Book ID: CBB794906394

A Brief History of Creation: Science and the Search for the Origin of Life (2015)


How did life begin? It is perhaps the most important question science has ever asked. Over the centuries, the search for an answer has been entwined with some of science’s most revolutionary advances including van Leeuwenhoek’s microscope, Darwin’s theory of evolution, and Crick and Watson’s unveiling of DNA. Now, in an age of genetic engineering and space exploration, some scientists believe they are on the verge of creating life from nonliving elements and that our knowledge of the potential for life on other planets is ever-expanding. In the midst of these exciting developments, A Brief History of Creation provides an essential and illuminating history of Western science, tracing the trials and triumphs of the iconoclastic scientists who have sought to uncover the mystery of how life first came to be. Authors Bill Mesler and H. James Cleaves II examine historical discoveries in the context of philosophical debates, political change, and our evolving understanding of the complexity of biology. The story they tell is rooted in metaphysical arguments, in a changing understanding of the age of the Earth, and even in the politics of the Cold War. It has involved exploration into the inner recesses of our cells and scientific journeys to the farthest reaches of outer space. This elegantly written narrative culminates in an analysis of modern models for life’s genesis, such as the possibility that some of the earliest life was composed of little more than RNA, and that life arose around deep-sea hydrothermal vents or even on other planets, only to be carried to the Earth on meteorites. Can we ever conclusively prove how life began? A Brief History of Creation is a fascinating exploration not only of the origin-of-life question but of the very nature of scientific objectivity and the process of scientific discovery.

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Authors & Contributors
Numbers, Ronald L.
Shapiro, Adam R.
Stenhouse, John
Moore, John A.
Campbell, Gordon
Pyle, Andrew
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
British Journal for the History of Science
Social Studies of Science
Journal of the History of Biology
Studies in History of Biology
University of California Press
Oxford University Press
College Publications
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of Chicago Press
Harvard University Press
Science and religion
Science and politics
Biogenesis; origin of life; spontaneous generation
Darwin, Charles Robert
Malebranche, Nicolas de
Montaigne, Michel Eyquem de
Vanini, Giulio Cesare
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
Time Periods
21st century
17th century
20th century, late
20th century, early
20th century
19th century
United States
New Zealand
Great Britain
Middle and Near East

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