Melville on Science vs. Creation Myth

From Melville's under-appreciated Mardi: On a quest for his missing love Yillah, an AWOL sailor...

Non-coding DNA Function... Surprising?

The existence of functional, non-protein-coding DNA is all too frequently portrayed as a great...

Yep, This Should Get You Fired

An Ohio 8th-grade creationist science teacher with a habit of branding crosses on his students'...

No, There Are No Alien Bar Codes In Our Genomes

Even for a physicist, this is bad: Larry Moran, in preparation for the appropriate dose of ridicule...

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Michael WhiteRSS Feed of this column.

Welcome to Adaptive Complexity, where I write about genomics, systems biology, evolution, and the connection between science and literature, government, and society.

I'm a biochemist

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Via GenomeWeb's Daily Scan, some comments on the prospects for citizen science in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Only one of the three appears to be an actual research scientist, but they make good points about the role of citizen science in research. For example, Clifford A. Lynch, Director, Coalition for Networked information:

I'm not wild about the term "crowdsourcing" and I think it's actually important to disentangle the developments.
Written two years after the catastrophic destruction of World War II ended with the initiation of the nuclear age, Aldous Huxley's Ape and Essence is a graphically violent, sexually explicit, and surrealistic expression of Huxley’s bitter disappointment in humanity.
In the latest issue of Science, one of the outstanding contemporary philosophers of science, Philip Kitcher, in a review of books on global warming, offers this excellent bit of wisdom on science and democracy:
The End of the World as Farce

Our road to The Road begins in 1947, with Ward Moore's Greener Than You Think, an apocalyptic comic satire that just cries out for a movie adaptation by Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
The End of the World as Farce
What does the Neanderthal genome have to with post-apocalyptic science fiction? It may seem like odd inspiration, but Neanderthals have aroused my interest in one of the most venerable genres of science fiction. Last summer I was awaiting the release of The Road movie, reading a piece of classic post-nuclear sci-fi (John Wyndham's 1955 The Chrysalids), and thinking about some recent news stories on the (then) forthcoming Neanderthal genome sequence.

I was struck by the thought that the last Neanderthals lived in what could be thought of as a post-apocalyptic world. They were going extinct. Did they notice? What kind of world did the last survivors live in?
In the final chapter of the book Complexity: A Guided Tour, Mitchell gets to the heart of the real issues that I've been griping about in this blog. She begins by citing a harsh, 1995 piece by John Horgan, “Is Complexity A Sham?”

The article contained two main criticisms. First, in Horgan’s view, it was unlikely that the field of complex systems would uncover any useful general principles, and second, he believed that the predominance of computer modeling made complexity a “fact-free science.”