Chance and Necessity: Essay on the Natural Philosophy of Modern Biology (Penguin Press Science) (英語) ペーパーバック – 1997/8/28
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A classic of science writing, this text remains a statement of Darwinian natural selection as a process driven only by "chance and necessity" of purpose or intent.
He states in the Preface to this famous work, "Biology occupies a position among the sciences at once marginal and central ... no other science has quite the same significance for man; none has already so heavily contributed to the shaping of modern thought, profoundly and definitively affected as it has been in every domain---philosophical, religious, political---by the advent of the theory of evolution.... this essay does not attempt to extract the quintessence of the molecular theory of the code. For the ideological generalizations I have ventured to deduce from it I am, of course, solely responsible. But I do not think I am mistaken in saying that ... these interpretations would find assent from the majority of modern biologists."
He states, "With the globular protein ... nothing but the play of blind combinations can be discerned. Randomness caught on the wing, preserved, reproduced by the machinery of invariance and thus converted into order, rule, necessity. A totally blind process can by definition lead to anything; it can even lead to vision itself." (Pg. 98)
He asserts, "Pure chance, absolutely free but blind, at the very root of the stupendous edifice of evolution: this central concept of modern biology is no longer one among other possible or even conceivable hypotheses. It is today the SOLE conceivable hypothesis." (Pg. 112-113) He adds, "The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man. Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game." (Pg. 145-146)
He argues, "All religions, nearly all philosophies, and even a part of science testify to the unwearying, heroic effort of mankind desperately denying its own contingency." (Pg. 44) He concludes, "The ancient covenant is in pieces; man knows at last that he is alone in the universe's unfeeling immensity, out of which he emerged only by chance. His destiny is nowhere spelled out, nor is his duty. The kingdom above or the darkness below: it is for him to choose." (Pg. 180)
While one may certainly disagree with Monod's positions, this remains one of the most powerful expositions of the scientifical materialist viewpoint, and is well worth reading, even more than forty years after it was written.