[Above: Rendering of DNA–aka “what most people think about when they hear ‘molecular identity'”–via ynse on Flickr & Creative Commons.
Below: What scientists actually look at when they’re trying to sort out molecular identities. By Micah Baldwin via Flickr & Creative Commons]
Two posts and two weeks later, I’ve only covered a fraction of the ideas presented at “The Molecularization of Identity” conference. Molecular identities factor into so many aspects of our lives that disentangling and summarizing them is pratically impossible.
But maybe summary shouldn’t be the goal.
After all, succinct summaries tend to create expectations--either for futures that promise to cure all our ills and end all suffering or for apocalyptic technology that robs us of our humanity. However, reality is always a mixed bag. Science isn’t separate from the rest of society, and most corners of society have already been shaped by science.
Maybe we’d be better off if we admitted that the biological, chemical, physical, geological, and cultural worlds are all entangled.
The Blurred Boundaries of Bhopal
Three decades have passed since a pesticide-manufacturing Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India leaked 30 tons of a deadly gas called methyl isocyanate into the surrounding countryside. Over two thousand people died immediately, but the effects of the pesticide lingered and continued to kill. Several thousands more died in the first two weeks after the leak, and many more were left disabled.