In this thought-provoking book, Denis Noble formulates the theory of biological relativity, emphasising that living organisms operate at multiple levels of complexity and must therefore be analysed from a multi-scale, relativistic perspective. Noble explains that all biological processes operate by means of molecular, cellular and organismal networks. The interactive nature of these fundamental processes is at the core of biological relativity and, as such, challenges simplified molecular reductionism. Noble shows that such an integrative view emerges as the necessary consequence of the rigorous application of mathematics to biology. Drawing on his pioneering work in the mathematical physics of biology, he shows that what emerges is a deeply humane picture of the role of the organism in constraining its chemistry, including its genes, to serve the organism as a whole, especially in the interaction with its social environment. This humanistic, holistic approach challenges the common gene-centred view held by many in modern biology and culture.
What is Life? Decades of research have resulted in the full mapping of the human genome - three billion pairs of code whose functions are only now being understood. The gene's eye view of life, advocated by evolutionary biology, sees living bodies as mere vehicles for the replication of the genetic codes. But for a physiologist, working with the living organism, the view is a very different one. Denis Noble is a world renowned physiologist, and sets out an alternative view to the question - one that becomes deeply significant in terms of the living, breathing organism. The genome is not life itself. Noble argues that far from genes building organisms, they should be seen as prisoners of the organism. The view of life presented in this little, modern, post-genome project reflection on the nature of life, is that of the systems biologist: to understand what life is, we must view it at a variety of different levels, all interacting with each other in a complex web. It is that emergent web, full of feedback between levels, from the gene to the wider environment, that is life. It is a kind of music. Including stories from Noble's own research experience, his work on the heartbeat, musical metaphors, and elements of linguistics and Chinese culture, this very personal and at times deeply lyrical book sets out the systems biology view of life.
Author: James Alan Shapiro
Publisher: Pearson Education
Release Date: 2011
James A. Shapiro proposes an important new paradigm for understanding biological evolution, the core organizing principle of biology. Shapiro introduces crucial new molecular evidence that tests the conventional scientific view of evolution based on the neo-Darwinian synthesis, shows why this view is inadequate to today's evidence, and presents a compelling alternative view of the evolutionary process that reflects the shift in life sciences towards a more information- and systems-based approach in Evolution: A View from the 21st Century. Shapiro integrates advances in symbiogenesis, epigenetics, and saltationism into a unified approach that views evolutionary change as an active cell process, regulated epigenetically and capable of making rapid large changes by horizontal DNA transfer, inter-specific hybridization, whole genome doubling, symbiogenesis, or massive genome restructuring. Evolution marshals extensive evidence in support of a fundamental reinterpretation of evolutionary processes, including more than 1,100 references to the scientific literature. Shapiro's work will generate extensive discussion throughout the biological community, and may significantly change your own thinking about how life has evolved. It also has major implications for evolutionary computation, information science, and the growing synthesis of the physical and biological sciences.
Author: C. A. R. Boyd
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Release Date: 1993
A highly challenging collection of essays by eminent scientists on the theme of integrative approaches to physiological questions, this book discusses the changing boundaries between different disciplines in modern experimental biology. The contributors are experts in the fields of integrative physiology, cellular evolution, control mechanisms, endocrinology, and behavioral biology. Conceived as a tribute to the 1993 International Congress of Physiological Sciences, this important work matches the immense challenge of modern biological science at the end of the twentieth century.
Author: Brian G. Henning
Publisher: Lexington Books
Release Date: 2013-02-01
Pairing scientists and philosophers together, this book is an exploration of some of the new frontiers in biology (e.g., Emergence, Complex Systems, Biosemiotics, Symbiogenesis, Organic Selection, Epigenetics, Niche Construction, Teleodynamics, etc.). The chapters in this volume challenge the mechanistic metaphysic that is implicit in the reigning neo-Darwinist paradigm, point to more inclusive modes of thinking in relation to the nature of life, and contribute to the novel synthesis that is presently “in the air.”
Why do human beings find some tone combinations consonant and others dissonant? Why do we make music using only a small number of scales out the billions that are possible? Dale Purves shows that rethinking music theory in biological terms offers a new approach to centuries-long debates about the organization and impact of music.
