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Biological Speculation

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A great short talk by Drew Endy about the early history of synthetic biology and the motivations, hopes, and uncertainties of bioengineering. How do we know we’re making good decisions? How can we create more improbable patterns? What should we be vibrating about?

Christina Agapakis About the Author: Christina Agapakis is a biological designer who blogs about biology, engineering, engineering biology, and biologically inspired engineering. Follow on Twitter @thisischristina.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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  1. 1. Zeitgeist64 11:51 pm 06/17/2014

    Fantastic approach! YOU ARE ON THE RIGHT TRACK ! Biological life forms draw their energy to self- organize, grow ,self replicate with almost perfect fidelity generations after generations for millions of years without making mistakes in DNA copying , from the sun stars , galaxies from the immense energies coursing through planet earth and use it to manipulate earthly weather ,atmosphere( temperature – pressure conditions ) and water and mineral resources and Eco- systems and environments to meet its ends. The structure used is the hardware which is subject to electromagnetic and nuclear energies . But there is beyond just the hardware in all biological life- forms . There is ” software ” too that manage to self- organize, to grow , to self-reproduce with utmost fidelity , a software that’s more like “information ” than like atoms, quarks or strings the fundamental matter that is driven by electromagnetism and nuclear energies. While matter-energy is subject to entropy bio- energy “organizes” and not disorganize what’s already organized (ie, entropy ) .

    The point being made is that bio- energy is different from matter- energy viz Electromagnetic and nuclear energies. Therefore, a paradigm shift needed in the thinking and approach of bio- scientists , life- scientists and bio- engineers . They should not take shelter in the paradigm- umbrella of physicists . Instead they should discard it and formulate fresh paradigms to deal with the ” soft- ware ” part of cosmos viz, with bio- energy or life- energy. The earlier they do it , the better for biologists and life scientists.

    Physicists have the habit of cornering all research grands and funding . Biologists if they team up with physicists will be losers . While physicists use research grants for building bigger LHC going after esoteric entities like Higgs boson etc biologists will languish without sufficient money to strike new paths , paradigms and making progress in life- sciences thus tying biology to the scaffolding of it , the material covering used for life to manifest on our dimensions. By doing that life- scientists are losing the quintessence and misguided to focus on the packaging.

    The fact that without the material covering the essence of life cannot manifest does not make life ( the software ) the same as its physical wrappings ( the hardware) .

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