Friday, October 20, 2006


I found this quite interesting. It seems that when the father’s and mother’s chromosomes join to make the first cell, the bits and pieces of their chromosomes fit together quite haphazardly as pieces of one “cross-over” to bits of the other.

“A gene is defined as any portion of chromosomal material that potentially lasts for enough generations to serve as a unit of natural selection.” —Richard Dawkins

“Individuals are not stable things, they are fleeting. Chromosomes too are shuffled into oblivion, like hands of cards soon after they are dealt. But the cards themselves survive the shuffling. The cards are the genes. The genes are not destroyed by crossing over, they merely change partners and march on. Of course they march on. That is their business. They are the replicators and we are their survival machines. When we have served our purpose we are cast aside. But genes are denizens of geological time: genes are forever.

“Genes, like diamonds, are forever, but not quite in the same way as diamonds. It is an individual diamond crystal that lasts, as an unaltered pattern of atoms. DNA molecules don't have that kind of permanence. The life of any one physical DNA molecule is quite short—perhaps a matter of months, certainly not more than one lifetime. But a DNA molecule could theoretically live on in the form of copies of itself for a hundred million years. Moreover, just like the ancient replicators in the primeval soup, copies of a particular gene may he distributed all over the world. The difference is that the modern versions are all neatly packaged inside the bodies of survival machines.

“What I am doing is emphasizing the potential near-immortality of a gene, in the form of copies, as its defining property. To define a gene as a single cistron is good for some purposes, but for the purposes of evolutionary theory it needs to be enlarged. The extent of the enlargement is determined by the purpose of the definition. We want to find the practical unit of natural selection. To do this we begin by identifying the properties that a successful unit of natural selection must have. In the terms of the last chapter, these are longevity, fecundity, and copying fidelity. We then simply define a 'gene' as the largest entity which, at least potentially, has these properties. The gene is a long-lived replicator, existing in the form of any duplicate copies. It is not infinitely long-lived.” —Richard Dawkins in The Selfish Gene (1989 paperback edition), p. 35.


Currently, I’m reading Anita Hill’s book, Speaking Truth To Power. Earlier in life, I didn’t have a high opinion of myself, yet I’ve always imagined that I could have worked wonders had I just

Photo Then Testifying

led my life a little differently. But when I read Hill’s book and see the politics at work in government agency jobs, I can’t imagine how I could learn to be so guarded at all times, cautious and even deceitful, in order to hold a job like that. I’m really pretty naïve when I come to think of it, no matter how skeptical I think myself. Anita Hill lets us in on her thinking, step by step, as her work relationship with Clarence Thomas evolved over the few years she was under his direction, and we see, clearly, every thought that had to go into each decision, and how those thoughts led to her making miscalculations that, later on, discredited her testimony at Thomas’s hearing
for the Supreme Court. I have never blamed Clarence for his misguided passes at his personal assistant, specially when I consider my own mistakes in the past. Plus, he was separated from his wife at the time, lonely and horny. But that he lied—now that makes him unfit for the office he has. Who coached him to lie, what leaches in our government would scheme to put a liar in the very highest court in the land? Can we believe in any decision a liar makes? Not me. I guess I’m still capable of being naïve, eh? And we can see in the present day lying by Republicans that those dishonest elements haven’t been cleaned out of government yet.

I remember that hearing well, watched most of it, and the way that Republican Senators made every question into an accusation. It was one of the nastiest jobs of character assassination I’ve ever witnessed. I think Arlen Specter even admitted being ashamed by his behavior and the behavior of his compatriots. Maybe it wasn't Arlen, but Danforth, who expressed remorse, since Danforth claims to having not been born enough times until he was born a second time. I didn't know he died in the first place!
Photo Now


Anonymous said...

Like Bubba Bill C. says "politics is a contact sport".

What Mad Dog Carville did to the legions of "trash" serial woman abuser Clinton left behind him is the stuff of legend. Why an article on Anita Hill, now? You wouldn't happen to be a democrat would you? You wouldn't happen to be interested in the outcome of the coming election would you?

Spiritual people like Arlin Specter try to take the plank out of their own eye. Situational Ethics defends his actions. She was trying to crucify him for trying to seduce her. All males would be in jail or homosexual if we applied her standards of conduct. Part of maturity is being able to discern ethical details and not lump all sins together together. Murder is not the same as killing.

Geo said...

Dear Friend,

I read widely from science to history to autobiography and biography and what have you. I also sell used books at a small bookstore that helps support our public libraries. I bought the used Anita Hill book recently while I was selling books there. I watched the hearings, and I watched the way her attackers made every question not a question, but an implication or accusation. It was fascinating to behold. It reminded me of the Macarthy hearings which I also watched as a mere yout'. That's why I'm interested in her side of the story. What Clinton did or did not do does not bear on what happened to Anita Hill. Two wrongs nor two rights do not make a wrong right or a right wrong. . . . Huunh?

All ethics are situational. Just ask a Christian, for example, how he can justify execution when the Commandment says, "Thou shall not kill." The first thing he'll do is begin to prevaricate about the difference between killing and murdering and executing which, of course, makes his whole argument an exercise in situational ethics. It depends on what the word means or it depends on why the murdering is being done. Blah, blah, blah. . . . All reasoning is an exercise in rationalizing or in justifying what our feelings want to do of have done. So you hate Democrats and can't stand that the Republicans can do bad things too. So then you make up reasons for your anger and frustration, but the anger and frustration comes through loud and clear through the rationalizations that your brains comes up with to justify the fears you feel. Calm down. I'm not your enemy. I just disagree with you, but my disagreement is based in similar feelings to your own only justified differently. Wahoooo!!!



Anonymous said...

Thinking logically is difficult isn’t it? Are you testy because you are carrying such big load all alone?

You don’t have to slander me or call me crazy just because I caught you off base and tagged you. It is just a game where we all become better when we play it. There are rules though. It is not a zero-sum game at the material level and it is only by accepting our losses that we become aware of who we really are.

I know that God is good and that you are part of that good. I am praying for your health and prosperity. I am a better person for having read your blog. Thank you for your effort.

Geo said...

Dear Anonymous,

I'm not carrying a burden alone. I've got many good and stable friends and a loving spouse and children to talk to and a fellowship I attend, and, by and large, a pretty good life in hand.

I don't see anywhere in my previous comments where I called you crazy or slandered you. In fact, I specifically said that I am exactly like you when it comes to the emotional machinary that evolution handed down to us. So if I say you're crazy, then I'm saying that I'm crazy. Of course, Richard Dawkins just came out with a book that talks about the "God Delusion" or something of that nature.

I also am hoping that chance, destiny and your genetic makeup brings you all good things.