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Suzan Mazur, author of evolution industry expose, has new book on the origin of life industry

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Suzan Mazur Suzan Mazur’s The Altenberg 16: An Exposé of the Evolution Industry covered the attempt of dissident biologists and philosophers of science to find a way out of the Darwin echo chamber.

It was a most interesting book, revealing that lots of researchers are looking for a way out of the echo chamber. (One that doesn’t include just going profoundly deaf or senile, a hard sell for some reason. 😉 )

Origin of Life Circus Now she has published The Origin of Life Circus, which the News desk will read and discuss over the next little while.

The Origin Of Life Circus: A How To Make Life Extravaganza investigates the politics of origin of life science and synthesizing of life. Suzan Mazur, whose coverage of science began decades ago at Hearst Magazines, takes you into the lab and in conversation with dozens of the world’s greatest thinkers on the subject of origin of life – among them: Jack Szostak, Freeman Dyson, Carl Woese, Dimitar Sasselov, Matthew Powner, James Simons, Harry Lonsdale, Stu Kauffman, Andrew Pohorille, Steve Benner, Dave Deamer, Nigel Goldenfeld, Pier Luigi Luisi, Lawrence Krauss, Lee Smolin, Nick Lane, Jaron Lanier, and more.

Suzan Mazur is the author of The Altenberg 16: An Expose of the Evolution Industry (North Atlantic Books). Her reports have appeared in the Financial Times, The Economist, Forbes, Newsday, Archaeology, Connoisseur, Omni, Huffington Post, Progessive Review, CounterPunch, Scoop Media and other publications, as well as on PBS, CBC, and MBC. She has been a guest on Charlie Rose, McLaughlin and various Fox Television News programs.

See also: Maybe if we throw enough models at the origin of life… some of them will stick?

