The majority view is that life began with replicating molecules, the precursors of modern genes. The minority belief is that random populations of molecules evolved metabolic activities before exact replication existed. Dyson analyzes both of these theories with reference to recent important discoveries by geologists and chemists. His main aim is to stimulate experiments that could help to decide which theory is correct. This second edition covers the enormous advances that have been made in biology and geology in the past and the impact they have had on our ideas about how life began. It is a clearly-written, fascinating book that will appeal to anyone interested in the origins of life.
Category: Science

Evolutionary Systems

Author : G. Vijver
ISBN : 9789401715102
Genre : Philosophy
File Size : 29.52 MB
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The three well known revolutions of the past centuries - the Copernican, the Darwinian and the Freudian - each in their own way had a deflating and mechanizing effect on the position of humans in nature. They opened up a richness of disillusion: earth acquired a more modest place in the universe, the human body and mind became products of a long material evolutionary history, and human reason, instead of being the central, immaterial, locus of understanding, was admitted into the theater of discourse only as a materialized and frequently out-of-control actor. Is there something objectionable to this picture? Formulated as such, probably not. Why should we resist the idea that we are in certain ways, and to some degree, physically, biologically or psychically determined? Why refuse to acknowledge the fact that we are materially situated in an ever evolving world? Why deny that the ways of inscription (traces of past events and processes) are co-determinative of further "evolutionary pathways"? Why minimize the idea that each intervention, of each natural being, is temporally and materially situated, and has, as such, the inevitable consequence of changing the world? The point is, however, that there are many, more or less radically different, ways to consider the "mechanization" of man and nature. There are, in particular, many ways to get the message of "material and evolutionary determination", as well as many levels at which this determination can be thought of as relevant or irrelevant.
Category: Philosophy

Evolution

Author : Donald R. Prothero
ISBN : 9780231511421
Genre : Science
File Size : 20.75 MB
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Over the past twenty years, paleontologists have made tremendous fossil discoveries, including fossils that mark the growth of whales, manatees, and seals from land mammals and the origins of elephants, horses, and rhinos. Today there exists an amazing diversity of fossil humans, suggesting we walked upright long before we acquired large brains, and new evidence from molecules that enable scientists to decipher the tree of life as never before. The fossil record is now one of the strongest lines of evidence for evolution. In this engaging and richly illustrated book, Donald R. Prothero weaves an entertaining though intellectually rigorous history out of the transitional forms and series that dot the fossil record. Beginning with a brief discussion of the nature of science and the "monkey business of creationism," Prothero tackles subjects ranging from flood geology and rock dating to neo-Darwinism and macroevolution. He covers the ingredients of the primordial soup, the effects of communal living, invertebrate transitions, the development of the backbone, the reign of the dinosaurs, the mammalian explosion, and the leap from chimpanzee to human. Prothero pays particular attention to the recent discovery of "missing links" that complete the fossil timeline and details the debate between biologists over the mechanisms driving the evolutionary process. Evolution is an absorbing combination of firsthand observation, scientific discovery, and trenchant analysis. With the teaching of evolution still an issue, there couldn't be a better moment for a book clarifying the nature and value of fossil evidence. Widely recognized as a leading expert in his field, Prothero demonstrates that the transformation of life on this planet is far more awe inspiring than the narrow view of extremists.
Category: Science

Darwin Among The Machines

Author : George Dyson
ISBN : 9780718196950
Genre : Computers
File Size : 40.37 MB
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'Full of historical anecdotes . . . but this is much more than a history book. [George Dyson] weaves his threads together for a purpose. Using voices of the past and present, he describes a fresh and sometimes startling viewpoint of the emerging relationship between nature and machines. From vignettes about Olaf Stapledon, George Boole, John von Neumann, and Samuel Butler, a larger story develops in which the twin processes of intelligence and evolution are inseparably intertwined' Danny Hillis, Wired
Category: Computers