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The Biological Universe : The Twentieth Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science - Steven J. Dick

The Biological Universe

The Twentieth Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate and the Limits of Science

Paperback Published: 8th May 2000
ISBN: 9780521663618
Number Of Pages: 600

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Throughout the twentieth century, from the furor over Percival Lowell's claim of canals on Mars to the sophisticated Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence, otherworldly life has often intrigued and occasionally consumed science and the public. The Biological Universe provides a rich and colorful history of the attempts during the twentieth century to answer questions such as whether "biological law" reigns throughout the universe and whether there are other histories, religions, and philosophies outside those on Earth. Covering a broad range of topics, including the search for life in the solar system, the origins of life, UFOs, and aliens in science fiction, Steven J. Dick shows how the concept of extraterrestrial intelligence is a world view of its own, a "biophysical cosmology" that seeks confirmation no less than physical views of the universe. This book will fascinate astronomers, historians of science, biochemists, and science fiction readers.

Industry Reviews

' ... we are challenged to think ... these challenges will be the book's strength and delight even for those who have not bothered with ET and all that.' Christopher J. Corbally, S. J., JHA 'As a source book this readable history is to be recommended, it is not just a science history but an intellectual and popular culture story.' Anders Hansson, Spaceflight 'As a source book this readable history is to be recommended, it is not just a science history but an intellectual and popular culture story.' Spaceflight 'The book ... contains useful historical references and many interesting comments, and will be appreciated by non-scientific devotees of the extraterrestrial life debate.' Irish Astronomical Journal 'Well researched and clearly written ... I recommend it to any who have more than just a passing interest in the history of the extraterrestrial life debate in the twentieth century.' Peter Stanley, Astronomy Now 'Steven J. Dicks masterpiece The Biological Universe... provides a wonderful account of the idea of life on Mars which abounded earlier this century and also discusses the role of the extraterrestrial in the literature ... This is a rare SETI book in that it can be easily digested by both the enthusiast and the professional alike. If I had to recommend a book for the serious SETI enthusiast to start with then The Biological Universe is it.' Modern Astronomer ' ... Dick, then, has written a large, ambitious and outstanding book.' Studies in History and Philosophy of Science

List of Illustrations and Tablesp. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Abbreviationsp. xv
Introductionp. 1
From the Physical World to the Biological Universe: Democritus to Lowellp. 10
The Cosmological Connectionp. 11
Philosophical Explorationsp. 22
Scientific Foundationsp. 29
Plurality of Worlds and the Decline of Anthropocentrismp. 36
The Anthropocentric Universe: A. R. Wallacep. 38
The New Universe: Anthropocentrism's Demise?p. 50
Life in the Solar System: The Limits of Observationp. 59
Lowell and Mars: The Search for Intelligence, 1894-1924p. 62
The Search for Martian Vegetation, 1924-1957p. 105
Venus: Last Hope for Intelligencep. 126
The Space Age: Lowell's Legacy Overturnedp. 135
Planetary Systems: The Limits of Theoryp. 160
Skepticism: Observational Hints and Stellar Encountersp. 162
Turning Point: 1943-1958p. 180
Optimism: Observation to the Rescue?p. 200
Extraterrestrials in Literature and the Arts: The Role of Imaginationp. 222
The Invention of the Alien: Verne, Wells, and Lasswitzp. 223
The Development and Uses of the Alien: Burroughs to Bradburyp. 238
The Alien Comes of Age: Clarke, ET, and Beyondp. 253
The UFO Controversy and the Extraterrestrial Hypothesisp. 267
Rise of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesisp. 268
The Peak of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis: 1965-1969p. 288
Aftermath: The Nature of Evidence and the Decline of the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis in Physical Sciencep. 307
The Origin and Evolution of Life in the Extraterrestrial Contextp. 321
Arrhenius and Panspermia: An Extraterrestrial Theory of the Origin of Lifep. 325
Interlude: The Rise of the Chemical Theory and Its Latent Extraterrestrial Implications, 1924-1957p. 329
The Integration of Origin of Life and Extraterrestrial Life Studies in the Space Agep. 350
Evolution and Extraterrestrials: Chance and Necessity Revisitedp. 389
SETI: The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligencep. 399
Prelude: The Era of Interplanetary Communicationp. 401
Cornell, Ozma, and Green Bank: The Opening of the Electromagnetic Spectrum for SETIp. 414
A Rationale for SETI: Optimists, Pessimists, and the Drake Equationp. 431
A Strategy for SETI: The Development of Observational Programsp. 454
The Convergence of Disciplines: Birth of a New Sciencep. 473
Perceptions of a New Disciplinep. 475
Networks: Formation of the Scientific Communityp. 478
Institutions: Programs and Fundingp. 494
The Meaning of Life: Implications of Extraterrestrial Intelligencep. 502
Perceptions of Cultural Impactp. 503
Astrotheologyp. 514
Life and Purpose in the Universe: The Anthropic Principlep. 527
Summary and Conclusion: The Biological Universe and the Limits of Sciencep. 537
The Triumph of Cosmic Evolutionp. 538
The Biological Universe as Cosmological Worldviewp. 541
The Problematic Nature of Evidence and Inferencep. 543
The Limits of Sciencep. 546
The Cultures of Sciencep. 550
Exobiology as Protosciencep. 551
Cultural Significance of the Debatep. 552
Select Bibliographical Essayp. 555
Indexp. 561
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521663618
ISBN-10: 052166361X
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 600
Published: 8th May 2000
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.86 x 15.27  x 3.33
Weight (kg): 0.79