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1. Life Evolving: Molecules, Mind,
2. Singularities: Landmarks on the
3. Genetics of Original Sin: The
4. A Guided Tour of the Living Cell
5. Construire une cellule
6. Biography - De Duve, Christian
7. A l'écoute du vivant
8. Aus Staub geboren: Leben als kosmische
9. Tocopherol, Oxygen and Biomembranes
10. Die Zelle: Expedition in die Grundstruktur
11. Christian de Duve
12. The lysosome
13. La Vida En Evolucion (Spanish
14. Die Genetik der Ursünde: Die
15. Prix Nobel Belge: Maurice Maeterlinck,
16. Belgian Nobel Laureates: Maurice
17. Lauréat Du Prix Francqui: Henri
18. Médecin Belge: Valentin Van Hassel,
19. Our Cosmic Origins: From the Big
20. Vital Dust: The Origin And Evolution

1. Life Evolving: Molecules, Mind, and Meaning
by Christian de Duve
Hardcover: 360 Pages (2002-10-17)
list price: US$55.00 -- used & new: US$25.00
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Asin: 0195156056
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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In just a half century, humanity has made an astounding leap in its understanding of life. Now, one of the giants of biological science, Christian de Duve, discusses what we've learned in this half century, ranging from the tiniest cells to the future of our species and of life itself. With wide-ranging erudition, De Duve takes us on a dazzling tour of the biological world, beginning with the invisible workings of the cell, the area in which he won his Nobel Prize. He describes how the first cells may have arisen and suggests that they may have been like the organisms that exist today near deep-sea hydrothermal vents. Contrary to many scientists, he argues that life was bound to arise and that it probably only took millennia--maybe tens of thousands of years--to move from rough building blocks to the first organisms possessing the basic properties of life. With equal authority, De Duve examines topics such as the evolution of humans, the origins of consciousness, the development of language, the birth of science, and the origin of emotion, morality, altruism, and love. He concludes with his conjectures on the future of humanity--for instance, we may evolve, perhaps via genetic engineering, into a new species--and he shares his personal thoughts about God and immortality.In Life Evolving, one of our most eminent scientists sums up what he has learned about the nature of life and our place in the universe. An extraordinarily wise and humane volume, it will fascinate readers curious about the world around them and about the impact of science on philosophy and religion. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Regarding Science-Ejected Vitalism, 2002:
Vitalism is a profoundly science-ejected concept, though many CAM or 'natural health' cabals falsely claim that vitalism survives scientific scrutiny.

Some of my favorite quotes in this book by this 1974 Nobel laureate:

"until recently, the answer to the question 'what is life?' posed no problem. Life, it was said, is 'animated matter,' from the Latin anima, soul. This, of course, was no explanation at all. It simply attributed to the soul, or vital spirit, all that was not understood about life [...aka] vitalism [p.007...] this notion was first contradicted in 1828 [...per] Wohler [urea...] and it was definitively disproved in 1897 [...per] Buchner [yeast juice...&] space chemistry has shattered the last refuge[s] of vitalism [p.048...] we know that there is no such thing as a vital principle [p.053]."

Science has discarded vitalism for more than 100 years.


3-0 out of 5 stars One giant leap of faith after another
Let's me say first that I'm 100% pro-evolution, and that abiogenesis is what attracted me to this book. I was seeking an explanation that is either fundamental by itself and based upon some empirical data, or another based on advances of known origin-of-life theories like the "RNA-world".

Unfortunately, the book delivers neither.

As another reviewer pointed out already, De Duve divulges the reader into the basics of cell biology; a nice introduction of life chemistry, proteins, RNA, DNA, enzymes and such.

De Duve then spends few chapters on paving the way from a pre biotic world to one that is dominated by protocells. He believes that proteins are a by-product of RNA and therefore RNA must have preceded proteins. Judging by the complexity of RNA, he postulates that peptide bonds _somehow_ formed among amino acids with the help of what he calls "multimers" (amino acids among other things), and those short peptides could have played the role of a primitive catalyst.

What De Duve fails to provide through out his book is data + examples. To convince any reader with the possibility of such event, common wisdom dictates a minimum amount of experimental data to support the "building" blocks of his hypothesis.

In 1997, Ghadri group synthesized a peptide ligase. That is, a self-replicating 32 amino-acid long peptide. It is the constant lack of evidence that makes Du Duve arguments weak.

Then he says that ATP and other NTPs _somehow_ arose, and the discussion for their "existence" is beyond the scope of the book. Then our catalyst peptide forms an RNA-like structure from ATP and others. Then he says that many bases were initially bound, not just A, U, G, and C. But once we had a "rare" RNA with A, U, G, C, it is _somehow_ more stable and more reproducible. De Duve does not really discuss why he believes this is the case, other than it must be because this is what we have now.

In one occasion, De Duve says "Admittedly, this is all hypothetical. But the hypothesis rests on undeniable foundations and has the advantage of suggesting experimental approaches". He made it clear on several occasions than many areas of pre biotic chemistry lack experimentation despite their significance in origin-of-life research. After suggesting an experiment, he concludes "This is what I would do if I were 20 years younger".

De Duve then goes on to explain how the RNA led eventually to proteins (RNA attaches itself to some amino acids, and using the RNA itself as a catalyst, we form protein). And that once we had proteins, life needed cells at that stage to compete and protocells were created. The RNA made proteins, and RNA that made better proteins for the cell survived and got duplicated. The cell at this has some rudimentary membrane, and can replicate itself via division.

What he skipped is how such membrane forms, why it forms, and how the division process in this protocell exactly takes place.

I really wished that De Duve paid more attention to such critical details. Different people might read the book for different reasons, I read it for the goal of gaining an understanding on abiogenesis. Being a strong believer in abiogenesis myself, I was quite enthusiastic when I began reading the book. However, skepticism over Duve's take on abiogensis kept growing as I read more chapters.

