Thursday, January 3, 2013


Frances Crick, one of the co-discoverers, along with James Watson, of the double helix formation of the DNA molecule, put forth what he called, and later regretted calling, 'The Central Dogma.'  He didn't regret or rescind the ideas put forth in The Dogma but just the use of the word 'Dogma,' (too dogmatic, perhaps?). The Central Dogma  is basically this: that all genetic information begins in the nucleus of a cell, in the DNA molecule, and is carried out from the nucleus by mRNA messenger molecules and is then translated with the use of tRNA translator molecules into a string of amino acids that, when folded and further manufactured with the addition of possibly fats and sugars, carries information out to the rest of the body.  So, then, all genetic information, and by that Crick means all the information necessary to construct a living new born infant, starts in the DNA within the nucleus of the cell, as a string of coded nucleic acids,  is transcribed and transported out of the nucleus into the cytoplasm of the cell where it is translated into a string of amino acids which are then further manufactured into protein molecules which either do their work within the cell or are transported to the exterior of the cell, and it is solely this information and this direction of the flow of information, from the nucleus outward, which is responsible for the construction and function of the entire living body, at least until birth, at which point the newborn is subject to environmental and cultural and nutritional influences which will effect, to some degree, the further development of this newborn into maturity.

Now an entire newborn body begins with one fertilized cell, one ovum, which contains one human genome; and it is, according to this Cental Dogma,  from this one genome in this one cell that all the information required for the construction of that one miraculous human new born containing perhaps five trillion cells, including at least two thousand different types of cells, and all sorts of incredibly complex and synchronous and coordinated systems  like the digestive system, the reproductive system, the metabolic system, the circulatory system, all the sense organs, the system of locomotion, to say nothing of the many billions of coordinated neurons of the brain; all of that, all of it, according to Crick, begins with the information in that one genome, in that one fertilized ovum, and proceeeds out from there.  And please notice that Crick is really saying two things in The Dogma. He is saying as to direction that information moves from the nucleus out and not the other way; and he is saying as to origin that all this information begins in the nucleus.

Just what is the information that Crick was referring to that originates in the DNA molecule?  This is information transmitted through the genetic code which consists of four nuceotide molecules and it is simply the arrangement of these molecules that codes for amino acids. Every three successive nucleotides that are part of a gene is called a codon and each codon is coded for the manufacture of a particular amino acid. The large majority of nucleotides in the DNA molecule are not directly part of a gene sequence, although many of them are signals that trigger and help execute the transcription of genes to the mRNA molecule which transports this coded message out of the nucleus.  All the nucleotides that comprise a gene are coded for all the amino acids that are necessary in the manufacture of a particular protein.

As with any code, the intelligence of that code, the brilliance of it, does not lie in the code itself.  The alphabet is a code,  but the brilliance of a novel, an essay, a play, lies not within the alphabet, within the individual letters of that code, but in the author who arranged those letters in a certain way to convey ideas.  The same is true with numbers, a different code.  If an equation is brilliant, it's brilliance does not lie hidden somewhere within the numbers and symbols of the equation, but in the ideas that the equation represents, ideas that were communicated by the author of the equation by arranging certain of those numbers and symbols in a way that communicated his idea.  And the same is true with computer code, Morse code, or any code.  Codes are vehicles for the communication of ideas. Sometimes these ideas are communicated directly to another intelligent being, and sometimes they are communicated to a machine, intelligently if not brilliantly constructed in a way that enables it to "read" that code and respond to it. In the case of telephones, recording devices, digital cameras, computers and electrical clocks, signals sent in a code of electrical impulses are read by equipment in these devices which allows them to respond in certain ways that produce recognizable voices, sounds, pictures and written words.  But again, in these devices there is no 'intelligence'.  The intelligence lies in the arrangement of the equipment, in the fashioning of the equipment by using certain materials and shapes and in the arrangement of those materials and shapes in a way that allows that material to respond, but not consciously or intelligently, to the incoming signal.

Crick considered the genetic code to not be brilliant at all, in fact, to have no intelligence even associated with it.  He did not consider the genetic code to have anything to do with the communication of ideas, but simply with the delivery of information as to the construction of proteins.  And he also concluded that this information, the information as to the amino acid recipes of proteins, was all the information necessary to complete the construction of a fully developed human new born from one fertilized egg.

Is that true?  Are the recipes for the amino acid content of proteins (because that is what the genes are, at least that is all that one can conclude they are by observing a functioning gene) all that is needed for the development and construction of the fetus?  Remember that from the same genome every organ of the body, every cell type, every organelle, every system is manufactured.  The same genome can create so many different results because different parts of the genome are fired at different times and in different combinations.  The butterfly and the caterpillar originate from the identical genome, just with different genes and different combinations of genes fired in different patterns.  As complex as the genome seems to be, the firing patterns of the genes are exponentially more complicated.  Where are these firing patterns?  Many observable gene firings, (but perhaps not all gene firings, and we will discuss this later) are executed by the manufacture of protein molecules which, once constructed from a gene in the nucleus, have the capacity to re-enter the nucleus and trigger the firing of another gene or a whole set of genes.  These genes, in turn, may initiate the manufacture of other trigger proteins which, once constructed, will, in their turn, re-enter the nucleus and fire still different genes which will begin the manufacture of still new proteins.  As complicated as the genome is, these firing patterns and the mechanical sequences that engender them, including the conditions necessary in the cytoplasm of the cell to stimulate trigger protein molecules to migrate back to the nucleus and bond with specific nucleotides that will trigger the firing of new genes, all of these sequences, entirely different sequences of which are present in the two thousand different types of cells in the human body, are exponentially more complicated than the genome itself.

