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 Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

nachricht Migrating Cells: Folds in the cell membrane supply material for necessary blebs
23.11.2017 | Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

Im Focus: Novel Nano-CT device creates high-resolution 3D-X-rays of tiny velvet worm legs

Computer Tomography (CT) is a standard procedure in hospitals, but so far, the technology has not been suitable for imaging extremely small objects. In PNAS, a team from the Technical University of Munich (TUM) describes a Nano-CT device that creates three-dimensional x-ray images at resolutions up to 100 nanometers. The first test application: Together with colleagues from the University of Kassel and Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht the researchers analyzed the locomotory system of a velvet worm.

During a CT analysis, the object under investigation is x-rayed and a detector measures the respective amount of radiation absorbed from various angles....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Underwater acoustic localization of marine mammals and vehicles

23.11.2017 | Information Technology

Enhancing the quantum sensing capabilities of diamond

23.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon

23.11.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>