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Shaping Science with RhetoricThe Cases of Dobzhansky, Schrodinger, and Wilson$
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Leah Ceccarelli

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780226099064

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226099088.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2019

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

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

Chapter:
(p.61) 4 The “Uncle Tom's Cabin” of the Molecular Biology Revolution: Assessing the Place of a Text in History
Source:
Shaping Science with Rhetoric
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226099088.003.0004

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

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