Monday, May 24, 2010

The Invention of Life

Here's a layman's guide to what the scientists are up to. It's complicated. It's fascinating. It's profoundly frightening. It's wildly exciting.

It will change the world. It won't change human nature.


Maoz said...

You're right, it won't change human nature. That's the job of robotics.

Who wants nanobots floating around in his brain??

I do!

Sergio said...

Dear Yaacov,

I find it very disturbing that you allow a commercial from in your blog. As your blog is characterized by the search for truth, it shouldn't allow the propaganda from this crackpot sect.

That's my little protest.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sergio
I don't want to criticize you in turn but I am genuinely interested in how a scientific laywoman can know that what the Economist writes is humbug?

I get told that the Economist is the it-place to rely on these days and if the Economist lets somebody write on the subject I have to assume that he/she knows what he/she is talking about.

It is a real conundrum because I for one notice with more or less all these Aufklärers (enlighteners but in German Aufklärung is/was also the term for telling about the sex-life of the birds and the bees like in "bist Du schon aufgeklärt?") about science humbuggers that they after quite a short while sound like propagandists and not like teachers who want me to be able to suspect BS on my own i.e. I am to subscribe to their worldview - period - and if not I'm an apostate - if I want to do my own thinking I am being presumpteous not willing to acknowledge my own ignorance and second-class-ness i.e. no sapere aude empowerment but become a believer demand

maybe you could come up with some suspicion alarm indicators for me preferrably of the Miss Marple kind "this reminds me of" "this syncs with what I know about" etc.


Sergio said...


No problem with criticism: that's how knowledge advances. I didn't read the Economist article, but I can tell you I
don't like that guy Venter. He is the quintessential example of the "indiana-jones-as-scientist". His behavior regarding the human DNA sequencing was shameful and this bombast about the "synthetic life" is typical. He didn't create life ex-nihilo but inserted a genome in a given cell, hence the cell was already equiped with the complex enzymatic machinery. I dunno if that's a breakthrough in understanding of cells and/or was a major tech-feat. But the bombast is pathetic.

Now, back to my complaint: I think scientology is a real humbug and posting ads from this sham in Yaacov's blog is really dissapointing (in my humble view).


Yaacov said...

Sergio -

I hear you. There have been worse complaints, by the way: A fellow from Indonesia told me Adsense is suggesting he get various medical procedures done. I may be able to control what doesn't appear there, though the way it works is that I don't have any way of knowing what you see. Their algorithm takes into account my content but also your location, and all sorts of other stuff.

As I said, I need to experiment with it because of my real job; eventually it may well disappear from the blog. (The blog, by the way, may also disappear, if the business crowds out my time for it. But we're not there yet).

Anonymous said...

sorry Sergio I misunderstood but thanks for the info on Venter

Yaacov really glad to read that Leveredge is doing well - I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that by the time you leave the blog, one of your grand-grand-children is capable of taking over