Karl Popper's lecture A New Interpretation of Darwinism given at the Royal Society London in 1986 is here printed for the first time in the original. In it, Popper denies the creative power of blind chance and natural selection. Instead of these two Darwinian dogmas he establishes knowledge and activity of all organisms as the creative driving forces of evolution. Hans-Joachim Niemann unearths biographical details about the year 1936 when Popper's biological thoughts were inspired by a meeting with some scientists of the avant-garde of molecular biology. He then focusses on the year 1986 when Popper, in several lectures, summarized the results of his life-long biological thinking. After that Niemann discusses Popper's philosophy of biology in the light of new results of molecular biology that apparently supports his endeavour to overcome some gloomy aspects of Darwinism. How the new creative forces knowledge and activity came into existence is still a secret and a worthwhile research programme.
Author: Eberhard O. Voit
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2016-04-28
Living systems are dynamic and extremely complex and their behaviour is often hard to predict by studying their individual parts. Systems biology promises to reveal and analyse these highly connected, regulated and adaptable systems, using mathematical modelling and computational analysis. This new systems approach is already having a broad impact on biological research and has potentially far-reaching implications for our understanding of life. Written in an informal and non-technical style, this book provides an accessible introduction to systems biology. Self-contained vignettes each convey a key theme and are intended to enlighten, provoke and interest readers of different academic disciplines, but also to offer new insight to those working in the field. Using a minimum amount of jargon and no mathematics, Voit manages to convey complex ideas and give the reader a genuine sense of the excitement that systems biology brings with it, as well as the current challenges and opportunities.
Author: Sara Imari Walker
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2017-02-23
Recent advances suggest that the concept of information might hold the key to unravelling the mystery of life's nature and origin. Fresh insights from a broad and authoritative range of articulate and respected experts focus on the transition from matter to life, and hence reconcile the deep conceptual schism between the way we describe physical and biological systems. A unique cross-disciplinary perspective, drawing on expertise from philosophy, biology, chemistry, physics, and cognitive and social sciences, provides a new way to look at the deepest questions of our existence. This book addresses the role of information in life, and how it can make a difference to what we know about the world. Students, researchers, and all those interested in what life is and how it began will gain insights into the nature of life and its origins that touch on nearly every domain of science.
Author: Erik L. Peterson
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Release Date: 2017-02-10
As scientists debated the nature of life in the nineteenth century, two theories predominated: vitalism, which suggested that living things contained a “vital spark,” and mechanism, the idea that animals and humans differed from nonliving things only in their degree of complexity. Erik Peterson tells the forgotten story of the pursuit of a “third way’ in biology, known by many names, including “the organic philosophy,” which gave rise to C. H. Waddington’s work in the subfield of epigenetics: an alternative to standard genetics and evolutionary biology that captured the attention of notable scientists from Francis Crick to Stephen Jay Gould. The Life Organic chronicles the influential biologists, mathematicians, philosophers, and biochemists from both sides of the Atlantic who formed Joseph Needham’s Theoretical Biology Club, defined and refined “third way” thinking through the 1930s, and laid the groundwork for some of the most cutting-edge achievements in biology today. By tracing the persistence of organicism into the twenty-first century, this book also raises significant questions about how we should model the development of the discipline of biology going forward.
Author: Grant Ramsey
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Release Date: 2016-10-25
Humans, however much we would care to think otherwise, do not represent the fated pinnacle of ape evolution. The diversity of life, from single-celled organisms to multicellular animals and plants, is the result of a long, complex, and highly chancy history. But how profoundly has chance shaped life on earth? And what, precisely, do we mean by chance? Bringing together biologists, philosophers of science, and historians of science, Chance in Evolution is the first book to untangle the far-reaching effects of chance, contingency, and randomness on the evolution of life. The book begins by placing chance in historical context, starting with the ancients and moving through Darwin and his contemporaries, documenting how the understanding of chance changed as Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection developed into the modern synthesis, and how the acceptance of chance in Darwinian theory affected theological resistance to it. Subsequent chapters detail the role of chance in contemporary evolutionary theory—in particular, in connection with the concepts of genetic drift, mutation, and parallel evolution—as well as recent empirical work in the experimental evolution of microbes and in paleobiology. By engaging in collaboration across biology, history, philosophy, and theology, this book offers a comprehensive and synthetic overview both of the history of chance in evolution and of our current best understanding of the impact of chance on life on earth.
