Sunday, March 27, 2005

The Mix

A politically progressive writer I was reading yesterday coined a phrase I thought was pretty amusing and telling. He referred to the current political and cultural context in the US as The Christo-Republican Darkness.

I'm no fan of what's going on politically in the country and I'm truly alarmed by the political naivete of the conservative protestant church.

But after coming across this phrase I think I can safely say that some progressives have gone completely over the top. They may even become as politically loony and paranoid as many American conservative Christians.

At some point soon I'm expecting the grown ups to weigh in. That may take a few years and an election or two, but I'm pretty confident common sense will find a way.

Sometimes science can be pretty thrilling.

The human genome has been mapped at this point and to most everybody's surprise we have a lot fewer genes than people thought we did--way less than a lot of creatures who can't brush their teeth in the morning or invest in a mutual fund.

I was reading today about how we make the most of the genes we do have.

Genes make various proteins that create different kinds of cells and ultimately life itself.

Turns out there is a lot of junk stuff in our DNA that scientists couldn't figure out. Most of our caloric intake everyday is expended in supporting that "junk" which didn't seem to have any role in creating new cells.

But the junk may make sense after all. Seems like it may be the key to allowing for creative mutations that allow humans to develop new proteins--and hence whole new ways of being physically human--which allow us to adapt much better to new situations than creatures with less genetic junk. We may be extra-sensitive to evolutionary pressures and may adapt more quickly than other organisms because of the way we're genetically wired.

At the very least, it seems like we make the most of our relatively small number of genes by creating more proteins per gene than other creatures, though the other primates are close behind.

I really like the idea that the majority of our everyday energy may be expended in keeping alive the potential for change on a genetic level.

If this line of inquiry turns out to be accurate in the relative way that science operates--as opposed to the absolute and important claims of religious faith--it might help put some things in perspective.

God moves in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform, he plants his footsteps in the sea and rides upon the storm


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