It’s time to critically assess the ways that we attempt to measure progress towards responsible conduct in the life sciences.

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Photo by ThisisEngineering RAEng on Unsplash

The promise and the problem

In early 2020, the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine released a new report on “Safeguarding the Bioeconomy”, defining the bioeconomy as “economic activity that is driven by research and innovation in the life sciences and biotechnology, and that is enabled by technological advances in engineering and in computing and information sciences.” …

I think that one of the most incredible things that you can do to clarify your thinking is to write down your beliefs.

Try it — pick a few positions that you hold on social issues, and spend a few minutes on each one writing out your position. Add a date to it so that you can come back and update it later (beliefs tend to become obsolete after a while). Ask yourself — how does each issue work? …

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One of my favorite concepts in psychology is the “illusion of explanatory depth”:

If you asked one hundred people on the street if they understand how a refrigerator works, most would respond, yes, they do. But ask them to then produce a detailed, step-by-step explanation of how exactly a refrigerator works and you would likely hear silence or stammering. This powerful but inaccurate feeling of knowing is what Leonid Rozenblit and Frank Keil in 2002 termed the illusion of explanatory depth, stating, “Most people feel they understand the world with far greater detail, coherence, and depth than they really do.”

Rozenblit and Keil initially demonstrated the illusion of explanatory depth through multi-phase studies. …


Daniel Greene

Biosecurity researcher, social scientist, fragile blob of atoms, baffled river of experience. This blog is for personal musings.

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