We have synthesized a 582,970-base pair Mycoplasma genitalium genome. This synthetic genome, named M. genitalium JCVI-1.0, contains all the genes of wild-type M. genitalium G37 except MG408, which was disrupted by an antibiotic marker to block pathogenicity and to allow for selection. To identify the genome as synthetic, we inserted "watermarks" at intergenic sites known to tolerate transposon insertions. Overlapping "cassettes" of 5 to 7 kilobases (kb), assembled from chemically synthesized oligonucleotides, were joined by in vitro recombination to produce intermediate (...) assemblies of approximately 24 kb, 72 kb ("1/8 genome"), and 144 kb ("1/4 genome"), which were all cloned as bacterial artificial chromosomes in Escherichia coli. Most of these intermediate clones were sequenced, and clones of all four 1/4 genomes with the correct sequence were identified. The complete synthetic genome was assembled by transformation-associated recombination cloning in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, then isolated and sequenced. A clone with the correct sequence was identified. The methods described here will be generally useful for constructing large DNA molecules from chemically synthesized pieces and also from combinations of natural and synthetic DNA segments. 10.1126/science.1151721. (shrink)
This is a reply to John N. Williams’ paper “Not Knowing You Know: A New Objection to the Defeasibility Theory of Knowledge'” (2015). That paper argues that Peter Klein’s defeasibility theory of knowledge excludes the possibility of one knowing that one has (first-order) a posteriori knowledge. Klein himself answered a version of this objection in his (1971). Williams’ paper adds a new twist to the 1971 objection. I argue that Williams’ objection misses its target because of this new twist.
‘Feuerbach resolves the religious essence into the human essence. But the human essence is no abstraction inherent in each single individual. In its reality it is the ensemble of social relations.’ It is a common belief, shared both by Marxists and by critics of Marxism, that differences in the interpretation of this statement have important implications for the assessment of Marx's system of ideas. How we read it will affect our view of the unity of Marx's thought and of the (...) continuity of its development over his lifetime, and it will bear crucially on our appraisal of the epistemological status—metaphysical, scientific or mythopoeic—of the various elements of the Marxian system. Among Marxists, members of the Frankfurt School have emphasized the paternity of Marxian metaphysical humanism in Hegel's conception of man as a self-creating being, while Althusser and his disciples have seen in the extrusion from Marx's later work of any such ‘anthropomorphic’ notion a guarantee of the scientific character of his historical materialism. Among Marx's liberal critics, it is widely agreed that he espoused an essentialist view of man and, often enough, it is thought that this alone is sufficient to disqualify his system from scientific status. No consensus exists, however, as to the cognitive standing of the several components of Marx's thought. That agreement should be lacking as to the place in it of a conception of human nature is hardly surprising. Different construals of the role of a view of man will reflect divergent commitments, not only in the philosophy and methodology of social and historical inquiry, but in moral and political thought as well. (shrink)
Of all the examples of ‘belief-in’, belief in God is both the most mysterious and the most challenging. Indeed whether and how an apologist can make a case for the intellectual respectability of theistic belief, depends upon the nature of this ‘belief-in’. I shall attempt to elucidate this matter by an analysis of the relation of ‘belief-in’ to ‘belief-that’ and by treating belief in God as a special case of ‘belief-in’.
Reviewing the work of a single author collected and edited by someone other than the author presents itself as a uniquely difficult task. The principles that ordinarily serve to structure and facilitate the review process—logically analyzing a thinker’s argument, judging her contribution to the field, relating her work to the wider context of current intellectual debates or trends, and so on—prove to be of limited or no use. Yet this doesn’t mean there exist no principles by which to critically evaluate (...) the content and significance of such types of works. The principles at one’s disposal merely happen to be those of curation rather than creation.Now there are surely as many ways to curate a body of work as there.. (shrink)
The background and purpose of this paper require some explanation. It is not the product of a New Testament scholar, able to weigh and balance theories as to date, origin and doctrinal background of the text attributed to St John, nor to assess the identification of its author with the beloved Disciple elsewhere mentioned or with the author of the Apocalypse, nor to consider his relationship to Gnostics or Stoics or Essenes or other influences in the contemporary Jewish or (...) Christian ambience. It is only the effort of one who recognizes in St John's Gospel, if read with an appropriate hermeneutic, a supreme mystico-religious document which can provide guidance at every turn of the spiritual life, but which, if read in another manner, becomes only the expression of a hard-line particularism, which is not less unacceptable in that it acclaims a particular standing in a special relation to another particular on which we all depend for our existence and for all our properties. Conceive of God, or the supreme object of worship, as a particular among particulars, and as much other than ourselves as other things and persons are other, and religious reverence becomes a repugnant form of heteronomous idolatry, wrought up, moreover, with the blind acceptance of a large number of historic and cosmic myths. But conceive of God as being something beyond category-differences, and which as much transcends particularity as it transcends any form of abstract universality, and which incorporates in strict identity all those values of Truth, Love, Beauty, Justice, etc. which are all simply universality in action, and which, moreover, as much transcends personality and personal relationships as it also may have in them its supreme expression, and religion and worship at once acquire a perfect sense and reference. (shrink)
Debate continues to rage among philosophers of religion over Anthony Flew's famous little paper ‘Theology and Falsification’ and the responses it provoked, most notably R. M. Hare's response that religious claims are in no way like scientific hypotheses. For now, twenty years later, we still find many theists taking a similar tack to Hare's. A particularly interesting example is J. F. Miller in Religious Studies , 1969, who replies to Flew that propositions like ‘God loves mankind’ cannot be subject to (...) falsifiability conditions because they are used as claims expressing ‘ religious first-order principles of the Judaeo-Christian Weltanschauung and as such are not amenable to falsification’ . Miller seems to put his faith in some kind of great gulf fixed between what he would consider decently falsifiable scientific hypotheses and what he takes to be unfalsifiable first-order principles both of theology and of contemporary science. In what follows we will try to sketch a more rational strategy for modern believers of a liberal empiricist type, for those whose interest in appealing and deferring to experience includes but is not restricted to so-called ‘sense experience’. This will involve accepting analogies between theological statements and so-called hypotheses, insofar as the latter are propositions held and put forward in a somewhat tentative spirit with a view to explaining what we experience. (shrink)