Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Whence, Whither

Is it dumb that I started this blog because of a movie?  Lol.  To quote my Magic 8 Ball, indicators point to 'yes'! My brother is a monster movie buff and we rented a dozen movies to watch together over the holiday break and guess what one of them was--Julie and Julia.  For those not familiar with the movie, it's about a woman that starts a blog about cooking through the 500-600 recipes in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking.  Couple that with the fact that I've been mulling over what I want my New Year's resolutions to be and, whala, I'm planning on starting a regular blog.

What can you expect?   Why am I writing this?  Aside from the normal blogging reason of narcissism, I want to keep my brain plastic, and prime for grad work.  So, keeping myself supple in writing, it would make sense, should be a large part of that.  Furthermore, I used to blog a great deal about religious topics, theology, Biblical Greek, and inspirational stuff and I miss doing that.  I miss both the creative outlet as well as the dialog that it can spur.  Please, please comment, just to let me know that people out there are reading this, even if you don't have anything to actually comment.  A simple 'like,' similar to on Facebook, would be duly appreciated.  I shall return the favor several times over.

I also write to marvel.  Many moons ago I heard someone say that the best way to learn is to teach.  I agree with that.  I live by that.  I want to learn.  I want to soak in the universe.  I want to draw in reality as it really is and be left cold, warmed, in awe, disgusted, hallow, empty, filled, fulfilled or whatever the hell else reality should cause me to feel.   I want to share my passion for the biological sciences and show the salience, majesty, depth, wonder, beauty, power and transcendence of life (and I mean bios, in this case, as opposed to zoe).  And, in some ways, to offer a worldview that is less based on mythology and more on biology, less on opinion and more on facts (but, yes, with subjective interpretation).

Here's a theme that i may turn to quite often: truth is beautiful.  If for no other reason other than it is real.  I recently had a conversation with a person about how that life is stranger than fiction.  They disagreed saying that the limits of fantasy were unbounded and that mundanity of life couldn't compare.

Bull shit.

The universe exploded into being creating time, space, matter, antimatter, black matter, black energy, seemingly arbitrary rules saying that neutrons can stick to protons, that protons and electrons are attracted, but can't stick together, that light is both particle and wave (whatever the hell that means), that masses attracts other mass over infinite distances for whoever-the-hell knows why, that the right star with the right history of supernovas, with the right placement in the Milky Way, with the right planet, with the right sepparation distance, with the right satellite of the Moon, with the right amount of water (that water even has the structure and Van der Waals polarity), the right ozone layer, with the right composition of iron that created a magnetic shield from solar wind, radiation, etc, that carbon kicks ass in its ability to bond firmly, flexibly and attractively to other compounds, that a cell wall, means of genetic encription, means of food production, means of division all came together have started an unbroken chain of life that could have very easily never created the path that went from cyanobacteria, to multicellularity, to endosymbiotic eukaryotes, to early vertibrate, to fish, to amphibian, to reptile, to early mammal, to lemury/monkey like ancestor, to primate, to hominid, to human through ice ages, meteorite impacts, volcanic eruptions, mass extinctions, mutations, adaptions, failures and triumphs.  Not only could life have very, very, very, very,very, very, very easily not have ever happened, but it could have been infinitely more boring.  Pond scum could have easily been the culmination of life.  It's complex and amazing enough as it is.  I mean, life didn't invade the dry land for 1.5 billion years.

It could have just been ocean soup.

Instead we're bombarded with every conceivable shape, color, strategy conceivable--spikes, suckers, limbs, feet, hands, fur, scales, slime, feathers, wings, rasping radulas, shells, fronds, leaves, needles, stingers, carapaces, exoskeletons, skeletons.  Any super hero, mythological creature, alien figmentation, super-natural apparition is just a plagiarism of the real thing found in nature.  Life is fucked up weird.

So not only did life not have to exist, but it didn't have to exist in the garish, ghoulish, ingenious and ridiculous form that it is. But it is.  But we are.  This upright, nude, and peculiarly smart hominid is; who are trying to make sense of why they are here, where they're going and what to do in the mean time.

There was a time in the Middle Ages when theology was known as the "Queen of the Sciences."  Both for society at large and for myself she's been usurped.  Biology is her successor.  Biology stands in the middle as both the culmination of all sciences and the leaping off point for all other humanities.  Biology uses chemistry, which uses physics, which potentially depends on quantum mechanics and some kind of string theory, unifying theory thingamabob.  Add in the progression of history and biology is the real root and explanation of all other fields such as the arts, humanities, literature and all other human trappings (since we're biological entities).   That's why I write, because that core of knowledge is worthwhile, rich, verdant and profoundly practical for life.

I call myself the Biologian, because I want my life to be an exposition not of a religious scripture, but of life (once again, bios), which is the wisdom not of a upright ape who's lived only for a couple of decades, but of 4 billion years of trial and error.  There's no faking that.  There's a colloquialism that says that a smart man learns from his mistakes, but a wise man learns from others.  Well, I want to learn from the goofs, goffs, guffaws, triumphs and tragedies of the billions and trillions of generations that have passed before us.  Volumes could be written (and should be!) on every, root, stump, branch, limb, twig, leaf, flower, fruit of the Tree of Life.

To quote Jack Johnson (a brilliant guitarist and lyricist), "There's wisdom in the trees, not the glass windows."

Let us revel in that wisdom together.  :)

My next blog will have to be about how I got here.  As a tease it involves me dropping out of pastoral ministry and a half finished Masters of Divinity degree.


  1. Humdedum, I just realized that i don't know how to go back and edit a post once it is posted. I'm used to doing my editing post script...o, well! I'm trying to take the philosophy of 'good enough.' It is better to have a low standard and get it out there than have a high standard and never do it at all. ;p

    Love and cuddles,
    The Biologian


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