Uncommon Descent Contest Question 6: Why waste a crisis, especially in genomics?
|June 12, 2009||Posted by O'Leary under Genomics|
Here’s On the Epistemological Crisis in Genomics by Edward R Dougherty, which moved in Current Genomics, April 2008.
There is an epistemological crisis in genomics. At issue is what constitutes scientific knowledge in genomic science, or systems biology in general. Does this crisis require a new perspective on knowledge heretofore absent from science or is it merely a matter of interpreting new scientific developments in an existing epistemological framework? This paper discusses the manner in which the experimental method, as developed and understood over recent centuries, leads naturally to a scientific epistemology grounded in an experimental-mathematical duality. It places genomics into this epistemological framework and examines the current situation in genomics. Meaning and the constitution of scientific knowledge are key concerns for genomics, and the nature of the epistemological crisis in genomics depends on how these are understood.
The rules of the scientific game are not being followed. Given the historical empirical emphasis of biology and the large number of ingenious experiments that have moved the field, one might suspect that the major epistemological problems would lie with mathematics, but this is not the case. While there certainly needs to be more care paid to mathematical modeling, the major problem lies on the experimental side of the mathematical-experimental scientific duality. High-throughput technologies such as gene-expression microarrays have lead to the accumulation of massive amounts of data, orders of magnitude in excess to what has heretofore been conceivable. But the accumulation of data does not constitute science, nor does the a postiori rational analysis of data.
What’s happened since? Another black hole?
Okay, so the sixth Contest question, for a free copy of Expelled?, is: What rules of science are relevant for genomics? Are they being followed? Remember, 400 words or less, and I recommend that you read the article first.
Contest rules, in general, are here, but most are pretty obvious.