The Life Beyond Molecules and Genes: In Search of Harmony between Life and Science Kindle Edition
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Top customer reviews
Good questions. It's too bad that the answers are not in this book. If "aliveness" is indeed immanent and immaterial, as claimed by the author, there is precious little evidence for that hypothesis in this book. In discussing previous efforts to address this question, the author unwittingly describes his own work (p. 197) - "The problem... is that in the end, they tell us little that is concrete about life."
The book is basically a revolt against reductionism and the (now passé) notion that DNA and genes can explain everything we need to know about living things. Rothman continually vents against our "modern infatuation with molecules". That seems to be a favorite whipping boy for this author; his 2001 "Lessons from the living cell" is also a reaction to reductionism and materialism. But his whipping boy is also a strawman. Modern biological researchers understand that genes are not the sole arbiter of form and function. Regulatory sequences, protein-protein interactions, contingency, interactions with a variable environment, and many other factors must be invoked as we investigate the central questions for this book. Frankly, if the reader is looking for a far better foray into the emergent properties we call life and intelligence, I'd suggest Dennis Bray's "Wetware: A Computer in Every Living Cell".
The Templeton Foundation has found a biologist to say that maybe science can't explain everything, which is a reality that every scientist takes for granted. Why does this deserve a book? Beats me!
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