The Biology of Science Fiction

Biology is one area of science I know very little about. I never blog, comment, use it in my fiction or reference it only in very limited terms, with the possible exception of when I talk about my chronic maladies in passing. Which is probably very ignorant on my part because it would behoove me to be at least somewhat educated on how biology works, especially my own.

Even the type of science fiction I read is influenced by my lack of knowledge in the discipline. My book-shelves are full of space opera, Singularity science, social science and even psychological sci-fi. I do know a little about nano-tech though, but biological nano, not so much.

This is just physical and mental laziness on my part, and according to Peggy of Biology In Science Fiction in a post referencing an interview with writer Peter Watts, it would be a mistake for me to continue to do so:

In April, Åka at Physicality of Words interviewed Peter Watts about the science in science fiction. Asked about a recent Con where the science panel was made up of astronomers and physicists, and whether he “get[s] the feeling that biology and biological ideas get less attention in science fiction than physics and astronomy?” , Watts opined:

Biology is the headline science of the twenty-first century so far, and I think that’s being reflected in the more recent sf to come down the pike (mine, for example). If con panels still emphasise physics and astronomy, perhaps that reflects the “graying of fandom” we keep hearing about; perhaps panels are disproportionately populated by the TwenCen old guard who haven’t caught up with the times yet.

I’ve read Watts’ Blind Sight recently. It is very good and engrossing, I couldn’t put it down until I got too tired to read. And yes, it had a lot of biological science in it. What I liked was that he made the biology parts understandable and credible. But he was good with the tech stuff too I thought. Or maybe I just perceived it that way because I’m a techie anyways.

Okay I’ll admit it, I’m a senile “TwenCen” old fart…er…guard type who’s behind the times too.

So sue me.

It’s no secret that biotech is a fast growing industry, from the genetically modified food corporations to the genetics of stem cell research and now more recently, “gengineering” plants that sequester carbon dioxide, this science is going to be a huge money making machine.

Not so much for the “little people” I’m afraid.

As usual, they (us) get stuck paying the research bills while working our Wally-Mart, Rotten Ronnie jobs and living in our luxurious Tent City condos!

Biology is the headline science of the 21st century

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14 responses

  1. ….zzzzzZZZ* You rang

    The way things are going I seriously wonder how much natural biological
    life there will be to study. The serious naturalist will have to become a nanatechnology geek to understand what he’s looking at. Orders? Yeh, new world ones. Phylums? Well, there will probably be a lot of them.
    Seems like the further you get from the truth, the more complicated it gets. End of rant…(: …..zzzzzzZZZZZ

  2. Hay do you foil dudes want to have some fun. There’s a live one commenting on Youtube about Kucinich seeing a UFO…G:

  3. I like the biology of those heritage seeds you and Nemo turned me onto Geez, my wife planted them as soon as she got home from South Carolina.

    I hope they take, we just got some good rain a couple of days running.

    As for the genetically engineered stuff, I think we should all read up on it, just for safety’s sake anyway.

  4. Obama had the good answer… the self-preserving, face-saving SAFE answer, didn’t he? 😉

    Not all research and experimentation is wrong, but I question the big guys like Monsanto, et al, who are clearly into this to make a killing off of the backs of the proletariat… and outright OWN them!

    Monsanto Video

    This proves enslavement is the goal of the finance/industrial complex. What’s laughable to me, is that those bozos think that mere laws and legislation, which they skirt at will to suit their own purposes, will ever impress me to obey them, or do whatever they want me to!

    The pseudo-societal commerce game is for slaves, not free men. Their power is in the minds of the sheeple, and no matter what happens, they’ll never have my mind!

  5. Yep, Obama’s a pretty clever guy, maybe even a typical attorney. Kucinich should have at least gave a Jack Benny type pause before taking the bait, but he swallowed the whole worm. I don’t care much for Russert. He’s the kind of fisherman that will go into a lake that has been stocked use radar to spot them, and catch all he can for the sport of it.

    Thanks for the video, it’s indeed a sad joke on Mother Nature. Thanks to these irresponsible $$$ grubbers we no longer have any corn that doesn’t have the Monsanto genes. Even if we plant some heritage seeds the genetic pollen can be carried by the wind.

