What is paradosis? | bloghome | paradosis website | contact

Subscribe to
Posts [Atom]

[The Creation of the Chicken]

An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
<
[Consider Supporting]
[Our Farm]
[The Past]
05/01/2002 - 06/01/2002
06/01/2002 - 07/01/2002
07/01/2002 - 08/01/2002
08/01/2002 - 09/01/2002
09/01/2002 - 10/01/2002
10/01/2002 - 11/01/2002
11/01/2002 - 12/01/2002
12/01/2002 - 01/01/2003
01/01/2003 - 02/01/2003
02/01/2003 - 03/01/2003
03/01/2003 - 04/01/2003
04/01/2003 - 05/01/2003
05/01/2003 - 06/01/2003
06/01/2003 - 07/01/2003
07/01/2003 - 08/01/2003
08/01/2003 - 09/01/2003
09/01/2003 - 10/01/2003
10/01/2003 - 11/01/2003
11/01/2003 - 12/01/2003
12/01/2003 - 01/01/2004
01/01/2004 - 02/01/2004
02/01/2004 - 03/01/2004
03/01/2004 - 04/01/2004
04/01/2004 - 05/01/2004
05/01/2004 - 06/01/2004
06/01/2004 - 07/01/2004
07/01/2004 - 08/01/2004
08/01/2004 - 09/01/2004
09/01/2004 - 10/01/2004
10/01/2004 - 11/01/2004
11/01/2004 - 12/01/2004
12/01/2004 - 01/01/2005
01/01/2005 - 02/01/2005
02/01/2005 - 03/01/2005
03/01/2005 - 04/01/2005
04/01/2005 - 05/01/2005
05/01/2005 - 06/01/2005
06/01/2005 - 07/01/2005
07/01/2005 - 08/01/2005
08/01/2005 - 09/01/2005
09/01/2005 - 10/01/2005
10/01/2005 - 11/01/2005
11/01/2005 - 12/01/2005
12/01/2005 - 01/01/2006
01/01/2006 - 02/01/2006
02/01/2006 - 03/01/2006
03/01/2006 - 04/01/2006
04/01/2006 - 05/01/2006
05/01/2006 - 06/01/2006
06/01/2006 - 07/01/2006
07/01/2006 - 08/01/2006
08/01/2006 - 09/01/2006
09/01/2006 - 10/01/2006
10/01/2006 - 11/01/2006
11/01/2006 - 12/01/2006
12/01/2006 - 01/01/2007
01/01/2007 - 02/01/2007
02/01/2007 - 03/01/2007
03/01/2007 - 04/01/2007
04/01/2007 - 05/01/2007
05/01/2007 - 06/01/2007
06/01/2007 - 07/01/2007
07/01/2007 - 08/01/2007
08/01/2007 - 09/01/2007
09/01/2007 - 10/01/2007
10/01/2007 - 11/01/2007
11/01/2007 - 12/01/2007
12/01/2007 - 01/01/2008
01/01/2008 - 02/01/2008
02/01/2008 - 03/01/2008
03/01/2008 - 04/01/2008
04/01/2008 - 05/01/2008
05/01/2008 - 06/01/2008
06/01/2008 - 07/01/2008
07/01/2008 - 08/01/2008
08/01/2008 - 09/01/2008
09/01/2008 - 10/01/2008
10/01/2008 - 11/01/2008
11/01/2008 - 12/01/2008
12/01/2008 - 01/01/2009
01/01/2009 - 02/01/2009
02/01/2009 - 03/01/2009
03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009
04/01/2009 - 05/01/2009
05/01/2009 - 06/01/2009
06/01/2009 - 07/01/2009
07/01/2009 - 08/01/2009
08/01/2009 - 09/01/2009
09/01/2009 - 10/01/2009
10/01/2009 - 11/01/2009
11/01/2009 - 12/01/2009
12/01/2009 - 01/01/2010
01/01/2010 - 02/01/2010
02/01/2010 - 03/01/2010
03/01/2010 - 04/01/2010
04/01/2010 - 05/01/2010
05/01/2010 - 06/01/2010
08/01/2010 - 09/01/2010
09/01/2010 - 10/01/2010
10/01/2010 - 11/01/2010
03/01/2011 - 04/01/2011
04/01/2011 - 05/01/2011
05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011
06/01/2011 - 07/01/2011
10/01/2011 - 11/01/2011
11/01/2011 - 12/01/2011
12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012
02/01/2012 - 03/01/2012
03/01/2012 - 04/01/2012
04/01/2012 - 05/01/2012
05/01/2012 - 06/01/2012
06/01/2012 - 07/01/2012
08/01/2012 - 09/01/2012
02/01/2013 - 03/01/2013
04/01/2013 - 05/01/2013
07/01/2013 - 08/01/2013
11/01/2013 - 12/01/2013
02/01/2014 - 03/01/2014
03/01/2014 - 04/01/2014
07/01/2014 - 08/01/2014
[Orthodox America]
Antiochian Archdiocese
Greek Orthodox Archdiocese
Orthodox Church in America
Serbian Orthodox Church in America
Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Church in America
[monasteries]
Valaam
Holy Myrrhbearers
Saint John
Saint Theodore
New Skete
Saint Herman
Saint Anthony, AZ
Balamand Monastery
[mercy]
Zoe for Life
In Communion
IOCC
Missions
[orthodox bloggers]
Notes from a Hillside Farm
Bishop Seraphim
This is Life
Fly in the Holy Oil
The Violent Munkee
The Blue Canopy
Sophia Says
Notes from a common place book
Pithless Thoughts
Photios
[I am a Rusyn]
[Slovakia]
[Kosovo]
[Mmmmmm]
[Where in the World?]
Locations of visitors to this page

