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{bio,medical} informatics

Thursday, January 17, 2002

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find related articles. powered by google. UniSci Intelligence: Heredity-Environment Debate Resolved?

"According to neuro and cognitive scientists, different intellectual abilities are based on neural circuits that require environmental stimulation for development -- and are open to change.

However, intelligence researchers argue that there is a general factor of intelligence ("G") that is highly heritable and defines intelligence as an overall innate ability to perform well on different measures of intelligence -- which are not open to change."

redux [06.18.00]
find related articles. powered by google. BBC Many attitudes 'in our genes'

"Everything from liking rollercoasters to attitudes to the death penalty is influenced by our genes, say researchers."

"Liking rollercoaster rides and sweets are just two of the things that may be determined by our genes, according to research published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology."

redux [07.07.00]
find related articles. powered by google. UniSci Book Cites Dangers Of Misunderstanding Human Genetics

"Kaplan examines the roles genetic explanations for these types of differences play in our culture -- and how science has been used inappropriately to "medicalize" problems that should be more properly addressed as complex social issues.

Kaplan explores six specific areas -- intelligence (IQ), criminality and violence, homosexuality, depression, obesity, and the centrality of genetics in defining parenthood."

"... an emphasis on the biochemical and the genetic share the property that they make the condition out to be internal to the patient. Once a genetic explanation is offered, and any plausible sounding pathway proposed, the opportunities for claiming that there are other ways of approaching the problem are radically curtailed."

redux [08.31.00]
find related articles. powered by google. The Edge Getting Human Nature Right

"The 'implication' that seems to worry people most of all is so-called 'genetic determinism'. It's the notion that, if human nature was shaped by evolution, then it's fixed and so we're simply stuck with it — there's nothing we can do about it. We can never change the world to be the way we want, we can never institute fairer societies; policy-making and politics are pointless.

Now, that's a complete misunderstanding. It doesn't distinguish between human nature — our evolved psychology — and the behavior that results from it. Certainly, human nature is fixed. It's universal and unchanging — common to every baby that's born, down through the history of our species. But human behavior — which is generated by that nature — is endlessly variable and diverse. After all, fixed rules can give rise to an inexhaustible range of outcomes. Natural selection equipped us with the fixed rules — the rules that constitute our human nature. And it designed those rules to generate behavior that's sensitive to the environment. So, the answer to 'genetic determinism' is simple. If you want to change behavior, just change the environment. And, of course, to know which changes would be appropriate and effective, you have to know those Darwinian rules. You need only to understand human nature, not to change it."

[ rhetoric ]

Bioinformatics will be at the core of biology in the 21st century. In fields ranging from structural biology to genomics to biomedical imaging, ready access to data and analytical tools are fundamentally changing the way investigators in the life sciences conduct research and approach problems. Complex, computationally intensive biological problems are now being addressed and promise to significantly advance our understanding of biology and medicine. No biological discipline will be unaffected by these technological breakthroughs.


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