The search to understand our existence has always consumed us, It certainly has consumed me. The words above are taken from a diary extract of the character Antoine Roquentin in Jean-Paul Sartre’s Nausea. To put the quote into context, Antoine has been struggling with what he calls the nausea, unable to decide whether he exists or not, on this particular day he believes he does. Antoine, like many of us, searches to find meaning in his life. He finally comes to a revelation into the nature of his being, such that, he accepts the indifference of the physical world to man's aspirations. This, it could be said, is the central tenet of evolution. As an evolutionary biologist i understand that evolution is directionless, there is no great plan, no puppeteer manipulating the strings, there is only the passing on of genes to the next generation. Everything we are or were is for this purpose and this is true down to the simplest form of mobile DNA/RNA. This is not to say that i have a rather jaded, even cynical view on the meaning of life, but quite the opposite in fact. I appreciate even more what it means to be alive. The fact that we have been monumentally lucky and can do far more that simply pass on our genes fills me with joy.
I study evolution because I enjoy the thrill of the hunt. The main questions that drive me are Why does evolution occur?
What drives evolution?
Is the process different between groups of organisms; if it is, then why?
I suppose I’m writing this blog to chart my journey into answering these questions. However, this won't be the only topic discussed on this blog. I hope to use this blog to talk about the great pieces of art and design I'll see on my travels, also anything else that happens to take my fancy. This, i suppose, helps explain the title of the blog 'The Fuzzy Biologist'. The title is adapted from The Fuzzy species concept described in Hanage et al., (2005), because the usual boundaries that seperate species aren't really observed in bacteria. I like to think that the usual criteria that classifies biologists dosen't discribe me, hence the name.
Thanks for reading,