Purpose and Desire by J. Scott Turner
What Makes Something "Alive" and Why Modern Darwinism Has Failed to Explain It

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...Turner is only proposing that the strictly materialist approach to studying life could use some help. That organisms strive is not magic but an emergent property. An unsettling but highly thought-provoking book.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

A professor, biologist, and physiologist argues that modern Darwinism’s materialist and mechanistic biases have led to a scientific dead end, unable to define what life is—and only an openness to the qualities of "purpose and desire" will move the field forward.

Scott Turner contends. "To be scientists, we force ourselves into a Hobson’s choice on the matter: accept intentionality and purposefulness as real attributes of life, which disqualifies you as a scientist; or become a scientist and dismiss life’s distinctive quality from your thinking. I have come to believe that this choice actually stands in the way of our having a fully coherent theory of life."

Growing research shows that life's most distinctive quality, shared by all living things, is purpose and desire: maintain homeostasis to sustain life. In Purpose and Desire, Turner draws on the work of Claude Bernard, a contemporary of Darwin revered among physiologists as the founder of experimental medicine, to build on Bernard’s "dangerous idea" of vitalism, which seeks to identify what makes "life" a unique phenomenon of nature. To further its quest to achieve a fuller understanding of life, Turner argues, science must move beyond strictly accepted measures that consider only the mechanics of nature.

A thoughtful appeal to widen our perspective of biology that is grounded in scientific evidence, Purpose and Desire helps us bridge the ideological evolutionary divide.

 

About J. Scott Turner

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Dr. J. Scott Turner is a leading biologist and physiologist and professor of biology at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, in Syracuse, New York. The author of The Extended Organism: The Physiology of Animal Built Structures and The Tinkerer’s Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself, his work has garnered attention in the New York Times Book Review, Science, Nature, American Scientist, National Geographic Online, and on NPR’s Science Friday and other leading media outlets. Author Image 1
 
Published September 12, 2017 by HarperOne. 352 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Religion & Spirituality. Non-fiction
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Kirkus

Excellent
on Jul 03 2017

...Turner is only proposing that the strictly materialist approach to studying life could use some help. That organisms strive is not magic but an emergent property. An unsettling but highly thought-provoking book.

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