Unfortunately, I lost faith in his approach to this critical issue.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting and thought provoking book
I read this book because Christian De Duve is one of the "grand old men" of origin-of-life research. What I found was as much a book on theology as one on life sciences. Along with lucid descriptions of the inner workings of living cells and conjectures of how life arose, it is an evangelistic treatise in support of soft-core atheism. His message is that we need priests, not because God exists...He does not...but because natural selection has created within mankind the need for God.

De Duve gives a great review of just how cells work at the molecular level. There is adequate depth without getting bogged down in details. What I really wanted to see was his explanation for the origin of life. De Duve proposes that

Abundant triphosphates somehow arose to provide energy
Prebiotic peptide catalysts somehow arose
Myriads of different RNA-like molecules somehow formed from phosphates
"Rare true-RNA" molecules evolved by Darwinian evolution
RNAs began to make proteins out of the abundant amino acid soup
The RNAs began to make cell walls
The genetic code for specific proteins arose via Darwinian evolution
These very short RNA chains grew tremendously longer via Darwinian evolution
DNA developed from RNA to form protocells
The protocells evolved via Darwinian evolution until they became the first living cells

The key to his proposal is molecular selection. "This mechanism, it must be emphasized, represents at the molecular level exactly that imagined by Darwin to account for biological evolution". In other words, the way to get around the incredible odds of accomplishing each of the proposed steps to life listed above is by having non-living molecules competing with each other. The winning molecules then advance to the next level of competition.

De Duve is rather less than kind to those who disagree. He is distressed that many intelligent people, even scientists, do not agree that this is a plausible explanation to the origin of life. As one with a background in the earth sciences, I am one of the skeptics. My major problem is that he seemingly ignores data from other scientific disciplines. His premise depends on assumptions that are either wrong or improbable at best.

His proposal requires a benign chemical environment with a rich prebiotic soup from which the peptides, RNAs, and proteins could form. Geochemists and planetary physicists have conclusively demonstrated that this soup simply didn't exist. The neutral atmosphere of the early earth could not form prebiotics. In addition, there was sufficient photogenic oxygen in the atmosphere and radiogenic (radiation-induced) oxygen in the oceans to destroy them if they did form. No "prebiotic soup" has ever been found, although "post-biotics" are extremely common. What does exist in abundance are deposits of poisonous heavy metals and rare-earth elements. The early ocean more closely resembled the deadly effluent from a toxic waste dump than the prebiotic soup De Duve needs. Entire industries exist to mine these materials which were once poisons dissolved in the early oceans.

De Duve proposes that prebiotic materials were delivered to the Earth from outer space. Small amounts of nucleic acids have been found in some meteorites, and comets often contain some carbon compounds as well. In reality, the volume of chemicals is small, but the energy release is not. For example, the Shoemaker-Levy comet which struck Jupiter in 1994, probably contained hundreds of tons of organic compounds. This is the proverbial "drop in a bucket" in terms of getting a meaningful volume of prebiotics into the ocean. However, the impact event was roughly 100 million megatons of TNT. This is ten thousand times the power of all of mankind's nuclear weapons combined. We would all be dead if this impact had occurred on Earth.

Another problem occurs in obtaining concentrated baths of organic compounds. The scenarios De Duve mentions are Darwin's "warm little pond" and Stanley Miller's "drying lagoon". These are physical impossibilities on the early earth, where tides were measured in hundreds of feet and wind speeds were measured in thousands of miles an hour. Think of the movie "Perfect Storm" and consider that the weather never got that nice 3.9 billion years ago! There is no plausible mechanism available to generate a concentrated bath of prebiotic compounds in such an environment.

The last several chapters delve into esoteric astronomical subjects far from De Duve's area of expertise, including life on other planets. Large numbers are quoted, but there is little discussed in the vein of cause-and-effect from which a meaningful statistical calculation could be made. He acknowledges that the physical properties of the universe exhibit evidence of incredible precision which allows life to exist. Inconceivably tiny deviations in a number of parameters would make life impossible. This "anthropic principle" has led many formerly atheistic or agnostic scientists to a belief in God. I know one radio-astronomer who wrote "Astronomers who do not draw theistic or deistic conclusions are becoming rare", while his atheist collegue complained that his fellow astronomers are rushing off to join "the First Church of Christ of the Big Bang." De Duve apparently prefers the explanation that there are an infinite number of universes, perhaps even evolving via natural selection, and ours is the lucky one.

De Duve's final appeal is that "something positive must be proposed that can eventually replace the myths propagated by religion." God does not exist, but we need "spiritual guides" to provide ethics and morals. "The religious feeling is deeply embedded in our nature, probably carved into it by natural selection"

I enjoyed De Duve's excellent description of cellular biology. However, I found his proposed mechanisms for the origin of life unconvincing and unsupported by actual chemical pathways. He ignored the hard evidence from other scientific disciplines that render his explanations highly implausible. His premise that science has demonstrated naturalistic explanations to how the universe, the earth, and mankind got here requires more faith than I can muster. I remain skeptical, and tend to agree with the astronomers, who are finding increasing evidence of "something else behind it all".

5-0 out of 5 stars Intellectually Engaging
De Duve exhibits an extraordinary skill in conveying his deep knowledge of biology. He again demonstrates that he is both a first-rate scholar and an accomplished popularizer of science. His style does not overshadow the book's content; de Duve moves with equal familiarity and elegance from scientific papers to French poets, never losing his grip on a deterministic description of the history of life. A straightforward story line starts with the origin of life and continues through the evolution of humans, mind, and language. Intertwined with the narrative are the author's thoughts on the willful world of biotechnology and our potential for determining our future as a species. It is not surprising that de Duve's biography of the biosphere includes sweeping generalizations, but his gripping chronicle could have been aided by diagrams and additional illustrations. The author's treatment of issues such as language, consciousness, and the development of pluricellularity may be unsatisfactory to some. And readers interested in the origin and earliest evolution of life would probably prefer more detailed discussions of the RNA world and what may have preceded it.

