Life's Solution

Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe

Author: Simon Conway Morris

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139440802

Category: Science

Page: N.A

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The assassin's bullet misses, the Archduke's carriage moves forward, and a catastrophic war is avoided. So too with the history of life. Re-run the tape of life, as Stephen J. Gould claimed, and the outcome must be entirely different: an alien world, without humans and maybe not even intelligence. The history of life is littered with accidents: any twist or turn may lead to a completely different world. Now this view is being challenged. Simon Conway Morris explores the evidence demonstrating life's almost eerie ability to navigate to a single solution, repeatedly. Eyes, brains, tools, even culture: all are very much on the cards. So if these are all evolutionary inevitabilities, where are our counterparts across the galaxy? The tape of life can only run on a suitable planet, and it seems that such Earth-like planets may be much rarer than hoped. Inevitable humans, yes, but in a lonely Universe.
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Humans in Outer Space - Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Author: Ulrike Landfester,Nina-Louisa Remuss,Kai-Uwe Schrogl,Jean-Claude Worms

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 3709102804

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 333

View: 4238

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Following the first comprehensive transdisciplinary dialogue on humans in outer space which resulted in "Humans in Outer Space - Interdisciplinary Odysseys", the European Science Foundation (ESF), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the European Space Policy Institute (ESPI) have continued and deepened this transdisciplinary dialogue, which can now be found in Humans in Outer Space - Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Going further than regarding humans as better-than-robot tools for exploration, it investigates the human quest for odysseys beyond Earth's atmosphere and reflects on arising issues related to Europe's role among the States conducting human exploration. It provides perspectives related to governance, management of space exploration, space settlements, the role of astronauts in the future as well as related to the encounter of extraterrestrial life.
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Richard Dawkins

How a scientist changed the way we think

Author: Alan Grafen,Mark Ridley

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 0191500771

Category: Science

Page: 304

View: 2040

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This sparkling collection explores the impact of Richard Dawkins as scientist, rationalist, and one of the most important thinkers alive today. Specially commissioned pieces by leading figures in science, philosophy, literature, and the media, such as Daniel C. Dennett, Matt Ridley, Steven Pinker, Philip Pullman, and the Bishop of Oxford, highlight the breadth and range of Dawkins' influence on modern science and culture, from the gene's eye view of evolution to his energetic engagement in public debates on science, rationalism, and religion. The volume includes personal reminiscences and critical debate as well as accessible discussions of science - it provides a stimulating tribute to a remarkable intellectual.
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Fundamental Planetary Science

Physics, Chemistry and Habitability

Author: Jack J. Lissauer,Imke de Pater

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107354617

Category: Science

Page: N.A

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A quantitative introduction to the Solar System and planetary systems science for advanced undergraduate students, this engaging new textbook explains the wide variety of physical, chemical and geological processes that govern the motions and properties of planets. The authors provide an overview of our current knowledge and discuss some of the unanswered questions at the forefront of research in planetary science and astrobiology today. They combine knowledge of the Solar System and the properties of extrasolar planets with astrophysical observations of ongoing star and planet formation, offering a comprehensive model for understanding the origin of planetary systems. The book concludes with an introduction to the fundamental properties of living organisms and the relationship that life has to its host planet. With more than 200 exercises to help students learn how to apply the concepts covered, this textbook is ideal for a one-semester or two-quarter course for undergraduate students.
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The Astrobiological Landscape

Philosophical Foundations of the Study of Cosmic Life

Author: Milan M. Ćirković

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1139510258

Category: Science

Page: N.A

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Astrobiology is an expanding, interdisciplinary field investigating the origin, evolution and future of life in the universe. Tackling many of the foundational debates of the subject, from discussions of cosmological evolution to detailed reviews of common concepts such as the 'Rare Earth' hypothesis, this volume is the first systematic survey of the philosophical aspects and conundrums in the study of cosmic life. The author's exploration of the increasing number of cross-over problems highlights the relationship between astrobiology and cosmology and presents some of the challenges of multidisciplinary study. Modern physical theories dealing with the multiverse add a further dimension to the debate. With a selection of beautifully presented illustrations and a strong emphasis on constructing a unified methodology across disciplines, this book will appeal to graduate students and specialists who seek to rectify the fragmented nature of current astrobiological endeavour, as well as curious astrophysicists, biologists and SETI enthusiasts.
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Science, Religion, and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

