Can Science Define our Identity?

Philosophers and social scientists have been hampered by inability to define what is meant by “identity”. This is because they have been unable to clarify the term “sameness” on which the definition depends. As a result, specialists in the humanities have taken very different approaches to understanding “identity”. This has resulted in widespread confusion, even chaos, in its application. Science is now able to determine precisely what is meant by “sameness” in the individual and in the group. It can, therefore, define identity objectively and succinctly at these levels. The article asks why there appears to be reluctance to accept the new paradigm.

Impact of the Census of Marine Life

The Census of Marine Life (CoML) programme addresses three major questions: What lived in the oceans? What lives in the oceans now? What will live in the oceans? This 10-year programme (2000–2010) is a unique global effort to develop the first comprehensive assessment of life in the oceans, from bacteria to large animals, from coastal and shallow waters to the poorly known habitats in the deep sea, through more than 500 expeditions. It has resulted in partnerships and an international network of over 2700 scientists from 80 countries. Through 14 field studies in distinct ocean realms, ranging from analysing historical documents to modeling future ecosystems, the Census enables scientists to describe the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans, to compare what once lived in the oceans to what lives there now, and to postulate what will live there in the future.