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1) Gordon Rattray Taylor


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Gordon Rattray Taylor (11 January 1911 7 December 1981) was a


popular British author and journalist. He is most famous for his 1968 book The Biological Time Bomb,
which heralded the rise of biotechnology and for his 1983 book The Great Evolution Mystery.
1.1) Contents
[hide]

1Biography
2Writing

3Evolution

4Books

5See also

6References

7External links

1.2) Biography[edit]
Gordon Rattray Taylor was born in Eastbourne on 11 January 1911, and educated at Radley
College public school, before studying natural sciences at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1933 he entered
journalism. During the war he worked in the Psychological Warfare division of SHAEF. In 1958 he joined
the BBC where he wrote and devised science television programs such as Eye on Research. In 1966
he became a full-time author. He served as a member of the Society for Psychical Research, London
(197681).[citation needed]

1.3) Writing[edit]
In The Biological Time Bomb Taylor heralded the advent of artificial insemination, organ transplants, as
well as research into memory and controlling moods.[1]

1.4) Evolution[edit]
Taylor wrote a book on evolution called The Great Evolution Mystery first released in 1983 with a
second edition in 1984. Taylor criticized neo-Darwinism, and said that the origin of species and the
mechanisms for evolution are still deep mysteries that have not been solved. Taylor
supported Lamarck over Darwin.[2]
Taylor discussed the possibility of an inherent self-stabilization of the genome as an important selective
factor in evolution. He was supportive of the idea ofLancelot Law Whyte, the evolutionary ideas
highlighted in Whytes book Internal factors of evolution in which no mutation is due entirely to chance:
only those that meet the internal demands of the genome can be utilized in evolutionary processes. [3]
Taylor discussed his own evolutionary mechanism called "masking theory" which is the notion that
blueprints for building phenotypes can be hidden for millions of years before suddenly being expressed
by the species.[4]
Zoologist Mark Ridley negatively reviewed the book concluding that Taylor had a "complete lack of
biological imagination". Ridley states that Taylor appears to have failed to have familiarised himself with
Darwinian thinking before criticising it, and particularly that Taylor has made the "familiar and
elementary" mistake of conflating natural selection with chance. Ridley states that Taylor's alternative to
Darwinian evolution is described "only in general outline", involving "Lamarckismand other inarticulated
internal factors".[5]
In contrast to Ridley; the anthropologist H. James Birx in BioScience positively reviewed the book.
According to Birx:

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Taylor boldly claims that the living world of increasing complexity is not one of mere chance and
material determinism, or the result of a divine plan and vital force. Instead, he strongly suggests that life
is ordered through some internal genetic mechanism... Within this open framework, the author believes
that neo-Darwinism is only a subsection of a more comprehensive and sophisticated explanation for
biological evolution still to be formulated.
Birx concluded that The Great Evolution Mystery is a "stimulating book and raises important questions
and encourages future scientific inquiry." [6]
Philosopher Michael Ruse gave the book a mixed review, stating that although he didn't find Taylor's
arguments convincing, he had collected a lot of information and utilized very good illustrations. [7]

1.5) Books[edit]

Sex in History (1954)

Economics for the Exasperated (1948)

Conditions of Happiness

Are Workers Human?

The Angel Makers

The Science of Life: A pictorial history of biology (1967)

The Biological Time Bomb (1968) ISBN 0-500-01046-3

Rethink: A Paraprimitive Solution (1972) ISBN 0-436-51635-7

Rethink: Radical Proposals to Save a Disintegrating World (1974) ISBN 0-14-021831-9

The Doomsday Book: Can the World Survive? (1st ed. : 1970 / ed.1972) ISBN 0-586-036040, ISBN 0-500-01067-6

How to Avoid the Future (1978) ISBN 0-436-51637-3

Salute to British Genius (1978) ISBN 0-436-51637-3

The natural history of the mind (1981) ISBN 0-586-08386-3

The Great Evolution Mystery

1.6) See also[edit]

History of biotechnology

Richard Milton

1.7) References[edit]
1.

Jump up^ Kilpatrick, James J. (6 February 1971). "Miracles Of Science .Far-out Commission
Needed". The Evening Independent. Retrieved 5 June 2011.

2.

Jump up^ Gordon Rattray Taylor, The Great Evolution Mystery, Publisher Abacus, 1984 ISBN 0349-12917-7

3.

Jump up^ John Templeton, Robert L. Herrmann, The God who would be known: revelations of
the divine in contemporary science, 1998, p. 65 - 66

4.

Jump up^ Taylor, 1984 pp. 180 - 181

5.

Jump up^ Ridley, Mark (28 April 1983). "A lack of biological imagination". New Scientist.
Retrieved 13 June 2011.

6.

Jump up^ Birx, James H. (1984). Neo-Darwinism and Neo-Social Darwinism. The Great
Evolution Mystery by Gordon Rattray Taylor; Conscientious Evolution by Herbert F. Matar.BioScience 34:
196-197.

7.

Jump up^ Ruse, Michael. (1984). Great Evolution Mystery by Gordon Rattray Taylor. The
Quarterly Review of Biology 59: 56.

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1.8) External links[edit]

Biography from The Doomsday Book


WorldCat
VIAF: 108454676
LCCN: n82132015
ISNI: 0000 0001 2032 5695
Authority control

GND: 174090250
SUDOC: 07012132X
BNF: cb12641491s(data)
NDL: 00458390

Categories:

1911 births

1981 deaths

People educated at Radley College

Alumni of Trinity College, Cambridge

British military personnel of World War II

British science writers

British male journalists

BBC newsreaders and journalists

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