I’ve posted a couple of references to papers that I thought might begin a conversation. One on the importance of understanding random processes and the other on the “essentials” of biology. Along this same line of thinking consider this blog post from Alex Palazzo’s blog “The Daily Transcript”. Alex describes how our new insights about about the complexity of cellular processes can lead to a more encompassing view of biology. The essay starts a bit slow and is a rant about perceived lack of journalistic coveragefor the topic but work your way through it. Alex references a book that can serve as an introduction to this new way of thinking about organisms and one that I think all biology teachers should read and consider as they examine how to incorporate the latest understandings of biology into the classroom.
But how do these cellular processes, the ones closest to the phenotype, collaborate to form a phenotype? That is the beauty of the newest insights from cell biology. These cells that make up our body, they’re incredible. They are the most wonderful machines ever. All these processes I described above, they’re basically extremely robust Rube Goldberg contraptions. But they are so neat – most components have backup parts, and many contraptions have backup contraptions. In addition the contraptions talk to eachother and are filled with countless number of feedback loops. And they are intelligible – but it is hard…..