Thursday, 13 November 2014

Hangin' out with Jeremy B

I had a great time at UCL STS yesterday, where I argued that some aspects of bacteriological methodology may be holding us back.  Robert Koch's pure culture laboratory techniques were enormously successful, enabling Koch to take the first steps in defeating tuberculosis, cholera and anthrax and paving the way for the Golden Age of microbiology. But the essentialist and reductionist ontology latent in the Kochian Legacy might be now be impeding further progress in defeating chronic infections, developing new antibiotics and getting a handle on the evolutionary significance of lateral gene transfer.

Other urgent questions we discussed on the day were: Is the legal profession imposing unreasonable demands for standardisation on science? Was it really all Koch's fault? Why did Jeremy Bentham wear such odd clothes? Do parents inevitably catch nits when their toddlers have them? Many thanks to Phyllis Illari, Emma Tobin, Jack Stilgoe, Brendan Clarke, Donald Gillies, Joe Cain and everyone else who came.

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