From: Reed Konsler (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed 11 Jun 2003 - 14:22:47 GMT
"Okay. And what determines the "homologous pathways of development?" Genes or fields? Whatever answers researchers come up with cannot help but be provisional. Every answer merely moves the question back a step. Ultimately, the information is either particulate or holistic. Ontogenesis is either bottom-up or top-down. Since biochemists are no closer than they were forty years ago to providing a detailed picture of how genes build bodies, there's no reason not to explore other possibilities. Indeed, this is the general trend of contemporary biology."
First: "...are no closer..."? I'm not going to argue with you about your
opinion, but there are conferences full of molecular biologists that have
the impression that they know more than they did forty years ago.
Second: When I was an undergraduate at University of Michigan and a
chemistry grad student at Harvard, many of my collaborators were in the
Biology department. If you look online, the Bio faculty at both
universities are skewed dramatically in favor of biochemistry and genetics.
Both schools had problems enrolling students in organismic biology and
finding faculty to teach those courses. High school biology classes teach
some ecology, a lot of cell biology, biochemistry, evolution and genetics
and no organismic bio or comparative anatomy. AP Bio exams tend to short
the ecology part.
Anyway, it is my experience that "contemporary biology" is shifting, as a
general trend, further in the direction of the "bottom-up" biochemical
approach. Perhaps that is a bad thing. I suppose you could argue that all
these scientists are being mislead by successful applications, million
dollar research grants, and professional prestige.
[shrug] There is a reason not to explore other possibilities. The money,
the power, and the glory is in biotechnology, not morphic resonance. Until
that shifts, the paradigm won't.
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