Welcome to the Genomics Forum blog

Based at The University of Edinburgh, the ESRC Genomics Policy and Research Forum is part of the ESRC Genomics Network and pioneers new ways to promote and communicate social research on the contemporary life sciences.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Genomics Come all Ye to the Traverse Bar

So our first meeting is on Thursday. Our first "experiment". To be honest, a good part of the "experiment" is whether anyone shows up...or it becomes a meeting about meetings...

Anyway, I'm bringing along some juicy things to talk about, all connected to the same question -

Whose View Of Life?

I blogged earlier about Darwin, and Sean Carroll...and their view of life. The question is...what's yours? Does it depend which Church Pew or Lab Bench we sit at when it comes to assigning a sense of value to what science tells us is accidental? Where do you look for morality? Is there a gene for it? Or a kinship equation?

Let me put it this way:

I live in the world. We all live in the world. More or less inadequately. (Or maybe that’s just me...or Scotland). We do what we do. We do our best.

It’s not enough. It’s never enough. For our families, our societies or for ourselves. Never.

Why not? What, exactly, is the matter with us? Is there a design flaw? Or if we evolved this way, what’s that about? Is the lacking we sense in ourselves something we're stuck with...like tonsils?

We worry away at this. That’s why we build things, make things, write things…it’s why we rape continents, start wars, paint pictures…sequence genomes…It’s all questioning and not answering…why be human? Why live? Why do we die?

We attempt lots of answers to the same damn questions over and over again. Our attempts are what we call “culture” . That's why you will find exactly the same damn questions in every damn blog…in every damn thesis about every damned thing…and in the Epic of Gilgamesh, the first story ever written…

Every answer we come up with, we secretly suspect, is a lie, a con, something (anything) to get us through the night. We always intuit there's something more.

I suspect that’s roughly what Einstein did to get him through the night…and Mother Theresa…mind you, I think that’s what Himmler did too…
Why do we DO that?

The search for a reason…a shared search...however Hopeless…and not always Harmless. I think that’s what “genomics” is about for the non scientist (and the scientist)…especially as it aspires to being a science of “everything”

Anyway, I'm going to bring along some thought provoking hunks of text I've come across in the hope that we can start an argument...then go away and write FURIOUS poems and plays about it all.

Do come.

Traverse Bar, Thursday 30th, 2pm

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