Friday, June 13, 2008

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made - Quantum Chaotic Biology

Recently I was having another traditional discussion/debate with my beloved Atheist. As is often the case, the debate hinged upon the issue of Darwinism. In short, my point was that Darwinism was more and more living up to being an "-ism" rather than science in that far too many people and scientists are taking their reductionist scope on life and applying it universally. I was also noting how a fair number of biologists are beginning to realize that the simplicity of Neo-Darwinism (genetic mutation and natural selection) is not sufficient to explain it all...more than that, that there are definitive examples that other things explain it as well. Essentially, the idea is Biology is on the cusp of a quantum revolution and that Darwinism is akin to Newtonian Physcis in the Quantum world...not unnecessarily wrong, but necessarily short-sighted in scope and complexity. In other words, there is far more at play and that amidst a sweeping complexity that there will perhaps be order even if it cannot yet be wholly discerned...and may never. Regardless, order clearly comes into being...somehow. Like predicting weather or climate, the variables are too vast for us to be accurate. There is always a surprise factor, that while logical, is no less fearful and wonderful (IMHO) and sometimes a real mystery to us in our far more finite contexts.

You will often hear this said: "Within the cell's DNA resides all the necessary information for the creation of a complex organism like you or I." Having heard this during my specific conversation, I stopped and asked simply: "Are you sure?" And more to the point are the scientists making this claim sure? Just like the response I got, you will typically receive: "Of course...what else is there?"

Alas, "of course" is the wrong answer, because in reality we ASSUME that all this "information" is found in the DNA, but we really have no idea if this is the case. In the old days, scientists would be scolded for such assumptions without proof...and in fact many scientists are suggesting that it is patently and mathematically impossible for such vast "information" to fully exist in our DNA. As it is, how DNA codes for an organism's morphology is a complete unknown. Sure, we can tinker with genes and create "monsters" like multi-winged fruit flies and such, but no scientists can point to a definitive region of the genome and explain in detail how exactly those coded proteins work together to make a finger - how does DNA orchestrate such thing?! It's akin to little kids poking a jelly-like blob they found on the ground to see what it will do. Okay, that's a stretch, but not much.

Our understanding of DNA has evolved a great deal just in the last decade. It is, by now, surrounded by a vastly more complex series of mechanisms than when I learned about it in college. Regions thought to be useless have been found to be critical, methods of how it is "read" and "translated" have been expanded and renewed, and even what a gene is is constantly being redefined and debated. The list of questions amidst complexity continue to expand to the extent that I think it should give us pause when scientists speak with such certainty about things related to our geno-centric evolution.