Further, the genetic information, first conveyed by an mRNA molecule must be delivered to the right manufacturing center (called a ribosome) within the cytoplasm of the cell where it is translated into a string of amino acids and then must be delivered to other organelles within the cell for folding and further manufacture (the addition of fat and sugar molecules, for instance) and then the finished protein molecule must be delivered to that spot within the cell, or delivered to that part of the body external to the cell, where it is needed to do its work. The information to construct and synchronize this delivery system, which includes a tail of nucleotides added to the gene sequence which acts as a zip code and allows the mRNA molecule to pass through certain portals and ducts and to avoid others, the whole system of portals and ducts and membranes, and the shapes and charges of these portals and the charges within the ducts, all of which allow the precise movement of amino acids, protein molecules and nucleotides to where they are needed within and without the cell, all of this must also be added to the timing system and the genetic information itself, as part of what is necessary to the construction and development of the human fetus.

Then there is the arrangement of the nucleotides themselves.  There are three billion nucleotide base pairs tightly and precisely folded over and over into the nucleus of each cell in your body. In fact if this ball of nucleotides were unraveled it would yield one amazingly thin string of nucleotides ten feet long.  That is ten feet of nucleotides folded over and over in each of the one hundred trillion cells in your body, or a string of nucleotides, if they were all attached, one to the other,  long enough to stretch to the sun (not the moon, but the sun) and back three times.  Because so many nucleotides are folded over and over so tightly in the nucleus, the great majority of them are not able to be accessed by the trigger protein molecules and other molecules that aid in transcription that float through the fluid of the nucleus. Each type of cell regularly fires certain gene sequences to produce certain proteins and enzymes, as opposed to other types of cells which fire different genes.  Therefore, the nucleotides must be folded in a distinctive way in each type of cell so that the genes commonly fired, and the nucleotides that assist in the triggering and transcription of those genes, are exposed to the nuclear fluid and accessible to those protein molecules.  Often the triggering molecules are located hundreds of thousands, even millions of nucleotides away from the genes they are triggering, but because of the precise folding of the nucleotides they wind up adjacent to or abutting those gene sequences that they assist.   So there is also the information to govern this gargantuanly complex (see post 'JUNK DNA') job of folding the three billion nucleotides in each of the five trillion cells of the new born, into two thousand utterly precise and distinct patterns.  Among the twenty-five thousand or less recipes for proteins that make up the human genome the information that guides and governs all these amazing folding patterns is nowhere to be found.  So this information regarding the thousands of different folding patterns of nucleotides within the DNA itself, must also be added to the timing information, the delivery information and the protein recipe information.

And let's not forget the amazing series of twists, turns, undulations, foldings and unfoldings, the formation of ridges and layers, that the growing cell mass of a newly fertilized and mitotically dividing egg makes as it develops.  Where is the information that governs this?  Certainly it is related to the genome.  An egg containing a human genome goes through its own particular acrobatics and a sparrow egg goes through its own distinct, but equally precise series of acrobatics.  Each species has its own system.  But where is the information governing all these amazing gymnastics? All of this information is absolutely vital to the development of a newborn human or, in fact, to the development of a newborn of any species.  Does it really make sense to say that all this information is 'within' the nucleus of that one fertilized ovum?

And all of this fantastically complex information still has nothing to do with the shapes that these protein molecules and amalgams of protein molecules and sugars and fats, form themselves into. I remind you that a gene is just a recipe for a string of amino acids.  Where is the information to shape that string of amino acids into a protein molecule?  And where is the information which shapes those manufactured proteins into the organs and organelles and bones and body contours, and shapes within shapes and shapes within shapes within shapes, all of which are absolutely essential to the functioning of a healthy newborn?  And it is the shape of all of these biological components, just as much as the materials that they are made out of, that makes humans human, and that allows all the literally quadrillions of simulatenous biological processes to take place that are absolutely necessary to the healthy functioning of a newborn baby.  Everything that we have described so far, and it is complex enough to probably give you a headache just reading about it, pertains only to the manufacture and delivery of the building materials necessary to the construction of the body.  Everything, everything, must be precisely shaped and this has nothing directly to do with the genes.  Each gene is involved in the manufacture of a material, not a shape; and many, if not most genes, are involved in the manufacture of material that is used in numerous differently shaped organs and organelles within the body.

At the risk of turning the headache that I have already given you into a raging migraine, I must tell you that there is still much, much more information needed to have a functional, living newborn.  A baby is born with a set of desires.  First it is hungry or thirsty (I never know whether to refer to the desire for breast milk as a hunger or a thirst, but if there were such a word it would include both , perhaps 'thunger').  Then it is tired, which is the desire for sleep.  It desires to stop pain or discomfort when it feels pain or discomfort and it desires to continue feeling comfort, safety and pleasure when it experiences comfort, safety and pleasure.  All of these desires may be related to sense organs which are made from proteins and conduct electrical signals to the brain, but the desires are not identical to the sense organs and nerves that they are related to.  Sense organs and nerves are made of proteins and conduct electricity.  This electricity which results in a pattern of neuron firings must be translated into an experience, an experience which is not physical, which cannot be directly measured or observed, which the newborn experiences as a desire.  Every living body needs things from it's environment and the pursuit of those things requires behavior.  Living beings behave, in other words, use energy to accomplish things, not because the body needs them (the great, great majority of living beings, with the exception of a tiny fraction of those who have studied biology know nothing about their body's needs).  They may not 'know' anything, but they 'experience' desires, and we, every living being, is the recipient of a set of desires which is ingenuously calibrated to satisfy our biological needs.  In other words, we do things because we want to do them, and the things we want to do (until and unless our human culture convinces us otherwise) are the very things that will fulfill our needs and guarantee our survival.

