Causation seems to just get harder and harder. A recent case in point being the finding that Chinese with myelodysplastic syndrome don’t seem to suffer -5 and/or -7 chromosomal abnormalities even after extraordinarily high exposures to benzene. So much for that paradigm. What gives?
As we’ve written before the reductionist ideal seems clearly to have failed of its promise. But that’s not to say that cancer causation is impossibly complex. Instead, more and more it’s looking like our relentlessly efficient ancestors were keen on finding what works and refining it. And when they found something that worked, whether from yeast or plants or whatever, they shamelessly violated all patents and made it their own.
If you don’t read anything else today read this in the NYTimes. It’s big. It’s a part of the beginning of a new paradigm; a new metaphor; it’s part of the beginning of the idea that our physical systems are not all that different from those of modern computer code – bits of borrowed script, some improvised, some archaic and artifactual, but most of it off-the-shelf modules tried and true and ready to be plugged in and used as, for example, a do while loop.