And so when you hear things like this idea that "DNA contains all the information necessary to make you", we ought to challenge this point and ask for scientific proof. What we end up finding is that a good deal of evolutionary science currently handed to us is based more on assumption than real hard scientific facts. Evolutionary psychology and sociology are - in my opinion - huge offenders in this regard. Operating on their reductionist assumptions they can suddenly offer Darwinian reasoning for why we do the things we do and why we have tendencies toward a cornucopia of behaviors and even beliefs (yes, a Darwinian explanation for religious belief is posited so eat your heart out Barak Obama for it isn't the lack of government assistance that drives men to cling to religion, it's their naturally selected genes....somehow.)

And "somehow" is the key word that they often neglect to use. They posit some notions as to how religious belief might be "selected" for, but they can offer no explanation as to how genes or mutations might give me a propensity for belief in God. What single nucleotide polymorphism do I have which my beloved atheist lacks?

So why so much assumption? How can they say our DNA is the library of all the necessary information needed to make us and yet have no definitive proof? May I suggest it is derived from the basic assumption of a materialist universe...and not just that alone, but further from a need for evidence to suggest this reality and truth as a means of explaining away what seems so improbable otherwise. (e.g. you and I...the materials of the universe become self-aware and communicating by means of this blog).

But you see, one needn't just fill the Darwinian gaps with God and call it good. And yes, there are gaps in Darwinism; problems and inconsistencies and poor explanations that have had attention called to by the dreaded Intelligent Design community. Scientists, some of whom I know, who are raising legitimate questions about the reductionists' theories of evolution (some of whom would eschew the title of being proponents of ID) are often simply labeled "creationists" and dismissed and their questions waved away without really being addressed. But, alas, some of those raising these questions are NOT theists and they are doing more than simply punching holes in evolutionary theory, they are actually working at filling those holes. But the neo-Darwinist mantra is a square peg and the holes are decidedly round.

No, these scientists are not appealing to the overly simplistic explanation that "God did it!", but with the sort of complexity that we are finding more and more to be a regularly occurring component of the reality around us. Part of why I support the ID movement is because they ask legitimate questions and point to serious conundrums...unfortunately the institution of science is largely dismissing scientists who are attempting some answers because they are stepping out into the world of what I like to call Quantum Chaotic Biology. By which I mean the immense complexity on a molecular level as combined with huge and almost equally complex macro environmental systems that all play a role somehow in biological organization. Sometimes their verbiage is reminiscient of the unusual dialect of quantum physicists. "Quarks" for the Physicist and "Attractors" for the biologist.

This last March, there was a sort of evolutionary summit held in Altenberg Austria in which some prominent "out of the box" evolutionary thinkers came together to try and do something revolutionary: They came to try and answer that question posed by my Beloved Atheist: "What else is there?" The answer is: potentially a lot!

I find their work fascinating. And, if I may nail my metaphysical colors to the mast: I have never been satisfied with the reductionist theory of evolution. It's primary mechanism of selfishness, war-competition, bloodshed, power, authority, advantage, ruthlessness, death, mindlessness, truly random, and frequent sexual conquests as a means of creating us never seemed to be appropriate to the creative . I'm not ashamed of this bias I have...I simply cannot be conceived that the driving force of God's creative work could be fueled by such brutality and selfishness as described in the geno-centirc Darwinian model.

I expect in the end we will all have to endure a sort of Job's whirlwind experience. It is one of my favorite passages and though we love to put others into the role of the one being quizzed, I think we ought to work hard to put ourselves there. As it is, I love notions of science that proceed with a heart and mind that infers that it is most likely that the REAL picture is far bigger than I am seeing right now.

Oh how many times should I answer: "Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth."

Anyway, go and read the account again...it is wonderful. It speaks of God's glory and power and beauty and wonder in creation...and further it confronts our inability to sit in judgment of its (ultimately HIS) workings. This is why (in part), I think that we are wonderfully AND fearfully made.

...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 7:19 AM [+]
+++
0 comments


0 Comments:

Post a Comment




This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?