From: Jacob Zabicky (zabicky$##$bgumail.bgu.ac.il)
Date: Mon Aug 20 2001 - 07:18:24 EDT
Your reply is too lengthy to try to answer everything in one posting, and I
hope people will start contributing to the thread. Let me begin by saying
that I agree with much of what you write and also disagree in some points.
A non-chemical argumentation will be helful to clarify my standing,
however, I'll refrain from any axiomatic approach.
While I'm writing this posting, at the head of the document I read "Dmitry
Korkin." WHAT is that?
1. A peculiar string of characters?
2. A name of certain person?
3. The name of the person who wrote "Desperately seeking collaborator" and
the posting to which I'm now replying?
Let's see what can I respond to these questions in view of the info in hand:
2. Most probably yes. It can also be a false name given by a mischieveous
sender. But why should I ponder at this stage?
3. The same reply as before. From a practical point of view, at this stage
at least, the true situation is irrelevant. However, if I want to reply to
the person of question 3, as I'm doing now, the string has to be a "valid"
one from the point of view of the e-mail services. I started pondering, but
only about the possible outcome of a posting operation.
Suppose that I decide, in the future, giving it a try and cooperate with
you in your endeavors. Before I do so I'll ask WHO is that?
4. The person with this particular ID number ....................? (fill it
5. The person with the following physical description: Eyes...........,
hair............, complexion.............., blood group................,
etc.? (fill in as many as you please and send a photograph)
6. The person with this particular set of fingerprints and skull
radiography? (please send a set of photographs or digital recordings)
7. The person with this particular DNA sequence? (please send a micronized
digital recording as soon as you get the info)
All these items are physical descriptors of "Dmitry Korkin" in increasing
order of complexity and credibility. The last two pieces of information are
unequivocal if available. But let that not bother me, all are irrelevant to
the quality evaluation I want to make as a chemist regarding a new approach
to structural problems.
The point I want to make is that in any situation there are pieces of
information required by formalisms, that do the job even if they are not
strictly true (item 3) and true pieces of information that are irrelevant
to the solution of the extant problem (items 4-7).
You mentioned quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSAR). This
type of computational endeavor is much in vogue and may point to some
useful directions of investigation. All such calculations are based on
hypothetical models that change with time, as knowledge expands;
furthermore, the complexity of the calculations is limited by the
performance capabilities of the hardware and the financial support
available to a particular project (CPU time). IMHO QSAR was sometimes taken
to absurd extremes, ungranted by present knowledge.
More next time.
All the best,
Prof. Jacob Zabicky
Institutes for Applied Research
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Private: POB 12366, Beer-Sheva 84863
POB 653, Beer-Sheva 84105, ISRAEL Tel. 972-8-6496792
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