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characters The Fifth Miracle The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life 107 ✓ Are We Alone in the Universe In this provocative and far reaching book internationally acclaimed physicist and writer Paul Davies confronts one of science's great outstanding mysteries the origin of life Three and a half billion yeAre We Alone in the Universe In this provocative and far reaching book internationally acclaimed physicist and writer Paul Davies confronts one of science's great outstanding mysteries the origin of life Three and a half billion years ago Mars resembled earth It was warm and wet and could have supported primitive organisms If life once existed on Mars mi. This is a wonderful book about the science of biogenesis How did life arise Where and when did it arise Why is this such a difficult uestion Paul Davies is an eminent physicist and a good writer; he makes sense out of all the issues Don't look to this book for answers you won't find definite answers But you will certainly read Davies' opinions; he believes that life could have begun on earth deep below the surface under conditions of very high temperatures There is lots of evidence to back up this concept This was a very entertaining read for me

Summary â eBook, PDF or Kindle ePUB ☆ Paul Davies

Universe or will life emerge on all earthlike planets And if there is life elsewhere in the universe is it preordained to evolve toward greater complexity and intelligence Through his search for answers to these uestions Davies explores the ultimate mystery of mankind's existence who we are and what our place might be in the unfolding drama of the cosmo. Although I didn’t necessarily agree with everything he said The Fifth Miracle by Paul Davies another philosopher of science and a theoretical physicist was a fascinating read I won’t go so far as to say I couldn’t put it down but picking it up again was not a choreThis is another investigation into the possible origins of life After reading Daniel C Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea with his idea that it is possible to explain the evolution of life from non life entirely by means of natural selection it was interesting to see Davies’ investigation even further into the possible pre cellular precursors to life and a different take on where life might have originatedHe keeps returning to the virtual impossibility of life ever originating anywhere and refuting all the people who believe that the origin of life was almost inevitable But he lists many instances of life and proto life existing at much lower levels than previously thought possibleHis three most likely candidates for where life originated are not in the open ocean but1 underground somewhere catalyzed by clay crystals 2 at the bottom of the deepest parts of the ocean either beneath the ocean floor in the pores of volcanic basalt there or around the “black smoker” ocean vents leaking gases and organic material into the ocean or 3 on Mars whence it might have traveled to Earth when some large comet or asteroid impacted the planet blasting pieces of rock off of the planet and all the way to EarthHe also discusses the idea of “Panspermia” – that life may have been transferred to Earth via comets or similar bodies from outside the solar system Conversely he looks at experiments involving what looks like replicating molecules that are simpler than DNA

