Gizmodo: Mitoh’s team suggested that autotomy in the wild could happen in Elysia atroviridis because the slug is regularly encumbered with planktonic parasites—perhaps leaving a parasite-ridden body behind to grow a new one is the easiest way of dealing with the infestation.
Marks: For example, if I burn a book to ashes and scatter the ashes around, have I destroyed information? Does it make a difference if there’s another copy of the book?
He turns out to be looking for a “bottom up” theory of agency—that is, a materialist one. And he admits that there is no such theory but he offers “a sketch of what a solution might look like.” One suspects that materialists will be offering such sketches centuries from now.
Did Darwin make it intellectually fulfilling to be an egotist?
Fine-tuning in biology shouldn’t be surprising. Why should biology be different from the rest of the universe?
Modeling biology on physics is useful if the biologist wants to pretend to an august Darwinian certainty that is not really available and perhaps not even possible.
Craig Mundie’s dream is to build an AI that rivals human intellect to tackle problems in health care. He hopes to be able to customize medicine for every person by building a virtual proxy for every person. It’s almost like he is asking for biology to play tricks on him…
At Nautilus: Although it seems like evolutionary determinism, there’s some weight to the idea that cells are constrained to a certain evolutionary path, no matter the environment they appear in.
Physics was “hiding its deepest mysteries” thousands of years ago too before anyone uncovered laws for how it works. There are still mysteries in physics, of course, but they are now more basic. The laws are now known. Let’s hope the same proves true for biology.
At Quanta: Many researchers believe the selection to be random: Those right-handed genetic strands just happened to pop up first, or in slightly greater numbers. But for more than a century, some have pondered whether biology’s innate handedness has deeper roots.
We really do not know anything like what we should know about viruses before we just shut down our economies in a panic and so forth.
It would be nice to continue a civilized discussion of what fine-tuning means and implies in biology. Would incorporating an expectation of fine-tuning into biology hypotheses lead to quicker advances sooner? How will we test this—assuming that the village Darwin mob doesn’t storm the place, demanding that we shut down the discussion?
Jerry may well be brought down by this. Increasingly, “wokeness” rather than correct factual description, will confer academic esteem in science—thanks principally due to the progressivism (that Jerry has always supported) taking hold.
… in which we encounter the remarkable phenomenon of microchimerism (“These cells find their way into mother’s tissue and start acting like the tissue in which they find themselves. This process is known as feto-maternal microchimerism”)
There’s lots going on in Britain that isn’t covered by Times Higher. Look at this item, flagged by a kind reader, from IAI: Philosophy for Our Times.