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Information and the Origin of Life

This research project was started in 2007 by Dr Andrew Robinson and Dr Christopher Southgate. It received three stages of funding from the Science and Transcendence Advanced Research Series, made possible by the John Templeton Foundation, with the third round of funding awarded to only two teams in the world, including the Exeter group.

The project used the metaphysical semiotics of C.S. Peirce as a springboard for new explorations in the science of the origin of life, and of human evolution, and in the theology of the Trinity.

Research findings have been published in the June and September 2010 issues of the journal 'Zygon', the September 2010 issue of 'Theology and Science', and also in 'Biology and Philosophy' and 'Biological Theory', and culminated in Robinson's monograph 'God and the World of Signs', published by Brill in October 2010.

The project has also included a very successful workshop for early career researchers at Berkeley in June 2010, when young scholars were able to engage with major figures in the science-theology conversation such as Robert J. Russell and Philip Clayton, as well as the anthropologist Terrence Deacon.

The final meeting of the project - an invited theological consultation in Cambridge - was held in April 2011. Since then, the project leaders have also been involved in a meeting of the International Society for the Study of the Origin of Life in July 2011, where they reported on RNA biochemistry done in the lab of Niles Lehman.

For further details about the project and its publications, please visit