However, evolutionary convergence shows that the history of life is not as contingent as some critics of de Duve's positions would argue. Quite surprisingly, the author does not discuss any cases of molecular convergence in Life Evolving. The small, but very revealing, list of known examples includes the independent development of biosynthetic pathways for molecules such as lysine or the imizadole moiety found in purines and histidine as well as the polyphyletic origin of several nonhomologous classes of nucleic acid polymerases. With only one example of biology (Earth's own) we cannot calculate probabilities, but the search for extraterrestrial life may assist us in evaluating the evolutionary odds of life and consciousness. The idea that life on Earth is the result of a miracle or of a rare chance event has been replaced by an evolutionary narrative. Still, as William Blake wrote in There Is No Natural Religion, "Reason, or the ratio of all we have already known, is not the same that it shall be when we know more." The discovery of dozens of planets orbiting nearby stars and the prospect of searching for compounds of possible biological origin in their atmospheres suggest that in the not-so-distant future we may have more factors to consider when addressing the issues de Duve raises.

Whether or not one agrees with de Duve's strong statements, Life Evolving forces the reader to avoid intellectual complacency and to articulate one's own arguments to effectively address his position. These are, in themselves, major reasons to appreciate the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Examines how humans have evolved and developed
What is the nature of life and our place in the universe? In Life Evolving, Christian de Duve describes how the first cells may have arisen and evolved, arguing that life was likely to arise and to move more quickly along evolutionary lines than has previously been postulated. He examines how humans have evolved and developed, and shares insights on religion and science along the way. An intriguing account blending a history of life with a survey of where it's heading. ... Read more

2. Singularities: Landmarks on the Pathways of Life
by Christian de Duve
Hardcover: 274 Pages (2005-10-24)
list price: US$58.00 -- used & new: US$42.40
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Asin: 052184195X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Erwin Schrödinger's What is Life? published 60 years ago, influenced much of the development of molecular biology. In this new book Christian De Duve, Nobel Laureate and pioneer of modern cell biology, presents a contemporary response to this classic, providing a sophisticated consideration of the key steps or bottlenecks that constrain the origins and evolution of life. De Duve surveys the entire history of life, including insights into the conditions that may have led to its emergence. He uses as landmarks the many remarkable singularities along the way, such as the single ancestry of all living beings, the universal genetic code, and the monophyletic origin of eukaryotes. The book offers a brief guided tour of biochemistry and phylogeny, from the basic molecular building blocks to the origin of humans. Each successive singularity is introduced in a sequence paralleling the hypothetical development of features and conditions on the primitive earth, explaining how and why each transition to greater complexity occurred. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Preview Kindle sample before buying!
The Kindle download is in the Topaz (awz1) format and contains very fuzzy text.Download the sample first and make sure you can live with the text font quality.Older books are often converted in the awz1 or Topaz format.This allows for fast conversion at the expense of font quality.I think Amazon owes its Kindle readers a decent crisp font in a $30 book.In particular, look at the larger italicized letters.You will notice that the letters still look ratty at larger font sizes.

5-0 out of 5 stars the first stirrings of life
A fascinating account of what is known or conjectured about the first steps in the origin of life, by the master on the subject.He goes right back to the stages before RNA and Darwinian evolution took over, to look at the necessary prerequisites from chemistry.Warning: the author is pulling no punches; the reader needs the capacity to tackle some serious biochemistry.

4-0 out of 5 stars Never fear, it's not a "Creationist/ID" text
This is an excellent, challenging book.Please do not be put off by the suggestion of one reviewer that it is somehow sympathetic to the nonsensical "intelligent design" and "creation 'science'" religions. It is nothing of the sort. This is a good science book for the secular-minded. See the good review in Nature, August 2006.

5-0 out of 5 stars Unprecedented clarity on the origin of life
The purpose of this excellent book is to highlight singularities in the origin of life (p.viii), and evaluate available evidence against the possible causes of chance, deterministic chemistry in a suitable environment, and intelligent design.It requires undergraduate level biochemistry to read it, but I have never come across another book on the subject that gives such precision and clarity to the main issues.

It is not spelt out, so readers need to be aware that a singularity is a unique event that only happened once and is thus indistinguishable from a miracle (because science can only experimentally verify repeatable phenomena).Because `The history of life is marked by a large number of such singularities' (p.viii) then the default explanation must be intelligent design because he provides no other non-natural cause in his list of seven causes in the `General Introduction'.If any natural cause was available then these problems would not be singularities.

The natural causes that he appeals to are unconvincing and/or logically invalid--that is why the problems remain singularities.For example, he attributes nothing to chance and everything to chemistry and the environment (p.238).However he has to invoke all the properties of life to get the chemistry out of the 'dirty gemisch' of the natural environment and into an organized and functional form, so by using life to explain life his argument is circular and invalid--that is why the problems remain singularities.

In regard to the environment, he avoids being specific in most cases, so the only environmental causes we end up with are many references to the chaotic dirty gemisch, and the `starvation, acidification and excessive heat' (p.167) that finally got pre-life over the line to life.Dirty chemistry, starvation, acidification and excessive heat are easily reproduced in the laboratory and none of them produce life!

As a creationist, I can say that de Duve's excellent book will be on my recommended reading list for many years to come.No one else has ever been so clear in describing (i) the singularities underpinning life, (ii) the total poverty of naturalistic explanations, and (iii) such willful disregard for the logical explanation of the evidence. ... Read more

3. Genetics of Original Sin: The Impact of Natural Selection on the Future of Humanity (An Editions Odile Jacob Book)
by Christian de Duve, Neil Patterson
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2010-12-14)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$17.16
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Asin: 0300165072
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Increasingly absorbed in recent years by advances in our understanding of the origin of life, evolutionary history, and the advent of humankind, eminent biologist Christian de Duve of late has also pondered deeply the future of life on this planet.  He speaks to readers with or without a scientific background, offering new perspectives on the threat posed by humanity’s immense biological success and on the resources human beings have for altering their current destructive path.

