I am not a scientist, not even close. But I learned a bit about science in school, and a bit more in university. But I am not even as much as an expert. Especially I am not a biologist. I have never taken any course in biology. But I am an expert in my own spirituality, this I have studied for over 50 years now, since my mind was first opened to the possibility religion, in particular Abrahamic religions, had gotten it all wrong. Two things in particular were very problematic to me. One was the idea that there was an all-loving superbeing who could willy-nilly judge living beings of not being adequate to join him in his heavenly home, and thus condemning them to a life of eternal suffering. What love is that? Two, that this same superbeing created everything in existence, yet in the book he supposedly wrote, knew nothing beyond the land of the Levant, being what we now call the middle eastern part of our world. Does that make any sense? Not in my mind it did not! So I went in search of what seemed true to me. What has this to do with science, in particular biology? A bit more patience please.
Whether this post will be of any real value to anyone is not up to me. I am just the blogger. But I would like to say it was more or less inspired by my fellow WordPress.com blogger, The Common Athiest, a man named Jim. I first met Jim by reading a post of his about life being nothing more than the result of a functioning brain, a completely physical process. That I disagreed with him goes without saying, I am what I call a Spiritual Atheist, and that requires a spiritual component to life. But the ideas behind his words had some weird connection to my own ideas, so I set out to explore them. After all, the seat of my consciousness, and probably yours, seems to sit in our heads, so probably in our brains. That part made sense. But Jim wanted mental life to be nothing more than chemical reactions happening inside our brains, though he never delved into how particular chemicals got into our brains, or how they combined is just the right amounts to make us think we can think. But ignore that as unimportant. The main thing I could not accept was there is no spiritual component to chemical reactions, and if there is one thing I know, without doubt, there is a spiritual component to me. And as I am a living being, functioning in this world, I have to believe there are others in the world who also have a spiritual component to them. Please note, I said living beings, not just human beings. As far as I can tell, all life is connected. Human beings, which are but a tiny part of all life on Earth, are just part of the whole of life. Nothing special about us, though we love to see ourselves at the top of the evolutionary ladder.
Oops, there is that word, evolution. The bane of Abrahamic religions. Their bible teaches that their God created the universe, full blown and heavily populated with all kinds of life, about 6000 or so years ago. Complete with fossils showing the evolutionary paths life took to culminate in our human species. That was quite an amazing feat, but since the ways of God are unknowable, but he knows everything there is to know, he obviously seeded the world with said fossils to lead us astray, a deliberate trap like so many other deliberate traps he set to catch those of his chosen people to test whether they truly believed in him or not. And, no offence intended, if you truly believe an all-loving god could use such trickery to keep his creations from joining him in heaven, then something has gone wrong with those chemical reactions that are going on in your brain.
But, what do all those fossils really tell us? They tell us that life has proceeded in some haphazard fashion from original one-celled beings of ancient pre-history to the multi-trillion-celled beings who inhabit our world today alongside beings of all number and form of cells going back all the way to the original one-celled beings who started the process off some 3.5 to 4.5 billion revolutions of the earth around the sun we humans call years ago. And this is the time period I would like to look back at, using scientific descriptions, but as seen through the vision of my spirituality, for it indeed does go back that far in time.
Not being a scientist, I needs trust what they tell me fossil records show, because I know fossils exist, and that we think we can understand at least some of them. And humans have found enough of them to be able to tell a story about life. It is, of course, not a complete story, but it is a story worth telling. Our scientists have tried their best to fill in the blanks, and have, I think, done a credible job of it. But these fossils, these pre-historical records, are kind of like Jim, The Common Atheist. All they can see are physical records. By the very nature of spirituality not being a physical or material thing, it cannot be recorded physically. Yet I think the records are there, if only you know how to read them. I dabble at trying to read them.
These records exist, not physically, but spiritually, in the memories of the cells that are decended from the cells that lived in those early times. Impossible, you say? Think about it. How do cells reproduce? They do not use sexual methods to reproduce, they use cell-splitting. They reproduce by dividing their tiny bodies in half over and over and over again, and have been doing so for longer than we can conceive of in our petty little minds. But what does that really mean to those one-celled beings who exist today, or will exist tomorrow? It means that their memories, however we humans want to think about them, still have that within them that was there at the beginning. Mitosis, I think the scientists call it, is the splitting of one into two. This does not involve change, as would a human baby have genetic material from it’s parents but with changes that set it apart from those parents, but an exact replica of the material found in the very first cell that ever replicated itself. The exact same material. Think about it. No changes, completely unaffected by evolutionary processes, unaffected by time. Immortality, if one is willing to go so far, if one is willing to look with open eyes, and an open mind.
So, the one-celled beings that exist in the world today are exact replicas of the very first one that managed somehow to replicate itself all those billons of years ago. I cannot prove this of course, maybe there were many one-celled beings who managed to do this at close to the same time, but to put this into a different perspective, there are scientists who believe all humans are descended from one mother who started the whole human evolutionary chain. I will not agree or disagree with this theory, because the possibility is logical.
But looking at one-celled beings, this theory is not only possible, but probable. Somewhere, at some time, there was a FIRST LIFE, and life, I do mean all life, on Earth at least, is descended from that first life. And that fact means all life is connected, in some way, and that is what I call spirituality.
There is more to be said, I think, but for now I think this is the goal of this post, to put the idea out there, we truly are all related.
Thank you, if you managed to read this far. Please feel free to comment.