After my most recent article about my book and dialogue with Deepak Chopra, I had further contact through social media that made me aware that people were missing the point.
It seems that many readers took the title (“If DNA is Software, Who Wrote The Code?“) and assumed I was positing a “Designer” or “Programmer” as the point of the book.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
The question posed by the title is not meant to be answered; rather it is posed as an opening to a much vaster notion of reality and existence. The subtitle provides the clue: “The Profound Significance of Life’s Programming Language.”
The recognition at this point in our evolution, as we have created our own computer software, of the significance of encoded intelligence at the heart of our biology, is unexplainable by normal science.
And yet every piece of computer software that we know and use is intellectual property — the work product of intelligence applied creatively and dynamically by teams of human programmers.
In my book I go through my understanding as a layman of computer code and demonstrate its infallibility if used correctly, and its dependence on math, logic, and syntax to work properly.
When the laws of math, logic, and syntax are adhered to, symbolic code operates effectively as a “program” — as geneticist Juan Enriquez describes DNA. Such a program is an “executable” that performs tasks. In the case of DNA, Enriquez describes an apple as receiving input from the sun and executing its various lines of code and dropping from a tree.
If we alter or edit the code using a technology like CRISPR, we might get a banana instead of an apple.
Or as Enriquez points out, we can view a similar collection of symbols A, C, T, and G and the result is the Ebola virus. But it operates as computer code, like HTML.
Knowing what we know do currently with respect to Google, Apple computers, and Microsoft, how can we possibly account for the evolution, according to mathematical principles, of an “organic programming language” that instructs our biology?
We can see this even more clearly in two other examples of code — templates and the use of properties and methods.
Every encoded object in computers, like a file, for example, has properties (or attributes) and methods (capabilities).
A basketball is a good example. Its properties are its spherical nature and colour; its methods are that it can be dribbled, shot, and spun.
DNA imbues organisms in the same way. A dog and cat have very different properties and methods. Your heart, lung, and kidneys have different properties and methods.
And if you have ever used a template to create a web page or begin a Word document, you know that a template allows you begin with a block of code already in place to save you time.
In fact, our biology seems to use the same process; we call it race or ethnicity. Every human is already born with a set of properties and methods inherited from its parents based on the mathematics of genetics first proposed by early geneticists.
We get into trouble sometimes in discussing these issues because there invariably begins a discussion of whose properties and methods are betting or superior to others — whose racial template should be favoured or ignored.
But the reality of how biology operates in this way is unquestioned. Similarly, the laws of physics operate mathematically with perfection.
Where this might eventually lead us is to the recognition that we are not a ‘who’ but an ‘it.’
It might reveal that the basis of Life is impersonal. You can see this with the presence of predator and prey; the actions of the lion or the wasp when it renders a spider paralyzed to feed its young is not malicious — it is completely impersonal.
It would seem that when our ancestors began to confront the mysteries of nature they ‘personalized’ them with anthropomorphic projections of deities. But as science has taught us, these are not often actual explanations except, perhaps, in the case of the Egyptians, when these ‘deities’ were actually representing biological and astronomical known truths.
In seeing the perfection of encoded intelligence in genetics, we can evolve to a more balanced and impersonal view of ourselves and nature. For example, I have also written about how the “self” has not been identified neurologically except as a concept within our own thoughts.
This is the beginning of the reality of an idea or what I believe Plato called a “form” — essentially a mental template around which other concepts or memes can form.
For Plato this mental realm of forms was “more real” than what our senses tell us — hence his parable of the Cave, which speaks so eloquently about our limited sensory capacity with respect to reality.
So getting back to the question posed by the title of my book, I reach one main conclusion: namely that there must exist or have existed an immense intelligence that was the source of the organic programming language we have discovered as DNA.
But what if this “source” is not a WHO but an IT? What if it lies at the heart of nature and existence itself, so that infinite intelligence is a PROPERTY and METHOD of reality or existence?
A friend of mine, author and philosopher Tam Hunt, who also writes for CE sometimes, thought I was positing a designer, or what fundamentalists call Intelligent Design, as the “answer” to the title of my book, and then he wrote, “Are you suggesting that natural selection is intelligent in a way that is not normally recognized?”
The answer is yes. Natural selection is an aspect or property or method of evolution and it is evidence of intelligence. But it is not a simple answer because, as Juan Enriquez points out in his latest book, we are now able to reprogram our own DNA and make our own “unnatural” selections.
That can be dangerous, in the case of Eugenics, or miraculous, in the way we can cure disease.
Deepak writes in the prior article: “By taking for granted the obvious fact that it takes a mind to do science, we’ve reached the point where science is leaving out the very component that might answer the questions that urgently need answering.”
This is the “hard problem of consciousness,” within which everything arises, according to Deepak.
What I am suggesting is that we begin to fathom the stark significance that a property of consciousness is INTELLIGENCE — the same infinite intelligence that Eckhart Tolle tells us also manages our breath, digestion, and so on without “OUR” conscious intervention.
It is an intelligence that pre-dates humanity.
Our bodies evidenced by the miracle of biology and DNA are obvious manifestations of this infinite intelligence.
The threat here is to our individual and collective egos. If intelligence is ubiquitous and the self is an illusion, how can I be better or smarter than the next person?
These judgments, however, are always “personal” in nature. When viewed in its impersonal perfection from a higher scale or perspective, Nature itself may be discovered to be impersonally perfect and infinitely intelligent — this is the MIND that we use to “do science,” as Deepak says, but might it borrowed for our limited duration on Earth, and not truly “ours”?
Seen in this way, we can begin to recognize that what we call “mind” or “intelligence” is a property and method of Nature itself and not necessarily a quality that natures requires humans to supply.
We are expendable along with the many other species that are now extinct.
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