Exploring the Origin, Extent, and Future of Life: Philosophical, Ethical and Theological Perspectivesby Constance M. Bertka
Pub. Date: 10/31/2009
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Where did we come from? Are we alone? Where are we going? These are the questions that define the field of astrobiology. New discoveries about life on Earth, the increasing numbers of extrasolar planets being identified, and the technologies being developed to locate and characterize Earth-like planets around other stars are continually challenging our views of
Where did we come from? Are we alone? Where are we going? These are the questions that define the field of astrobiology. New discoveries about life on Earth, the increasing numbers of extrasolar planets being identified, and the technologies being developed to locate and characterize Earth-like planets around other stars are continually challenging our views of nature and our connection to the rest of the universe. In this book, philosophers, historians, ethicists, and theologians provide the perspectives of their fields on the research and discoveries of astrobiology. A valuable resource for graduate students and researchers, the book provides an introduction to astrobiology, and explores subjects such as the implications of current origin of life research, the possible discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life, and the possibility of altering the environment of Mars.
Table of Contents
1. Astrobiology in societal context Constance Bertka; Part I. Origin of Life: 2. Emergence and the experimental pursuit of the origin of life Robert Hazen; 3. From Aristotle to Darwin, to Freeman Dyson: changing definitions of life viewed in historical context James Strick; 4. Philosophical aspects of the origin-of-life problem: the emergence of life and the nature of science Iris Fry; 5. The origin of terrestrial life: a Christian perspective Ernan McMullin; 6. The alpha and the omega: reflections on the origin and future of life from the perspective of Christian theology and ethics Celia Deane-Drummond; Part II. Extent of Life: 7. A biologist's guide to the Solar System Lynn Rothschild; 8. The quest for habitable worlds and life beyond the Solar System Carl Pilcher; 9. A historical perspective on the extent and search for life Steven J. Dick; 10. The search for extraterrestrial life: epistemology, ethics, and worldviews Mark Lupisella; 11. The implications of discovering extraterrestrial life: different searches, different issues Margaret S. Race; 12. God, evolution, and astrobiology Cynthia S. W. Crysdale; Part III. Future of Life: 13. Planetary ecosynthesis on Mars: restoration ecology and environmental ethics Christopher P. McKay; 14. The trouble with intrinsic value: an ethical primer for astrobiology Kelly C. Smith; 15. God's preferential option for life: a Christian perspective on astrobiology Richard O. Randolph; 16. Comparing stories about the origin, extent, and future of life: an Asian religious perspective Francisca Cho; Index.
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