Focusing on the process of natural selection, de Duve explores the inordinate and now dangerous rise of humankind.  His explanation for this self-defeating success lies in the process of natural selection, which favors traits that are immediately useful, regardless of later consequences. Thus, the human genome determines such properties as tribal and group cohesion and collaboration and often fierce and irrational competition with and hostility toward other groups’ attributes that were once useful but now often ruinously dysfunctional.

Christian de Duve suggests that these traits, imprinted into human nature by natural selection, may have been recognized by the writers of Genesis, thus inspiring the myth of original sin.  Is there redemption for genetic original sin? In a brilliant and original conclusion, the author argues that, unique in the living world, humankind is endowed with the ability to deliberately oppose natural selection. Human beings have the capacity to devise measures that, while contrary to local or personal interests, can bring forth a safer world.
... Read more

4. A Guided Tour of the Living Cell (Students ed)
by Christian De Duve
 Paperback: 443 Pages (1984-06)
list price: US$33.95
Isbn: 0716760029
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent content, excellent illustrations
Christian de Duve (MD) was one of the winners of the 1974 Nobel prize in physiology and medicine, for "the structural and functional organization of the cell." He wrote this set of 2 books for high school students. It's about the many parts of the human cell, and as a huge bonus, he describes his work in using centrifuges to investigate human cell components.

How wonderful to have such a knowledgeable person, who writes so well, teach and discuss his technques! Dr. de Duve treats readers as very intelligent but un-informed people. There's nothing wrong with being uninformed, that's why we read books -- to become informed.

This set of two books have very excellent illustrations. These two books should be textbooks for high school and freshman level biology courses. ... Read more

5. Construire une cellule
by Christian De Duve
Paperback: 353 Pages (1997-12-01)
-- used & new: US$62.98
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Asin: 2729601813
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6. Biography - De Duve, Christian (1917-): An article from: Contemporary Authors Online
by Gale Reference Team
Digital: 10 Pages (2006-01-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$9.95
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Asin: B0007SHKPS
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Word count: 2776. ... Read more

7. A l'écoute du vivant
by Christian de Duve
Paperback: 401 Pages (2002-11-13)

Isbn: 2738111661
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8. Aus Staub geboren: Leben als kosmische Zwangsläufigkeit (German Edition)
by Christian de Duve
Hardcover: 540 Pages (1995-10-10)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$49.95
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Asin: 3860253522
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9. Tocopherol, Oxygen and Biomembranes 1977: International Conference Proceedings
 Hardcover: 388 Pages (1978-03)

Isbn: 0444800433
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10. Die Zelle: Expedition in die Grundstruktur des Lebens (German Edition)
by Christian de Duve
 Hardcover: 455 Pages (1993-05-10)

Isbn: 386025071X
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11. Christian de Duve
Paperback: 308 Pages (2010-08-10)
list price: US$105.00 -- used & new: US$104.19
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Asin: 6130682875
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Christian René, burgrave de Duve (born 2 October 1917) is an internationally acclaimed cytologist and biochemist. De Duve was born in Thames Ditton, Surrey, Great Britain, as a son of Belgian immigrants. They returned to Belgium in 1920. De Duve was educated by the Jesuits at Onze-Lieve-Vrouwecollege in Antwerp, before studying at the Catholic University of Leuven, where he became a professor in 1947. He specialized in subcellular biochemistry and cell biology and discovered peroxisomes and lysosomes, cell organelles. Amongst other subjects, de Duve studied the distribution of enzymes in rat liver cells using rate-zonal centrifugation. De Duve's work on cell fractionation provided an insight into the function of cell structures. In 1960, De Duve was awarded the Francqui Prize for Biological and Medical Sciences. He was awarded the shared Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1974, together with Albert Claude and George E. Palade, for describing the structure and function of organelles (lysosomes and peroxisomes) in biological cells. His later years have been mostly devoted to origin of life studies, which he admits is still a speculative field (see thioester). ... Read more

12. The lysosome
by Christian De Duve
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1963)

Asin: B0007H4M6Y
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13. La Vida En Evolucion (Spanish Edition)
by Christian R. De Duve
 Hardcover: 344 Pages (2004-08)
list price: US$60.80 -- used & new: US$58.00
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Asin: 8484325407
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14. Die Genetik der Ursünde: Die Auswirkung der natürlichen Selektion auf die Zukunft der Menschheit (German Edition)
by Christian René de Duve
Paperback: 250 Pages (2010-11-04)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$29.95
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Asin: 3827427088
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Dieses Buch beschreibt in anschaulicher Weise, wie durch natürliche Selektion alle heutigen Lebensformen aus einem gemeinsamen Ursprungsprozess hervorgegangen sind. Dann blickt der Autor nach vorn und entwirft einige Zukunftsszenarien, von denen die meisten durch den genetisch determinierten Evolutionsdruck (der „Ursünde“) zu einem katastrophalen Verschwinden allen Lebens auf diesem Planeten führen werden.

Den Menschen weißt der Autor eine besondere Rolle zu. Wenn sie es nur wahrhaben wollten, könnten sie sich der drohenden Gefahren bewusst werden und durch ihr Wissen und ihren Geist der natürlichen Selektion entgegenwirken. Dafür nimmt der Autor die Wissenschaft, die Religion und speziell auch die Frauen in die Verantwortung.

Der renommierte Forscher und Moralist Christian de Duve appelliert an uns alle, jegliche Anstrengung zu unternehmen, um dem Leben auf dieser Erde eine Überlebenschance zu geben.

