Sunday, July 21, 2013

Victory is mine!

All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident. 


Some contemporary wit has added a codicil to my favorite curmudgeon's famous remarks: Fourth, it is attributed to the wrong person.

I was reminded of these quips recently when I came across a review article in Nature, on quantum biology. 

Here's the abstract:
Recent evidence suggests that a variety of organisms may harness some of the unique features of quantum mechanics to gain a biological advantage. These features go beyond trivial quantum effects and may include harnessing quantum coherence on physiologically important timescales. In this brief review we summarize the latest results for non-trivial quantum effects in photosynthetic light harvesting, avian magnetoreception and several other candidates for functional quantum biology. We present both the evidence for and arguments against there being a functional role for quantum coherence in these systems.
Look at what has happened: It is now tacitly accepted that organisms harness quantum effects, but the question has morphed, so that we ask whether organisms employ unique features of the quantum realm, which go beyond trivial quantum effects. 

In other words, the scientific community has wisely chosen to move the goal posts, because we must in all things be dignified.

In human affairs, this counts as progress.

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