[Paleopsych] AP: Harvard to investigate origins of life

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Mon Aug 15 22:54:55 UTC 2005

Harvard to investigate origins of life

    Monday, August 15, 2005 · Last updated 6:03 a.m. PT


    CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Harvard University is joining the long-running
    debate over the theory of evolution by launching a research project to
    study how life began.

    The team of researchers will receive $1 million in funding annually
    from Harvard over the next few years. The project begins with an
    admission that some mysteries about life's origins cannot be

    "My expectation is that we will be able to reduce this to a very
    simple series of logical events that could have taken place with no
    divine intervention," said David R. Liu, a professor of chemistry and
    chemical biology at Harvard.

    The "Origins of Life in the Universe Initiative" is still in its early
    stages, scientists told the Boston Sunday Globe. Harvard has told the
    research team to make plans for adding faculty members and a
    collection of multimillion-dollar facilities.

    Evolution is a fundamental scientific theory that species evolved over
    millions of years. It has been standard in most public school science
    texts for decades but recently re-emerged in the spotlight as
    communities and some states debated whether school children should
    also be taught about creationism or intelligent design.

    The theory of intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to
    have developed through evolution, implying that a higher power must
    have had a hand in creation.

    Harvard has not been seen as a leader in origins of life research, but
    the university's vast resources could change that perception.

    "It is quite gratifying to see Harvard is going for a solution to a
    problem that will be remembered 100 years from now," said Steven
    Benner, a University of Florida scientist who is one of the world's
    top chemists in origins-of-life research.

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