Chapter

The “Uncle Tom's Cabin” of the Molecular Biology Revolution: Assessing the Place of a Text in History

in Shaping Science with Rhetoric

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2001 | ISBN: 9780226099064
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226099088 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226099088.003.0004
The “Uncle Tom's Cabin” of the Molecular Biology Revolution: Assessing the Place of a Text in History

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The evolutionary synthesis was one of the most noteworthy examples of interdisciplinary collaboration in the twentieth century. The fact that Schrödinger's book has been the subject of serious academic critique is interesting because it points to a difference between this inspirational monograph and Dobzhansky's. An analogy suggests that the analysis of living matter would soon result in new laws that are consistent with classical mechanics, just as the laws of electrodynamics were consistent with previous mechanistic laws of physics. Although physicists were being tempted to acknowledge that the deterministic laws of physics break down at the quantum level, or that those laws break down in the living organism, this chapter suggests that Schrödinger himself was optimistic that physicists would soon find the new theory that would banish the temptation and reinstate those deterministic laws.

Keywords: evolutionary synthesis; Dobzhansky's; quantum level; deterministic laws; electrodynamics

Chapter.  9668 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science

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