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In just a half century, humanity has made an astounding leap in its understanding of life. Now, one of the giants of biological science, Christian de Duve, discusses what we've learned in this half century, ranging from the tiniest cells to the future of our species and of life itself.
With wide-ranging erudition, De Duve takes us on a dazzling tour of the biological world, beginning with the invisible workings of the cell, the area in which he won his Nobel Prize. He describes how the first cells may have arisen and suggests that they may have been like the organisms that exist today near deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Contrary to many scientists, he argues that life was bound to arise and that it probably only took millennia—maybe tens of thousands of years—to move from rough building blocks to the first organisms possessing the basic properties of life. With equal authority, De Duve examines topics such as the evolution of humans, the origins of consciousness, the development of language, the birth of science, and the origin of emotion, morality, altruism, and love. He concludes with his conjectures on the future of humanity—for instance, we may evolve, perhaps via genetic engineering, into a new species—and he shares his personal thoughts about God and immortality.
In Life Evolving, one of our most eminent scientists sums up what he has learned about the nature of life and our place in the universe. An extraordinarily wise and humane volume, it will fascinate readers curious about the world around them and about the impact of science on philosophy and religion.
"This book is addressed to the educated lay person interested in the origin of life, its evolution to the present day and its philosophical implications. The reader is in for a treat of unsurpassed lucid and poetic writing. It is the testament of one of the great biologist-philosophers of our time."—Gunter Blobel, Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine
"An original thinker and graceful writer, Christian de Duve is an E.O. Wilson for the cell. In Life Evolving, De Duve lays bare the molecular machinery of life, finding both explanation of our evolutionary past and signs of what it will mean to be human in the twenty-first century."—Andrew H. Knoll, Fisher Professor of Natural History, Harvard University
|1||What Is Life? Chemistry||7|
|2||What Is Life? Information||25|
|3||Where Does Life Come From?||40|
|4||How Did Life Arise? The Way of RNA||57|
|5||How Did Life Arise? From RNA to Protein-DNA||68|
|6||How Did Life Arise? The Birth of Cells||85|
|7||The History of Life||98|
|8||The Invisible World of Bacteria||111|
|9||The Mysterious Birth of Eukaryotes: The Problem||119|
|10||The Mysterious Birth of Eukaryotes: A Possible Pathway||134|
|11||The Visible Revolution||152|
|12||The Arrow of Evolution||171|
|14||The Riddle of the Brain||208|
|16||After Us, What?||251|
|17||Are We Alone?||270|
|18||How About God in All That?||284|
Posted December 23, 2008
A remarkable volume, compelling, erudite, thoughtful and thought provoking. An elegantly written treatise on science, philosophy, and religion.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.