Monday, April 13, 2009

Biological Canon

Canon (from ruler or model) is the definition of what is correct. In post-modern science, this is always up for grabs (no firm foundation).

An interesting article at Science News reviews the canon of "common descent".

The most interesting point being from Norman Pace:
"The whole issue of prokaryote-eukaryote was taken as a truth when it was still just conjecture. Prokaryote was a figment of imagination that got canonized in the institution of biology rather than the question remaining open."
I haven't seen a good counter for that, just "we have new canon now". Now, there are four different stories!
  1. Three domain tree - what is at the common root? where is the proof?
  2. Eocyte tree - this is closest to the original theory
  3. Web of life - this seems to abandon the notion of common descent
  4. Ring of life - not sure how this is different than three domain or web
Here we see another tenet of post-modernism - everyone has their own truth!
"'Any discussion of the tabling of prokaryotes should be scrapped until' the origin of eukaryotes is better understood, [Michael] Dolan says."
This is actually quite reasonable - "I don't know" would be a better answer to a lot of questions...
"But Pace says he has enough information to justify relegating prokaryote to the history books. 'It’s got to go!' he says. 'It’s intellectually no longer tenable.'"
Perhaps it is "perverse" to disagree?

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