David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Biology and Philosophy 10 (4):389-417 (1995)
This paper calls attention to a philosophical presupposition, coined here the continuity thesis which underlies and unites the different, often conflicting, hypotheses in the origin of life field. This presupposition, a necessary condition for any scientific investigation of the origin of life problem, has two components. First, it contends that there is no unbridgeable gap between inorganic matter and life. Second, it regards the emergence of life as a highly probable process. Examining several current origin-of-life theories. I indicate the implicit or explicit role played by the continuity thesis in each of them. In addition, I identify the rivals of the thesis within the scientific community — the almost miracle camp. Though adopting the anti-vitalistic aspect of the continuity thesis, this camp regards the emergence of life as involving highly improbable events. Since it seems that the chemistry of the prebiotic stages and of molecular self-organization processes rules out the possibility that life is the result of a happy accident, I claim that the almost miracle view implies in fact, a creationist position.
|Keywords||Catalysis chance determinism emergence of life evolution non-equilibrium thermodynamics panspermia protometabolism reduction RNA world self-organization|
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Clément Vidal (2010). Computational and Biological Analogies for Understanding Fine-Tuned Parameters in Physics. Foundations of Science 15 (4):375 - 393.
Roger White (2007). Does Origins of Life Research Rest on a Mistake? Noûs 41 (3):453–477.
Philippe Huneman (2012). Determinism, Predictability and Open-Ended Evolution: Lessons From Computational Emergence. Synthese 185 (2):195-214.
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