Robert Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world a US News and World Report cover story called him a genius and a renegade thinker, even likening him to Einstein. Lanza has teamed with Bob Berman, the most widely read astronomer in the world, to produce Biocentrism, a revolutionary new view of the universe. Every now and then a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationship with the world. For most humans of the 15th century, the notion of Earth as ball of rock was nonsense. The whole of Western, natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, increasingly being forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory, and at the same time, toward doubt and uncertainty in the physical explanations of the universes genesis and structure. Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around. In this paradigm, life is not an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics. Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe our own from the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism will shatter the readers ideas of life--time and space, and even death. At the same time it will release us from the dull worldview of life being merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal. The 21st century is predicted to be the Century of Biology, a shift from the previous century dominated by physics. It seems fitting, then, to begin the century by turning the universe outside-in and unifying the foundations of science with a simple idea discovered by one of the leading life-scientists of our age. Biocentrism awakens in readers a new sense of possibility, and is full of so many shocking new perspectives that the reader will never see reality the same way again.
Author: Perry Marshall
Publisher: BenBella Books, Inc.
Release Date: 2015-09-01
In the ongoing debate about evolution, science and faith face off. But the truth is both sides are right and wrong. In one corner: Atheists like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, and Jerry Coyne. They insist evolution happens by blind random accident. Their devout adherence to Neo-Darwinism omits the latest science, glossing over crucial questions and fascinating details. In the other corner: Intelligent Design advocates like William Dembski, Stephen Meyer, and Michael Behe. Many defy scientific consensus, maintaining that evolution is a fraud and rejecting common ancestry outright. There is a third way. Evolution 2.0 proves that, while evolution is not a hoax, neither is it random nor accidental. Changes are targeted, adaptive, and aware. You’ll discover: How organisms re-engineer their genetic destiny in real time Amazing systems living things use to re-design themselves Every cell is armed with machinery for editing its own DNA The five amazing tools organisms use to alter their genetics 70 years of scientific discoveries—of which the public has heard virtually nothing! Perry Marshall approached evolution with skepticism for religious reasons. As an engineer, he rejected the concept of organisms randomly evolving. But an epiphany—that DNA is code, much like data in our digital age—sparked a 10-year journey of in-depth research into more than 70 years of under-reported evolutionary science. This led to a new understanding of evolution—an evolution 2.0 that not only furthers technology and medicine, but fuels our sense of wonder at life itself. This book will open your eyes and transform your thinking about evolution and God. You’ll gain a deeper appreciation for our place in the universe. You’ll see the world around you as you’ve never seen it before. Evolution 2.0 pinpoints the central mystery of biology, offering a multimillion dollar technology prize at naturalcode.org to the first person who can solve it.
Author: Stuart A. Kauffman
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Release Date: 2016-02-25
Genre: Evolution (Biology)
Much of Stuart Kauffman's work in the philosophy of evolutionary biology has centered on the question of what he calls "prestatability" in evolution: that is, whether or not science can precisely predict the future development of biological features in organisms, using a singular "FinalTheory" of evolution. In this book, Kauffman argues that the development of life on earth is not prestatable, because no theory could ever fully account for the limitless variability of evolution. He believes that the biological universe's primary trait is that it is creative, and that acknowledgingthis creativity will lead to a radically different way in which humans view themselves and all other living beings. It is an argument against Reductive Materialism.Kauffman also asserts that man's Modern preoccupation to explain all things with scientific law has deadened our creative natures. In his words, he aims for the book to be "one that revises our scientific world view of the universe as entirely entailed by law." Instead, he advocates an approach toscience that accounts for "unprestatable" creativity, thus allowing humans to fully realize their creative selves. The book will build off the ideas developed in his last two works, Reinventing the Sacred and Investigations. Incorporating philosophers like Kant and Descartes, as well as the scienceof Newton and Darwin, Humanity in a Creative Universe is Stuart Kauffman's argument for a creative and unpredictable view of modern science.