Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sept 10 Ridley Ch 1, 2, 3 (Life, Species, History)

This reading selection included a vast amount of information about the rise of genetics through the scientific undertakings of its early fathers as well as some of the glaring genetic similarities between humans and other species in the context of ecological evolution understood in a new light so that bacteria are higher evolved. I wish to ignore all of this though and address Ridley’s choice of repetitively drawing upon ‘the word.’ “In the beginning was the word,” says Ridley, and in the cultural context of a Roman Catholic reading this, I understood him to be quoting the first passage in the Gospel of John in the New Testament of the Bible. The next piece that should have followed was “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1) Ridley took a different route. By page 17, he claimed, “RNA was the word.” While I understand he is trying to make the point that RNA preceded DNA and proteins and is, in his mind, the origin of life, I was so thrown by his unexpected twist to this beautiful, sacrosanct description of my belief that I grew angry with Ridley. I do not require that he share my belief in God; I do require that he respect my belief and, in so doing, not mock what I happen to deem one of the most beautiful expressions of the character of God.

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