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Chance and Necessity: An Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology Hardcover – 1971
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Top Customer Reviews
Creationists like to believe that life is too complex, too perfect to have begun by chance. Monod shows, in excruciating detail, exactly how they are wrong. Dead wrong.
This is a landmark, crucial book.
Well written discussion of evolution, genetics and the probability that the existence of all life is but a chance happening among many possibilities.
When he speaks as a biologist, Monod's thinking and power to communicate are very impressive. He summarizes many of the major findings of molecular biology (up to 1970) brilliantly and in a remarkably short space. Very humbly, he does not even mention his own eminent role in elucidating these principles.
However, Monod the philosopher is another matter. In these sections his explanations have a more bombastic sound, his language and his sentence structure are more pretentious, as if he is trying to convince the reader that he really knows what he is talking about.
This is also obvious when he speaks of the crucial question of the origin of life. It is astonishing that so many reviewers claim Monod has succeeded in showing that life and intelligence have arisen by chance. It is true that he claims to be able to do this, but his failure is shown by the uncertainty that overshadows the whole work, and particularly this section, with an abundance of uncertainties such as:
* "Three presumptive stages..."
* "While uncertainty remains, and will doubtless continue, as to the paths actually followed by prebiotic chemical evolution..."
* "Remarkably enough, under certain altogether plausible sets of conditions..."
* "And so it may be considered as proved that at a certain moment in the earth's history certain bodies of water could have contained...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The book was listed as good, but the pages were yellowed. The definitions are not specific enough. However, it is still readable and not a serious problem.Published on October 23, 2013 by Wireless
I have discovered this book in 1972 and read it more than ten times since. It deals with fundamental notions in a clear, truthful and lightening way.Published on September 19, 2013 by LIRON JEAN MARC
Even though this book was written over 40 years ago, I was amazed how well it stands up to current scientific knowledge. Read morePublished on November 17, 2012 by Bryan Hamlin
Chance & Necessity begins with Jacques Monod observing that organisms appear to serve a purpose ('teleonomy') but that purpose in fact can be reduced to molecular biology. Read morePublished on October 15, 2012 by whiteelephant
Jacques Monod (1910-1976) was a French biologist---widely regarded as the "father of molecular biology"---who was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1965. Read morePublished on June 30, 2010 by Steven H Propp
A pioneering effort to examine the implications of modern biology on philosophy by the visional philosopher Jacques Monod. Read morePublished on February 6, 2010 by Crespo
I don't always agree with Monod. However, his exposition is clear and straightforward, which makes it easy for me, as a reader, to discern where my view diverges from Monod's. Read morePublished on December 1, 2009 by Yothgoboufnir