Holy-moley-more God!

Today we celebrate the revelation of the first draft of the human book of life… it is humbling for me and awe inspiring to realise that we have caught the first glimpse of our own instruction book, previously known only to God.Dr Francis Collins, Head, Human Genome Project, US

“Today we are learning the language in which God created life…We are gaining ever more in awe for the complexity, the beauty, the wonder of God’s most divine and sacred gift.Bill Clinton, US President

‘A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialist age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only truly religious people.’ Albert Einstein, 1954

“Today we hand over the gift of the human genome to the public. It is very fragile and beautiful and a powerful force for great good or great evil.Dr Mike Stratton, Sanger Centre, UK

‘His professional reward, says [Dr Francis Collins, Head of the US public Human Genome Project], comes when he discovers something that "the creator knew ahead of time - that's one of the aspects of my existence I wouldn't trade for anything".’ Francis Collins, ‘The Healer-Believer’, BBC News online

‘Science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration towards truth and understanding. The source of this feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion.’ Albert Einstein, Science and Religion, Nature, 1940

‘How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, ‘This is better than we thought! The Universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant? Instead they say ‘no, no, no! My god is a little god and I want him to stay that way.’ A religion, old or new, that stressed the magnificene of the Universe as revealed by modern science might be able to draw from reserves of reverence and awe hardly tapped by the conventional faiths.’ Pale Blue Dot, Carl Sagan, 1995

‘Dogmatic disbelief of anything that seems unfamiliar or unexplained is not a virtue.’ ref

‘Thanks to my psychological stratagem, I emancipated my modest intellect…and was now able to devote it, fully and without distraction, to the noble worship of science.’ Santiago Ramon y Cajal, Scientist, Recollections of my Life, trans, American Philosophical Society, 1937

‘Where do science and religion meet? I think of God as the greatest scientist. We human scientists have an opportunity to understand the elegance and wisdom of God's creation in a way that is truly exhilarating. When a scientist discovers something that no human knew before,  but God did - that is both an occasion for scientific excitement and, for a believer, also an occasion for worship. It makes me sad that we have slipped into a polarized stance between science and religion that implies that a thinking human being could not believe in the value of both. There is no rational basis for that polarization. I find it completely comfortable to be both a rigorous scientist, who demands to see the data before accepting anybody's conclusions about the natural world, and also a believer whose life is profoundly influenced by the relationship I have with God. Science is our most powerful tool for studying the natural world, but science doesn't necessarily help us so much in trying to understand God; that's where faith comes in.’ Francis Collins, Leader, US Human Genome Project, Christianity Today magazine, 2001

Science and Religion are not the right and left hand of thought

Science and Religion are not the right

and left hand of thought, in opposition,

but profound tools for working together;

for solving the mysteries - and problems

of the world - crucial aspects of one task,

where simplistic thinking has mistakenly

split such mental dexterity into parts

cast irreconcible; crude gang warfare,

leaders who say we must choose,

deny all love, curiosity for other

means, approaches, ideas, interpretations -

arrogant truth from one, ignorant thinking

the other; stunting themselves, their armies,

who are not then the soldiers of truth - love,

but enslaved, not free as was intended,

through all other orders of existence -

freedom, free will, are paramount to life’s

great First Principles - Creation cannot be

controlled absolutely, for Creation

itself is expression of freedom, art

of existence; what can be done with love -

flexible molecules out of original darkness.

Choice has been mutated into stricture,

to intellectual chains binding the free -

yet understanding is not this crystal thing,

grasped clearly in the hand, solid, simple;

but infinitely more complex - mysterious -

in the way of life happening at all is miracle

in the wordless winds of space, sterility

of such bright stars, collapsing matter -

understanding is gradient, approximate

among such huge variables - energies

described; Chaos and Order both

operating in some greater scheme

where freedom, action, energy

and notions of predictability -

creative evolution, are held compatible.

Where pleasure and pain - beauty, love,

are components vital, not peripheral,

as art is not the trimmings, but meat

for the mind; evolutionary force

and product. And biological art,

seen now in the shining Genome -

straddling art, religion and science.

