Tag: genes

Taboo Biology: Epigenetics

Throughout the twentieth century, one of the strongest taboos in biology was against the inheritance of acquired characteristics, sometimes called Lamarckian inheritance, after the pioneering evolutionary biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744-1829). Lamarck proposed that adaptations by plants and animals could be passed on to their offspring. In this respect, Charles Darwin was a convinced Lamarckian. He ...

Heretics of Science: Rupert Sheldrake

Heretics of Science was a BBC series of 6 episodes from 1994 showcasing controversial theories by mavericks in mainstream science. Rupert Sheldrake is an English biochemist and plant physiologist. He is known for having proposed an unorthodox account of morphogenesis and for his research into parapsychology. His books and papers stem from his theory of ...

Random Molecular Permutations

How much predictive power does our DNA have? Let’s say that you and I have never met. If I had your complete genome mapped out would I be able to make any serious predictions about you? Hair color? Height? Weight? Personality? Career path? Many scientists believe that DNA can give us a really good idea ...

The Need for Heretics

The radical, brilliant theoretical physicist Freeman Dyson has just written a interesting essay on the the need for heretics in science. Since Rupert Sheldrake has been battling this kind of stereotype for his entire career, it’s interesting to see that being a maverick is somehow coming back in fashion. Almost daily I’m reading about “new” ...

Why Sex?

“Sex — it gives us diseases, sucks away our energy, clouds our judgment and doesn’t even transfer our genes that efficiently anyway. So why have humans and most other animals evolved this bizarre, slightly dirty quirk of sexual reproduction? Why haven’t we all taken Woody Allen’s advice, and evolved to reproduce with someone we love, ...

What Do You Believe In?

What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it? That’s what online magazine The Edge – the World Question Center asked over 120 scientists, futurists, and other interesting minds. Today we’ve all become talented at searching for the right answers. The real problem is, however, are we bright enough to ask the ...