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Re: [tlug] Open Access Journals

On Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 10:17 AM, Stephen J. Turnbull
<> wrote:
> AIUI, much of bioinformatics is about *historical* DNA, which is
> "complex" rather than "chaotic".  Unfortunately I don't really know
> enough to define those terms, basically though we're trying to
> understand past evolution at the DNA level rather than predict the
> future evolution, and then DNA is basically a digital computer --
> matching DNA to phenotype may be "sloppy", but the DNA itself can be
> described "precisely", although it is very complex.  So useful
> patterns not justifiable by existing theory, and reproducible
> anomolies contradicting existing theory, can occur in bioinformatics.

I can't comment about what you said before about economics, but what
you said above about bioinformatics is fairly accurate.

> So I personally (but not intimately familiar with your field) would
> tend to be more tolerant of research "lacking discipline" in
> bioinformatics than in economics, simply because only a multimodal
> genius like Arrow or Einstein can start to see how to gather the
> threads of discussion into a coherent discipline of complexity.

I jumped into the life sciences a bit late but I always envisioned
research to be about being interested in some phenotype, coming up
with some experiment to verify it, and if you're right, write it up.
Now, it's almost reached a point in bioinformatics where we don't know
what we're looking let's throw it into a piece of software
(i.e., a machine learning algorithm for example) -- it tells us which
genes out of the thousands that were examined are interesting in a
statistically significant way, and then we write a paper about it.

It's hard to say how much better bioinformatics is compared to what
you describe about economics...


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