"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2004


A lovely essay in the new PLOS Biology discusses the rise of computational biology as a 'real' (sub?)field. Many fascinating points, and worth multiple reads.

The beginning of the second paragraph sets the stage by pointing out what is, for me, one of the most interesting things about biology:
It is a legacy of evolution that teleology — the tendency to explain natural phenomena in terms of purposes — is deeply ingrained in biology, and not in other fields (Ayala 1999).

This tendency is one against which all biology students are constantly warned: it's convenient language to say 'X trait was selected for Y,' but remember, always, that evolution has no purpose. Some disagree: there may be some force governing it all, some divine intervention.

I say let the theologians and the occasional neuroscientist hash out gods in the brain, but let it remain fundamental to biologists to wonder "why." After all, that philosophic wondering may be what makes us so much more fun than chemists, only concerned with "how."

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?