Justice Scalia: Not Down with Science
The Supreme Court issued three major decisions today, but Justice Scalia's concurrence in the case on patenting genetic material, Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc., definitely stood out. Apparently, Scalia doesn't believe in the science behind the case.
I join the judgment of the Court, and all of its opinion except Part I–A and some portions of the rest of the opinion going into fine details of molecular biology. I am unable to affirm those details on my own knowledge or even my own belief. It suffices for me to affirm, having studied the opinions below and the expert briefs presented here, that the portion of DNA isolated from its natural state sought to be patented is identical to that portion of the DNA in its natural state; and that complementary DNA (cDNA) is a synthetic creation not normally present in nature. [Emphasis added]
Here's a sample from Part I-A that he doesn't "believe" in:
Genes form the basis for hereditary traits in living organisms. See generally Association for Molecular Pathology v. United States Patent and Trademark Office, 702 F. Supp. 2d 181, 192–211 (SDNY 2010). The human genome consists of approximately 22,000 genes packed into 23 pairs of chromosomes. Each gene is encoded as DNA, which takes the shape of the familiar “double helix” that Doctors James Watson and Francis Crick first described in 1953. Each “cross-bar” in the DNA helix consists of two chemically joined nucleotides. ...The text goes on just like that: simply summarizing molecular biology. That's right, Justice Scalia can't confirm these details with his knowledge (valid) or his belief (um, what?).
Also on today's #TWiBRadio, the Microsoft Surface is terrible, we decided go extra black, and we're joined by TWiB in the Morning Host, L. Joy Williams in the middle of a derecho in Washington, D.C. to report on her discussion at the Senate Democrat Roundtable today.
And this morning on #amTWiB, L.Joy, Imani, and the rest of the #TheMorningCrew discussed Maine GOP leader Ken Fredette's "man brain," Facebook updating their posting policy to include mastectomy photos, and something really bad happened to that peeing, naked, gymnast on BART the other day.