Accessible updates on the technical literature; commentaries on that literature; and introductions (with links) to new articles associated with the “Biology Worthy of Life” project. The content in general relates to the dramatic discoveries re-shaping our understanding of organisms. The current focus is on gene regulation, evolution, and the meaning of organic wholeness — all of which can make for some occasionally wide-ranging excursions. Notes, commentaries, and articles are by Stephen L. Talbott of The Nature Institute.

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  • All biological description involves narrative (story-like) elements, including purposiveness, intention, and, in general, more-than-physical meanings. But, while employing such description constantly, biologists prefer not to acknowledge it or account for it in their the...

  • RNA splicing and, in some organisms, the reconstruction of shattered genomes (and, in all organisms, the processes of DNA damage repair) illustrate the coherent, holistic, end-directed, epigenetic performance of living narratives.
  • Every organism, and indeed every significant biological entity from a cell on up, is a governing context that informs and disciplines its own parts, while also participating in larger contexts; and the governance is established by the interwoven ideas that make the contex...

  • The cytoskeleton and cellular membranes illustrate both the integral unity of the cell and also the temptation to isolate parts in our thought as ‘controlling’ causes. In reality, we discover in every cell the power of the whole to express itself through its parts.

  • The idea of DNA as an informational sequence encoding a genetic program is giving way to a much more dynamic idea involving three-dimensional chromosomes that actively gesture their meanings
  • The fact of purposive activity — the obvious play of active agency, the coordination of means toward the realization of relatively stable ends, and the undeniable evidence that animals perceive a world and interpret their perceptions according to their own way of life —...

  • We in the twenty-first century have inherited a rich and extensive library of descriptive literature about living things, their habitats, and their mutual relations, bequeathed to us over the centuries by dedicated naturalists. Unfortunately, in this age of molecular biol...

  • As soon as we are willing to acknowledge the organism as a purposive agent, everything in our evolutionary theory needs to be thought differently. Among other consequences, we discover evolution to be a purposive and directional process in much the same sense as ontogeny (in...

  • We have all heard about the insignificance of human existence in a cosmos that is indifferent, if not alien, to us. But history and language suggest that the cosmos has a different story to tell.
  • Few biologists are reticent about their conviction that organisms are machine-like and have been “tinkered” with throughout evolutionary history by a designer capable of producing intelligent results — all without any intelligent aid from organisms themselves. The desig...

  • Does evolutionary theory explain the origin and reality of purposiveness in the life of organisms? Or does the reality of purposiveness point us toward severe and disabling inadequacies in the reigning versions of the theory? This is a large and ambitious article — the fi...

  • Molecular biologists have spent several decades trying to identify how “one thing causing another” explains the organism. It is a simplistic and decontextualized way of looking that ends up in radical falsehood. The study of genes and their expression shows us that the org...


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