... Read more

15. Prix Nobel Belge: Maurice Maeterlinck, Auguste Beernaert, Ilya Prigogine, Christian de Duve, Dominique Pire, Jules Bordet, Albert Claude (French Edition)
 Paperback: 48 Pages (2010-08-06)
list price: US$14.14 -- used & new: US$14.13
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Asin: 1159903786
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Les achats comprennent une adhésion à l'essai gratuite au club de livres de l'éditeur, dans lequel vous pouvez choisir parmi plus d'un million d'ouvrages, sans frais. Le livre consiste d'articles Wikipedia sur : Maurice Maeterlinck, Auguste Beernaert, Ilya Prigogine, Christian de Duve, Dominique Pire, Jules Bordet, Albert Claude, Henri La Fontaine, Corneille Jean François Heymans, Institut de Droit International. Non illustré. Mises à jour gratuites en ligne. Extrait : Auguste Beernaert (Ostende, 26 juillet 1829 - Lucerne, 6 octobre 1912) est un homme politique belge, de tendance catholique. C'était un Flamand de langue française. Auguste Beernaert est né en 1829 à Ostende d'un père fonctionnaire de l'enregistrement et des domaines, Bernard Beernaert (Evergem, 24 octobre 1795 - Bruxelles, 28 octobre 1862) et d'Euphrosine-Josèphe Royon (Ostende, 14 juin 1809 - Ixelles, 31 août 1888). Auguste Beernaert déménage en 1835 à Namur suite à la promotion de son père. Il poursuit des études secondaires classiques à domicile sous la houlette de ses parents, qui suivaient en cela les conseils d'un pédagogue français. Sa sœur Euphrosine devint plus tard peintre paysagiste. À dix-sept ans, il entre à la faculté de droit de l'Université catholique Louvain. Cinq ans plus tard, il en sort diplômé avec la plus grande distinction. Il reçoit également une bourse de mille francs pour visiter plusieurs universités européennes (Paris, Berlin et Heidelberg) afin d'y comparer les différentes méthodes d'apprentissage du droit. Son étude (175 pages) critique le centralisme napoléonien et loue l'autonomie laissée aux universités allemandes, même s'il juge positivement les examens annuels des institutions françaises. Elle sera transférée au ministère de l'Intérieur et fera l'objet par la suite d'une publication. Il entame ensuite une brillante carrière d'avocat (il s'inscrit au barreau de Bruxelles et prête serment le 15 octobre 1850 après un stage chez H...http://booksllc.net/?l=fr ... Read more

16. Belgian Nobel Laureates: Maurice Maeterlinck, Jules Bordet, Ilya Prigogine, Albert Claude, Dominique Pire, Christian de Duve
Paperback: 52 Pages (2010-05-04)
list price: US$19.99 -- used & new: US$19.99
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Asin: 1155427025
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Purchase includes free access to book updates online and a free trial membership in the publisher's book club where you can select from more than a million books without charge. Chapters: Maurice Maeterlinck, Jules Bordet, Ilya Prigogine, Albert Claude, Dominique Pire, Christian de Duve, Institut de Droit International, Corneille Heymans, Henri La Fontaine, Auguste Marie François Beernaert, List of Belgian Nobel Laureates. Excerpt:Albert Claude Albert Claude (August 24, 1899 May 22, 1983) was a Belgian biologist who won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974. He studied medicine at the University of Liege (Belgium). During the winter of 1928-29 he worked in Berlin , first at the Institut für Krebsforschung, and then at the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Biology , Dahlem . In the summer of 1929 he joined the Rockefeller Institute. While working at Rockefeller University in the 1930s and 1940s, he used the electron microscope to make images of cells which deepened the scientific understanding of cellular structure and function. He discovered the chloroplasts in the cell. In 1930, Claude discovered the process of cell fractionation , which was groundbreaking in his time. The process consists of grinding up cells to break the membrane and release the cell's contents. Claude then filtered out the cell membranes and placed the remaining cell contents in a centrifuge to separate them according to mass. He divided the centrifuged contents into fractions, each of a specific mass, and discovered that particular fractions were responsible for particular cell functions. In 1949, he became Director of the Institut Jules Bordet , Centre des Tumeurs de l'Université Libre de Bruxelles of the Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB) in Brussels where he would stay until 1970. In 1970, together with George Palade and Keith Porter he was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University . For his discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization ... ... Read more

17. Lauréat Du Prix Francqui: Henri Pirenne, Georges Lemaître, Paul Magnette, Ilya Prigogine, Christian de Duve, François Englert, Pol Swings (French Edition)
Paperback: 112 Pages (2010-07-29)
list price: US$20.21 -- used & new: US$20.21
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Asin: 1159518262
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Les achats comprennent une adhésion à l'essai gratuite au club de livres de l'éditeur, dans lequel vous pouvez choisir parmi plus d'un million d'ouvrages, sans frais. Le livre consiste d'articles Wikipedia sur : Henri Pirenne, Georges Lemaître, Paul Magnette, Ilya Prigogine, Christian de Duve, François Englert, Pol Swings, Étienne Lamotte, Mathias Dewatripont, Philippe Van Parijs, Marie-Claire Foblets, Robert Brout, Paul Harsin, Louis Remacle, Chaïm Perelman, Jean Brachet, Zénon Bacq, François Maniquet, Léon Rosenfeld, Gérard Garitte, Hubert Chantrenne, Pierre Macq, Jacques Taminiaux, Éric Lambin, Marc Wilmet, Jacques Nihoul, Georges Thinès, Alexis Jacquemin, Éric Derouane, Léon H. Dupriez, Léon Van Hove, Marcel Florkin, Paul Ledoux, Marc de Hemptinne, Florent-Joseph Bureau, Pierre Gaspard, Lucien Massart. Non illustré. Mises à jour gratuites en ligne. Extrait : Henri Pirenne (Verviers, le 23 décembre 1862 - Uccle, le 25 octobre 1935) est un historien belge. Il est également l'une des grandes figures de la résistance non-violente à l'occupation allemande de la Belgique durant la Première Guerre mondiale. La réputation de l'historien repose sur trois grandes contributions à l'histoire européenne. La première concerne les origines du Moyen Âge par la formation de nouveaux états et le déplacement du commerce vers le Nord. La seconde est une vue distincte de l'histoire médiévale de la Belgique et finalement un modèle pour le développement de la cité médiévale. Henri Pirenne naît à Verviers le 23 décembre 1862. Il est l'ainé des huit enfants de Lucien-Henri Pirenne, industriel textile, et de Virginie Duesberg. Un de ses frères est le peintre Maurice Pirenne. Il fait ses études moyennes au collège communal (l'actuel Athénée royal). Un des moments importants de ces années d'études a été la lecture d'un poème au roi Léopold II, venu en 1878 à Verviers pour l'inauguration du barrage de la Gileppe. En octobre 1879, il entre à l'Universi...http://booksllc.net/?l=fr ... Read more

