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At Oscillations: Cytogeneticist Antonio Lima-de-Faria torches obscurantism in science in new book, Suzan Mazur reports

He was an early non-Darwinian evolutionist (1988 is pretty early), mainly a structuralist. He continues to publish books at nearly 100 years of age. Read More ›

The design of life, even in a rat’s whiskers

As usual Darwin was creating a rhetorical fog. There is no conflict between design in nature and the operation of fixed laws of nature. Quite the opposite. The Euler spiral is a fixed law of the mathematics that helps hold our universe together, resulting in the design we see. There is no reason to believe that the rat went through hundreds of flopped, fatal designs for whiskers (natural selection acting on random mutation) before hitting on the Euler spiral. It was probably implicit from the beginning because the nature of reality in our universe would enact it. You can call this creationism if you want. Read More ›

Astrobiologist: Physics limits the life forms that can exist

From a review of The Equations of Life: The Hidden Rules Shaping Evolution by astrobiologist Chares Cockell, The book uses many examples of living things on our own planet, most convincingly the ladybug, to explain eloquently why everything from microbes to large animals are the way they are. For example, why does the ladybug not fall off a leaf? How does it manage to breathe without lungs? How does it survive winter or fly—considering its aerodynamics are very different from an airplane’s? Having shown that physical factors limit the solutions for life on this planet, Cockell extends the argument to extraterrestrial life. He expects us to find only carbon-based life elsewhere in the universe, which, he contends, is likely to Read More ›

Osaka Group structuralist, 97, publishes new book

With an interesting chapter on carnivorous plants. At Oscillations, Suzan Mazur takes note of the new book by structuralist Antonio Lima de Faria, now an emeritus professor at Lund University, whom she describes as “one of the Osaka Group of ‘structuralists,’ whose other members included Brian Goodwin, Mae-Wan Ho, Peter Saunders et al.” The main theme of Periodic Tables Unifying Living Organisms at the Molecular Level: The Predictive Power of the Law of Periodicity is that “the recurrence of form and function in biology makes possible a periodic table similar to the periodic table of chemical elements (a subject first explored in his 1983 book) and reveals the “law of biological periodicity.” Carnivorous plants have long been an evolutionary puzzle: In the section “Periodicity of Plant Carnivory,” Lima-de-Faria makes Read More ›