SPECIAL ISSUE Open Call for Submission – Deadline October 30, 2019

The first decade of the new millennium was referred to as the beginning of “the post-genomic era.” Its advent was greeted by the “establishment” in the biological sciences and by the pharmaceutical industry with the optimistic view that new technologies and the reductionist approaches that characterized the second half of the 20th century would (again) cure cancer, bring about personalized and precision medicine, and much more. Indeed, the excessive rhetoric and the promises, similar to those of Nixon’s War on Cancer, generated a significant wave of public criticism regarding the cost of the project itself, its likely minimal impact on prevention and the inequalities of access it would engender due to the high cost of the “personalized” therapies. In contrast, critiques of the philosophical stance and/or the theoretical commitments at the core of the biological research fueling this program have been far less numerous and few cogent theoretical alternatives to the one that has dominated biomedical research for the last 70 years have been proposed. Notwithstanding, some of the proposed alternatives suggest that there might be a light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel. We think that for this light to grow brighter, in addition to spelling out the limitations of the status quo, novel alternatives need to be put forward and tested. This special issue offers the opportunity to address the shortcomings inherited from the molecular biology revolution and to present in some greater detail the theoretical alternatives alluded to above so they may be the object of criticisms and/or praise.
1. SYMPTOMS THAT SUGGEST A CRISIS IN BIOLOGY
A. Modern medicine is stuck in a rut.
B. The War on Cancer has been lost.
C. Pharmacological research is failing to produce effective drugs
D. Prevention is ignored.
E. The measures taken to fix the reproducibility crisis in the biomedical sciences have been ineffective.
2. IS SCIENCE AT LARGE FACING A CRISIS or is it only THE BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES THAT ARE FACING A CRISIS? IF SO, WHAT NEEDS TO BE FIXED?
A. Foundational problems regarding the conceptual framework?
B. Systemic problems regarding scientific policy, the structure /organization of academic research?
C. The power structure of biomedical research?
3. FOUNDATIONAL PROBLEMS: REDUCTIONIST VERSUS ORGANICISM
A. Do we need to be aware of Philosophy when working in Science?
B. Causation in biology (vs causation in physics)
C. The place of theory in biological research
D. Measurement in biology (vs measurement in physics)
E. The use of theory for mathematical modeling starts from biological relevant
principles.