Social Symbols of the Microbial World
This chapter focuses on how the Age of Immunology perpetuates itself. The belief that military models of cell warfare do not accurately represent the current state of scientific knowledge is gaining ascendancy among scientists themselves. This change has led to the discounting of the applicability of military models in bench research. Scientists today deny the accuracy of military models, although they do so for all the wrong reasons. For the perception that immunology should “abandon the self–nonself question and focus on the rapid advances that are revolutionizing cell biology” is not based upon any concrete examination of how and why the metaphors still deeply permeate the very act of observing cellular interactions. The use of language has had a profound impact on the understanding of microbial interactions, and frequently the very scientists who make a conscious effort to describe philosophically their work actually end up emphasizing, rather than denying, the microbial battering.
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