Origins Skeptic's Guide Creation of Life Robert Shapiro DNA Expert Myth Religion

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Seller: ancientgifts (4,531) 100%, Location: Lummi Island, Washington, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 123236245716 Origins: a Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth by Robert Shapiro. DESCRIPTION: Hardback with Dust Jacket: 332 pages. Publisher: Summit Books; (1986). Religions say life was created by a powerful being with mystical powers. Science says life evolved from a soup of chemicals, clay, or even a supernatural force. According to Professor Robert Shapiro, both are wrong. In this witty, wise, and sure to be controversial book, Shapiro explores the various answers that have been advanced on the question of life on Earth and the human factors that motivate the even so-called scientific theories of creation. Although the scientific method evolved to provide an alternative to religion and myth, he demonstrates how many theories – including those of Nobel laureate Francis Crick, Sir Fred Hoyle, Carl Sagan, and others – rest on premises that fall squarely into the realm of “biomythology”. Shapiro assesses the various strengths and weaknesses of theories such as the well-publicized scenario of life arising out of the interaction of lightening and a soup of chemicals, life forming from clay, and even theories of supernatural beings proposed from a scientific framework. These discussions take place in the context of the history of science and the rise and fall of a variety of ideas ranging from debates between scientist-priests in the eighteenth century to the Creationist controversy today. The stories of these very human encounters provide an important background for understanding the state of contemporary science in one of the most critical issues it faces. “The answer to this question matters deeply to us,” Shapiro explains, “as it affects not only how we view the world, but the larger purpose of life itself.” While recognizing the value of religion and myth, Shapiro’s interest lies in the possibilities of science – what it is capable of telling us, what we can do with that knowledge, and the difference it can make in individual lives. And although Shapiro offers no definite answers, he points in a direction and assets the enormous potential of true science. “The guiding spirit of this quest is the scientific approach, and the ways in which it views and explores the world,” he writes. “If the reader takes from this book not only a sense of wonder at the unsolved riddle of existence, but also a preference for doubt in the place of dogma and a keen appreciation for the practice of proper science, then I will have achieved my purpose.” Whatever their religious, philosophical, or scientific beliefs, “Origins” will fascinate and provoke readers of all persuasions. CONDITION: NEW. New hardcover w/dustjacket. Unblemished except mild edgewear to dustjacket - wear consistent with new stock from an open-shelf book store. Pages are pristine; clean, crisp, unmarked, unmutilated, tightly bound, unambiguously unread, though of course it is possible that the book was leafed through once or twice while in the bookstore. Notwithstanding that possibility, the condition of the book is entirely consistent with a new book from an open-shelf bookstore environment such as Barnes & Noble or B. Dalton. Satisfaction unconditionally guaranteed. In stock, ready to ship. No disappointments, no excuses. PROMPT SHIPPING! HEAVILY PADDED, DAMAGE-FREE PACKAGING! PLEASE SEE IMAGES BELOW FOR JACKET DESCRIPTION(S) AND FOR PAGES OF PICTURES FROM INSIDE OF BOOK. PLEASE SEE PUBLISHER, PROFESSIONAL, AND READER REVIEWS BELOW. PUBLISHER REVIEW: REVIEW: The fact and fantasy of mankind's birth. Was the start of life an accident, the inevitable outcome of natural laws, or the deliberate act of a supernatural being? “Origins” explores the many theories that attempt to explain the origin of life on earth, for which science has so far been unable to provide an adequate explanation. Includes bibliography and index, 332 pages. PROFESSIONAL REVIEWS: REVIEW: This is popular science writing in top style: witty, informed, provocative. New York University chemistry professor Shapiro, DNA expert and co-author (with Gerald Feinberg) of Life Beyond Earth, expounds on the notion that modern theories of life's origin are inadequate and in a sense tend to become mythologies. Then, with a sobriety leavened by his consistent summoning of an imagined champion of true science called The Skeptic, he examines and rejects "genesis" theories; Sir Fred Hoyle's "planetary dust" suggestions; the life-from-clay explanations; the Urey-Miller argument favored by scientists, that life began when lightning stirred earth's "prebiotic soups"; and so on, including even so-called Scientific Creationism. In the