So this system of desires, which cannot be directly seen or measured, but which can be deduced from our behavior, even though there is no physical organ that translates sense organ and neural stimulation into experience, is a system without which we could not possibly survive (imagine a being which had no desire to eat or drink; no desire to avoid pain; no desire to seek the things it needed) and which must be designed and created with enormous detail and precision.  So the koala when it's body needs nutrients climbs a eucalyptus tree, not because it needs nutrients but because it is hungry and when it is hungry it desires eucalyptus leaves. The wood beetle, also in need of nutrition, and also experiencing hunger, climbs the same tree but goes no further than the bark, because the bark is what the wood beetle craves just as the leaves are what the koala craves.  To maintain its health and survival, for the koala, eucalyptus leaves are the perfect food, and for the wood beetle, eucalyptus bark is the perfect food.  And when the koala feels sexual desire he seeks out another koala, not to insure the survival of his species, but because he feels horny and when he feels horny he desires to be with another koala, just like the wood beetle, when he feels horny, desires to be with another wood beetle.  Both of these, totally ignorant of their own biology, their own species, or having any idea or interest in what is needed for the survival of their species, have an experience which has nothing to do with knowledge, but which drives each of them toward another member of their own species.  Their survival as a species is assured not because of testosterone and estrogen, but because when there is a lot of testosterone and estrogen in their bodies this translates into a desire, a non-physical desire, to sexually encounter a koala in one case and a wood beetle in the other.

These desires which lead us to the very things we need to insure our survival, are so specifically and brilliantly calibrated to insure our survival, and are so inherent in our understanding of life, that we don't ever stop to realize what an incredible, bewildering, brilliantly designed and specific system it is.  And, of course, it could never have 'evolved.'  How long would any creature last which did not experience 'thirst,' or had to develop thirst over thousands of generations of evolution, or had to 'learn' over thousands of generations more that the experience of thirst is satisfied by water; and had to learn through thousands more generations how to recognize water, how to move toward it and how to ingest it?  All of this is absurd.  All life forms have to begin with a set of desires that draws them to the things they need and with the ability to get to, ingest or use the things they need in a way that satisfies their desires but also, without their knowing it, guarantees their survival.

Evolutionary theory postulates a competition between species and within species for survival, and through this competition, the most functional, best adapted organisms survive and the less functional, less well adapted organisms fall by the wayside.  Modern science has discovered that organisms don't live in vacuums, but in eco-systems and there is at least as much cooperation as there is competition.  Even the pursuit of selfish desires,  from the broader context of the eco-system, is the very behavior that maintains the balance and insures the survival of the eco-system.  More importantly, for there to be any competiton, the competitors have to be functional on some level; in other words they have to be viable in order for there to be a competition.  No organism can be viable, can compete for survival at all, unless it is alive in the first place.  And to be alive, an organism must have a way to metabolize energy, to translate and transcribe nucleotides into amino acids and form amino acids into protein molecules; each protein molecule being, by itself, a precise microscopic machine perfectly designed to accomplish a specific task within the body; the organism must have a way of recognizing nutrient and energy sources in its environment and have a way of reaching those sources and then incorporating them into its body; must have a way of eliminating wastes, of circulating nutrients through its body and of sending electrical signals through its body as well, signals specifically designed and calibrated to conduct all the biological processes that need to be conducted and which allow the organism to do what it wants to do when it wants to do it.  All of these are prerequisites to life.  There can be no competition between living organisms until all these prerequisites are met.  So evolution, whether or not it is random at all, cannot even begin until all these systems are in place; systems which have no randomness in them whatsoever, but which are amazingly precise, specific and purpose driven.

Still everything we have described so far, with the exception of desires, exists on the material plane. Everything we have described, except desires, could be present in a stillborn baby as much as a live one. Everything we have described is the equipment that we use, but it is not us. We are consciousness; we are that which uses our bodies and brains, which experiences the world through our bodies and brains, but we are not our bodies and brains.  Somewhere in this process of fetal development from fertilized egg to new born, we arrived.  This is the thrill that parents experience when they feel the first fetal kick, because they then know that this physical mass that has been growing in the mother's belly is not just a physical mass, it is a living being that has its own desires. It is kicking because it wants to kick and that is our first proof that there is an 'it' there, separate from ourselves, that wants to do things, like kicking, because it, not us, but it, wants to do them.  So this consciousness which is the milieu of our desires and the non-physical bowl within which we experience all of our experience, and which is really who we are, this must arrive also.  Is it created from genes, and by genes, from within the nucleus of a cell, or do the genes and all the related information mentioned above,  create a perspective, a point of view, a way of experiencing the world which we, consciousness, choose to experience by committing to being born and living in this body?

If that is too 'spiritual' for you, then let's return to the discussion of all the other information. The truth is that we have no idea how all this information is communicated to the growing embryo.  We  can deduce that there is obviously an enormous amount of information that is being disseminated, but we cannot observe this information directly and there seems to be no physical organ or organelle or any set of molecules which are part of any observable mechanics through which this information is disseminated.  Does it then make sense to say that all this information begins in the nucleus?  Certainly all this information is associated with certain gene sequences, but how can we say that it is caused by these gene sequences?  Isn't it true with every other code that we know of that the information in the code does not begin with the code, but begins with the being that is communicating his or her ideas through that code?  And the observable code and the manufacture of proteins is only a small part of the information necessary to the construction and development of a newborn from a fertilized egg.

