Dark Matter, God and Genetics

Ages ago (in the 1970’s), scientists looked out at the universe, did the math and wet themselves silently. The peripheral arms of galaxies weren’t acting right. There wasn’t enough gravity to make the stars in the arms move that fast.

Astronomers drove home, changed pants and got an idea.

Dark matter.

The essence of ghost flesh with gravity!

It seemed too convenient to some: We can’t see dark matter, can’t touch it and can’t detect it in a laboratory – at least not so far.

Nevertheless, science liked dark matter. Its existence was implied by the motion of galaxies.

We’re told it surrounds a galaxy like a halo, but without the angel’s head, so it’s not religious.

Don’t think of angels when you see galaxies. That wouldn’t be scientific.

History shows that geneticists also had a meltdown when they first discovered that DNA was too complex for their model of reality.

Don’t worry, they’ve gotten over it.

It was in the 1950’s when Barbara McClintock, a genius geneticist who single-handedly discovered genetic regulation strayed from the narrow path and discovered that genes are under complex control.

At the time it seemed like heresy.

The objective voices of science knew in their hearts that DNA was a simple, straight-forward thing. It had to be. It came from the mindless forces of mutation – how could it possibly be under some strange complicated control mechanism?

Barbara wanted to add impossible complexity to the simple DNA model of the time. It was unsettling. It felt dangerous and wrong.

They forced Barbara McClintock to stop publishing her seminal work.

The angels cried.

No, wait, that was dark matter, not angles. My bad.

You know how it feels when somebody in the Middle East takes a big hammer to an ancient statue? That’s how it feels to me when I think of those well-intentioned scientists censoring and destroying the career of the great Barbra McClintock.

May God forgive them, I’m having a little trouble.

Today the complexity of DNA and its layers of intricate control are becoming widely recognized. The complexity is staggering. The vocabulary of genetics journals is straight out of the Tower of Babel.

Still, science has barely scratched the surface of DNA’s unspeakable language. Epigenetic gene control adds another layer of complexity that was unimaginable in 1859 when the big question was laid to rest by Darwin.

It’s all random.

I can say from experience as a retired pathologist that the complexity of the human body, DNA’s end product, is beyond mind-boggling.

We still don’t know where the 3D blueprint lies or how it’s projected into space. I mean, how does an epidermal skin cell know it’s positioned on the edge of an eyelid rather than the bottom of a toe? It’s not enough to know you’re a skin cell or an osteoblast, you have to know where you are by means of some unseen three-dimensional hologram-like thing. I suspect it’s in the “junk DNA” they used to talk about a few years ago.

And how in the world do developing cells each find their spot during embryogenesis? Nobody knows, but it happens, and it implies another layer of complexity.

Science is rigidly compartmentalized, you know, like some secret project in Nevada. Most scientists have only a vague second-hand grasp of the body’s intricate structural, biochemical and electrical complexity.

Even in medical research everyone is narrowly focused and struggling to figure out what’s going on in their own tiny niche of the human internal reality – both physical and mental.

Yet like the thought police of Egyptology, modern geneticists must deny the relevance and persistence of the big question…

Who built this amazing stuff?

Khufu in 20 years with copper tools and stone hammers? That’s just embarrassing.

You might think it would be natural for geneticists to suggest modern answers to the biggest question that DNA raises: who wrote the code?

Unfortunately, the answer was ingrained in all fields of science long before modern genetics emerged to frame the question intelligently.

As any government-educated eighth grader can tell you, random mutation wrote the genetic code over endless eons.

There was no thinking.

If science needs a gravity halo, space is full of dark matter.

If they need a brilliant code writer, mindless genius fills the universe.

But science changes.

In fact, Stacy McGaugh of Case Western recently studied 150 spiral galaxies and did some calculations. He says,

“…it’s like God shouting, ‘There is something more to the theory of gravity, not something more to the mass of the universe!'” (See “What’s Up With Gravity” in New Scientist, March 18-24, 2017.)

