Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > The Unbearable Wholeness of Beings > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

Dead molecules or living processes? (1)

A DNA molecule by itself is without meaning for the organism; it cannot do anything. As Harvard biologist Richard Lewontin once wrote, it is “a dead molecule, among the most nonreactive, chemically inert molecules in the living world” (Lewontin 1992). Its meaning is as much a function of the molecules with which it interacts as it is a property of its own structure. Or, in Weiss’ words: the irreducible truth is that “Life is a dynamic process. Logically, the elements of a process can be only elementary processes, and not elementary particles or any other static units” (Weiss 1962, p. 3).

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