Author: David Wilkinson

Publisher: OUP Oxford

ISBN: 019166961X

Category: Science

Page: 240

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If the discovery of life elsewhere in the universe is just around the corner, what would be the consequences for religion? Would it represent another major conflict between science and religion, even leading to the death of faith? Some would suggest that the discovery of any suggestion of extraterrestrial life would have a greater impact than even the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions. It is now over 50 years since the first modern scientific papers were published on the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Yet the religious implications of this search and possible discovery have never been systematically addressed in the scientific or theological arena. SETI is now entering its most important era of scientific development. New observation techniques are leading to the discovery of extra-solar planets daily, and the Kepler mission has already collected over 1000 planetary candidates. This deluge of data is transforming the scientific and popular view of the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Earth-like planets outside of our solar system can now be identified and searched for signs of life. Now is a crucial time to assess the scientific and theological questions behind this search. This book sets out the scientific arguments undergirding SETI, with particular attention to the uncertainties in arguments and the strength of the data already assembled. It assesses not only the discovery of planets but other areas such as the Fermi paradox, the origin and evolution of intelligent life, and current SETI strategies. In all of this it reflects on how these questions are shaped by history and pop culture and their relationship with religion, especially Christian theology. It is argued that theologians need to take seriously SETI and to examine some central doctrines such as creation, incarnation, revelation, and salvation in the light of the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
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The Mythology of Evolution

Author: Chris Bateman

Publisher: John Hunt Publishing

ISBN: 1780996500

Category: Science

Page: 278

View: 5877

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This book liberates evolution from misrepresentative scientific myths to find a more nuanced vision of life that shows how advantages persist, trust is beneficial, and the diversity of species emerges.
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Communication and Engagement with Science and Technology

Issues and Dilemmas - A Reader in Science Communication

Author: John K. Gilbert,Susan M. Stocklmayer

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1136662685

Category: Education

Page: 352

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Science communication seeks to engage individuals and groups with evidence-based information about the nature, outcomes, and social consequences of science and technology. This text provides an overview of this burgeoning field ─ the issues with which it deals, important influences that affect it, the challenges that it faces. It introduces readers to the research-based literature about science communication and shows how it relates to actual or potential practice. A "Further Exploration" section provides suggestions for activities that readers might do to explore the issues raised. Organized around five themes, each chapter addresses a different aspect of science communication: • Models of science communication – theory into practice • Challenges in communicating science • Major themes in science communication • Informal learning • Communication of contemporary issues in science and society Relevant for all those interested in and concerned about current issues and developments in science communication, this volume is an ideal text for courses and a must-have resource for faculty, students, and professionals in this field.
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On the Origin of Autonomy

A New Look at the Major Transitions in Evolution

Author: Bernd Rosslenbroich

Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media

ISBN: 331904141X

Category: Philosophy

Page: 297

View: 2518

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This volume describes features of autonomy and integrates them into the recent discussion of factors in evolution. In recent years ideas about major transitions in evolution are undergoing a revolutionary change. They include questions about the origin of evolutionary innovation, their genetic and epigenetic background, the role of the phenotype and of changes in ontogenetic pathways. In the present book, it is argued that it is likewise necessary to question the properties of these innovations and what was qualitatively generated during the macroevolutionary transitions. The author states that a recurring central aspect of macroevolutionary innovations is an increase in individual organismal autonomy whereby it is emancipated from the environment with changes in its capacity for flexibility, self-regulation and self-control of behavior. The first chapters define the concept of autonomy and examine its history and its epistemological context. Later chapters demonstrate how changes in autonomy took place during the major evolutionary transitions and investigate the generation of organs and physiological systems. They synthesize material from various disciplines including zoology, comparative physiology, morphology, molecular biology, neurobiology and ethology. It is argued that the concept is also relevant for understanding the relation of the biological evolution of man to his cultural abilities. Finally the relation of autonomy to adaptation, niche construction, phenotypic plasticity and other factors and patterns in evolution is discussed. The text has a clear perspective from the context of systems biology, arguing that the generation of biological autonomy must be interpreted within an integrative systems approach.
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