18. Médecin Belge: Valentin Van Hassel, Ivan Colmant, Albert Guérisse, Gérard Adam, Christian de Duve, Arthur Van Gehuchten (French Edition)
Paperback: 170 Pages (2010-08-03)
list price: US$25.60 -- used & new: US$19.46
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Asin: 1159769982
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Les achats comprennent une adhésion à l'essai gratuite au club de livres de l'éditeur, dans lequel vous pouvez choisir parmi plus d'un million d'ouvrages, sans frais. Le livre consiste d'articles Wikipedia sur : Valentin Van Hassel, Ivan Colmant, Albert Guérisse, Gérard Adam, Christian de Duve, Arthur Van Gehuchten, Jean-Philippe de Limbourg, Ovide Decroly, Léon Fredericq, Jules Bordet, Lise Thiry, Arthur Tacquin, Peter Piot, Adolphe Burggraeve, Antoine Depage, Catherine Fonck, Louis Berckmans, Charles Jacmart, Willy Peers, Zénon Bacq, Corneille Jean François Heymans, André Dieudonné Trumper, Maurice Goldstein, Albert Hustin, Benoît Lengelé, Edmond Cordier, Marc Verstraete, Ordre Des Médecins, Guy Licoppe, Isala Van Diest, Martine Piccart, Michel Lechat, Thierry de Barsy, Bernard de Hemptinne, Jef Valkeniers, Adolphe Cordier, Emiel Boulpaep, Jules Guérin, Albert Brachet, Arsène Pigeolet, Armand André, Françoise Meunier, Max Deauville, Paul Franchimont, Félicien Chapuis, Nicolas Éloy, Charles Minet, Charles Dusart, Henri Strauven, André Wynen, Jacques Germeaux, Georges Primo, Karin Rondia, Pieter de Somer, Robert Danis, Anne-Marie de Cannart D'hamale, Louis Seutin, Kim Geybels, Elke Sleurs, Renée Portray. Non illustré. Mises à jour gratuites en ligne. Extrait : Valentin Van Hassel (1852-1938) est un médecin, hygiéniste et écrivain belge. Valentin Van Hassel est le fils de Victor Van Hassel, médecin vétérinaire et de Valentine Burlion. Il est né à Pâturages, au cœur du Borinage le 10 septembre 1852. Après des humanités au collège de Nivelles où il a comme condisciple, Théo Hannon(1851-1916), il s'oriente vers la médecine et s'inscrit à l'Université libre de Bruxelles. Dès le début de sa deuxième année, étudiant brillant, il réussit son examen et est nommé interne l'année suivante. Pendant sa formation médicale, il fréquente la Société d'anatomie pathologique et collabore à La Presse médicale. Curieux de tout, le jeune Van Hasse...http://booksllc.net/?l=fr ... Read more

19. Our Cosmic Origins: From the Big Bang to the Emergence of Life and Intelligence
by Armand H. Delsemme
Paperback: 320 Pages (2001-02-15)
list price: US$43.00 -- used & new: US$28.95
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Asin: 0521794803
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Our Cosmic Origins tells the story of our remarkable adventure on this planet, beginning with a single event in the depths of space.It traces the rich and wonderful history of the Universe, from the Big Bang to the creation of atoms and molecules, from the formation of stars and planets to the emergence of life on Earth.Delsemme brings together cosmology, astronomy, geology, biochemistry, and biology to create a unique look at the complex story of the Universe. He chronicles how the first light atoms were made and formed stars and how heavier atoms were cooked in stars and scattered in space, creating dust mrains and organic molecules.He examines the growing eomplexity of plant and animal life, including the emergence and extinction of dinosaurs.Our Cosmic Origins shows how the coupling of eye and brain led to self-awareness and intelligence.It explores the cosmic coincidences that might explain our existence and concludes with the tantalizing suggestion that intelligent alien life is likely.This provocative book will appeal to anyone who has ever looked at the sky and wondered how we got here. Originally published in French, this edition has been revised to include the most recent research in astronomy and cosmology.Armand Delsemme has published four books and over 230 scientific papers.He received a Sigma Xi award for outstanding research and has had, by order of the International Astronomical Union, an asteroid named after him. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars The BIG picture!
Skirting metaphysics, this book assembles current science from many disciplines to create an integrated framework for understanding ourselves and the universe we live in. "Life, the universe, and everything," would work as a subtitle for this book that covers all the basics, building a launch pad for further explorations in any direction from biology to theology.

Without getting bogged down in details, Our Cosmic Origins sketches the basic story of reality as it is understood by science today, leaving open the questions that science cannot (and may never be able to) answer. It does get a little technical at times (there are even a few chemical equations) but it reads more like a detective novel than a textbook. The science is necessary to gain the confidence of readers who already have some knowledge of physics, chemistry, and biology. Others can skim these explanations and take the conclusions on faith without losing the bigger truths revealed in this book.

Every thinking person should read this book; it provides a solid foundation relating all empirical knowledge. I can't wait for it to be revised when the unified field theory is discovered!