‘If I ask for a living chromosome, that is, for the only effective kind of chromosome, no one can give it to me except in its living surroundings any more than he can give me a living arm or leg.Thus the last of the biological theories leaves us where the first started, in the presence of a power called life or psyche, which is not only of its own kind, but unique in each and all of its exhibitions.’ Charles Singer, A short history of Biology, Harper, 1931

‘In the seventeenth century, Bacon and the men of the Royal Society had not the slightest wish to attack orthodox Christianity. They were mostly devout men who saw their science as closely allied with the Church in resisting unorthodox thinkers such as Kepler who believed in nature and ‘natural magic’, posited mysterious physical forces at work in the universe, and also often held seditious views on politics. Later, during the nineteenth century, as Enlightenment thought became more secular, the perspective changed, it was then that Christianity itself began to be named as the main enemy of science. And today, though that anti-religious pattern stil exists, the ‘two cultures’ war is conceived in yet another way, as opposing science to the disciplines of the humanities – that is, to studies such as history and philosophy which were formerly seen as its allies, and perhaps also to poetry…. Meanwhile parapsychology, which was regarded as perfectly scientific in the nineteenth century, has been conscripted as an extra enemy alongside religion…The ‘science’ that excluded Kepler’s doctrine of gravitation and enthusiastically accepted theism cannot be the same thing as today’s science which reverses those positions... Past changes should surely make us think carefully about why we are now inclined to think of particular attitudes as demands of science.’  Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry, Routeledge, 2003

Marriage of Science and Religion (2)

Maybe -

God is the poetic description for Science:

Science is the factual description of God.


Maybe the Theory of Everything is God -

not old white man in the sky, but concept.

Force, power, energy; intellectual, utterly

compassionate, just - original love source

firing the Universe it sparked -

revealing itself in life, Creation.


Perhaps Science is finding out about God -

not disproving Him; with unlikely disciples.


Maybe the Human Genome says

we should have been looking in

for God, not up. Not among stars -

but in these red letters of the heart.

Zeros and Ones of Existence

As the mind of a computer reads,

and is read, with zeros and ones -

but makes images and colour;

perhaps Genomes are scripts

from the moving hand of God,

written in three letter words -

but making flesh, blood, life;

coding for bright existence.


Science and religion; married in the Genome,

expanding each other’s understanding - two

eyes instead of one; the other pirate, patched,

blind, stubbornly partisan. Now is the time for

a loosening of boundaries - if human genetics

marches into holy halls, it will be recognised

as shining, miraculous; no longer constrained

by chemical labels - as chemicals themselves

are known better as the tools, workings of art.

Made in His image

It is in Invention, Ingenuity - Creativity,

we are found to be most similar to God,

made in his image,

as life apprentices;

Who took a cupful of dust -

water and light; made Earth,

dreaming genes of all her creatures,

written in His living, holy poetry -

humans who would see that this was good -

try imitation, His recipes, magic chemistries;

spy the spiralling power of DNA, simple script,

ABC to nursery rhyme - laddering to immortal

sonnet, forged from the same small letters -

toddler to dance; shivering at such elegance.

Similar too, our inability to stop, let things be;

life must go on - until death’s wide white tape

is snapped, re-folded - unless surrendered,

stolen. Likewise, our struggle against dark;

melancholia, depression, fear, lack of justice;

dexterity, patience, courage - natural fruition.

But different too even after four billennia;

so defficient in our understanding of love.

‘Several prominent evolutionary biologists have recently argued that religious belief is an expression of universal human instinct – that there is in some sense a group of genes for believing in God or gods. (One neuroscientist even claims to have found a dedicated neural module in the temporal lobes of the brain that is bigger or more active in religious believers; hyper-religosity is a feature of some types of temporal lobe epilepsy). A religious instinct may be no more than a by-product of an instinctive superstition to assume that all events have wilful causes…E.O. Wilson even argues in his bookConsilience, that morality is the codified expression of our instincts.’ Matt Ridley, Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters, Fourth Estate, 2000

