Things are not going well with our friends in biology. In a new paper published in PLoS Biology, a bigshot from Baylor College of Medicine called for all criticisms of biologists be legally labeled as “hate crimes”. He appears to be upset that people found out about the sponsorship of Wuhan lab by Fauci and Daszak to make new and deadly coronaviruses.
This is not the only sign that biology is in distress. In another recent episode, the UN body called UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) set up a website and asked everyone to “pledge to trust science”.
Although these people are trying to broaden their appeal by including all science, you can be rest assured that people are not losing faith in Newton’s laws, the periodic table, Maxwell’s equations or the proof of the Fermat’s last theorem. The entire public distrust is in the affairs of biology and related medical fields.
Where does that take us to in the future? Scholarly fields of work collapse from time to time, when their internal inconsistencies are too hard to resolve. Instead of using medieval alchemy as an example because of its bad reputation as witchcraft, I will cite the “Italian school of algebraic geometry” as an example.
By about 1950 it had become too difficult to tell which of the results claimed were correct, and the informal intuitive school of algebraic geometry simply collapsed due to its inadequate foundations.
However, what goes on in contemporary biology is closer to alchemy than Italian school of algebraic geometry. I personally know a number of researchers, who moved from physics to biology after 2000, and their trust of the biologists took a nosedive over the years. Chargaff convinced me about serious foundational issues with this field, and especially modern genetics, and I posted Chargaff’s critical essay on that topic before. Let us hope that this entire field gets a clean reboot with only a small number of dedicated professionals and very little government funding.