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Table 1 Translating night science language to respectable day science language

From: The two languages of science

Night scienceDay science
“Nature abhors a vacuum” (attributed to Aristotle)“Effusion or movement towards lower pressure occurs because unobstructed gas molecules will become more evenly distributed between high- and low-pressure zones, by a flow from the former to the latter.” [21]
“A much more demanding task for these enzymes is to discriminate between similar amino acids ... However, the observed error frequency in vivo is only 1 in 3000, indicating that there must be subsequent editing steps to enhance fidelity. In fact the synthetase corrects its own errors ... How does the synthetase avoid hydrolyzing isoleucine-AMP, the desired intermediate?” [22] as cited by [23]“Each aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase is highly specific for a given amino acid. Indeed, a synthetase will incorporate the incorrect amino acid only once in 104 or 105 catalytic reactions. How is this level of specificity achieved?” [24], in a later edition of the same textbook.
“A cancer gene aims to secure an unfair advantage.” [25]“Mutations to a proto-oncogene that cause an increased growth rate of the cells that carry the mutation will over time lead to an increase in the total fraction of body cells that carry the mutation” [25]
“We are survival machines – robot vehicles blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.” [3]“Genes are the sole replicators in biological evolution. [...] As fascinating as all the complex adaptations that have arisen through selection may be, the results of this process matter in selection only if they are reflected in the content of their respective replicators.” [26].
“The image of a relatively smooth [fitness] landscape, where populations adapt by going up-hill once they fix an advantageous mutation, are trapped in mountain peaks and remain isolated from other possibly higher fitness maxima by deep valleys, often appears as the way in which adaptation proceeds.” [27]Evolutionary adaptations of a population can be quantified by fitness changes due to the fixation of mutations that increase fitness. Such increases may lead to genotypes with locally maximal fitness, i.e., fitness cannot increase further through additional point mutations, as any individual such mutation would first lead to a strong decrease in fitness.
“Non-hazardous bacteria also help prevent diseases by occupying places that the pathogenic, or disease-causing, bacteria want to attach to. Some bacteria protect us from disease by attacking the pathogens.” [28]Commensal bacteria with no direct detrimental effects on human health often benefit humans by occupying ecological niches in the human body that could alternatively be occupied by disease-causing bacteria, thereby reducing their potential fitness. Some bacteria release compounds toxic to pathogens, thereby reducing the probability of disease for their host.