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rvb8: First of all, have you actually *read* Suzan Mazur's Altenberg 16 book, or are you just conjecturing what is in it, based on hearsay and the reports of others? Regarding the Altenberg people, you won't get "what they espoused and what they concluded" by a "simple point and click search." You will for the most part get the paraphrases of others. If you want to know what they said in their own words, you will have eschew Wikipedia and Panda's Thumb and your other typical internet sources and read (gasp) a *book* for a change -- the conference proceedings have been published. I am aware that your high-speed young generation, eager for quick and superficial summaries of complex theoretical matters (such as evolutionary mechanisms), reflexively turns to the internet for summaries because it does not generally have the patience to read entire books, but in this case, perhaps you should do so. Now, Mazur's book -- which you would know if you had read it -- contains many chapters in which there are only a few questions by Mazur, followed by long blocks of discussion by the people she is interviewing. Her questions are not always the best, and she is sometimes trying to slant material to make it more exciting from a journalistic point of view, but because there are so many of the words of the actual theorists, one can work around her (often non-constructive) questions and get a very good idea of what the theorist thinks. (On the general level; for the technical stuff, one has to consult the conference proceedings.) Now, about your main misunderstanding. Nobody, not even Mazur, suggested that the Altenberg people were "seeking any alternative to evolution." The point was that many of the theorists at Altenberg -- almost all of them -- had criticisms of the classical neo-Darwinian model. Some of them had quite extensive criticisms of that model. So when News writes of finding the way out of the *Darwin* echo chamber (note: not *evolutionary* echo chamber), she is correct: the focus of criticism of the conference was on the neo-Darwinian "Modern Synthesis" of the mid-20th century. The goal of the conference was to look at alternatives to that synthesis and to consider whether the Synthesis needed to be slightly modified, seriously modified, or abandoned. There was no question of abandoning "evolution" itself. Your criticisms of ID would be more useful if you would do your basic homework and understand the distinction that ID theorists repeatedly make between "evolution" as a process and the Darwinian explanation for that process. In fact, ID is not in principle an anti-evolutionary position; it is an anti-Darwinian position. Try to wrap your head around that, if you can. Timaeus
The opening sentence of this piece says Suzan Mazur's Altenberg book covered, "the attempt of dissident biologists and philosophers to find a way out of the Darwin echo chamber." Her book may indeed be about that but there is just one problem, the scientists meeting there, at that time were not seeking any alternative to evolution, they were trying to sum up and get to grips with all of the many advances in the field. They were in effect tidying the house. Mazur created a false image of that meeting, which any one with an index finger can click on, if they feel that their investigative juices are so whetted. It is simply an example of ideologically motivated sloppiness. Made worse by how easy it is to get an actual account of that meeting, who was there, what they espoused and what they concluded, by a simple point and click search. The difference in what Mazur wrote and what happened at the meeting does indeed seriously bring her journalistic credabillity into question. Really people, try it; point and click! rvb8
humbled: Rvb8 going on again as if anything he says matters or can be true. Well, he took umbrage at my figure of speech, "friend", as I addressed him, being sure to slap me down as definitively not his friend. I was so hurt. But as they say sometimes the truth hurts, as in that he was so right I guess. Give the guy the credit he wants and needs, for stunning yours truly with the truth there. Now I assume gender in his case because in my experience on this board, it is the males that exhibit out-of-control egos, coming back here over and over as if they can't get enough brownie points or self-congratulations. groovamos
Bob O'H at 8, thanks, and I would say the same of Mazur. She interviewed many dissident biologists and philosophers of science to arrive at the conclusions she did. It is only to be expected that some wouldn't like to hear it. News
Correction; Lawrence Krauss is most definitely not an origin of life expert. He is somewhat of an expert in self promotion though. phoodoo
Rvb8 going on again as if anything he says matters or can be true. Your brain evolved supposedly for survival not truth or honesty. Further, since lying and cheating can benefit a person greatly these days, why would you take offence? Afterall morals are relative and man made and if you can get ahead by doing so, that's a win isn't it? Survival is your primary concern, it trumps everything else right? Why should pesky morals stand in your way? ;) humbled
Mazur by any objective journalistic standard ranks right up there with News for talent and integrity.
I do think you're being unfair by impugning Mrs. O'Leary's integrity. Whatever else I might think of her, I do believe she's honest, and is trying to present what she thinks is the truth. Bob O'H
I offer $100.000 to anyone who is able to reassemble a cell that its membrane has been broken and all its contents leaked out into primordial soup or any other soup... Quest
RVB8 Susan Mazur's saliva has more integrity than you. You are a very disrespectful individual you must be so proud of yourself. Then again you are just chemical reactions so what does it even matter when you are a jackass.... Andre
I thought Jesus was Truth and that Truth was Jesus, or is that some other cultures fabricated reality? Mazur by any objective journalistic standard ranks right up there with News for talent and integrity. Scientists publish and Mazur misrepresents. Of course it matters little considering her vast influence and authoratative reach. A storm in a teacup is violent compared to the imposing scholarly atmosphere engendered by the Mazur and News team; a match designed at UD. rvb8
rvb8: Lying for Jesus; what a job. indeed Ranks right up there with Hypocrite for The Truth. Mung
Yeees BA, her coverage of Altenberg was robust and clinical, her dedication to facts saw her distorting only who was at the meeting, what the meeting was about, supposed friction within science (ie. evolution), an understanding of the terms non-Darwinian evolution and Extended Evolutionary Synthesis, a near childish attack on NS,the fact that the scientists she mentions find her absurd and, and, oh I'm tired. A part from all those lies and misrepresentations she really is 'integrity' filled. Lying for Jesus; what a job. rvb8
So why did Suzan have to self-publish this book? Where's the big publishers for a seasoned writer? Robert Sheldon
Suzan Mazur is a journalist with integrity. A rare gem these days. I respect her grit for reporting the 'real story' and not just boilerplates. bornagain77

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