Sean Carroll, writing at Cosmic Variance, asks:

What is the one concept in science that you really think should be explained better to a wide audience?

His being a physics-based blogs, many of the answers relate to physics.

Mine being a biology-based blog, let’s try this with a biological focus:

What is the one aspect in biology that you really think should be explained better to a wide audience?

Unless you really must, I’d discourage people answering ‘evolution’.

Aside from that it’s a little too obvious a thing to point at, it’s really a collection of many concepts rather than one particular thing; that’s what theories do, pull things together.

You’ll notice that I sneaked in another change compared to Sean’s question, swopping ‘aspect’ for ‘concept’.

I’m a fan of focusing on concepts in presenting science to a wide audience. I think it’s the thing that most often can be pushed broadly.

But some important things aren’t really concepts as such, but background of other kinds. Concepts are abstract notions; some important things are straight-forward physical things.

One I’d like to see explained to biologists (as opposed – to a wide audience – is a better appreciation of the biophysical nature of the interior of a cell.*

For a wide audience, one I’d try is the statistical nature of biological processes.**

    There are others, and better choices I’m certain, but I’d best leave room for my visitors to comment!

    What do you think are aspects of biology that should be better explained to a wide audience?


    * Both relate to my interest in the 3-D architecture of genomes and the nucleus and gene regulation, but they also apply more widely. I have to many things I’d like to write here, that I’ve yet to tease them apart to blog-sized pieces.

    ** Others might be 1) Risk, particularly applied to health reporting, but also elsewhere. (David Winter has previously mentioned the issues of sensitivity and specificity in the context of health reporting and I have presented these in the context of  benchmarking bioinformatics software), and 2) Better logical argument and criticism. (OK, that second one is not biology so I’m cheating on my own question, but it’s critical for anyone to look at any subject.)

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