Robert Shapiro. Simon & Schuster, New York, 1986.

A thoughtful analysis of the many theories about the origin of life on earth. Skeptical of sloppy thinking, Shapiro takes no prisoners, skewering the reputations of several prominent scientists in the field (including Francis Crick, Sir Fred Hoyle, and Carl Sagan, among others) as well as creationists and other more traditional targets. The book is beautifully written, and the author makers a determined effort to identify for the reader what is and is not known about the origin of life, assessing the strengths and weaknesses of the more widely discussed scenarios, such as life forming in a primordial soup, or in clay, or as the result of supernatural activity. Shapiro provides no clear answer, as he feels the experimental results permit no clear choice. This is a great book for appreciating the limits of science, and the challenge of accepting doubt in the place of dogma.

Dr. George Johnson