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Speedy, determined bacteria, and expert protist architects, caught between an tectonically active Earth and an energetic sun, engage in wars, alliances, bizarre sexual encounters, mergers, truces, and victories to create species. Random mutations and an omnipotent deity, say Margulis (geosciences, U. of Massachusetts-Amherst) and New York City science writer Sagan, played no part. Annotation c. Book News, Inc. , Portland, OR (booknews. com)
Atheist Universe details why God is unnecessary to explain the universe's diversity, organization and beauty. Using simple, straightforward logic, this book rebuts every argument that claims to "prove" God's existence.
At the crossroads of philosophy and science, the sometimes-dry topics of evolution and ecology come alive in this new collection of essays-many never before anthologized. Learn how technology may be a sort of second nature, how the systemic human fungus Candida albicans can lead to cravings for carrot cake and beer, how the presence of life may be why there's water on Earth, and many other fascinating facts. The essay "Metametazoa" presents perspectives on biology in a philosophical context, demonstrating how the intellectual librarian, pornographer, and political agitator Georges Bataille was influenced by Russian mineralogist Vladimir Vernadsky and how this led to his notion of the absence of meaning in the face of the sun-which later influenced Jacques Derrida, thereby establishing a causal chain of influence from the hard sciences to topics as abstract as deconstruction and postmodernism. In "Spirochetes Awake" the bizarre connection between syphilis and genius in the life of Friedrich Nietzsche is traced. The astonishing similarities of the Acquired-Immunity-Deficiency-Syndrome symptoms with those of chronic spirochete infection, it is argued, contrast sharply with the lack of evidence that "HIV is the cause of AIDS". Throughout these readings we are dazzled by the intimacy and necessity of relationships between us and our other planetmates. In our ignorance as "civilized" people we dismiss, disdain, and deny our kinship with the only productive life forms that sustain this living planet.
What is shared by spawning Pacific salmon, towering trees, and suicidal bacteria? In his lucid and concise exploration of how and why things die, Tyler Volk explains the intriguing ways creatures-including ourselves-use death to actually enhance life. The exquisite schemes and styles of death that have emerged from evolution have been essential to the great story from life's beginnings in tiny bacteria to ancient human rituals surrounding death and continuing to the existential concerns of human culture and consciousness today. Volk weaves together autobiography, biology, Earth history, and results of fascinating studies that show how thoughts of our own mortality affect our everyday lives, to prove how an understanding of what some have called the ultimate taboo can enrich the celebration of life. In Sex, Dorion Sagan takes a delightful, irreverent, and informative romp through the science, philosophy, and literature of humanity's most obsessive subject. Linking evolutionary biology to salacious readings of the lives and thoughts of such notables as the Marquis de Sade and Simone de Beauvoir, and discussing works as varied as The Story of O and Silence of the Lambs, Sex touches on a potpourri of interrelated topics ranging from animal genitalia to sperm competition, the difference between nakedness and nudity, jealousy's status as an aphrodisiac and the origins of language, Casanova and music, ovulation and clothes, mother-in-law jokes and alpha females, love and loneliness. Two books in one cover, Death & Sex unravel and answer some of life's most fundamental questions.
Tireless, controversial, and hugely inspirational to those who knew her or encountered her work, Lynn Margulis was a scientist whose intellectual energy and interests knew no bounds. Best known for her work on the origins of eukaryotic cells, the Gaia hypothesis, and symbiogenesis as a driving force in evolution, her work has forever changed the way we understand life on Earth. When Margulis passed away in 2011, she left behind a groundbreaking scientific legacy that spanned decades. In this collection, Dorion Sagan, Margulis's son and longtime collaborator, gathers together the voices of friends and colleagues to remark on her life and legacy, in essays that cover her early collaboration with James Lovelock, her fearless face-off with Richard Dawkins during the so-called "Battle of Balliol" at Oxford, the intrepid application of her scientific mind to the insistence that 9/11 was a false-flag operation, her affinity for Emily Dickinson, and more. Margulis was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1983, received the prestigious National Medal of Science in 1999, and her papers are permanently archived at the Library of Congress. Less than a month before her untimely death, Margulis was named one of the twenty most influential scientists alive - one of only two women on this list, which include such scientists as Stephen Hawking, James Watson, and Jane Goodall.
Transcending the various formal concepts of life, this captivating book offers a unique overview of life's history, essences, and future. A masterpiece of scientific writing. You will cherish "What Is Life?" because it is so rich in poetry and science in the service of profound philosophical questions.
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