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Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Right, time for biology lesson part 2.

As a recap, in part one argued that you are your genes is the sense that ALL of what makes you human is defined by your genes and SOME of what makes you you is defined by your genes. ...so genes play a bigger role then they are generally given credit for.

Now, Why do genes want to be you? I mean, they have worked very hard for thousands of years untold amount of trial and error to achieve the system that is you. ...and as previously mentioned, what a system you are. I would make some tacky statement, like "We are only just beginning to understand the complexities of the mind", but in reality that statement could just as easily been made in the 1800s. The problem is that we don't know what we don't know. We have no idea just how complex the mind is. However, we do know that the mind is the most complex system on the planet.

The mind is formed from an assembly plant of specialized cells. The blue print for the assembly plant is your genes. ...so the big question is - who wrote the blueprints?

Well, nobody. The blueprints evolved.

Start with nothing. Nothing at all anywhere in the universe. Nothing. Just nothing. Magically, something happens. A "Big Bang". Suddenly, matter is everywhere. What caused the big bang? Well, no body knows for certain - and we probably never will know for certain - but it is been theorized that the universe moves in a rhythimic motion. First expanding at great speeds. As it expands, expansion slows and the gravity of the existing matter begins to attract all the matter in the universe back to the point where it all started. It attracts and attracts until all of the matter in the universe is compacted into an impossibly small space. Eventually, it is so compact that it explodes again in another "big bang".

So - inanimate matter floating through space. Matter attracts matter until you have big chunks of matter - attracting more matter still. Eventually you have planets. Maybe even a sun! ...but you still don't have conditions for life. Think about the amount of life on the north pole. Now, think about the amount of life in the equator. In terms of "distance from the sun", these two points are only a few hundred miles apart. In "space terms" they are the same point. What if the earth were a thousand miles closer to the sun? A thousand miles further? Well, it is likely that life would not have formed.

If fact, there are a thousand factors - any one of which being different would have prevented life from forming on earth. Plate tectonics, asteroids, gasses, water, heat, cold, ice ages, "non-ice ages"...it is amazing that life has formed and even more amazing that genes have been able to adapt to the environment.

But, somehow, life did form. For some reason a few inanimate atoms. came together to form something that was "alive". A single cell that was able to consistently reproduce itself.


Image finding a rock in the woods that was able to create identical copies of itself.

This single celled organism was alive. Over the millennia it has evolved to form the basis of all life on this planet.

Funny that when we talk about cells, we do not talk about nature vs nurture. We only talk about survival and instinct. Why then is the debate so popular when talking about homosapiens?

More in part three...

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