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Ultimate Reality


The explanations of science
Christian de Duve Scientist
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As I said, when... and this is very recent, as science started to provide answers to the questions that were asked, obviously the questions... the answers that had been invented before fell down the wayside because they were not necessary any more. Science had provided an answer, so where does life come from? We don't know, but we have a reasonably good answer. How does life function? We do know and so we don't need the vital spirit to explain it. And evolution – how did it work out? Well, Darwin and others have given us satisfactory and intellectually satisfactory explanation which is based on a lot of evidence that confirms and conforms the explanation and so, yes, with the development of science the explanations invented to account for the things we don't understand could progressively be abandoned. And I think most scientists who are aware of these new answers have abandoned the religious explanations. There are a few exceptions, but not many. And it's just because most of the people are not aware of the scientific explanations, or not able to understand the scientific explanations, or, which is worse, refuse to listen to the scientific explanations because they believe they contradict what they believe in. Those people, of course, still go on and that is what is really supporting religion.

Belgian biochemist Christian de Duve (1917-2013) was best known for his work on understanding and categorising subcellular organelles. He won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1974 for his joint discovery of lysosomes, the subcellular organelles that digest macromolecules and deal with ingested bacteria.

Listeners: Peter Newmark

Peter Newmark has recently retired as Editorial Director of BioMed Central Ltd, the Open Access journal publisher. He obtained a D. Phil. from Oxford University and was originally a research biochemist at St Bartholomew's Hospital Medical School in London, but left research to become Biology Editor and then Deputy Editor of the journal Nature. He then became Managing Director of Current Biology Ltd, where he started a series of Current Opinion journals, and was founding Editor of the journal Current Biology. Subsequently he was Editorial Director for Elsevier Science London, before joining BioMed Central Ltd.

Tags: Charles Darwin

Duration: 2 minutes, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: September 2005

Date story went live: 24 January 2008