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Sunday, July 31, 2005

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find related articles. powered by google. The Economist Crick's last stand

"IT IS traditional to begin an article about Francis Crick by quoting his collaborator, James Watson, who wrote, “I have never seen Francis Crick in a modest mood.” The immodesty that carried Crick to the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953 clearly never left him. His latest paper (and his last, for he died in 2004) proposes to explain, of all things, the neurological basis of human consciousness.

Mechanistic explanations of consciousness are hard to come by because consciousness is so poorly understood. Indeed, it is one of the few unexplained phenomena that are genuinely mysterious rather than merely problematical. But Crick, together with his long-time collaborator Christof Koch, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, focused on a part of the mystery that seems tractable. This is the integrated nature of conscious sensation."

find related articles. powered by google. The Great Debate Minds, Genes and Consciousness

"What scientists actually do is generally assumed to be above the understanding of the common person. There is, however, the phenomenon of popular science wherein authoritative figures, often eminent scientists, present a version of their science that is accessible to the non-specialist. Such works may achieve best-seller status and are considerable money spinners for those involved. There is, then, the question of how accurately they account for the science represented and, even with the best will in the world, it is easily possible to see how readers of such works may end up being deceived as to the real achievements of the science in question and as to the actual nature of science in general."

"It is not that science is wrong, nor that explanations about mental phenomena are essentially muddled or have to be woolly. It is that there are no easy answers. There are no clear boundaries between what's the right and what's the wrong way to go about finding answer to the question of the proper relationship between minds, genes and consciousness. What is required from scientists, philosophers, and others alike is not just debate but the right sort of debate, and not just claims but modesty in claims and interim conclusions."

[ 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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