I’m reading a fascinating book by Dennis Noble called “The Music of Life.”  I’ve learned that the popular view named genetic determination is not all it is cracked up to be. It is one of the many paths followed by those who operate in the reductionist paradigm.  Reductionists sometimes remind me of a – paint by the numbers set – where you complete it and viola! you have become a painter.  All right, a lot has been discovered and can be learned via the methodology but unfortunately, the method is too often used in a situation that calls for more than reductionism can supply.  Reductionism is then overextended and supplies incorrect or at least limited viewpoints.  Dennis is taking me through some carefully thought out arguments pointing out deficiencies of genetic determinism.  Along the way, I’m able to sometimes review and often discover lots of information about genes and how our human organism works.  I can’t wait to get back to the book. 

Genes are tied closely with diversity.  As organisms we are diverse.  No two people look exactly the same.  There are thousands, maybe millions of smaller organisms and single cell beings thriving [there are always some dying and some being born] within us.  Diversity allows us to adapt to changes in our external [I mean conditions outside our skin] environment. 

Thinking about this led me to thoughts of how would I look at diversity if I could think and see like a planet.  Or, what does diversity mean to Gaia?

Let me suggest some possibilities.  Maybe we and other life-forms act somewhat like planetary genes.  We use a word – biodiversity, to mean the variability among living organisms on the earth.  Our genetic diversity obviously assists us in adapting to a changing environment.  I, and I expect you also, have probably agreed in a past discussion that some life-form will probably survive a nuclear holocaust.  I suspect it will be difficult to snuff out roaches.  So, surely it is not outrageous to suspect that biodiversity will assist Gaia in the same way. 

We expect our genes and proteins to continue to develop antibodies to rid our organs of infection.  Unfortunately, in many cases we have not learned to cope very well with cancer, a process wherein a normal cell goes somehow out of control and refuses to just do its function but just multiplies and multiplies and often breaks off and travels to other organs where it does the same thing until we die.  The trouble is we don’t seem to be able to develop an antibody because evidently our higher functions just don’t seem to recognize that there is a problem. 


At this point, there appears to me to be an analogy, a correspondence or partial similarity, to the relationship of millions of homo sapiens sapiens to its next higher order of organisation, Earth.  One, we have been steadily wiping out other species for years and don’t seem to care.  So what, like what are they doing here anyway?  They are just lower life-forms that did not make it to where we are – the very pinnacle of evolutionary success. This seems to be the prevailing attitude. Our genes and DNA are vital to our future and so is biodiversity to Gaia.  Two, cancer cells multiply out of control and so do we.  If you don’t think so, please let me in on the evidence of a slowing down.  The latest official current world population estimate, for mid-year 2010, is estimated at 6,852,472,823. 6.8 billion. And, the best estimate I’ve found is that 9.4 billion people who will call Earth home in 2050. So, that’s a 38% increase in population in next 40 years. 


All other Earthen species that multiply that fast eat out their environment and simply die until a balance of beings and food is achieved.  Obviously no other Earthen species has ever before learned to colonize other species to the extent that we have.  We deplete seafood and then turn to fish farms. [We can even eat organic fish from farms]  A few thousand years ago we decided that it was moral for us to breed farm animals for no other reason than to feed us. 

We have and still do chop forests, even huge rainforests ,which are the lungs of the world, to grow food for humans, [or to feed cows for food for humans] kill thousands of buffalo and then plough the prairies for food.  We pump up scarce water to nourish food for humans grown in semi-deserts.  We even grow stuff hanging from strings into a chemical solution to eat.  Soon some of us will be eating meat from large Petri dishes. We could never have come to this without the wanton destruction of diversity in almost all bio-systems. 


One last thought.  Perhaps Gaia will summon enough of its genetic structure to rid itself of the present danger by in some mysterious way bringing forth either a paradigm change of human behaviour or another species that will study Gaia’s way of being life and work alongside rather than against Nature, or whatever these beings call their Mother.