- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Touchstone, Simon & Schuster; 1st edition (September 1, 1982)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0671255630
- ISBN-13: 978-0671255633
- Package Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,554,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature 1st Edition
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Rahasya Poe, Lotus Guide
If anyone knows of a more up to date book on the same theme, I would appreciate it.
IMO, Crick falls into the trap of having to prove things that are not provable. Very interesting ideas, but I think calling him an atheist, e.g., is not correct. He is simply trying to answer problems in light of a religious existence.
For example only, surely we die but where does the soul go and how? That assumes there is a soul and that it must travel, a given from religion.
As a scientist, I ask where is the soul in the body and I guess the mind. Where is the mind, and I guess in the DNA molecule and if that molecule can travel into another human it can live forever.
But where is the part of the DNA representing the mind/soul? Surely, personality is part of the mind/soul and we can see some of that in our offspring.
Fermi's question was; "If they came from another planet, where are they", and Szilard answers: "They are among us but they call themselves, Hungarians”.
They are us. Is that hard to believe?
In this book, Crick is waylaid by several ideas off the main subject of life origin and nature, delving into religion.
Crick states that "life is probably a happy accident which, even in the extended laboratory of the planet's surface, is likely to have taken many millions of years to occur." (pg. 39) Then he admits, "Life, from this point of view, is an infinitely rare event, and yet we see it teeming all around us. How can such rare things be so common?" (pg. 53) He states, "An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going." (pg. 88)
But rather than a "miracle," Crick writes in the Preface, "In this book I explore a variant of panspermia which Leslie Orgel and I suggested a few years ago. To avoid damage, the microorganisms are supposed to have traveled in the head of an unmanned spaceship sent to earth by a higher civilization which had developed elsewhere some billions of years ago. This spaceship was unmanned so that its range would be as great as possible. Life started here when these organisms were dripped into the primitive ocean and began to multiply." He later restates this theory, "Directed Panspermia--postulates that the roots of our form of life go back to another place in the universe, almost certainly another planet; that it had reached a very advanced form there before anything much had started here; and that life here was seeded by microorganisms sent on some form of spaceship by an advanced civilization."
Why would an advanced civilization have sent out such a ship? "there may have been reasons for them to believe they could even survive in the short run. Perhaps they had found a neighboring star was set on a collision course with theirs--not a very likely event in most parts of a galaxy but more than likely near the galactic center.... Without doubt they would have planned to colonize neighboring planets, but this may have proved to be a technological achievement of extreme difficulty ... they may have realized that their chances of success were small and that they had to make contingency plans against repeated failures of this kind.... microorganisms similar to our bacteria would have been a good choice to be the colonists sent to start life in a distant place." (pg. 120-122)
Obviously, direct evidence of such a theory is lacking. He then suggests, "Perhaps a better approach might be to ask what special features we might hope to see in the fossil record if Directed Panspermia had indeed occurred. The main difference would be that microorganisms should appear here suddenly, without any evidence for prebiotic systems or very primitive organisms." (pg. 144)
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