Can we say it is 'within' the nucleus or is it better, or more realistic to say that all these ideas, synchronicities and information perhaps pass through the nucleus but probably do not 'originate' in the nucleus; just like all the coded information necessary to play Brahms, Mahler, the Rolling Stones, and the lectures of Frances Crick, may pass through the wire that goes into your CD player, but it does not 'originate' in that wire. Wires, just like nucleotides, are not transcendentally brilliant.  Wires and  nucleotides have no intelligence at all.  They are intelligently constructed and arranged to convey all the 'brilliance' that you enjoy by listening to your CD player and by living in your body; but the wires and the nucleotides are utterly oblivious to what is being communicated through them.

It is around this time that some of you dear readers will begin to say to yourselves, "Wait a minute!  This guy doesn't understand evolution!"  Do you understand evolution?  Please tell me what is the creative process in evolution?  I understand that there are supposedly occasional random copying mistakes in the replication of gene sequences (averaging one mistake in one hundred million replications) and that these "mistakes" sometimes confer an advantage to the organism that is the recipient of these mistakes.  This makes perfect sense when we are looking at one celled creatures like microbes who have not changed their morphology, their shape, since their inception on this planet over four billion years ago.  It also makes sense when we are talking about genes that are not involved in the construction of bodies, but are enzymes that work, not in conjunction with other proteins, but by themselves, floating through the blood stream or through the digestive fluids and aid in our digestion and our immune system.  Yes, 'accidental' changes in these molecules may aid either our digestion or our immunity, because these molecules work simply by having the shape and pattern of charges that they have.  When they encounter a food molecule that needs to be digested, or a pathogen that needs to be removed, it is their shape and arrangement of positive and negative charges that allows them to bond with this molecule so that the process of digestion (in the case of food molecules in the digestive tract) or the process of elimination (in the case of pathogens in the blood sream) can begin.  Yet are these accidents? When a microbe 'accidentally' inherits a mutation which confers safety from an environmental threat or allows that microbe to digest something in an environment where the usual food source that this species had become adapted to is not available, then the microbe shares this genetic material with other microbes by developing pilli, or ducts, that transfer the genetic material from the microbe with the mutation to other microbes that need it in order to survive.  You may argue that the mutation is  'accidental,' even though the exact mutation that is needed always seems to arrive just in time during the course of the four billion year history of microbes and the four billion years of dramatically shifting environments; but how can you argue that gene sharing, that most amazing, sophisticated and precise process, billions of years old (when do evolutionists say that 'intelligence' begins?)  how can you possibly say that gene sharing, where the precise genetic material that is needed moves through a duct or pilli, into the precise place in another organism that needs this material, a process far more precise than what our twenty-first century surgeons are capable of, and a process that occurred billions of years ago, at the very inception of life, how can anyone possibly say that this is random, or that it evolved over many millions of years?  This is a process that was necessary to the survival of the microbial community.  That community would never have survived the millions upon millions of years necessary for any such process with that kind of amazing precision to develop randomly.  It is so obviously purposeful that it just becomes absurd to even think of it otherwise.

It is interesting to note that Frances Crick and James Watson who spent a good deal of their lives just studying the genetic code that produces proteins and did not study or think about all this other information that I mentioned above, were both utterly and deeply bewildered as to how just the genetic code and the system of protein manufacture could have originated.  Frances Crick's answer was 'transpermia,'  the theory that life began in some other part of the universe and arrived here embedded in an asteroid or a comet.  Crick figured that since the universe was billions of years older than the earth, that life could have had the time to evolve elsewhere and then be shot out, embedded in a meteor or meteorite, from another planet, or moon or asteroid by an explosion.  Then this life form, after managing to survive an explosion powerful enough to hurl it across space to our planet, and managing to survive the journey of several light years, because don't forget our entire solar system, not just the earth, is somewhat over four billion years old, so this life bearing meteor would have to have originated on another star system if not another galaxy, and then, of course, it would have had to have managed to survive the heat and force of it's crash landing on earth.  As utterly fantastical as this explanation is, even if it were true, it does not answer the question of how life originated at all.  It is just like going to a restaurant and after falling in love with the cheesecake, you ask the waiter if he would mind telling you how the cheesecake is made.  The waiter responds that, in truth, all the deserts are made at a commercial bakery downtown.  So your question remains unanswered.  You wanted to know 'how' and you got the answer 'not here.'  Research partner James Watson, when asked the same question, replies that it had to have taken 'a miracle.'  And, of course, there are some scientists in the field, foremost among them, Richard Dawkins, who see no problem at all.  The origin of life is so clear to this 'genius.'  He goes on and on about the perfect correlation between the transcription and translation of the genetic code and the workings of our most sophisticated computers, and since we, are identical to sophisticated computers, what is the problem?  Well, perhaps we are not identical to sophisticated computers.  Computers, to my knowledge, do not grow, do not replicate, have no desires of their own, do not read their own e-mails, watch their own videos, or experience anything in any way.  And even if they were identical to life, doesn't that fool Dawkins realize that human intelligence and ideas that were conceived by human intelligence, were at the core of every aspect of the creation, evolution, engineering and use of these computers?  He doesn't see a problem because, while he may have been exposed to the same biological information that Watson and Crick have been exposed to, the true depth and mystery of what he has been observing and studying for all these years has eluded him.  In the same way that attending Beethoven concerts your entire life does not guarantee that you will be a musical genius, spending your life in and around biological research labs does not guarantee that you will have any more depth or real insight than the shallow fool that you were when you first arrived.