end, Shapiro proves surprisingly sanguine that science will yet find the "answer," offering his own bold reversal of molecular science's central dogma, that nucleic acids were the first genes. "In the beginning was protein. Protein begat RNA and then both begat DNA." REVIEW: Shapiro, a biochemist, considers the various experiments and theories that contribute to explaining the origin of life on Earth. He examines in detail the Urey-Miller experiments (familiar to every freshman in biology), the clay organism, and spontaneous generation with relentless attention to their scientific merits. He gently dismisses the peculiar theory of directed panspermia espoused by Crick, and thoroughly debunks the outrageous proposals of Hoyle. Finally, Shapiro suggests a protein (enzyme) as the orginal replicator, and speculates on the possibility that other planets may provide models for some processes in life's origin. An excellent critical review, with technical jargon kept to a minimum, this book will be comprehensible to a diversified readership. REVIEW: A thoughtful analysis of the many theories about the origin of life on earth. Skeptical of sloppy thinking, Shapiro takes no prisoners, skewering the reputations of several prominent scientists in the field (including Francis Crick, Sir Fred Hoyle, and Carl Sagan, among others) as well as creationists and other more traditional targets. The book is beautifully written, and the author makers a determined effort to identify for the reader what is and is not known about the origin of life, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the more widely discussed scenarios, such as life forming in a primordial soup, or in clay, or as the result of supernatural activity. Shapiro provides no clear answer, as he feels the experimental results permit no clear choice. This is a great book for appreciating the limits of science, and the challenge of accepting doubt in the place of dogma. REVIEW: Professor Shapiro, of New York University, is a chemist, and to judge from this splendid book, a natural writer. He shifts through the various hypotheses about the origin of life and demonstrates that most are scientifically implausible or are simply forms of creation myth, sometimes in the guise of science. Here is a first-rate scientific mind enlivened by wit and wisdom throwing a brilliant light upon the perennially interesting question of the origin of life; and performing this seemingly difficult task in a most delightfully readable manner. “Origins” is certainly the most original and right-headed book ever written on the subject, at once illuminating, highly informative, and vastly entertaining, and while likely to cause some bats in academic belfries to blush, the reader will find it an exhilarating experience. REVIEW: Everything anyone might want to know about the thinking, past and present, concerning the origins of life on Earth, with the pros and cons carefully and not quite dispassionately examined. Robert Shapiro’s “Origins” is a beautifully written, penetrating study of ideas about the origin of life. It makes clear to the reader what is and is not known about the subject, leaving the reputations of several prominent scientists in the field much the worst for the encounter. It is an elegant and thoughtful book on the origin of life. It is most enjoyable not only from the viewpoint of biochemistry and scientific methodology, but also historically. I very much look forward to recommending it as a general text to my students and research collaborators. READER REVIEW: REVIEW: In the Origin of Life debates, most books take one side or the other and argue that point. Behe says God did it. Dawkins says evolution did it. Shapiro doesn't really present a point of view as to "This must be the way it started". Rather, he goes through all the evidence in a witty yet lucid style, and really gives you an appreciation of how complex life is. By the time you've finished reading this, you won't know how life started, but you'll want to read any book you can find and examine all the theories. At least I did. It's a shame this book is out of print, as it is without doubt the best introduction to the subject around. I always ship books Media Mail in a padded mailer. This book is shipped FOR FREE via USPS INSURED media mail (“book rate”). All domestic shipments and most international shipments will include free USPS Delivery Confirmation (you might be able to update the status of your shipment on-line at the USPS Web Site and free insurance coverage). A small percentage of international shipments may require an additional fee for tracking and/or delivery confirmation. If you are concerned about a little wear and tear to the book in transit, I would suggest a boxed shipment - it is an extra $1.00. Whether via padded mailer or box, we will give discounts for multiple purchases. International