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Ongoing debates: ‘Universal biology’ as the principle cause?

The fourth view claims that all possible life anywhere in the universe is constrained in some ways and so shares a common universe-wide fitness landscape. Universal chemical and physical laws dictate what elements and compounds can be used for what purposes, for example, water is likely to be present in all life. These constraints on life may be so tight that some of the solutions found in terrestrial life will turn out to be the only ones that are viable. This would mean that life could only occur on approximately Earth-like planets, and importantly, that life on Earth is an instance of a ‘universal biology.’ This view supports the opposite conclusion to the one arrived at by Monod; the driving force in terrestrial biological history has not been primarily chance, but is in part necessity, i.e. nature’s adherence to universal laws.

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Ongoing debates: ‘Universal biology’ as the principle cause?

[1] Does Evolution ‘do the work of a friend’ for the Christian Religion?
Setting the scene - why focus on providence?
[2] Supposed challenges from the evolutionary sciences to theology
Intellectually fulfilled atheists?
A challenge to human uniqueness and status?
A challenge to purpose in creation?
A threat to the veracity of scripture?
Evolution ‘explains away’ theology?
A challenge to Christian morality?
The challenges in wider context - Darwin as a scapegoat?
[3] The current state of the evolutionary sciences
Different ways of conceptualising Darwinian evolution
Evolution as chance and necessity
Evolution as an algorithm
Evolution as movement within a ‘fitness landscape’
Ongoing debates: contingency versus convergence
Ongoing debates: what are the key causal factors in biological history?
Ongoing debates: the environment as the principle cause?
Ongoing debates: convergence as the principle cause?
The importance of moving from evolution as abstraction to particular history
Ongoing debates: directionality and progress
Ongoing debates: the origin of life
Different levels and kinds of selection?
[4] Responses from theology
Evolution, probabilities and providence
Responses from contemporary theologians
Holmes Rolston III
Keith Ward
John Haught
Arthur Peacocke
An increased role for general providence?
Theology of Creation in the light of evolution: three scenarios
[5] Concluding remarks


Adrian Wyard
Adrian M Wyard MSt

See also:

The Relation of Science & Religion
Purpose and Design
The Argument From Design
The Anthropic Principle
Charles Darwin
DNA Double-Helix