5-0 out of 5 stars Mind-expanding!
The book's subtitle reveals an uncommonly wide scope. We get a reconstructed history of our universe from the Big Bang, some 15 billion years ago. The history of the physical universe -- galaxies, stars, planets and the rest -- continues smoothly in the chemical one, and eventually in the evolution of life, on to the gradual emergence of intelligence and consciousness in some branches of the animal kingdom.

Delsemme, after a career in French-speaking Europ, is now Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Toledo, Ohio. His book was first published in French, in 1994. The American edition has been revised, updated and expanded. The author's background in a French, European cultural tradition is a special attraction for the English-speaking reader.

The author has succeeded well in his efforts to reach the non-specialised reader. As Nobel laureate Christian de Duve writes in his brief foreword: "This is an eminently readable and informative account, consistently written in a language that tries to eschew technical difficulties, while remaining solidly anchored to the realities of scientific concepts. Readers could not wish for a better introduction to the history of the universe."

I am myself neither an astronomer, nor a biologist. But I have a long-standing interest in both disciplines. I have read this book with increasing admiration both for the author's wide-ranging knowledge, and his ability to present it in a very palatable form. He also gives the general reader insight into the basics of scientific research. In particular, he exhibits the scientific attitude, which implies hypotheses, which start as creative guesses, but do not emerge as full-fledged theories until tested by carefully designed observations or experiments.

Like most modern astronomers, Delsemme adheres to the Big-Bang theory, emphasizing the increasing evidence in its favour. His own special field is the comets, a subject that has received much attention in the last decade, leading to the daring, but not implausible conclusion that the oceans of the earth have arisen from a massive bombardment of the planet by comets in the first billion years of its existence. Darwin's Natural Selection concept, the scientific basis of his evolution theory, is nowadays accepted as a foundation for biological science as a whole. Delsemme extends Darwin's creative insight not only to the creation of the physical world, but also, at the other end, to the world of the mind. Man also , like the physical universe he inhabits, is a product, literally, of star dust.

This is popular science at its best. A fascinating, mind-expanding book. For further reading I suggest Edelman & Tononi: A Universe of consciousness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Emergence of the biosphere
This reference is easy to read, and condenses a vast knowledge ranging from the Big Bang to the emergence of human intelligence, into a moderately compact volume. This reference tends to emphasize the topics related to the author's astrophysical background and interest in the emergence of our biosphere.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good if you already know quite a bit about the subject
Despite being promoted as an introduction to cosmology and the origin of life for the general reader, this book assumes that you already know quite a bit about these things.For example, the Big Bang theory is describedonly in a one-page appendix and such fundamental concepts as Hubble's Lawor the structure of matter are not explained, presumably because the authorconsiders that too elementary--things everyone already knows about.But mynon-science-major students certainly don't. When the first thing theyencounter in the chapter on the origin of the universe is a crypticargument that the vacuum genesis theory is superior to the singularitytheory, they are lost, and it doesn't get better from there.The materialon the origin on life, for example, assumes at least a basic familiaritywith organic chemistry and molecular biology.

Throughout the text, theauthor promotes his own views, often sparring with opponents, usuallyunnamed.Chief among these views is the hypothesis that both water and theorganic building blocks for life were delivered to the earth by comets. Alternative hypotheses, such as that the source of water is degassing ofthe earth's interior, are dismissed in such an offhand way that theuninitiated reader is unlikely to even realize what is happening.The onlyinstance where Professor Delsemme is explicit in identifying an opposingposition is the case of Fred Hoyle and his view that life itself, not justorganic molecules, arose in outer space.

There is not much geology inthis book, but what there is contains some errors, including an incorrectexplanation of the origin of marine magnetic anomalies, confusion of"era" and "epoch," various creative spellings ofCretaceous (which may be the translator's doing), and, in a briefdesciption of dinosaurs, use of the terms "sauropod" and"ornithopod" as though they were synonyms for"sauriscian" and "ornithiscian."

Nevertheless, thereis much that is interesting and worthwhile in this volume for the readerwho already knows the basics, and is aware of the uncertainties,controversies, and alternatives that swirl around many of these subjects.The chapter I enjoyed reading most is the one on the possibilities of lifebeyond our solar system.So, read this book if you are already intocosmology and the question of the origin of life and want to get aprovocative slant on these topics, but not if you are looking for aground-floor introduction.

5-0 out of 5 stars A thought-provoking voyage through space and time
This book is the only one that I am aware of that covers a wide variety oftopics ranging from the creation of the universe to the evolution of lifeon earth and the possible existence of life elsewhere. It is an up to dateaccount of the current knowledge in the field of cosmology. The author isvery objective and does an excellent analysis of current theories andexplains them in a fashion that does not require you to have a PhD inphysics. The book is a must for astronomy, cosmology enthusiasts and anyonein general who ponders when looking at the sky at night and asks themselvesfundamental questions such as where do we come from ? how did it all start? and where are we going ? ... Read more

20. Vital Dust: The Origin And Evolution Of Life On Earth
by Christian De Duve
Paperback: 384 Pages (1995-12-22)
list price: US$25.00 -- used & new: US$19.24
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Asin: 0465090451
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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"In a work of majestic sweep and bold speculation, Nobel Prize-winning biochemist [Christian] de Duve presents an awesome panorama of life on Earth."--Publishers Weekly ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

4-0 out of 5 stars Review of Vital Dust
Contemplating the past, analyzing the present, and predicting the future. These are the things that are done in Nobel Laureate Christian de Duve's book, Vital Dust: The Origin and Evolution of Life on Earth. He masterfully splits the story of life on Earth into seven different ages. The first, the Age of Chemistry, creates and sets up the basic pieces of life. The Age of Information selects these pieces and arranges the best of them using natural selection to create important molecules such as ATP, RNA, DNA, and proteins. These and other important molecules come together to build other important features of future life including the membranous enclosures which culminates in the Age of the Protocell and the ancestor to all life on Earth. Next is the Age of the Single Cell with the manifestation of bacteria, achaea, and eventually the eukaryotes. The eukaryotes begin to find huge advantages to working together and using sexual reproduction to evolve very rapidly and divulge into more and more complex organisms in the Age of Multicellular Organisms, leading to the human takeover. Further human evolution, this time a cultural one, leads into the Age of the Mind where our consciences may not have control. The Age of the Unknown takes us on a journey where humans are abusing all life around and extraterrestrial life, if we can reach it, may or may not exist. Throughout the book, de Duve allows room for all major theories about the controversial subjects while also adding his own comments and theories on the same subjects. He tries his hardest to let the reader find his or her own way of figuring out where life came from and where it is going.

