Earth is alive, asserts a revolutionary scientific theory of life emerging from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. The trans-disciplinary theory demonstrates that purportedly inanimate, non-living objects — for example, planets, water, proteins, and DNA — are animate, that is, alive. With its broad explanatory power, applicable to all areas of science and medicine, this novel paradigm aims to catalyze a veritable renaissance.
Erik Andrulis, PhD, assistant professor of molecular biology and microbiology, advanced his controversial framework in his manuscript “Theory of the Origin, Evolution, and Nature of Life,” published in the peer-reviewed journal, Life. His theory explains not only the evolutionary emergence of life on earth and in the universe but also the structure and function of existing cells and biospheres.
The basic idea of Dr. Andrulis’ framework is that all physical reality can be modeled by a single geometric entity with life-like characteristics: the gyre.
Source: Science Daily
Um. Yeah. Maybe this guy is a genius who will herald in a paradigm shift. Or not.
The article states the his theory is unifying and explains much such as synthesizing arguments between creationism and evolution. It also substantiates the Gaia premise.
He is doing additional experiments. I believe I shall withhold judgement on this one. It won’t be accepted in my lifetime, I’m pretty sure about that.
UPDATE (28-Jan-2012): This article from ArsTechnica is critical, very critical:
The new paper was accepted by an open access journal called Life, meaning that you can freely download a copy of its 105 pages if you’re so inclined. Apparently, the journal is peer-reviewed, which is a bit of a surprise; even accepting that the paper makes a purely theoretical proposal, it is nothing like science as I’ve ever seen it practiced.
How in the world did this get into a peer-reviewed journal? It’s not clear. Life is tiny, publishing a single issue with a handful of papers in each of its two years of existence. Many of these papers seem highly speculative, so this paper isn’t completely out of line. But it should be clear to just about anyone that there’s no clear relationship between this proposed model and reality, something that is fundamental to science. It’s hard to imagine why Life’s reviewers decided it should pass peer review.
The paper would almost certainly have languished in obscurity were it not for the fact that the press office at the Case Western chose to publicize it with a press release that repeated many of the paper’s most outlandish claims.
They do make some good points. But, it is open access science and there will be some oddball research that gets through. The good thing about science is that it is self correcting. If this theory has no merit, it dies.
UPDATE (28-Jan-2012) Case Western has removed the press release from their website. See Retraction Watch.
The School of Medicine’s public affairs office promotes all faculty research as possible. We have been evaluating our processes regarding media outreach and elected to remove the release from our website while we assess our policies surrounding promotional communications.
UPDATE (5-Feb-2012) There is a post on Retraction Watch that examines the failure of peer review over this paper.