In the time of Crick's major research, the cytoplasm of the ovum (the material outside of the nucleus) was considered to be one undifferentiated mass of albumen (think egg whites).  And it is true that within the albumen there are no visible structures, no organelles, no membranes or scaffolding to hold any interior structure together.  Yet, scientists have discovered more recently that there are within this supposedly undifferentiated cytoplasm, thousands upon thousands of protein molecules that, even though they are not held or bound by any visible structures, are arranged in the most precise and amazing way.  In the human ovum, once it is fertilized, it will begin to undergo a process of mitotic divisions so that one cell will become two, then four,  then eight, and very soon hundreds and many thousands of daughter cells that were once considered to be identical.  Yet all these cells will very shortly begin to differentiate into the two thousand different 'types' of cells that compose the body of the fully developed new born.  The reason that they differentiate is because they contain different distributions of protein molecules in their cytoplasm and these protein molecules are called 'trigger' molecules, because they are able to re-enter the nucleus of the cell and trigger the firing of certain genes which in turn causes the manufacture of specific proteins.  Since groups of these daughter cells contain different configurations of trigger proteins than other groups, different genes will be expressed in different cells leading to the manufacture of different proteins which, by itself, according to the common assumptions of most biologists, leads to different cell shapes, different shapes of organelles within the cell, and different cell functions, each cell's shape and composition being best suited to the function it will perform whether that cell becomes a nerve cell, a muscle cell, a skin cell, a heart cell, etc.

Going back to the original fertilized ovum, that cell, will quickly divide into a many-celled mass, will undergo an amazing series of twists and turns, the formation of clefts and layers and ridges and hollowed cavities; which will be twisted and turned, involuted and convoluted as it continues to expand and mitotically multiply. So the arrangement of trigger protein molecules within that first fertilized ovum, which are not held in place by any visible structure, that arrangement has to be so amazingly precise and it must be arranged with foreknowledge of where future cells containing those molecules, after all the twists, turns, multiplications, division into layers, convolutions and involutions, will end up. When Crick saw an entire genome of information within a nucleus surrounded by an 'undifferentiated' cytoplasm, of course, he surmised that all the information began in the nucleus.  But current research shows that the thousands of protein molecules and their amazing positioning within the egg cytoplasm contains the information necessary for the differentiation of the one fertilized ovum into two thousand varieties of cells and each in exact proper proportions.

So what we are left with is not a simple direction: starting from inside the nucleus and going outward, but a 'which came first' quandary, which is the same quandary that we come up with whenever we ponder the creation of anything in a spiritual vacuum.  We cannot imagine genes, whose sole observable function is to manufacture proteins, existing without the protection and structure of proteins, and we cannot imagine proteins being created without the expression of genes.  In the same way we cannot imagine suckling without mammary glands and newborns who already know how to, have the mouths and gullets and lips that are coordinated to, and the desire to suckle.  So what came first?  The chicken or the egg?  Proteins or genes? Suckling or mammary glands?  Locomotion or the desire to reach something?  Computer code or the machinery that had the ability to read that code?  Screws or screwdrivers; hammers or nails? The truth is that all material things begin with an idea, an idea that is the solution to a problem.  And that idea often contains at once several interrelated parts.  So the answer to what came first, proteins or genes, is neither one.  What really came first was the idea to have a sustainable life that could be built on the interplay of proteins and genes.

And now we arrive at the huge question of how can anything begin with an idea if there were no brains, no intelligence, to conceive this idea?  Can ideas precede life?  Can there be an idea without a brain?  Can ideas and intelligence even precede matter?  Can the material world as well as life be the materialization of an idea?  Can the materialization of the physical universe and life be the manifestation of the same idea?  This topic could easily be contained in another post, but since the first part was dedicated to a critique of Crick and the Darwinian world view, I want to offer another view that, to me, makes a lot more sense.

First, let's talk about the brain.  In our materialist society we have come to think of the brain as being the organ of our body that thinks, remembers and with the help of sense organs, that sees, hears, smells, tastes and touches.  The proof of all this is that whenever we do think, remember, see, hear, smell, taste or touch, clusters of neurons fire in different parts of our brains. The brain is made up of billions of neurons which, when fired, conduct an electric current through them and that current connects up with other neurons through extensions of the neuron called axons.  Since science is based on observation and measurement, and there is nothing else there that is observable or measurable, then it must be that the brain is doing all these things.  Yet when ever I speak into a voice recorder there is electrical activity also; and whenever I drive my car there is electrical activity in my odometer.  The voice recorder is not speaking, however, and the odometer is not driving.  They are both recording and measuring my voice and the distance I am traveling. I am talking and I am driving and these devices are recording and measuring that activity.  What I am saying is that the brain is recording our experience and defining our experience, but it is not experiencing our experience.  We think, we remember, we see, we hear, we smell, we taste and we touch things, but the big problem for science is that we, which is the ground of our experience, which is consciousness, which is context rather than content, which is the non-physical bowl which contains all our experience and is the milieu of our desires; this real We, cannot be seen, observed or measured. So if you adopt the scientific point of view, then we do not exist at all,  because there is no direct, observable evidence for our existence; and if you adopt the other point of view based on experience and not on measurement (because experience cannot be measured) we obviously do exist.  In fact our existence, our consciousness is the most obvious, realest, part of our experience, realer than any thing that can be observed or measured which is altered by the filter of our sense organs and is effected by our instruments of measurement.

