Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > Genes and the Central Fallacy of Evolutionary Theory > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

The organism is an activity, not a thing (2)

Something went horribly wrong in biology. The fact that organisms are living — that their existence is, in the case of each species, a characteristic doing — is neither obscure nor esoteric, neither on the fringe of science nor remote from the day-to-day researches of the biologist. It is a fact that not only stares us in the face, but one that, when it is pointed out (as it has been for centuries by the most reputable of biologists), draws little criticism. A child can recognize it.

When the eminent twentieth-century cell biologist and Medal of Freedom recipient, Paul Weiss, wrote, “Life is a dynamic process [and] logically, the elements of a process can be only elementary processes, and not elementary particles or any other static units” (1962, p. 3; emphasis in original), his colleagues discharged no cries of disbelief. One gets the feeling that the truth, while routinely recognized upon reflection, is one that materialistically trained biologists simply don’t quite know what to do with. And so (if they are in a generous mood) they nod their heads and move on, still gripped by their traditional modes of thought. However that may be, it does not bode well for any science when fundamental principles are routinely ignored.

And the principle that life, while capable of being frozen and analyzed to whatever degree we choose, must yet be grasped as an active unity could hardly be more fundamental. When you recognize that there is no single substance in the cell whose step-by-step changes, stably maintained and added one to another, account for or uniquely map to the remarkable transformative powers of that cell — well, then, the entire gene-centered edifice of evolutionary theory outlined above begins to fade into nothingness like a forgotten enchantment.

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