The Origin and Diversification of Life
Shortly after leaving university, I was arm-twisted by my former professor into writing several pieces for the upstart journal Evolution: Education and Outreach. It was hinted at that I could be compensated monetarily with some sort of bursary for my hard work. I was struggling financially while trying to start a new - what I thought would be -, safer career, and I could've really used the money. Because I hated teaching the Grade 12 Biology curriculum so much, I decided to try and make sense of it all.
See, I've always been a "Macro" guy. I've always found the biochemical stuff incredibly boring and it was hard to reconcile how the overarching evolutionary principles were at play on such a minute scale. I knew they were present; I just didn't give it much thought. So, what the hell? I turned a framework I understood quite well on the microbial world to see if I could come up with any new insights, while also reconciling the entire Grade 12 Curriculum under a cohesive story. I called it "The Neverending Story" (after the movie I was fond of for reasons I can't remember beyond that flying dragon who looks like a dog).
It was an incredibly ambitious project; I was delving into topics almost beyond my biological savvy. While there are editing errors, mostly due to the fact that they outsourced post-production to the Philippines of all places, and I screwed up the date when plants obtained organ systems (my bad), I'm very proud of this early foray into, shall we say, "conversational" academics.
I'm releasing it here to open access for a few reasons: 1) I really didn't appreciate the rude response I got from Niles Eldredge when I asked for a simple review of my book after contributing four articles (it could've been off the record and negative for all I cared); 2) I was never paid a cent for these articles via bursaries or a bloody donation; 3) I feel like it never got any real exposure despite it's unique synthesis and insights into such an important topic; and 4) I'm tired of physicists botching the Origin of Life story on TV. Okay and 5) Someone may have taken liberties in "biting" my style, as the youth in my day used to say, in a similar review type article. I may have overreacted initially but I am flattered. I understand that my paper was mentioned as something to read for further "more technical" information. However, the papers I referenced at the end should be read for more technical information. The only thing unique that I brought to the table was the overall synthesis of macroevolution terminology with microbiological facts, and of course, my writing style. Regardless, enjoy.