Evolution 2.0, $10 Million Prize, and the Royal Society of Great Britain

At London’s Royal Society, Oxford Professor & prize judge Denis Noble announced the $10 million Evolution 2.0 Prize with Perry Marshall

We doubled the Evolution 2.0 Prize from $5 Million to $10 Million.

I announced this at the Royal Society in Great Britain on Friday, May 31, 2019.

The Financial Times (the UK equivalent of the Wall Street Journal) ran the story Sunday. See the FT article at www.evo2.org/ft

***Have you ever rubbed eyes and re-read an email to make sure you weren’t hallucinating??***

A week and a half before the Truth Seminar, I got an email from Oxford Professor Paul Flather:

“Hi Perry, I’m the president of the Philosophy Forum at the London School of Economics. Professor Denis Noble and I would like to host a media event featuring the Evolution 2.0 Prize at the Royal Society.”

That was a surprise.

The Royal Society was founded in 1660. Isaac Newton is among their past presidents. His death mask is under glass in their lobby.

Charles Darwin, Michael Faraday and Albert Einstein debated their theories in its corridors. Arguably the most prestigious scientific institution on earth.

One would not expect a Chicago business consultant with a bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Nebraska to be invited to speak at the Royal Society.

But… Oxford professor Denis Noble, “The Martin Luther of Evolutionary Biology,” knows me well. He’s a fan of my book, and a member of my prize judging panel.

Because the prize aims to uncover mysteries of life that have deeply puzzled scientists for centuries, Denis felt it worthy of an event.

The prize, which seeks the origin of the genetic code, IS a “bottom of the swamp” absolute fundamental question. If this gets solved, it’s as big as Einstein’s E = mc2. So this prize is absolutely worthy of the Royal Society. 

And there is nothing so powerful as a great question.

Denis has long insisted traditional science is too dismissive of the elegant, holistic, intentional properties of life. Life is not just molecules and chemicals. It possesses information and agency – a will to live.

We do not presently understand what this is or how it works.

Because Denis figured out the cardiac rhythm that made pacemakers possible, he’s one of the most respected scientists in the UK.

He has a Commander of the British Empire medal from Queen Elizabeth. So his opinion carries weight.

I’ve been bursting to tell you this news… but had to keep it under my hat until now. (And getting this invite a week and a half before my biggest seminar this year… my goodness, it’s been INTENSE.)

There’s more…

The prize had been $5 million since my announcement at Arizona State in 2017. I had raised backing to $9 million as of May 2019.

I was urging myself: “If you can get $1 million more, you can double your prize to $10 million at the Royal Society…”

While also prepping for a 3-day seminar, I flew into action. I circled back to a bunch of people who’d turned me down. Wasn’t getting anywhere.

I visited my mastermind group (sort of like Roundtable, except it’s where I get MY teeth kicked in) and told them the news.

Spontaneously, someone offered, “How about we form an LLC and all go in together and get Perry over the hump?”

Eight hands went up. Deal was done.

Then an hour later my phone rang. A good friend says, “Hey what are all these texts I’ve been getting from you?”

I explained. He said, “I’m in.”

That filled slot #11, fully subscribing the investment pool for the Evolution 2.0 Prize.

The next day another investor wanted in – and went on our waiting list.

Two weeks later, we were in London making the announcement.

A video of the event will be coming soon, via Voices From Oxford.

Again, the Financial Times article and a photo from the Royal Society is here:

www.evo2.org/ft

The official prize page is at

www.herox.com/evolution2.0

You may be asking: “Why should I care about this anyway?”

First, “Where we come from” is a very, very important question. How we answer it definitively shapes society.

Arguments about evolution are as ugly as abortion, gay rights, immigration and gun control. Hitler, Stalin and Mao used evolutionary theories to fuel their agendas. Which is easy to do if you get it just a little bit wrong. And we’ve been getting this wrong for a long, long time.

In the USA we’ve had a war between the scientific narrative and the religious narrative for a century. It’s time we heal that rift. NOW.

Because today we’re faced with exponentially growing AI; and the ability to edit DNA as easily as sticking a picture in a blog post.

