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Friday, February 04, 2005

DNA to GO!

Recently, a geneticist predicted that we could soon not only map the human genome, but also map our individual DNA, putting it literally on a CD, and giving the concept of long play a new meaning. Personally, if we know the code, namely ours,, we can predict things like our longevity, susceptibility to disease, and perhaps our inclination to vote republican or believe in God (see god gene).

The problem is, people are profoundly ambivalent about predicting the future. It’s nice to prognosticate that the Red Sox will win the world series, but to actually know the outcome beforehand is a downright bummer. We like to know that we are likely to live until we are eighty, that our favorite teams will probably have winning seasons, and that we will have on average 2.5 kids, but to know these facts with absolute precision is downright depressing.

There is a tension between likely and absolute knowledge when knowledge imparts important things in your life. We are born in uncertain worlds, but are also made for uncertain worlds. That is perhaps a lesson that will temper the human reach for omniscience. Perhaps God know that but is rather uncertain about it.

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