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Read or Download A Brief History of Creation: Scie

Read online or Download A Brief History of Creation: Science and the Search for the Origin of Life (Full PDF ebook with essay, research paper)
by Bill Mesler , H. James Cleaves II

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Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 3.10(d)



The epic story of the scientists through the ages who have sought answers to life’s biggest mystery: How did it begin? How did life begin? It is perhaps the most important question science has ever asked. Over the centuries, the search for an answer has been entwined with some of science’s most revolutionary advances including van Leeuwenhoek’s microscope, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Crick and Watson’s unveiling of DNA. Now, in an age of genetic engineering and space exploration, some scientists believe they are on the verge of creating life from nonliving elements and that our knowledge of the potential for life on other planets is ever-expanding. In the midst of these exciting developments, A Brief History of Creation provides an essential and illuminating history of Western science, tracing the trials and triumphs of the iconoclastic scientists who have sought to uncover the mystery of how life first came to be.Authors Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves II examine historical discoveries in the context of philosophical debates, political change, and our evolving understanding of the complexity of biology. The story they tell is rooted in metaphysical arguments, in a changing understanding of the age of the Earth, and even in the politics of the Cold War. It has involved exploration into the inner recesses of our cells and scientific journeys to the farthest reaches of outer space. This elegantly written narrative culminates in an analysis of modern models for life’s genesis, such as the possibility that some of the earliest life was composed of little more than RNA, and that life arose around deep-sea hydrothermal vents or even on other planets, only to be carried to the Earth on meteorites.Can we ever conclusively prove how life began? A Brief History of Creation is a fascinating exploration not only of the origin-of-life question but of the very nature of scientific objectivity and the process of scientific discovery.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Journalist Mesler and chemist Cleaves explore how humans have contemplated life’s origins over the millennia, and the authors offer a cogent explanation of the best current thinking on the topic in this broad intellectual history. Because they cover so much ground—moving from the Egyptians through the Greeks all the way to the present—they are forced to be somewhat superficial. Nonetheless, across the arc of their engaging story they raise some fascinating points. Throughout, they touch on the controversy between religion and science, such as the way that those in the mid-19th century who attempted to demonstrate that spontaneous generation occurred regularly were seen as anti-Christian materialists. Unsurprisingly, significant time is spent on the work of Charles Darwin, but he is unfairly criticized for not fully addressing the issue of the origin of life—unfair because that was not the question he was attempting to answer. Yet Mesler and Cleaves recognize that Darwin forever transformed the discussion, since after Darwin, “those who once wondered about the first of each species now wondered about a single first ancestor of all of them.” The last chapters take readers on a tour of current research that will both educate and entertain. (Dec.)

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