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 A novel socio-ecological approach helps identifying suitable wolf habitats
17.02.2017 | Universität Zürich

nachricht New, ultra-flexible probes form reliable, scar-free integration with the brain
16.02.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Switched-on DNA

20.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

Prospect for more effective treatment of nerve pain

20.02.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>