Toward a Biology Worthy of Life > Getting Over the Code Delusion > Brief excerpt
A project by Stephen L. Talbott

Does code trump form and rhythm?

Of course, researchers knew all along that DNA and chromatin were spatial structures. But that didn’t prevent them from ignoring the fact as far as possible. Opportunities to pursue the abstract and determinate lawfulness of a code or mathematical rule have always shown great potential for derailing the scientist’s attention from the world’s full-bodied presentation of itself. Achieving logical and mathematical certainty within a limited sphere can seem more rigorously scientific than giving attention to the metamorphoses of form and rhythms of movement so intimately associated with life. These latter require more aesthetically informed cognitive capacities, and they put us at greater risk of having to acknowledge the evident expressive and highly concerted organization of living processes. When you encounter the meaningful, directed, and well-shaped movements of a dance, it’s hard to ignore the active principle — some would say the agency or being — coordinating the movements.

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