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 Protein Structure Could Unlock New Treatments for Cystic Fibrosis
14.12.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht Closing in on advanced prostate cancer
13.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A whole-body approach to understanding chemosensory cells

13.12.2017 | Health and Medicine

Water without windows: Capturing water vapor inside an electron microscope

13.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Cellular Self-Digestion Process Triggers Autoimmune Disease

13.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>