978-0-553-34355-7 / 9780553343557

Origins: A Skeptic's Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth


Publisher:Bantam New Age



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About the book:

This is popular science writing in top style: witty, informed, provocative. New York University chemistry professor Shapiro, DNA expert and co-author (with Gerald Feinberg) of Life Beyond Earth, expounds on the notion that modern theories of life's origin are inadequate and in a sense tend to become mythologies. Then, with a sobriety leavened by his consistent summoning of an imagined champion of true science called The Skeptic, he examines and rejects "genesis" theories Sir Fred Hoyle's "planetary dust" suggestions; the life-from-clay explanations; the Urey-Miller argument favored by scientists, that life began when lightning stirred earth's "prebiotic soups"; and so on, including even so-called Scientific Creationism. In the end, Shapiro proves surprisingly sanguine that science will yet find the "answer," offering his own bold reversal of molecular science's central dogma, that nucleic acids were the first genes. "In the beginning was protein. Protein begat RNA and then both begat DNA."

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