Paul Davies ☆ 7 characters

The Fifth Miracle The Search for the Origin and Meaning of LifeGht it have originated there and traveled to earth inside meteorites blasted into space by cosmic impacts Davies builds on recent scientific discoveries and theories to address larger uestions of existence What exactly is life Is it the inevitable by product of physical laws as many scientists maintain or an almost miraculous accident Are we alone in the. Life is the most wonderful phenomenon in the universe If you reduce its complexity to its most basic elements it is nothing than a collection of ordinary material that doesn’t differ at all from inanimate objects Still living beings are so fundamentally different and inexplicable that science has not been able to cast its beacon of searching light on the issue of origins of life About half a century ago at the instant when DNA’s secrets were coming out it was widely believed that the puzzle would be solved in a matter of a few years But decades later science has not been able to advance knowledge much deeper than where it was Paul Davies is a physicist writer broadcaster and a professor who has authored many books on popular science In this book Davies presents some unusual ideas on the origin of life Being an advocate of panspermia he postulates the origin of earthly life taking place on Mars A presentable case is made out with novel scenarios and clever reasoning Since the subtitle also mentions a uest to the meaning of life philosophical enuiry into the nature of life is also included We know that evolution does not have foresight nor involve a direction to an ultimate goal towards a higher being Natural selection makes it blind to be oblivious to the advantage of an entire species as compared to the survival benefit of a particular animal This book is a model case of how a physicist can introduce novel concepts in a conservative field such as biological studies Those who first pick this book up from a bookshelf would wonder at the significance of the title The mystery is neatly explained in the preface and is linked to the chapter on Genesis in the Bible God first created the Universe then made light then the firmament and the fourth in line was dry land After arranging the ‘infrastructure’ God commanded that vegetation may appear on land This first reference to life in the Bible is arranged as fifth in the seuence of miracles and hence the title ‘The 5th Miracle’ is the most perfect for a book that makes its uest on the origin nature and meaning of life The earth is bountiful in life and there are indications that the presently inhospitable terrain of Mars was once home to life There may be several variants of life which may not resemble life as we know it Davies spells out autonomy reproduction metabolism nutrition complexity organization growth and development as the essential characteristics that delineate life in any form At the same time the chain of unification runs through all forms of terrestrial life whether it is a plant animal or a simple bacterium For example take the protein Cytochrome C which is made of hundreds of amino acids This protein is present in plants and animals The copy in humans differs from that of Rhesus monkeys in just one amino acid out of a total of hundreds The human cytochrome protein differs from that in wheat by about 45 amino acids providing solid proof that man diverged from the line of plants pretty early in his development as compared to simian forms This is also a proof of evolution at workBefore looking at how life originated a general discussion on why and if life had to appear on earth When a physicist writes a book on popular science we can be pretty certain that a reference to the Second Law of Thermodynamics would somehow be included According to this now famous theory the entropy or level of disorder in the universe always increases However life brings about order in complexity and it may appear that biological systems violate the thermodynamic principle This notion is false and Davies really tries his best to dispel doubts in this regard The Second Law is applicable only to closed systems in which matter or energy does not enter into the system However terrestrial life forms make an open system in which the sun’s energy is always available Even with localized order the entropy of the universe taken as a whole increases thus underlining the truth of the law The author faces an uphill task in explaining how life itself took root Today’s beings use a genetic code encoded in the DNA to manufacture proteins essential for their survival and reproduction The author compares this to software of the DNA and hardware of the proteins However all attempts to explain the origin of self replicating molecules end in confusion as it is not forceful enough to convince skepticsDavies makes an extensive survey of organisms existing in specialized niches like deep sea thermal vents and nutrient deficient habitats Pyrolobus fumarii is the organism that sets the record for highest temperature at 113 deg C Introduction to organisms that thrive in extreme conditions is presented with good reason Spectacular conjectures on the origin of life – biogenesis – follow next The author is much interested in the concept of panspermia the theory that places the origin of life somewhere in the deep mists of space which reached the earth hitchhiking on a comet or meteor It is also possible that life originated in Mars; where there is abundant proof that running water flowed through the terrain Martian meteorites have been found on earth the most recent and fruitful being a piece of rock discovered in Antarctica Traces of organisms that once lived in Mars have been detected by researchers though the chain of reasoning is tenuous and highly imaginative But problems still persist Even if it is believed that a meteor impact dislodged a piece of rock containing microbes it has to undergo the tremendous ordeal of radiation in space heat of entry into earth’s atmosphere and the shock energy of the impact on earth Since the argument is purely hypothetical Davies comes up with several mechanisms by which microbes may just be able to survive the bodily transportation to another planet each being weirder than the previous oneThis book on the origins of life is written by a physicist We have heard the axiom that ‘physicists defer only to mathematicians while mathematicians defer only to god’ True to the maxim most of the authors referred in the book are physicists thus curtailing the real life significance of it Even Fred Hoyle is uoted times than Charles Darwin This excessive reference is all the inappropriate when we remember that Hoyle was a stubborn opponent of the Big Bang theory while still clinging to his pet hypothesis that the Universe always existed Also Hoyle is the co author of a research paper that ‘found’ that great pandemics visited the earth when our planet travelled through the tail of a comet Davies expresses rational even controversial arguments throughout the book but some of his remarks seem to be deliberately designed as to be uoted out of context as proof of a creator of the world For example “The conclusion has to be that without a trained organic chemist on hand to supervise nature would be struggling to make RNA from a dilute soup under any plausible pre biotic condition” p131 What about this Wouldn’t this be the choicest nectar for creationists and proponents of intelligent design Then again he states on p263 that “although biological determinists strongly deny that there is any actual design or preordained goal involved in their proposals the idea that the laws of nature may be slanted towards life even if not contradicting the letter of Darwinism certainly offends its spirit” This book by a non expert on biological systems lacks proper depth and appeal This is only recommended to those who want to learn the theories occupying the extremes of probabilityThe book is recommended