Your letter of Jan 11 is indeed a tall order. I feel I could more helpful attune myself to your needs in dielectic [sic] than
soliloquy. Should we shoot for a quiet lunch in the next month or two?
Staggering to me is the breadth of definition of "social science"!
Yes, soon we will have to cope with the materiality of hard data on the genetic foundation of human diversity. Twin and sibling
analysis is such a feeble tool . . . . . but now coming up is a comprehensive mapping of the human genome. It will be easy
to sort out which grandparents' chromosomes are represented
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in each of the F2, and muddy questions like the genes for IQ will become (all too) clear. How do you think said scientists
will respond to these tools?
Perhaps because psychosomatic medicine, etc., is so well represented at the R.U. (viz. Neal Miller) I have not been too worried
about the "bio-behavioral" interface in my own ambience.
More urgent, in my view, is better understanding of the process of (biological) science -- an applied sociology of science
if you like. Connected issues are career patterns and modelling [sic] (incl. minorities and women). The peer review system
has hardly been
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scratched (pace Jon Cole): viz. the study section as a case in small group dynamics. And what inst'l arrangements will
enhance scientific creativity? Do we socialize our grad' students for that? for what?
Every biologist today is baffled and frustrated by political processes, e.g. how the public and the Congress perceive risk.
Safeguards about research have multiplied pathologically, as you well know.
Your work on aging is of course right on the button. Extension of life span is indeed the most revolutionary expected result
of new biology.
KW: Biology and Social Science, response to Prewitt;
genetics and human diversity; human genome; IQ; peer review;
career structures; aging; "extension of life span is indeed
the most revolutionary expected result of new biology";