4-0 out of 5 stars Obviously nothing to argue with, but leaves beginning of life 'hanging'
Excellent writer. Describes technical subjects very well to the layman. I just felt as though the leaps and bounds made to get from a world of primal soups containing only chemicals, to the first self-replicating organisms, had too many wide open stretches in it. Then he went into top gear and screamed through the rest. So, obviously, the scientific community has a lot of historical work left to fill in the blanks.

But de Duve has certainly provided a great basis for explaining what the earliest known life story might be. Just don't expect to take this and use it to slam-dunk refute any anti-evolutionists' arguments. I have only taken molecular chemistry, organic chemistry, introductory nuclear engineering and materials engineering and de Duve's explanations in too many cases went beyond my grasp. But I'm extra dense......

5-0 out of 5 stars Dr. de Duve tells it all!
This book is structured along the time line from anaerobic times to multi-celled organism. In addition to its primary topic of how life evolved from plants and bacteria to multi-celled, it also discusses the external environment's role in "driving" the evolution of life. Dr. de Duve uses a most wonderful writing device by citing MODERN organisms (Giardia), things we can study TODAY, to illustrate ancient organisms and our cellular metabolism. He established the unbroken chain from waaaaay back when to now.

I wanted to know how we 'learned' to 'make' mitochondria, and other very important symbionts. His chapter Oxygen Crisis in combination with The Guests Who Stayed explained it. His chapter on Membranes gave me a whole new view of the importance of membranes, another huge body of knowledge that I must study-up.

Please do pay attention to his wonderfully helpful "end matter," bibliography, glossary and Further Reading. Do read carefully his comments about Further Reading: it ranges from books on cosmology (another of my enthusiasms), through biochem, molecular bio, cell structures, evolution... all the way to Philosophy. It shows the common thread through all these fields of science. The suggested reading includes his own illustrated book, "A Guided Tour of the Living Cell," ISBN: 0716750023. It's a Scientific American product so you can rely on excellent illustrations.

"Vital Dust" is comprehensive in scope without being superficial (unlike so many trade books on science), and written by a real scientist (not journalist) and Nobel Prize winner "for [his]discoveries concerning the structural and functional organization of the cell." A pdf of his Nobel lecture is downloadable from the Nobel [...]

This book has plenty of detail as well being thought provoking and well-written, but an undergrad bio, or biochem background would help you get more out of it. Even so, it warrants several readings.

5-0 out of 5 stars The story's in the details
Ever since Charles Darwin postulated the beginnings of life in "some warm little pond" science has probed into origin mechanisms.As it became clearer that life is a molecular phenomenon, researchers have delved deeper into chemical processes to work out life's start.De Duve joins that quest with a detailed examination of these mechanisms and the environments in which they come about.In his explanation of life's origins, it becomes clear that the mechanisms leading to life are common.Earth, therefore, is not alone - "the universe is awash with life".If conditions are right, and many of the processes can't go forward unless the environment permits them to, life at some level is sure to begin."Life is one", he stipulates, but likely in many places.

De Duve's narrative is highly detailed in the opening sections.The conditions and operations he describes are fundamental to life's development.How carbon-based molecules interact in ways that led to replication, then selection, are carefully explained.While many of the early steps were random, perhaps even chaotic, "superior" [because they survived and replicated better] molecular structures became more common.While he notes there are preferred environments for this process, they aren't tightly limited.Change of environment formed selection pressures which even early life could respond to without difficulty.While at first glance this description may appear an account of many chance events, De Duve points out that life started on a "deterministic" path almost from the beginning.The rules of chemical reactions limit what chance can impose.Yet, once the start has been made, similar rules force the process of life forward.

This book is a major statement and deserves serious consideration.That this is a technically challenging read should not discourage you.A thorough analysis of life's development, right up to that major achievement of evolution, the human mind, de Duve demonstrates how important knowledge of ourselves is to our survival.He further postulates that values are an essential part human evolution, including wisdom, love, and responsibility for our place in nature.True science, he argues, supports a sense of moral values, it doesn't abandon nor avoid them.Learning about origins of life as a fact of chemistry doesn't reduce it to sterility nor meaninglessness.These ideas aren't necessarily novel with de Duve, but he expresses them better than most.He also provides a better foundation for believing in them than most.A valuable book, it's one that should be considered vital for any student of nature or philosophy. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

4-0 out of 5 stars Part brilliant, part rehashed
Duve's thesis is that life springs naturally from the universe. As he concludes: "Life is either a reproducible, almost commonplace manifestation of matter, given certain conditions, or a miracle. Too many steps are involved to allow for something in between."

The best part of the book is early on, when Duve exercises his expertise in biochemistry and discusses how life must have come into existence and made the first moves toward complexity. This is difficult but rewarding reading, and a section I think I will be returning to.

The final chapters, discussing the future of mankind, environmental issues, and the nature of consciousness, are almost entirely derivative, consisting of rehashed thoughts of others rather than original concepts or explanations.

Still the book is well worth it just for the understanding of how life might have come to be and how it developed into what it is today. Recommended. ... Read more

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