The Life Beyond Molecules and Genes: In Search of Harmony between Life and Science Kindle Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-1599472508
ISBN-10: 1599472503
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Book Description

What makes us alive? Is it our DNA? Our genetics? Is it our atomic composition that gives us life? Somehow, all of this feels radically dissonant from our everyday experience. In Life beyond Molecules and Genes, experimental biologist Stephen Rothman makes the bold case that it is, in fact, our adaptive abilities, hewn by evolution, that make us alive. In making this point, he reveals a hidden harmony between science and life as we live it.
 
The traditionally accepted understanding of adaptive properties (e.g. the abilities to obtain food, avoid predators, procreate, etc.) has been that these are actions of living things or traits that they express. Rothman makes the provocative assertion that this foundational element of the modern materialist perspective is entirely backwards. Our adaptive properties do not exist because we are alive, but rather we are alive because they exist. The implications of this assertion turn the theory of evolution by natural selection on its head by revealing that life transcends its material nature.
 
Students and scholars of the biological sciences as well as those interested in the philosophy of science will find this work both fascinating and challenging, perhaps even controversial. For centuries, the field of biology has focused on the seemingly mundane task of identifying and cataloging life’s chemical substances, while ignoring its grand question: “What is it that makes us alive?” With Life beyond Molecules and Genes, perhaps the field will move a bit closer toward an answer.
 

From the Back Cover

What makes us alive? Is it our DNA? Our genetics? Is it our molecular or even our atomic composition? Somehow, all of this feels radically dissonant from our everyday experience of life. In Life beyond Molecules and Genes, experimental biologist Stephen Rothman makes the bold case that instead it is our adaptive abilities, hewn by evolution that make us alive. In making this point, he reveals a hidden harmony between science and life as we live it.
 
The traditional understanding of adaptive properties (e.g., the abilities to obtain food, avoid predators, procreate) has been that they are actions of living things or traits that they express. Rothman makes the provocative statement that this foundational element of the theory of evolution by natural selection is entirely backward. Our adaptive properties do not exist because we are alive, but rather we are alive because they exist. The implications of this understanding turn the modern materialist perspective on its head by revealing that life transcends its material nature.
 
For more than a century, the field of biology has focused on the task of identifying and cataloging life’s chemical substances, while ignoring its grand question: “What is it that makes us alive?” With Life beyond Molecules and Genes, perhaps the field will move a bit closer toward an answer.
 
Stephen Rothman is an emeritus professor of physiology at the University of California, San Francisco. He was an experimental biologist for more than forty years and is presently engaged in a writing project that considers some of biology’s most vexing questions. He has written or edited seven books and published more than two-hundred articles in Nature, Science, and other prestigious scientific journals.

Product details

  • File Size: 567 KB
  • Print Length: 241 pages
  • Publisher: Templeton Press (August 1, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 1, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005JSQCQO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,134,965 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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on November 9, 2009
Format: Paperback
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