McGaugh says that dark matter may not be entirely bogus (he’s being polite, I think), but tweaking gravity theory is where the truth lies for him. He thinks gravitational forces change at great distances, accounting for the high speed of the arms of galaxies.

Three cheers for the mainstream dark matter believers letting a heretic publish!

A similar questioning of entrenched belief goes on today in genetics.

The courageous Stephen Meyer, PhD, an Oxford grad, took a look at DNA from the perspective of a science historian, did the math and said that the universe isn’t anywhere near old enough for random mutation to produce the DNA code for one simple protein – let alone the thousands of huge ones that exist within their intricate feedback loops.

In his book, Signature in the Cell, he showed the math and said that the information in DNA looked to him like intelligent code writing. Even its organization in the molecule implied intelligent work.

In the halls of science you could hear a pin drop.

Meyer said we’ve seen robot factories making complex products from coded computer instructions. That should be a hint.

Science usually likes this sort of concrete thinking. For instance:

We know that a halo of regular matter would explain how galaxies spin, so all we’re saying is there’s a halo of invisible matter out there.

Brilliant idea, science decided.

A Martian might think that science would also like this idea:

We know that regular minds wrote the code for those Intel robots that make tiny chips, so all we’re saying is that invisible mind(s) wrote the code for the nanobots in our body’s cells.

Unseen matter – no problem.

Unseen mind(s) – forget it. That’s going too far.

But why? Aren’t all minds invisible?

Yes, but in the eye of science, all minds are not merely invisible, they’re illusions. They don’t exist at all.

Even the human minds that decided we don’t exist are an illusion. Doesn’t that inspire confidence?

These people aren’t kidding. And they own science.

By chance, the history of science on this planet has evolved by replacing non-material explanations (magic, bad humors, fairies, and finally God) with material explanations.

As a side effect, a geneticist can ruin her career today by conjuring up the ancient foe of science: a non-material explanation. Even if she doesn’t intend to, like Barbara McClintock.

At its core, science assumes that matter and energy are the only real things on the table. Everything else is derivative and reducible to matter and energy.

This includes your mind, your identity, your sense of free will, your love for your children, and your deepest intuitive sense of honor and fairness. They’re all illusions of the matter and energy that your brain is made of.

An illusion seems to be real but isn’t.

Nothing is real besides matter and energy. Everything is reducible to…

  1. Matter
  2. Energy.

Obviously they’re both mindless, lifeless and meaningless. Therefore everything is meaningless, including that sense of purpose you may derive from loving someone or helping someone weaker than you.

Does that view seems healthy? Is it essential to everything science is accomplishing?

Science doesn’t normally contrast this paradigm with an alternative, the way an objective thinker would do. They have a name for it, though…

Materialistic reductionism (MR).

Not a flattering name.

Even some atheists reject this model of reality. Thomas Nagal, for instance, denounces it in, Mind and Cosmos – Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False.

One alternative to MR is this simple revision:

Reality is built upon three basic elements, not two:

  1. Energy
  2. Matter
  3. Mind

To me this adds realistic depth to science.

Suddenly I’m real in the eyes of science, and since observers influence measurements in quantum experiments, this fits the data. If matter and energy alone were real, how could an observer who’s just an illusion collapse the quantum wave function?

Whether we consider the “first” mind to be God or someone else – the universe itself, perhaps a mind hidden in the electromagnetic spectrum, or some sort of field being(s) who aren’t confined by time and space – thinking of the mind as fundamental rather than derivative, real instead of an illusion, helps explain the enigmatic complexity of DNA.

At this point in history, the Neo-Darwinian, mindless, meaningless model of the universe deserves a standard dose of scientific skepticism. And that’s putting it politely.

Modern genetics speaks of a universe where meaning and purpose are not false illusions, and diverse spiritual values are scientifically respectable.