Tag Archives: Venter

Where did we come from?

Anyone interested in this question (and aren’t most of us) could not do better than watch the videos coming out of the Origins symposium. With a mission statement of “Exploring Questions at the Edge of Knowledge: From the Universe to Humanity” this has got to be fascinating.

Add to this the high calibre of the participants. These include names like Lawrence Krauss, Steven Weinberg, Brian Greene, Stephen Hawking, Andrei Linde, Richard Dawkins, Alan Guth, David Gross, Alex Vilenkin, Peter Ward, Steven Pinker, VS Ramachandran, Paul Davies, Patricia Churchland, AC Grayling, J. Craig Venter, Frank Wilczek, and many more.

The Symposium Sessions include:

  1. The Universe, Multiverse, Physical Laws
  2. The Galaxies, Planets, Life
  3. Origin of species, Evolution, Human Origins
  4. Consciousness, Complex Cognition, Language to Culture, Cooperation, Morality and Institutions.

The Science Network is currently uploading videos – pretty efficient seeing the Symposium occurred over April 3 – 6. Currently five videos are online (introductions and panel on “How Far Can we go Back?”)

I know what I will be watching over the next week or so.


Similar articles

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to Ma.gnoliaAdd to TechnoratiAdd to FurlAdd to Newsvine

Life: a gene-centric view

It’s hard to imagine two scientists more qualified to discuss this topic than Richard Dawkins and Craig Venter.

Richard Dawkins FRS is the Charles Simonyi Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford. He has written extensively about evolutionary biology and is a great populariser of science. His book The Selfish Gene(1976, 1989), was described by Craig Venter as perhaps the most important scientific book of the 20th century. In 2006, he established The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (RDFRS), which is now a registered charity in both the UK and USA. A website, www.RichardDawkins.net, acts as a forum for the exchange of reason, science and critical thinking.

J. Craig Venter is the Founder, Chairman, and President of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI), J. Craig Venter, PhD is regarded as one of the leading scientists of the 21st century for his contributions to genomic research. He was one of the main players in the successful sequencing of the human genome. His institute recently announced the first successful synthesis of a bacterial genome. This is the second step in a three step process of creating a synthetic organism.

These two scientists came together on stage at the Digital Life design (DLD) Conference in Munich, Germnany, last month to discuss a gene-centric view of life. Discussion also included ethical questions raised by recent advances in synthetic biology, the dangers of climate change and how synthetic biology could enable replacement of fossil fuels.

The discussion was exhilarating, although I found a difference of opinion between them on the possibility of horizontal gene transfer in mammals frustrating. This wasn’t resolved in this discussion but hopefully will be clarified in future.

The 61 minute video Life: a gene-centric view is well worth watching. There is also a shorter video (5 min) of highlights from the discussion.

See also
Venter Institute Scientists Create First Synthetic Bacterial Genome

Related articles
Intelligent design and scientific method
Dealing with Dawkins
Changing your mind
Delusions about Dawkins
Intelligent design at the shopping mall
Isaac Newton and intelligent design
Richard Dawkins and the enemies of reason