When science becomes a substitute for religion or philosophy, it must bear the weight of being a certain kind of truth. The trouble is, science isn’t that kind of truth.
We’ve all heard the story, probably: That Rosalind Franklin (1920–1958) should have shared the Nobel Prize for the double helix with Francis Crick (1916–2004) and James Watson. Science writer Nicholas Wade has gone into the story in considerable detail and finds to be much more complex.
There seems to be no recognition that researchers, however fiercely competitive among themselves, also have a tribal loyalty that skews their judgment.
We can be thankful that we live in a window of time that has been free from major asteroid impact disasters.
“Life can be better appreciated when you remember how wonderfully and frighteningly unlikely it is that you exist at all”
Formerly thought of as “junk DNA,” their mobility may help explain unique problem-solving abilities. “I literally jumped on the chair…” one researcher said.
Researchers: With the special case of junk DNA in mind, we explore how to model and understand the causal specificity, reach, and corresponding efficacy of difference makers in biology.
Suppose a man said, “I am one of a really small minority of people who fell twenty thousand feet from a plane and survived, despite my injuries…” We’d want to know more.
That’s inconvenient if one is arguing for common ancestry of vertebrates.
“Scientists have pinpointed the moment in time our earliest ancestors evolved to be warm-blooded, and it happened much later and far more quickly than the researchers expected.”
Generally, the remedy for loss of trust after widespread failures is reform of the system, not reform of its doubters. Post-COVID, scientists should take heed.
If we’re so lucky that the Woke promise to boycott science altogether and picket NASA instead, we accept their offer!
Takehome: Perhaps the universe is bound to seem mysterious, in part because it is not wholly material. It keeps the rules but the rules are not always what we expect.
Researcher: “Deep-sea brine pools are a great analog for the early Earth and, despite being devoid of oxygen and hypersaline, are teeming with a rich community of so-called ‘extremophile’ microbes.”
“One can imagine an ancient lake filling the crater in which these mounds are located, the shoreline changing as the sea level varied with the Martian climate, the tides leaving behind alternating layers of mudstone and limestone.”