 So we either do not exist and are a delusion of our brains, a delusion that developed at some point in time accidentally and hung around because it aided in our survival, which is what many evolutionary biologists believe; although if we don't exist and are merely a collection of cells, of proteins, fats, nucleotides and sugar molecules, then who is it who is trying to survive?  Who is it who cares?  Does your body, including your brain, really care whether it is dead or alive, functional or non-functional? Do your neurons care whether or not there is electricity running through them?  Do your heart cells really care whether they are contracting or not?  To my mind it is obvious that matter does not care what form it is in.  Machines don't care whether they are operative or broken or rusting.  I put gas in my car not because my car is 'thirsty' and wants gas, but because I want to get some place.  My car could care less.  And the same is true with all this fabulous, unfathomably complex equipment that I have been given, but that is not me.  My body and my brain do not want anything, and are not conscious of anything.  My body and brain are the interface of two beings.  One is the Cosmic Consciousnes, or God, or the Universal Intelligence, which designs and coordinates the literally quadrillions of simultaneous biological processes occurring in my body and brain at every moment, the purpose of which is to keep me alive.  And my body and brain are also the servants of me, my self, and are designed to do whatever it is that I want to do: to move when I want to move; to look at something when I want to look at something; to eat when I want to eat, to think about something when I want to think about something; in other words my body and my brain are the servants of my desires; designed, created and controlled by the Cosmic Consciousness or God to be able to survive as a working unit as long as possible to continue to be able to be the servant of my desires.

I am going to talk about those parts of our brains that are connected to how we experience things, to consciousness. It is important to note that a lot of the wiring of the brain is put there to conduct the automatic operations that guarantee our existence.  That wiring that coordinates all the literally quadrillions of simultaneous biological processes within cells and between cells, that sustain us and that we are not consciously aware of,  that wiring was designed by our Creator, or by the Universal Intelligence, and we inherit that.  But the wiring that is connected to defining our experience and the emotional content of that experience, and what is important and what is not; that wiring was initially put there by our experience.

Our brains record and define our experience, but they do not experience our experience.  Our brains are made up of neurons, or nerve cells, which conduct an electric current.  This is the same current, at the same voltage that flows through the neurons, when fired, of the visual section, the auditory section, the 'thought' section, the 'memory' section, the 'heat' and 'touch' sensation sections of the brain, etc.  Through all the various sections that researchers have recently discovered, flows the same electric current at the same voltage through almost identical neurons and leaving almost identical chemical deposits.  The amazing richness, depth and variety of our experience comes not from these similar patterns but from the way that we, not the brain, but we, us, consciousness, interpret these patterns, depending on their location in the brain.

 When the brain records our experience, it records our entire experience, not just what we were seeing and hearing at a given moment, but what we were feeling and how we were experiencing these sensations.  In this way the objects in our environment including the other people in our environment are associated with what we felt and thought when we initially encountered them.  Neurons have axons which extend from the body of the neuron and attach to other neurons.  Axons can stretch from one neuron all the way across the brain to another neuron, and one neuron can have  many hundreds or thousands of axons connecting to hundreds or thousands of neurons and creating an almost unfathomable number of possible pathways of curent.  So these experiences are recorded in a pattern of interlocking neurons.  Everything that we learn about an object: whether it is hard or soft, edible or inedible, friendly or dangerous, etc., accumulates in neural connections, so that every time we see the same object it becomes more familiar and known to us.  In this way the brain helps us define our experience, helps us create a world of seeming solidity, reliability and familiarity, and helps us learn to negotiate with more and more comfort and specificity in the environment that we have chosen to be born into.

 And we can change old neural connections by replacing them with new ones.  We can learn by ourselves or with others help, that what we once feared is not really fearful; that what was once so important to us is not really that important. These new understandings create new pathways, new axonal connections between neurons, so that our relationship to certain objects, activities and people can change over time. But it is important to note that an axonal pathway is initially created by our experience.  Once it is created, then the existing pathway can define our experience, but axons attach to neurons as a result of our experience and not the other way around.  In other words the way we experience something creates the wiring in our brains.  It is important to note that a lot of the wiring of the brain is put there to conduct the automatic biological operations that guarantee our existence and that we are not even aware of.  But the wiring that is connected to recording and defining our experience and the emotional content of that experience, and what is important and what is not; that wiring was initially put there by the way we first experienced things.  The wiring in our brains does define our experience, but that wiring was initially put there by our experience. And it is important to realize that we can change that wiring if we have the will and the desire to make that change. 

One final thing about brain structure.  I don't want to give the impression that we are the 'victims' of our earliest experiences and that these connections are made and built up solely by repetitive early experiences that we have no control over.  You may think of it this way, but I believe that we arrive here with a set of desires, of things that we want to accomplish or experience in this life; that we chose to be born to fulfill a destiny with a specific set of desires that we wanted to be realized.  These things may be negative or positive or a combination of both, but it is our desires, even in earliest infancy, that shapes the way that we experience, or define our earliest experiences.  A childhood of abuse leads one child to live a life of submission  and passivity, while leading another child to rage and rebellion, and another child to become a leader of others in the cause of social justice.  We arrive here with a mission.  We choose and make the commitment to the family and the setting and the genome that we are born into.  We want to live the life that we are living and to experience it the way that we are experiencing it; unless we decide that we no longer like the way that we are experiencing it and then we choose to change it.  Yet all of it, the serene, the constant and self-accepting life, or the turbulent, dramatic life of self struggle, are the scenarios that we chose when we decided to be born.  Why would anyone choose a truly difficult life when we could choose a truly comfortable one?  From the perspective of this life on earth being our entire existence it makes no sense at all, but from the perspective of eternal life it makes perfect sense.  When you go to an amusement park do you choose to ride the roller coaster or to sit in the lounge?  Neither of these choices makes sense if you had to choose one of them for your entire existence. The 'agony' of the roller coaster only makes sense when you know that it is short lived and you will come out the other end without permanent damage.  Then it becomes exciting.  Exactly the same thing is true with this life.  If you know that you will emerge from this experience with your consciousness not only in tact but expanded by this experience, then you will experience  the experiences of your life in a completely different context; with more courage, more inner serenity, more passion, more joy and less fear, anxiety and desperation.

