Book Review: Perry Marshall – Evolution, Version 2.0

Book Review: Perry Marshall – Evolution, Version 2.0

Seldom do I read books about Biology because my technical background is in Engineering: Engineering is about how to turn mostly dead matter into something that is useful for people that are alive. Biology – on the contrary – is about using or creating living matter.

This is where I am coming from: I remember the first time when I was confronted with Biology that goes beyond wild life, at the age of about 11. That must have been in 1980 or so. We heard about human cells, RNA, and DNA. I was never much interested in that because it was not tangible. How much more tangible were all the motorbikes, lawnmowers, cars, tractors, chainsaws, … you name it, in my father’s workshop. Internal combustion engines were interesting for me at age 11, but not Biology!

18 years later, I became a patent attorney. I found Biology still not very interesting, except for one journey to the German Federal Plant Variety Office (click here). That trip was interesting but it still did not answer my question: what is there so creative in providing a new plant variety that deserves legal protection for potatoes against multiplying them at your farm and selling the multiplied potatoes to other farmers who would use these potatoes as a seed?

My next trip was to attend a conference on microbiology – they called it “life science” – in order to understand patent claims that used a value for similarity to snake venom for determining novelty of a new DNA sequence over the prior art. I found this “life science” way of working very un-engineer style. One of the patent attorneys there explained to me that mutations of enzymes can be very useful when used for removing fish proteins from fish bones, but that again appeared not very enabling to me.

Then twenty years of nothing on that frontier.

And then suddenly Perry Marshall’s book “Evolution V2.0”, published in 2015, showed up in front of me. Right under my nose. You can buy it on Amazon (click here) or download it for free from Z-Lib when they open again. Perry has given his consent for doing so.

I recommend the paper version because you will surely leave notes in that book. This book is a keeper.

Here are the questions that I have asked myself when reading the book, together with the answers that I have found for myself.

How is this book different from others in the field?

Perry Marshall’s book “Evolution 2.0” is different from others in the field because it gives you the big picture on one single page, on page 207. In one single bullet point summary.

Again, I have a few books about patenting life science results sitting in my library, and none of them explains what is the big picture. They highlight certain aspects of the process of innovating in the area of working with molecular biology methods and their results. They explain how Transposition, Horizontal Gene Transfer, Epigenetics, Symbiogenesis, Hybridization, and other aspects of Molecular Biology work. But these books say nothing about how these processes work together in order to explain the many species of animals and other humans on earth (yes, the term “humans” can encompass both animals and human humans, in patent law).

Perry Marshall gives you that big-picture approach from the viewpoint of a communications engineer. And that resonates very much with me because my own major in engineering was also in communications theory. I specialized in systems identification. A word to the wise is sufficient.

A communications engineer who redefines the field of Mutational Biology in such a way that his view is accepted by experts in the field of Life Science. If that is not a novelty, then what?

 

How is this book the same as most in the field?

I found that nothing that I know in the field of Life Sciences is like Perry Marshall’s book “Evolution 2.0”.

But that is only one side of the medal. Perry’s book also covers an aspect that is not covered by most non-fictional books in the area of Life Science: what is the transcendent power behind Life Science?

And I believe that this is the field that we are talking about: the science that is done by scientists that believe that the earth and what lives on it has been created by God. Plenty of them are cited in Perry’s book.

And that also defines what Perry’s book has the same as other books by authors who believe in a creator behind their natural objects of investigation: they all start from the shared insight that there are aspects of the investigation that cannot be found out from “within the system”. And that our problem is that we cannot easily get out of the system in order to find out more about these aspects, and then come back for sharing them. No, this is not a whacky idea. There is my famous countryman Kurt Gödel who conceived a so-called “incompleteness theorem” (click here). The theorem states that in any reasonable mathematical system there will always be true statements that cannot be proved. Some scientists say that this is one of the intellectual achievements of modern times.

So, yes, Perry Marshall’s book starts from the same starting point as many – but by far not all – other books in the field of science: understanding nature involves aspects that cannot be proved.

 

How can someone implement this information productively?

That is really a great question here, and this is the issue with all science books that do not provide very specific information about any area of science. For what can they be useful? And why do you read Perry’s book, if not for entertainment?

Perry wrote his book for people who seemed to have lost faith in the creator behind our daily world. So if you qualify for this group of targets then his book might be the right thing to read. You may find your faith in God again.

Other useful applications are for scientists that believe in Neo-Darwinism. “Neo-Darwinism” means “Evolution being the result of Random Mutation, plus natural selection, plus long times.” Example: T.G. Dhobzhansky with his fruit flies that grew legs out of their heads where antennae belong (pages 30 ff. of Perry’s book).

The finding would be that the Neo-Darwinism model is wrong if you follow Perry’s evaluation: Neo-Darwinism will get you nowhere. Random mutation is noise. Noise destroys.

Instead, better follow “Evolution Version 2.0” which is “Adaptive Mutation, plus natural selection, plus short time”. That thinking model will get you somewhere useful, as compared with the Neo-Darwinism model. Perry’s book does not go as far as this, however. This is meant to be on the reader.

I believe that this is a useful purpose.

 

How does this book fit into the author’s overall work?

No, this book does not fit into the author’s overall work. At all.

Perry is a trained electrical engineer. He wrote books about electrical engineering, and marketing and business development matters.

The “Evolution Version 2.0” is something that is standing out from Perry’s usual way of life like a 6th thumb on a human hand.

This is another reason to read it. I promise that you will like it.

What is the most important idea to remember?

I found five important points in Perry’s “Evolution Version 2.0” book:

#1: There must be a transcendent power behind Evolution, and that is where the codes and linguistic rules of DNA come from. And this transcendent power governs everything that lives on the earth. Otherwise, evolution cannot be explained.

#2: There is a hierarchy in what lives on the earth: life, species, cells, DNA. You can go deeper and find individual sub-forms of these instances of life. But these are it.

#3: There are rules that govern life, on each level. These rules are caught under the terms “Transposition, Horizontal Information Transfer, Epigenetics, Symbiogenesis, Hybridization”, and “Cognition”. These rules define how life adapts to changing environments, over time, by creating new species.

#4: There are consequences that follow from the rules: if you comply with the rules then you will have success with your application of Evolution. And if you do not comply with the rules then you will fail. For example: random mutation is noise and noise destroys.

#5: “Winners” will emerge and multiply. “Losers” will vanish.

The above 5-point structure is “covenantal”. That means that you will understand because you are a subject to that transcendent power.

There is one more point to make: the book has a “hook” on its title page which says “Breaking the Deadlock Between DARWIN and DESIGN”, and my guess is that this is something that Perry wants us readers to remember. But this was never my problem with the idea of evolution. My problem was always that there is a discrepancy between the biblical teaching of “God creating the world and everything that lives on it” and the idea that everything emerged from chaos by random processes. The latter idea never made any sense to me.

 

What are the three key facts to remember?

Fact #1: I never understood how the Mendel laws work and what they have to do with Evolution.

After reading Perry’s book, I know that Mendel’s work applies to traits that already exist, rather than the development of new ones.

And Mendel’s genetic rules do not tell you where brand new genes came from in the first place.

Fact #2: I have never known that cells have a cognitive system that they use when they alter their genetic code. They have.

Fact #3: I have never known that cells can communicate with each other. They do.

Lessons learned.

Read that book.

Conclusion

This book is a must-read if you are interested in things that go beyond your own life on earth. The quest is: who is beyond all this? And why? And how?

If the book gave me answers then why will it not give answers to you?

Please read it, you will like it. Promised!

 

Martin “life” Schweiger

 

 

 

 

 

 

 







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