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Biocentrism: How Life and Consciousness Are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universeby Robert Lanza
Synopses & Reviews
Robert Lanza is one of the most respected scientists in the world—a US News and World Report cover story called him a genius” and a renegade thinker,” even likening him to Einstein. Lanza has teamed with Bob Berman, the most widely read astronomer in the world, to produce Biocentrism, a revolutionary new view of the universe.
Every now and then a simple yet radical idea shakes the very foundations of knowledge. The startling discovery that the world was not flat challenged and ultimately changed the way people perceived themselves and their relationship with the world. For most humans of the 15th century, the notion of Earth as ball of rock was nonsense. The whole of Western, natural philosophy is undergoing a sea change again, increasingly being forced upon us by the experimental findings of quantum theory, and at the same time, towards doubt and uncertainty in the physical explanations of the universes genesis and structure. Biocentrism completes this shift in worldview, turning the planet upside down again with the revolutionary view that life creates the universe instead of the other way around.
In this paradigm, life is not an accidental byproduct of the laws of physics. Biocentrism takes the reader on a seemingly improbable but ultimately inescapable journey through a foreign universe—our own—from the viewpoints of an acclaimed biologist and a leading astronomer. Switching perspective from physics to biology unlocks the cages in which Western science has unwittingly managed to confine itself. Biocentrism will shatter the readers ideas of life—time and space, and even death. At the same time it will release us from the dull worldview of life being merely the activity of an admixture of carbon and a few other elements; it suggests the exhilarating possibility that life is fundamentally immortal.
The 21st century is predicted to be the Century of Biology, a shift from the previous century dominated by physics. It seems fitting, then, to begin the century by turning the universe outside-in and unifying the foundations of science with a simple idea discovered by one of the leading life-scientists of our age. Biocentrism awakens in readers a new sense of possibility, and is full of so many shocking new perspectives that the reader will never see reality the same way again.
Charles Darwinand#8217;s On the Origin of Species appeared a little more than 150 years ago. Although Darwin had been developing his theory for over 20 years, and before him others had advocated evolutionary views, the book was transformative. Nonetheless, it was only the beginning of the development of evolutionary biology.
The story of evolutionary theory over the last 150 years is fascinating and conceptually rich. It involves modification, clarification, experimentation, and frustration. In the end a robust, vibrant, and deeply descriptive theory emerged. The tortuous path, from Darwinand#8217;s original brilliant formulation to todayand#8217;s model, is filled with intrigue and philosophical richness. In many respects, the story documents the maturing of biological science, a science with evolutionary theory at its centre. As evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky stated in 1973, and#8220;nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.and#8221; The truth of this assertion is even more evident today than it was more than 40 years ago.
This book is a historical narrative of the conceptual and theoretical discoveries and debates, the experimentation and field work that became the evidential base on which the theory rests, the systematic assembling of these into an elegant and powerful science, and the elements that increasingly won over the biological and the scientific community more generally. The book will appeal to all interested in the history of science, as well as the current thought on how our species came to be.
Charles Darwin published On the Origin of Species a little over one hundred and fifty years ago, and it changed everything. But many donand#8217;t realize that it took Darwin over twenty years to develop his theory, that others had been advocating a similar theory before him, and many others have been developing it since. In A Remarkable Journey, R. Paul Thompson tells the story of evolutionary theory, of the empirical and theoretical discoveries and the endless heated debates that have led to our understanding of it today.
As Thompson shows, the tortuous path from Darwinand#8217;s brilliant formulation to todayand#8217;s robust and vibrant model is filled with intrigue. Evolutionary theory has become, in many respects, the center of biological science, and its maturation is an indication of a larger and more sophisticated scientific understanding more generally. But this development was not easily won, a point Thompson makes clear as he takes readers from one stage of the theoryand#8217;s maturation to the next, detailing all that went into the development of what most of us now take for granted as a basicand#151;and beautifuland#151;principle of life.and#160;
About the Author
Robert Lanza was taken under the wing of scientific giants such as psychologist B.F. Skinner, immunologist Jonas Salk, and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard. His mentors described him as a genius, a renegade thinker, even likening him to Einstein himself.” —US News and World Report cover story
Robert Lanza has been exploring the frontiers of science for more than four decades, and is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. He has several hundred publications and inventions, and 20 scientific books, among them, Principles of Tissue Engineering, which is recognized as the definitive reference in the field. Others include One World: The Health and Survival of the Human Species in the 21st Century (with a foreword by President Jimmy Carter), and the Handbook of Stem Cells and Essentials of Stem Cell Biology, which are considered the definitive references in stem cell research.
Dr. Lanza received his B.A. and M.D. degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was both a University Scholar and Benjamin Franklin Scholar. He was also a Fulbright Scholar, and was part of the team that cloned the worlds first human embryo, as well as the first to clone an endangered species, to demonstrate that nuclear transfer could reverse the aging process, and to generate stem cells using a method that does not require the destruction of human embryos. Dr. Lanza was awarded the 2005 Rave Award for Medicine by Wired magazine, and received the 2006 All Star” Award for Biotechnology by Mass High Tech.
Dr. Lanza and his research have been featured in almost every media outlet in the world, including all the major television networks, CNN, Time, Newsweek, People magazine, as well as the front pages of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and USA Today, among others. Lanza has worked with some of the greatest thinkers of our time, including Nobel Laureates Gerald Edelman and Rodney Porter. Lanza worked closely with B.F. Skinner at Harvard University. Lanza and Skinner (the Father of Modern Behaviorism”) published a number of scientific papers together. He has also worked with Jonas Salk (discoverer of the polio vaccine) and heart transplant pioneer Christiaan Barnard.
this is a fascinating guy” —David Letterman
fasten your seatbelts and hold on tight” —Astronomy magazine
Bob Berman is the most widely read astronomer in the world. Author of more than one thousand published articles, in publications such as Discover and Astronomy magazine, where he is a monthly columnist, he is also astronomy editor of The Old Farmers Almanac and the author of four books. He is adjunct professor of astronomy at Marymount College, and writes and produces a weekly show on Northeast Public Radio, aired during NPRs Weekend Edition.
Table of Contents
1. Muddy Universe 3
2. In the Beginning There Was . . . What? 11
3. The Sound of a Falling Tree 19
4. Lights and Action! 25
5. Where Is the Universe? 33
6. Bubbles in Time 41
7. When Tomorrow Comes Before Yesterday 47
8. The Most Amazing Experiment 61
9. Goldilockss Universe 83
10. No Time to Lose 95
11. Space Out 111
12. The Man Behind the Curtain 129
13. Windmills of the Mind 135
14. A Fall in Paradise 143
15. Building Blocks of Creation 147
16. What Is This Place? 153
17. Sci-Fi Gets Real 163
18. Mystery of Consciousness 169
19. Death and Eternity 185
20. Where Do We Go from Here? 195
Appendix 1: The Lorentz Transformation 199
Appendix 2: Einsteins Relativity and Biocentrism 201
About the Authors 213
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