Now let's talk about ideas.  Many, if not most, of the ideas we come upon are not original.  They come to us from others: from teachers, parents, friends, or we read about them in books or other media.  When we are young we often struggle to grasp an idea, but then finally "see the light." For instance, a teacher may be trying to introduce us to the idea of addition.  She may take an orange and say , "see, this is one orange."  Then she grabs another orange and puts it alongside the first and says, "and now we have two oranges" She may then try the same thing with one and then two books, one and then two pencils.  At some point we get the idea that one plus one equals two.  We see, although we may not be able at that young age to articulate it, that we don't need oranges or books or pencils; that the numbers are symbols for the amount of any object we choose.  In other words, we get it. At that moment of getting it,  an axon extends from one neuron to another and a new connection is made.  We have made an indelible record of this connection, of this idea.  What is important to realize is that we, not the brain, but we, made the connection.  The connections we had already made in the brain brought us to that point where we understood the words of the teacher, could count to two, and knew what oranges, books and pencils were.  But the new connection to what we already had wired and connected, was made by us.  We did it, and our brains recorded it.

If anyone wonders how having a thought can directly effect the material world without any other physical intervention, look no farther than the brain.  You make a connection, you grasp an idea, all of which takes place on a non-physical level, and an axon extends out from a neuron and attaches to another neuron to record that connection.  While we are on it, the brain is the interface between the self, which is non-physical, which is consciousness and which contains within it your desires and experience, and all the wiring which is activated and records that experience.  When you desire to actually do something and not just experience something, the precise hundreds of thousands or millions of neurons necessary to initiate that action will fire.  Whether it is a desire to scratch your nose, to get up and get a glass of water, or to invade Syria, the precise and multitudinous pattern of neurons necessary to initiate the first step of those actions that will bring you toward your goal, will be fired at the moment you decide to begin.  Again, a non-physical desire resulting in a non-physical decision,  automatically initiates the firing of the precise group of thousands or millions of neurons needed to carry out that decision in the material world.  And then there is memory.  When you remember something you try to locate within your brain, the precise neural connections where that memory is stored, and the moment you locate that particular group of neurons, they will fire, which results in you being able to instantly translate that pattern of firings into a conscious memory of the sights, sounds, tastes, touches and information that you experienced at that time in the past when you experienced that experience and your brain recorded it.  Exactly the same thing is true when you simply move your focus (which is really you and is non-physical) to your nose, to your arm, to your leg.  Simply by bringing your focus to an area and moving nothing at all (since focus is not a thing) then the neurons in that area will fire and you will be able to 'feel' your nose, your arm and your leg.  Further, it is never just the pattern of fired electrons that you experience, but it is your reaction to that firing, your translation of that firing, done not by any physical organ, but by you, non-physical consciousness, that allows you to recreate earlier experiences from neural firing patterns. If anyone questions the ability of spirit (by spirit I include everything which is non-physical) to initiate a physical event, then they are either unfamiliar with the workings of the brain, or have not really thought deeply on the subject.  The movement from non-physical to physical and back is the very essence of our existence at every moment.

What about the case of 'getting' a new idea, where you are not learning something that is communicated through the agency of another human intelligence, but where you are getting an insight that has never occurred, at least to the best of your knowledge, to anyone before? Here is a quote from an earlier post of mine called 'Through The Microscope':

"Yet, many of us have had unusual or abnormal experiences of consciousness, will and intelligence. These 'supernormal' experiences of consciousness, will and intelligence, are usually experienced as coming from without; as something received. Soldiers on the battlefield, fire fighters and police officers in critical situations, have had the sudden experience of an extra rush of energy, clarity and determination. No one is more surprised at their heroism than they are, and they describe that moment when that extra energy and determination overtook them with a kind of awe. They consider it something that came into them, something received. These are examples of being touched by the cosmic will that sustains us all at every moment, but usually works separately from our conscious will. Great writers, artists and scientists, as they labor at a problem, as they obsess on the same information, or the same scenario to no avail, pray for an inspiration (atheism does not diminish the artist's enthusiasm for prayer at this juncture). Inspiration literally means the intake of breath. They pray for a gift to be taken in, to be received. They certainly don't pray for an expiration, which means breathing out and is associated with death. Einstein wrote a fascinating account of how the idea, the insight, of the theory of relativity entered his body; how he could feel it coming up through his legs and into his brain, and then getting it. Archimedes, having received a thunderbolt of inspiration, lept from his tub shouting 'Eureka' as he ran wet and naked through the streets of ancient Syracuse. Horowitz, the great concert pianist, when asked what he does in the moments before an important performance, said that he just tries to relax and hope that the winds of inspiration blow through him that night. Moments of great insight, great heroism, great performing, are considered by the people that experience them to be, not their own, but gifts from without, some thing unseen, yet extremely tangible, in fact always among the most vivid experiences of their lives. And, of course, spiritual seekers, people in deep prayer, fasting, chanting and/or meditation, report being transported to a new level of consciousness, which led to a new sense of themselves. Not so much that something was received, but that a boundary, a sense of separation between their limited consciousness and the unlimited cosmic consciousness, was momentarily dissolved. They were still themselves, of course, but they had a much greater, more expanded sense of who they were; of being an inextricable part of something infinitely greater than their individual bodies and brains"

