Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Darwin’s limitations

14.04.2003


The major features of evolution are pre-determined and not only the result of random or accidental processes, two leading European scientists propose in a paper published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology .

Professor Robert Williams of the University of Oxford and Professor Fraústo da Silva of the Instituto Superior Tecnico of Lisbon, challenge the Darwinist idea that the overall course of evolution random and purposeless, and that the appearance of organisms with increasing complexity (including man) is ‘sheer luck’.

In a polemic argument likely to fuel the controversy of Intelligent Design – the idea of a hidden hand behind life as supported by Creationists - Williams, an Oxford Emeritus Professor of Inorganic Chemistry, and Fraústo da Silva, Professor of Analytic Chemistry, propose that evolution is directly influenced by the changes in the chemical environment. This theory snubs the Creationists’ major criticism of Darwin by explaining how evolution follows a trail of increasing complexity without relying on the existence of a ‘supernatural’ entity.



In an argument contributing to the ongoing debate about the origins of life, the two scientists claim that the path of evolution was scientifically unavoidable.

Williams and Fraústo da Silva also affirm that the chemical organisation associated with life had to exist before the emergence of the genetic code: the genetic code was not the origin of life, but the written instructions of something that already existed. The code is necessary for reproductive life but it had to follow the changes of the environment.
This order of events disagrees with Darwinists that believe living machines began as passive receptacles for genes while providing protection against external aggression.

The two scientists write “chemicals exposed on Earth will also be driven towards such a steady state of optimal energy retention and maybe it was progress towards this state which forced life to start and then for evolution to proceed as it has done in a general inevitable way.”

An important prediction by Fraústo da Silva and Williams’ theory is that man’s manipulation of the chemical environment will no doubt influence the future of evolution. For immediate satisfaction we have created new chemical elements changing the chemical milieu, often irreversibly. Communication systems, new sources of energy - many times based on new chemicals - emerged. Chemical resources and space approach exhaustion. And the equilibrium of the open (energetic) system where we live is fragile. To Williams and Fraústo da Silva this is the last stage of chemical evolution. Now the question is how will these chemical changes affect the future of evolution. And this has to be taken in account if we want to survive.

Fraústo da Silva, Professor of Analytic Chemistry at the Instituto Superior Tecnico of Lisbon, Portugal, was the Founding Chancellor of the New University of Lisbon, and a former Portuguese Education Minister.

Williams is a Fellow of Britain’s Royal Society, which bestowed the same honour on Charles Darwin in 1839. He is now Emeritus Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford, a Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford, and formerly Napier Research Professor of the Royal Society.

Reference: Journal of Theoretical Biology (2003) vol 220, p323-343

Catarina Amorim | alfa

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>