Dave’s DNA

I really like Dave Kearns and his “no nonsense” attitude. As I
worked at Novell, he often saw right through the crap going on
internally, and asked the tough questions. I’m glad to see him
following this conversation … he was one of the few that understood
the value of a “personal directory” …

He recently commented on my Axioms of Identity
and I have to admit … he brought up a very interesting
perspective. How ever, as he stated, “I can see we’re going to
disagree.” 😉

He indicated that DNA is an interesting form of identity and that:

Your DNA is you. You are your
DNA It is not assigned to you nor can you change it. It is your identity. Everything else is simply a “handle”, a shortcut or nickname for the identity that is you. [The Virtual Quill]

Hmmm … I have been thinking about this for a while. There are two issues that I see where this falls down …

1. DNA is not 100% unique. What? How can that be? Well … identical twins DNA.
I have to admit that one of the coolest things that I heard at a recent
conference was the answer to the question “Do identical twins have
identical finger prints?” The answer is no … even though they
do have identical DNA. So we have a situation where DNA can not
be my identity … or at least is not unique to me … if I am an
indentical twin.

2. There is a more important issue here … and that is that the entire
model and concept of DNA is again “given to me.” Yes, I do have
an interesting trait that some communities measure and discuss as
“DNA”, however there are a large number of places on earth, where there
is no such concept. DNA is something that a certain community of
people on earth say that I
have. However outside of these circles, it means nothing.
If I met up with some people in the jungles of New Zealand who had no
worldly contact, they might listen to my stories about double-helix strings of sugar-phosphates, however it probably would be meaningless to them.

This is again proof of my Second Axiom
… it only exists within the context of a community that gave me that
identity. When I leave that context … it doesn’t exist.
Just like the DNA example … I have a height and weight also … but
only as concepts that a community of people agree on. I am told
that I am as tall as something, and weigh the same as something … and
that I have DNA that is similar to something.

I am flattered by Dave’s comments and the conversation … I look
forward to more of this. I also look forward to discussing more
the concept of a personal directory to store all of this information
… as long as the directory supports enough of the required

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