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Tree of Life: Tremendous benefits to follow from understanding it?

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That’s the claim:

Tamas Torok, microbiologist at Earth Sciences Berkeley Lab:

Studying the tree of life, filling in the details, has tremendous benefits for our future. We have to understand how life evolved and how the evolution process proceeded. If we understand that we can take benefit of the biological diversity in solving our major challenges of our time, such as health care, agriculture production, energy production, [unintelligible,] or global climate change.

You’d never know from this but there are currently competing trees of life so there isn’t an “it,” exactly, to understand right now. And what there is to understand means getting involved in a controversy.

Dr. Torok may be a distinguished scientist who is just not a very inspiring speaker; otherwise, one would have to conclude from his performance that he isn’t very convinced himself.

That wouldn’t be surprising. The problems he identifies will be no closer to resolution when the current Tree of Life mess gets sorted out.

Which of them would worsen if we just forgot trees of life for a while?

3 Replies to “Tree of Life: Tremendous benefits to follow from understanding it?

  1. 1
    Mapou says:

    Although I disagree with evolutionists about there being a single evolutionary tree, I agree with Dr. Torok’s view in principle. I think a thorough understanding of the tree of life, at least the one to which the human species belongs to, will open the door to unimaginable benefits, immortality being right at the top of the heap.

    In my opinion, the tree of life is not just an evolutionary tree (as in design evolution), but is the correct metaphor for the way the genome itself is organized, i.e., hierarchically.

    After all, isn’t this what the book of Genesis has claimed for millenia? Yes Ma’am, whoever eats of the fruit of the tree of life will become immortal. Eons ago, the human species came very close to doing just that. And then everything went to pot. 😀 We are getting close to doing it again! Yikes.

  2. 2
    News says:

    All knowledge is valuable in the long run, but it is unclear what straightening this problem out would do for the problems listed, in the terms in which we require solutions.

  3. 3
    Mapou says:

    News @2,

    In my opinion, the tree of life gives us not just an organizational principle but it represents a control hierarchy. That is to say, little things are controlled by bigger things which are themselves controlled by even bigger things, etc.

    Understanding which code sequence controls or regulates the expression of other code sequences is paramount. This would help us understand precisely how the fetus forms in the womb and how we grow from childhood through adolescence. It would give us an understanding of the regulation of every sub-system within the body including the immune system.

    In my opinion, the whole thing is so complex, there is no way humans can do it without the help of powerful cataloguing systems and intelligent machines. However, knowing from the start that the structure is hierarchical is a tremendous boost.

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