    My old boss (a surveyor) went to Oregon Agricultural College in the early 1960’s and ended up changing his major to engineering because even at that time all the courses were funded by chemical companies and organic methods of farming were not even recognized there.

  6. Hi dad2059…

    Actually the biological sciences are infinitely more complex than the problems that confront astrophysicists et al.

    LIfe itself, its very essence and the primordial creation thereof is still in its infancy and little understood.

    It it is biological lifeforms; specifically manifested through human intelligence that makes up the ultimate “sensory probe” that kens both itself and the universe in which it is immersed and summarily contained.

    So it will be the quantum leap in biological engineering not only relative to planetary flora, but the fauna itself; ie., humans and their ever-growing intelligence that will hopefully save mankind from their “chimplike” interneceine travails.

    As geneticists begin to understand the human genome in evermore accuracy and detail; there will be engineered leaps in human intelligence, physiology, and longevity that will virtually change the stodgy, natural path of human evolution via the old fashioned survival of the fittest model.

    In fact these advances might create a superclass of beings far more advanced than the troglodytes that now shuffle about on the planets surface.

    These emergent, fairly small population of uber-beings will either exalt the human condition or decide to exterminate the defective ones in a humane fashion and to move on within their own new world order paradigm of biological perfection.

    I’m serious about my proposed scenaria. People always like to extrapolate man becoming first cyborg, but I say before that, it will be uberman transcending the very pedestrian “chimplike” creature of which we all are all familiar at this point in human evolution.

    Carl Nemo **==

  7. Uh huh, Obama certainly gave the audience what it craved, a show and a pat answer.

    A lawyer through and through!

    Kucinich swallowed the worm and hook alright, and that might have been staged for the edification of the rabble.

    Don’t get me started on the NWO stooge Russert, that speaks for itself.

    And Carl, that could very well be the scenario and most likely, given the advancements of genetic science by people such as Dr. Craig Ventnor, who recently mapped out his own body’s genome and bragged of creating artificial ‘life’.

    But the “AI” crowd are determined to bring about the first intelligent computer or cybernetically enhanced human, so it’s anybody’s race at this moment.

  8. “Don’t get me started on the NWO stooge Russert, that speaks for itself.”

    You won’t have to worry about him, amy longer…

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080613/tim_russert_080613/20080613?

  9. The man was a shill for Bu$hco and thus for the NWO.

    But I will end it there. I never speak ill of the recently dead because they are no longer here to defend themselves and there is no honor in it.

    As you would say my friend, he answers to somebody else now.

  10. “As you would say my friend, he answers to somebody else now.”

    Not quite yet, Marine… but soon.

  11. RIP Tim Russert…

    I can’t take back what I said though….):

    Happy trails and may all your waves be in harmony ~~~~~~~

  12. Life is good

    In a way the Biological sciences may be simplicity itself and life forms evolve in patterns defined by the octave, which always reverts to harmony in all wave lengths. The octave from what I can understand repeats itself at every note and every one of those octaves do the same, kinda lke the old pet milk can with a cow on it, with a can on it, with a cow on it etc. I don’t know if there is a limit to how many times the octave repeats this, but if it repeated
    seven times on every note, then every one of those notes did the same over and over we would soon see what we percieve as infinity or else nothing. I’m not sure which?

    For me it is easier to believe that life just is. Like it exists in complex forms that can only be percieved in a timeless existence and also in the simplest of forms that are a but fleeting moment in time. As far as human intelligence goes, it is probably pretty much vanity. “Man can do nothing” says Ouspensky in his book “In Search of the Miraculous”, like maybe what he is saying is that the intelligence we seek exists in such profundity that a mere mortal would be dumbfounded by the very essence of it.

  13. Re: post #4

    Thanks Highwayman for the Monsanto vid clip. It truly sums up the fix in which people of the earth now find themselves concerning their food supply.

    I guess all we can do is give it up and buy stock in Monsanto… /: |

    Carl Nemo **==

  14. No problemo.

    Dad… here’s something on the upbeat side for ya…

    Vulcan, AB. Honors Gene Roddenberry

    Live long and prosper!

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