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Exploring the Origin, Extent, and Future of Life
Philosophical, Ethical and Theological Perspectives

$175.00 (P)

Part of Cambridge Astrobiology

Constance Bertka, Robert Hazen, James Strick, Iris Fry, Ernan McMullin, Celia Deane-Drummond, Lynn Rothschild, Carl Pilcher, Steven J. Dick, Mark Lupisella, Margaret S. Race, Cynthia S. W. Crysdale, Christopher P. McKay, Kelly C. Smith, Richard O. Randolph, Francisca Cho
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  • Date Published: September 2009
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521863636

$ 175.00 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Where did we come from? Are we alone? Where are we going? These are the questions that define the field of astrobiology. New discoveries about life on Earth, the increasing numbers of extrasolar planets being identified, and the technologies being developed to locate and characterize Earth-like planets around other stars are continually challenging our views of nature and our connection to the rest of the universe. In this book, philosophers, historians, ethicists, and theologians provide the perspectives of their fields on the research and discoveries of astrobiology. A valuable resource for graduate students and researchers, the book provides an introduction to astrobiology, and explores subjects such as the implications of current origin of life research, the possible discovery of extraterrestrial microbial life, and the possibility of altering the environment of Mars.

    • An introduction to astrobiology exploring the origin of life, the extent of life, and the possibility of life on Mars
    • Provides philosophical, historical, ethical and theological perspectives on astrobiology
    • No prior knowledge of the subject is needed as each chapter has been written to be understood by readers new to the field
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    Reviews & endorsements

    "The scientists and engineers who work on the Mars exploration program should read this book, especially on the ethical questions regarding the terraforming of the planet Mars. This book is also an interesting read for the general public, who are mildly interested in the origin of life and in search for extraterrestrial life, or even for people who have been searching for God in their personal endeavors." The Leading Edge

    "...this volume is the product of a largely unprecedented and laudable collaboration between scientific and philosophical disciplines in approaching the growing field of astrobiology. Regardless of the readers' specialisation, this is an important 'turn-to' book for academic discussion on the inevitable philosophical, ethical and religious questions surrounding the search for life in the universe." - Leila Battison, Astrobiological Society of Britain

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    Product details

    • Date Published: September 2009
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521863636
    • length: 336 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 181 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.81kg
    • contains: 10 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Astrobiology in societal context Constance Bertka
    Part I. Origin of Life:
    2. Emergence and the experimental pursuit of the origin of life Robert Hazen
    3. From Aristotle to Darwin, to Freeman Dyson: changing definitions of life viewed in historical context James Strick
    4. Philosophical aspects of the origin-of-life problem: the emergence of life and the nature of science Iris Fry
    5. The origin of terrestrial life: a Christian perspective Ernan McMullin
    6. The alpha and the omega: reflections on the origin and future of life from the perspective of Christian theology and ethics Celia Deane-Drummond
    Part II. Extent of Life:
    7. A biologist's guide to the Solar System Lynn Rothschild
    8. The quest for habitable worlds and life beyond the Solar System Carl Pilcher
    9. A historical perspective on the extent and search for life Steven J. Dick
    10. The search for extraterrestrial life: epistemology, ethics, and worldviews Mark Lupisella
    11. The implications of discovering extraterrestrial life: different searches, different issues Margaret S. Race
    12. God, evolution, and astrobiology Cynthia S. W. Crysdale
    Part III. Future of Life:
    13. Planetary ecosynthesis on Mars: restoration ecology and environmental ethics Christopher P. McKay
    14. The trouble with intrinsic value: an ethical primer for astrobiology Kelly C. Smith
    15. God's preferential option for life: a Christian perspective on astrobiology Richard O. Randolph
    16. Comparing stories about the origin, extent, and future of life: an Asian religious perspective Francisca Cho

  • Editor

    Constance M. Bertka, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Washington DC
    Constance M. Bertka is an Adjunct Professor at the Wesley Theological Seminary, Washington DC. Until recently, she was Director of the Program of Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).


    Constance Bertka, Robert Hazen, James Strick, Iris Fry, Ernan McMullin, Celia Deane-Drummond, Lynn Rothschild, Carl Pilcher, Steven J. Dick, Mark Lupisella, Margaret S. Race, Cynthia S. W. Crysdale, Christopher P. McKay, Kelly C. Smith, Richard O. Randolph, Francisca Cho

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