‘Can a brain scan really divine the God spot? Trying to describe a spiritual experience in scientific terms is like trying to explain the inexplicable, says Professor Steve Jones As I read The Daily Telegraph yesterday, I was so irritated by one piece that I knocked a whole cup of tea into my lap. At once – almost as a reflex – I directed a heated comment to the Deity and leapt smartly to my feet. Smooth, graceful and appropriate, my words and actions involved a network of nerves, muscles and emotions and, had my home magnetic-resonance imaging (MRI) scanner been plugged in, I could have admired the huge variety of brain activities involved in my furious response. And that was what caused such annoyance: a report about research into the "God spot", a part of the brain alleged to light up when religious people experience the Unio Mystica, the feeling of unity with a celestial being. Scientists had tested Carmelite nuns for any "neural correlates of a mystical experience" (although the subjects were obliged to fake their emotion as God, unlike tea, is not always available on demand). In fact, an earlier claim of a single divine centre within the skull did not stand up: instead, the good novices activated a dozen or so separate segments of nervous tissue when they lived through their spiritual event. But why should anyone believe that there is a "God spot" in the brain, any more than a "Hot wet trousers spot"? Newspapers nowadays are decorated with scans showing what bits are activated when we talk, sing, feel happy or depressed, or even experience fiery liquids in the nether regions. It's an old story; an attempt to reduce a complex effect to a simple cause – and if one cause is not enough, then a dozen will do the job. To the crusaders of the CAT scan, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness will all soon be explained as a sort of phosphorescence of the cerebral cortex. Nobody denies the value of such technology when used in hospitals or in studying the physical correlates of pain, but the latest outpouring shows how scientists (medical scientists most of all) have a fatal tendency to think themselves more important, and more capable, than in fact they are. It has all happened before, when – just a couple of years ago – there were repeated announcements of the discovery of a gene "for" this or "for" that (and, yes, the religiosity gene made an early appearance). Then life became complicated. For schizophrenia, or depression, or mood swings, dozens of different culprits were found. Some were chance associations that went away on a closer look, others were unique to certain families, while a few only came into play when the environment changed. Certainly, genes are involved in most human attributes (it's hard to see how they could not be) and of course brain cells are responsible for mystical experiences, but what does that mean? Physics has done quite well in its search for a "theory of everything" – a single explanation that brings together a diffuse and apparently unrelated set of facts. Biology is different: life muddled through, thanks to evolution, and is, as a result, a mess, with the brain about the messiest place of all.’ Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics, University College London, Telegraph online, 2006

‘The zoologist Richard Dawkins has voiced the suspicion that all religions are self-perpetuating mental viruses.’ John Carey, Editor, Faber Book of Science, 2005

Viral understanding of Jesus

A viral understanding of Jesus -

genetic spores, infection of love

spawning evolving Genome -

seems intellectual advantage;

desireable molecular aspiration.

All processes aspiring to love -

as guiding principle, genetic tool,

motivation; in sparkling impulses

pricking organic dark, brain galaxy -

as seed-stars struggling toward light.

‘Was your love for God written in your genes? No. I reject the notion that spirituality is something that will be explained by the study of the genome. The study of the genome will tell us a lot about our biological nature, about the parts of us that are mechanical, but I don't believe it will tell us why almost every human being has a sense of longing for God. I don't believe studying DNA will tell us where the sense of right and wrong we share comes from. I don't believe it will explain why we have this shared urge to do the right thing, even to the extent of putting our own lives in danger to save another, which would be exactly the opposite of what evolution would suggest we should do. All those aspects of humanity are some of the best evidence that there is more to us than chemicals and DNA, that there is a spiritual part to our nature.’ Francis Collins, Leader, US Human Genome Project, Christianity Today magazine, 2001

‘That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.’ John 1, The Bible

I saw a word in the darkness -

I saw a word in the darkness -

that was more like a fish; silver,

indistinct, but moving, slipping

out of sight, hiding under rocks;

a word of Gaelic - Hieroglyphics,

Latin, some language dead, gone,

but ghosting the present, so almost

understood; whispering something

that makes sense, is so comforting,

but cannot yet quite be deciphered.

As if once, I had understood that word -

as I understand how to breathe, naturally,

as simple but necessary truth;

beautiful, but wilfully elusive.

‘I once talked to the great biologist Francis Crick about his research on the evolution of consciousness (a subject, I hasten to say, about which I know almost nothing). He had, he felt, tracked it down to a specific section within the skull called the lateral geniculate nucleus. I made a naïve point: mice have a relatively large version of that structure – does that mean that they are conscious, and could we track down how much so, compared to ourselves, by measuring it? Crick gave me a look of superb disregard. "We have decided," he said, "that certain questions are intrinsically uninteresting. "Consciousness is hard enough to understand, or even to define, but something as vague as a sense of spiritual union is even harder. Can the sacred ever be explained in terms of the profane, as the scanners seem to believe? Do the two deal in the same currency? And, if so, is it possible to set an agreed exchange rate between them? Many dispute that, apart from in the trivial sense pursued by comparative anatomy, there is any real trade between science and whatever makes us human.’ Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics, University College, London, Telegraph online, 2006

Guddling amongst the genes

Guddling amongst these genes -

tracking the Genome’s sparkling

paths, her molecular core, energy;

processing, self-generating heart -

that missing link between God

and Man is much more apparent

by not being there; organic,

touchable, to be sequenced

along with hand or hair or eyes -

blowing among the brain or heart,

as silver-stuff, dove-colour dust, or

silken mannequin ghost, inhabiting

the living skin as fleshly clothing -

human flower temporarily opened

from umbilical wire. A twinkling

charge in some bright light tissue

spun from imagination - strung

with mercury beads of intellect;

everything equally invisible – elusive,

yet principle driving powers, like love.

