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Proceedings Paper

Historical development of the distinction between bio- and abiogenesis
Author(s): Robert B. Sheldon
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Paper Abstract

Early greek philosophers laid the philosophical foundations of the distinction between bio and abiogenesis, when they debated organic and non-organic explanations for natural phenomena. Plato and Aristotle gave organic, or purpose-driven explanations for physical phenomena, whereas the materialist school of Democritus and Epicurus gave non-organic, or materialist explanations. These competing schools have alternated in popularity through history, with the present era dominated by epicurean schools of thought. Present controversies concerning evidence for exobiology and biogenesis have many aspects which reflect this millennial debate. Therefore this paper traces a selected history of this debate with some modern, 20th century developments due to quantum mechanics. It finishes with an application of quantum information theory to several exobiology debates.

Paper Details

Date Published: 22 September 2005
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 5906, Astrobiology and Planetary Missions, 59061I (22 September 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.663480
Show Author Affiliations
Robert B. Sheldon, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5906:
Astrobiology and Planetary Missions
Richard B. Hoover; G. Randall Gladstone; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Yu. Rozanov, Editor(s)

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