On the origins of life

Published on February 29, 2016   47 min

You are viewing a talk that is a part of one of our comprehensive courses. Additional learning material: case studies, projects, workshops and recommended reading; multiple choice questions and suggested exam questions with model answers are available on application. Learn more

Other Talks in the Series: Evolutionary Physiology

0:00
DR. BILL MILLER: My name is Dr. Bill Miller, and we're going to talk today about the origins of life. I had been a physician by training and practiced in academic medicine and private practice for many decades, became deeply interested in evolution, which led to my book, "The Microcosm Within - Evolution and Extinction in the Hologenome".
0:25
All of you are undoubtedly familiar with the contentious arguments about Darwinism versus creationism and evolution. This debate has been present within our larger society, and even within academia and outside of it. And this difference of opinion spills over into the concepts of the origin of life, too. The perspective that I'll offer in our discussion about the origin of life on this planet is that it can be considered the result of natural physical processes. No supernatural agency needs to be implicated, certainly. That can remain true even if we do not fully apprehend exactly how life occurred on this planet. This doesn't completely discount the possibility of an intelligent, creative entity of one form or another. But our approach to the topic will be from the perspective and some might say, from the bias that there are intrinsic organic processes that can be actualized on the planet and can propel life on Earth with all its variety of forms and its abundances. That is, if only we can discern those forces. Having said that, the mystery of it all can by no means be entirely discounted.