If new and revelatory ideas come not from within but are received from without, this should not imply passivity.  A human being must be in a position and must be ready to receive this new idea or inspiration.  No one thought longer or harder about the discrepancies between Newtonian theory and the latest findings of astrophysicists than Einstein.  No one worked more diligently in preparation for concerts than Horowitz.  When King Hiero II of ancient Syracuse suspected that the goldsmith who made his crown had substituted lesser metals in the crown for some of the gold which the king had supplied, he turned to Archimedes, the foremost mathematician and inventor of Syracuse to find a way to determine the purity of the crown.  The King sought out Archimedes because he was the one person who had dedicated his life to figuring out physical problems.  If there were a way to solve this problem, Archimedes was the person in the best position to receive this insight.  Under the pressure of this royal assignment, Archimedes obsessed on this problem night and day.  He knew that gold, being the heaviest metal known at that time, if he could determine the volume of the crown he could weight it against an equal volume of pure gold.  If the crown weighed any less he would know that the gold had been diluted with lesser metals by the unscrupulous goldsmith.  Yet, how to determine the volume of a shape as complex and unusual as an ornate crown without melting it down and thereby ruining it?  As he was stepping into his bath, he noticed that the water rose as it was displaced by his body.  He suddenly realized that he could measure the volume of the crown without damaging it in any way, simply by measuring the amount of water it displaced.  This bolt of insight which was the solution to a problem that he had been wrestling with for weeks, supplied the energy which lifted Archimedes out of his tub and sent him running through the streets of Syracuse yelling, "Eureka, I've got it!"

Ideas that are new and revelatory to humans, are not new to the universe.  They already exist.  Every discovery, every new idea of computer technology already exists in stunningly complex applications within living bodies.  Every discovery regarding nuclear energy and the functioning of atoms, and every discovery of modern astrophysicists, was a revelation of ideas that already existed in the cosmic consciousness; that existed prior to the creation of Big Bang explosions, atoms, stars, planets and galaxies. Focussing on a problem, obsessing on a problem, looking at all the known facts related to that problem, prepares the inventor, the scientist, the seeker, for that insight that is the solution to that problem or that explains that disparity.  But the idea is already there and is revealed to the seeker.  He did not 'create' the idea, and his 'brain' certainly did not create the idea.

It is the nature of these blog posts, that I am forced to repeat things mentioned in other posts to clarify a new idea (revelation).  The speed of light, as Einstein determined, is the fastest speed that an object or a wave can move and still be an object or a wave.  If you think, though, of the speed of light not as a cosmic speed limit, but as a cosmic threshold, then waves and particles that pass that threshold stop being 'things' and enter the world of spirit, of cosmic consciousness.  This is a world beyond space and time.  Once past the speed of light, there is no 'thingness' to inhibit speed and infinite speed is achieved. At infinite speed everything is impossibly fast and completely still at the same time, since it takes no time, traveling at infinite speed, to traverse the entire universe and return to the same spot.  And there is no space, because space is measured by the division between one thing and another, and since there is no 'thingness' to separate things, it is all a unity, or one-ness.  Also, and most important to this discussion, if in space-time (or in the world of yin and yang, or Shiva and Shakti, or where the force of Heaven interplays with the force of Earth, all of which are better and more encompassing ways of saying the same thing as the fabric of space-time) information can move no faster than the speed of light; then out of space-time, out of the world of matter and in the world of spirit, information moves at infinite speed, which means that all information exists and is accessible at every point in the world of spirit, or cosmic consciousness or the Godhead.

Consciousness is not really divisible.  Living bodies and brains are a way of creating a seeming separation of consciousness.  When we commit to being born we commit to experiencing the world through the 'limitation' of a particular body, a particular set of sense organs and a particular brain.  A brain is a way of organizing a limited amount of information in the service of a particular point of view. God is not a human type being with a gigantic brain.  God does not need a brain and does not have a body.  God is the infinite ocean of spirit that contains all ideas and all information which is instantly accessible at every point.

We participate in this physical world but we are not of this physical world.  We are consciousness, we are one aspect, one perspective of an infinite number of perspectives of the divine.  But we are not that which we perceive, but the perceiver.  Prayer, meditation, chanting, various spiritual practices, separates us from our own perspective, our own point of view, and gives us an experience of our true selves,  a glimpse of the boundless, limitless consciousness which is our true home and identity.

Getting back to Frances Crick, all the information for the construction of a living body begins not in the nucleus, but in the Cosmic Consciousness, as all information for the construction or creation of anything begins in the Cosmic Consciousness.  How that information is applied in the shaping of cells, and organs and organelles, and whole bodies themselves, is yet to be determined.  But we live in an ocean of intelligence, we are surrounded by intelligence and the proof of it is the utter brilliance with which everything, animate and inanimate, is created and functions in harmony and balance with everything else.  In addition to supplying the recipes for proteins, the genes may act as receptors to attract from the Cosmic Consciousness all the information necessary, information that I enumerated above, to the growing embryo; but it is ludicrous to imagine that a string of nucleic acids, by themselves, supplies all that information.  Crick had wanted to rescind the name of the Central Dogma.  He should have rescinded the whole idea.

You're comments are always welcome.