If we don’t get this straight – and soon – we’re gonna land ourselves in serious trouble.

EVERYBODY needs to start caring about this. It WILL affect your children and grandchildren. It’s only a question of whether it will help them or harm them.

Second, entrepreneurs everywhere can learn from this project. It is Exhibit A of patience, persistence and consistency.

I began raising money for the prize in 2012.

It is a very strange investment, it doesn’t resemble any other. So it was hard to explain.

It was especially hard to explain back when there was no book, no endorsements, no famous scientists… just a few blog posts and an idea on a napkin.

As Felix Dennis explains in his book “How to Get Rich,” there is NO substitute for raising money. You can’t hire it done. No avoiding it if you have a big project.

It’s kind of like selling pots and pans or Cutco knives – you make a list of names (rich people of course) and go see ‘em.

Simple as that. Humble and dirty and necessary.

Another lesson is: you work and work and work and work and most of the time you see VERY little progress…

…then it’s like a baseball game, because when things DO happen, they move VERY VERY FAST. The game can turn in the blink of an eye.

This project moved further in three weeks than in the last five years. I’ve now got editors of major science journals contacting me.

95/5, baby. Like 80/20, but even more extreme.

Please do not forget how many light years peer reviewed science “normally” is from entrepreneurs, engineers and business people. But gaps can be bridged. And we must bridge them.

This also illustrates the incredible importance of knowing the right people – and physically going to where they are to meet them in person.

I had exchanged emails with Denis Noble long ago, but the action didn’t begin until I flew to London for a conference he organized in 2016.

This was not a job for marketing departments. This was a time for pressing the flesh and live conversations. There is NO substitute.

If you’re not pressing the flesh with real people, you’re making a big mistake, friend.

If you, like me, are working on something near and dear to your heart and desperately important – and no one else seems go ‘get it’ – I UNDERSTAND.

So press forward. Make that phone call, send the email, arrange the luncheon, write the book, shoot the video, go to the meeting, see the person.

Take the next step you can make, whatever it may be. And the next. And the next.

Do not stop.

And remember: Today is only the beginning.

Seize the day.

Perry Marshall

P.S.: Subscribe to the Evolution 2.0 Podcast at

https://evo2.org/podcast/

6 Responses

  1. John Earle says:

    Thank you for this. I have forwarded to leaders debating the Evolution issue — some with a foot planted firmly in evolution and the other in Creation.
    Your words ‘intentional properties of life’ and ‘a will to live’ are foundations to the bridge.

    • YES.

      The issue is agency. We now know beyond a shadow of a doubt (per all the research cited in my book Evolution 2.0 and many others as well) that organisms purposefully, and with some view towards the future, adaptively evolve and genetically engineer themselves. Standard reductionist science has no grid for this. Other fields, like systems biology, do.

      Understanding this is a major agenda for 21st century biology.

  2. Tufail Dhana says:

    Origin of genetic code took place in the process of Evolution. It is dialectical materialism that may explain the evolutionary changes in matter.Organic matter appeared in the process of billion years. Steve Benner has added Nucleotide number. it is success of tremendous importance in Evolution management. Editing of DNA may create new species of life.

  3. AnDrew Daddy says:

    All creation codes at all levels inclusive the Resurrection itself is easy as for understanding an reading DNA tis pretty much the same the only issue in my current standing of society is poverty Wile churches take from the poor to feed there own pockets , , ,

  4. VB - Collier says:

    Suppose an individual had a novel proposition to explain evolution and the origin of life—one which could be expressed comprehensibly if not comprehensively in 25 pages—how should that person present it? and to whom? An academic exile (for example) is a castaway, having lost the built-in company that would be predisposed to give a listen. In the “lay” domain, such a voice would initially sound like a crank, a kook, a self-important nobody whose every new impression astounds conceit. In a world of ideas extensively safe-guarded by authority-based check-points, which avenue should be ventured?

    • If a theory is solid then there should be a way to definitively prove that it works, and it should be of some demonstrable value to someone. I’m an outsider and over time have managed to get my ideas taken seriously in some quarters.

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