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Polymerase chain reaction is a cornerstone of molecular biology research. Using short pieces of single-stranded DNA called primers the previously invisible becomes tangible.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Evidence of Things Unseen

My recent training is in a discipline wherein the phenomena studied are, for all practical purposes, invisible. Take a liter bottle of soda and divide it one million times and you get the kinds of volumes with which I deal. How do we know one protein activates or inactivates another? What are the events required for a progenitor cell to become fully differentiated? How much of this chemical is needed to inhibit mis-regulated cell cycle control?

Molecular biologists have developed elegant, sometimes elaborate and sometimes astoundingly simple assays by which we can “see” the microscopic world unfold before us. But are these blots, gel patterns, stains and laser sorted / computer generated graphs really truth? How much of what scientists do is really more faith based rather than factual?

“Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen. Because of it the ancients were well attested. By faith we understand that the universe was ordered by the word of God, so that what is visible came into being through the invisible.”

Hebrews, Ch. 11:1-4

1 comment:

Bill Braine said...

Very little, from what I understand. Your work proceeds from previous understanding of cause and effect, and where the pattern deviates from what is expected, the expectation changes. Precisely the opposite of faith-based behavior.