Friday, May 20, 2011

Great talk by Onora, good news re Bela, and interesting mind/body links

Excellent talk last night by Onora O'Neill at the RSA sponsored by the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.  She spoke of the need to broaden the focus of bioethics away from a very individualistic view of "the patient" and to address wider issues in say public health.  She was clear that properly speaking public goods have to be non-contestable and non-excludable (so creating an environment where there is safe food is a public good, a plate of free food is not).  We spoke briefly before the meeting and she is very critical of the quality of arguments used on both sides of the science and religion debate.

Delighted to see that Bela Bollobas has been elected an FRS. Of course this should have happened decades ago - I understand (not from Bela) that there were some personal animosities involved.  Haven't seen the full list yet - there may be other friends.

I've been meaning to blog for a while about a fascinating paper in Science about how the nervous systems controls the innate immune system even in C. elegans.  This is a further nail in the coffin of the idiotic idea that bodily ailments are "purely physical" and confirmation that mental and phyisical well-being are intimately interlinked.  Naturally it will turn out that these links are infinitely more complex and deep in humans.

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