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Life's Solution
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Details

  • 50 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 486 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.926 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 576.8/01
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: QH360.5 .C66 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Evolution (Biology)--Philosophy
    • Convergence (Biology)

Library of Congress Record

Hardback

 (ISBN-13: 9780521827041 | ISBN-10: 0521827043)




Contents




  Preface. The Cambridge sandwich page xi
  Acknowledgements xvii
  List of abbreviations xix
1.   Looking for Easter Island 1
  Inherency: where is the ground plan in evolution? 5
  The navigation of protein hyperspace 8
  The game of life 10
  Eerie perfection 13
  Finding Easter Island 19
2.   Can we break the great code? 22
  The ground floor 23
  DNA: the strangest of all molecules? 27
3.   Universal goo: life as a cosmic principle? 32
  A Martini the size of the Pacific 33
  Goo from the sky 34
  Back to deep space 38
  A life-saving rain? 42
4.   The origin of life: straining the soup or our credulity? 44
  Finding its path 47
  Problems with experiments 49
  On the flat 53
  Back to the test tube 58
  A sceptic’s charter 63
5.   Uniquely lucky? The strangeness of Earth 69
  The shattered orb 69
  Battering the Earth 71
  The Mars express 75
  Making the Solar System 77
  Rare Moon 87
  Just the right size 92
  Jupiter and the comets 93
  Just the right place 99
  A cosmic fluke? 105
6.   Converging on the extreme 106
  Universal chlorophyll? 106
  The wheels of life? 111
  Fortean bladders 112
  A silken convergence 115
  Matrices and skeletons 117
  Play it again! 120
  Attacking convergence 126
  Convergence: on the ground, above the ground, under the ground 134
7.   Seeing convergence 147
  A balancing act 148
  Returning the gaze 151
  Eyes of an alien? 158
  Clarity and colour vision 166
  Universal rhodopsin? 170
  Smelling convergence 173
  The echo of convergence 181
  Shocking convergence 182
  Hearing convergence 190
  Thinking convergence? 194
8.   Alien convergences? 197
  Down in the farm 198
  Military convergence 200
  Convergent complexities 205
  Hearts and minds 214
  Honorary mammals 218
  Giving birth to convergence 220
  Warming to convergence, singing of convergence, chewing convergence 223
9.   The non-prevalence of humanoids? 229
  Interstellar nervous systems? 230
  The conceptualizing pancake 231
  The bricks and mortar of life 234
  Genes and networks 237
  Jack, the railway baboon 242
  Giant brains 243
  Grasping convergence 261
  Converging on the humanoid 264
  Converging on the ultimate 271
10.   Evolution bound: the ubiquity of convergence 283
  Ubiquitous convergence 284
  Respiratory convergence 287
  Freezing convergence, photosynthetic convergence 290
  The molecules converge 295
  Convergence and evolution 298
  Converging trends 304
  A possible research programme 308
11.   Towards a theology of evolution 311
  An evolutionary embedment 312
  Darwin’s priesthood 314
  Heresy! Heresy!! 318
  Genetic fundamentalism 323
  A path to recovery? 326
  Converging on convergence 328
12.   Last word 331
  Notes 333
  Index 446

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