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Paperback The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories Book

ISBN: 0802224474

ISBN13: 9780802224477

The Mystery of Life's Origin: Reassessing Current Theories

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A Scientific Analysis of Important Data Related to Evolution

This book offers an excellent scientific analysis of important data related to the theory of evolution. I have a degree in Applied Physics from Georgia Tech but portions of this book were over my head. Having said that, a vast majority of the book was intellectually stimulating and raised some very real questions about evolution theory that are often ignored and left unanswered. College professors need to read this book in order to have a balanced view of the different theories regarding the origin of life. This book is NOT a theological book and does not promote religion. It is scientific to the core and extremely compelling. I highly recommend it to the scientific community and other interested persons.

Difficult to understand, but essential to read

The authors are distinguished scientists holding advanced degrees in chemistry, materials science, and geochemistry. This book clearly reflects that, and if you've not studied any of these sciences, a primer is in order. They thoroughly rebut Miller's infamous experiment which supposedly proved life can come from nonliving matter. This book explores the hypothesis of chemical evolution and what conditions would be required, as well as what conditions probably were like on the Earth prior to sentient life developing. Darwin's point about wanting a "warm little pond" in which evolution would take place is delved into in the chapter "The Myth of the Prebiotic Soup." Whether you believe in evolution, creation, or creationism, this book is a must-read for anyone with an interest in science.

A Classic, yet Accessible Scientific Treatise on the Deficiencies of Chemical Evolution

A seminal work for the theory of intelligent design, this book provides a scientific critique of the prevailing paradigmatic theories of chemical evolution. The authors include Discovery fellows Charles Thaxton and Walter Bradley, and they conclude that the prebiotic soup from which the first cell supposedly arose is a myth. The Miller-Urey experiments employed an unrealistic gas mixture, and there is no geological evidence for its existence in Earth's distant past. The "soup" faces a myriad of other problems, such as inevitable rapid destruction at the hands of radiation. The authors also take aim at the dominant paradigm for chemical evolution using technical arguments from thermodynamics. The second law of thermodynamics has been misused by creationists who failed to treat the fact that Earth is an open system. But Thaxton, Bradley, and Olsen takes this point into account as they argue that thermodynamics is eminently applicable to assessing whether unguided chemical reactions can organize matter into life. Their conclusion is that natural laws cannot account for the encoded "specified complexity" inherent in biomolecules. The epilogue looks forward to other possible explanations for the origin of life. The book was published in 1984 when the United States was immersed in debate over Genesis-based creationism. Yet these authors take a different approach that is ahead of its time. They recognize that science requires an observation-based understanding of cause-and-effect relationships. Thus they set aside biblical arguments and focus instead on observations about the natural world and intelligence. After demonstrating that various undirected causes lack the power to produce complex information, they note, "We have observational evidence in the present that intelligent investigators can (and do) build contrivances to channel energy down nonrandom chemical pathways to bring about some complex chemical synthesis, even gene building" (pg. 211). The authors then pose a simple question: "May not the principle of uniformity suggest that DNA had an intelligent cause at the beginning?" (pg. 211)

Long on Details

For 15 years, this book has been the first that I recommend for colleagues and friends wishing to evaluate the validity of evolution. Its value is that it focuses in ample detail on just one single, critical step in evolution: getting from non-life to life. The book describes work by 4 researchers who attempted to find the mechanism that led to the evolution of the first proto-cell. The authors detail their attempts to find this mechanism that would work against the known processes which the first step in biological evolution would have had to surmount (such as entropy). Each researcher brought a different expertise to the work, so the book is able to bring a number of perspectives to bear on this one relatively narrow issue. This is not a book for individuals with merely secondary-school maths, biology or chemistry knowledge. The further one has studied in those disciplines (university, post-graduate), the better able he will be to appreciate the research.

Seminal intelligent design book

The book doesn't focus on Darwinism. It focuses on the origin of life, something that had to happen before the Darwinian mechanism could even begin to work. Dean Kenyon, author of a leading OOL monograph, Biochemical Predestination, was approached by the three authors and he agreed to write the foreword. He found the book illuminating and challenging.
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