Keller shows us that the very successes that have stirred our imagination have also radically undermined the primacy of the gene--word and object--as the core explanatory concept of heredity and development. She argues that we need a new vocabulary that includes concepts such as robustness, fidelity, and evolvability. But more than a new vocabulary, a new awareness is absolutely crucial: that understanding the components of a system (be they individual genes, proteins, or even molecules) may tell us little about the interactions among these components.
With the Human Genome Project nearing its first and most publicized goal, biologists are coming to realize that they have reached not the end of biology but the beginning of a new era. Indeed, Keller predicts that in the new century we will witness another Cambrian era, this time in new forms of biological thought rather than in new forms of biological life.
Evelyn Fox Keller is Professor of History and Philosophy of Science at MIT. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and numerous honorary degrees.
Arguably the most significant scientific discovery of the new century, the mapping of the twenty-three pairs of chromosomes that make up the human genome raises almost as many questions as it answers. Questions that will profoundly impact the way we think about disease, about longevity, and about free will. Questions that will affect the rest of your life.
Genome offers extraordinary insight into the ramifications of this incredible breakthrough. By picking one newly discovered gene from each pair of chromosomes and telling its story, Matt Ridley recounts the history of our species and its ancestors from the dawn of life to the brink of future medicine. From Huntington's disease to cancer, from the applications of gene therapy to the horrors of eugenics, Matt Ridley probes the scientific, philosophical, and moral issues arising as a result of the mapping of the genome. It will help you understand what this scientific milestone means for you, for your children, and for humankind.
The latest incarnation of creationism, dubbed intelligent design (or ID), has taken advantage of this situation. It portrays an evolutionary process that is constantly guided—especially in its upward direction—by the hand of an unseen Creator, who is able to ensure that it ends up producing humans. Creatures of Accident attacks the antiscience ID worldview, mainly by building a persuasive picture of how "unaided" evolution produces advanced creatures from simple ones by an essentially accidental process. Having built this picture, in the final chapter the book reflects on its religious implications.
As the icecaps melt and the sea levels rise around the globe—threatening human existence as we know it—climate change has become one of the most urgent and controversial issues of our time. For most people, however, trying to understand the science, politics, and arguments on either side can be dizzying, leading to frustrating and unproductive debates.
Now, in this groundbreaking new work, two of our most renowned thinkers present the realities of global warming in the most human of terms—everyday conversation—showing us how to convince even the most stubborn of skeptics as to why we need to act now. Indeed, through compelling Socratic dialogues, Philip Kitcher and Evelyn Fox Keller tackle some of the thorniest questions facing mankind today:Is climate change real? Is climate change as urgent as the “scientists” make it out to be? How much of our current way of life should we sacrifice to help out a generation that won’t even be born for another hundred years? Who would pay for the enormous costs of making the planet "green?" What sort of global political arrangement would be needed for serious action?
These crucial questions play out through familiar circumstances, from an older husband and wife considering whether they should reduce their carbon footprint, to a first date that evolves into a passionate discussion about whether one person can actually make a difference, to a breakfast that becomes an examination over whether or not global warming is really happening. Entertaining, widely accessible, and thoroughly original, the result promises to inspire dialogue in many places, while also giving us a line of reasoning that explodes the so-far impenetrable barriers of obfuscation that have surrounded the discussion.
While the Paris Agreement was an historic achievement that brought solutions within the realm of possibility, The Seasons Alter is a watershed book that will show us how to make those possibilities a reality.