Wednesday, May 13, 2009

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David Brooks’ column “They Had it Made”, in today’s New York Times is transcendently excellent, right up until the part where Mr. Brooks writes, “There is a complexity to human affairs before which science and analysis simply stands mute.”

Oy.

This statement implies that something has been at work here which cannot be adequately explained through natural phenomena. The Man-Bunny Matrix is hoping Mr. Brooks means to imply only that something is at work which cannot be explained through our understanding of natural pheomena, at this time.

As Dr. Mike Dalbey, lecturer in biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, routinely tells his undergraduates: “There’s really not much left for you to do in biology. My generation has, for the most part, figured everything out. The only really interesting work left to be done is on the origin of life; and consciousness.”

We in the Man-Bunny Matrix would add exobiology to that list, but point taken.

To be sure, the intricacies of human behavior are overwhelmingly complex, and relevant disciplines such as neuroethology and behavioral psychology have not matured to the point of being able to offer satisfactory answers to questions such as why the lives of subjects participating in the Grant Study followed the trajectories they did. But in the piles of transistors and reams of code represented by human CNS networks, the answers are there to be found.

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