orders are welcome, but shipping costs are substantially higher. Most international orders cost an additional $9.99 to $37.99 for an insured shipment in a heavily padded mailer, and typically includes some form of rudimentary tracking and/or delivery confirmation (though for some countries, this is only available at additional cost). There is also a discount program which can cut postage costs by 50% to 75% if you’re buying about half-a-dozen books or more (5 kilos+). Rates and available services vary a bit from country to country. You can email or message me for a shipping cost quote, but I assure you they are as reasonable as USPS rates allow, and if it turns out the rate is too high for your pocketbook, we will cancel the sale at your request. ADDITIONAL PURCHASES do receive a VERY LARGE discount, typically about $5 per book (for each additional book after the first) so as to reward you for the economies of combined shipping/insurance costs. Your purchase will ordinarily be shipped within 48 hours of payment. We package as well as anyone in the business, with lots of protective padding and containers. All of our shipments are sent via insured mail so as to comply with PayPal requirements. We do NOT recommend uninsured shipments, and expressly disclaim any responsibility for the loss of an uninsured shipment. Unfortunately the contents of parcels are easily “lost” or misdelivered by postal employees – even in the USA. That’s why all of our domestic shipments (and most international) shipments include a USPS delivery confirmation tag; or are trackable or traceable, and all shipments (international and domestic) are insured. We do offer U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail, Registered Mail, and Express Mail for both international and domestic shipments, as well United Parcel Service (UPS) and Federal Express (Fed-Ex). Please ask for a rate quotation. We will accept whatever payment method you are most comfortable with. If upon receipt of the item you are disappointed for any reason whatever, I offer a no questions asked return policy. Send it back, I will give you a complete refund of the purchase price (less our original shipping costs). Most of the items I offer come from the collection of a family friend who was active in the field of Archaeology for over forty years. However many of the items also come from purchases I make in Eastern Europe, India, and from the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean/Near East) from various institutions and dealers. Though I have always had an interest in archaeology, my own academic background was in sociology and cultural anthropology. After my retirement however, I found myself drawn to archaeology as well. Aside from my own personal collection, I have made extensive and frequent additions of my own via purchases on Ebay (of course), as well as many purchases from both dealers and institutions throughout the world - but especially in the Near East and in Eastern Europe. I spend over half of my year out of the United States, and have spent much of my life either in India or Eastern Europe. In fact much of what we generate on Yahoo, Amazon and Ebay goes to support The Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, as well as some other worthy institutions in Europe connected with Anthropology and Archaeology. I acquire some small but interesting collections overseas from time-to-time, and have as well some duplicate items within my own collection which I occasionally decide to part with. Though I have a collection of ancient coins numbering in the tens of thousands, my primary interest is in ancient jewelry. My wife also is an active participant in the "business" of antique and ancient jewelry, and is from Russia. I would be happy to provide you with a certificate/guarantee of authenticity for any item you purchase from me. There is a $2 fee for mailing under separate cover. Whenever I am overseas I have made arrangements for purchases to be shipped out via domestic mail. If I am in the field, you may have to wait for a week or two for a COA to arrive via international air mail. But you can be sure your purchase will arrive properly packaged and promptly - even if I am absent. And when I am in a remote field location with merely a notebook computer, at times I am not able to access my email for a day or two, so be patient, I will always respond to every email. Please see our "ADDITIONAL TERMS OF SALE." Condition: NEW, albeit with very light shelfwear to dustjacket. See detailed condition description below., Dimensions: 9¼ x 6 ½ x 1¼ inches; 1½ pounds, Material: Paper, Title: Origins: a Skeptic’s Guide, Subtitle: Skeptic’s Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Publisher: Summit Books (1986), Format: Hardcover with dustjacket, Length: 332 pages

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