‘Five other senses help to provide a sense of spirituality (which is why the Church uses incense and hired Bach and Leonardo da Vinci), and each is illuminated by biology: but it is not possible to express the merits of a work of art in scientific language. Although I am a stranger to the Unio Mystica, the same is, it seems to me, likely to be true of the joys of the divine. In spite of the genius of Crick, I still do not know whether mice have transcendental experiences, although perhaps a quick brain scan and a piece of Gorgonzola would soon provide the answer.’ Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics, University College, London, Telegraph online, 2006

‘Matter delights in music, and became Bach. Its dreams are the abyss/ and empyrean, and to that end, may move, in time, the stones/ themselves to sing.’ Ronald Johnson, Beam 7

Maybe scientists are catching up with artists!

Maybe scientists are catching up with artists!

The more they find out, the more we agree! –

We may have been fools, but we were holy fools;

as the world turns out to be more like the product

of thought and poetry than any static, fact-paralysed,

predictable place - straitjacketed by rigid laws, non-

creative determinism - slavery of cause and effect.

Mystery and magic have returned, unfurling dusty,

gorgeous flags; embroidered with symbols, ancient,

held in trust - perpetuity for all dreaming humanity.

The attitudes of science and religion are essentially different and opposed, as science questions everything rather than accepts traditional beliefs”.Richard Gregory, Neuropsychologist

‘In its claim to explain the inexplicable, the brain-scanning business is becoming a science without a theory or – like religion itself – not a science at all. No doubt, as understanding increases, what seemed mysterious will more and more be construed in biological terms. Perhaps, indeed, there is no limit to what biology can explain. Then neurology can become a branch of philosophy (the word "neurotheology" has already been invented) and, with a bit of luck, there will be a papal MRI-scanner to match the Vatican's highly competent official astronomer. That, though, has not happened yet. For the time being, those experts intoxicated by the secrets of their electronic confessional box should try a calming cup of tea before next rushing into print with a new and gaudy icon of quasi-science.’ Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics, University College, London, Telegraph online, 2006

‘Theology might, without any paradox, be regarded as a science, committed to persistently questioning and reinterpreting the available evidence about God.’ John Carey, Editor, Faber Book of Science,  2005

Maybe Science is catching up with God!

Maybe Science is catching up with God!

Coming to pin Him down, to know what

God knew first – everything? But never

quite achieving such perfect knowledge.

‘It does not seem to me to matter much whether one calls this wonder and reverence religious or not except to people who have declared a tribal war about the use of that word. It is of course an element that lies at the root of all religions. In the great religions with which we are familiar, it always plays its part and is subsumed within a wider whole. Reverence for the creation can therefore quite properly inspire and enrich the reverence that is due to its creator. But such wonder and reverence are equally essential to belief-sytems that reject religion…Secular thought in the West has not dropped that notion. Instead, during the last century, it has simply decreed that human individuality is the only thing that has this status. Today it uses words such as sacred and sanctity readily to describe human life, but becomes embarrassed if they are used for anything else. People with this attitude tend to be alarmed by the direct reverence for the non-human world that was expressed by people like Wordworth and Rousseau and to treat it as something not quite serious.’ Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry, Routeledge, 2003

‘Science’s aims seem identical with those of theology, in that they both seek to discover the truth. Science seeks the truth about the physical universe, theology about God. But these are not essentially distinct objectives, for theologians (or at any rate Christian Theologians) believe that God created the universe, so may be contacted through it. Admittedly, many scientists insist that science and religion are irreconcilable.’ John Carey, Editor, Faber Book of Science, 2005

Science and religion both

Science and religion both -

hunt truths among the stars;

places only half understood.

‘Roslin village has…a chapel founded by the Knights Templar, deeply carved with semipagan images, at once both down to earth and mystical; plough-boys wind their way up the columns and into heaven. The ‘Horizon’ television team who came to film Dolly took the strivings of those anxious peasants as a symbol for the hopes and hubris of modern technology, and dwelt long and lovingly upn them.’ Colin Tudge, The Second Creation, Headline, 2001

‘That vision of salvation through science – that hope that scientists can ensure human happiness simply by removing religion – is still familiar today…Theorists anxious to wipe out all trace of religion have repeatedly tried to reach a pole of total meaninglessness, but their efforts always end by expressing, not a vacuum of meaning but a different meaning, a different drama, and not necessarily a better one. Gods are much easier to remove than demons.’  Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry, Routeledge, 2003

‘I consider the scientific ethos superior to religion…The core of scientific materialism is the evolutionary epic… the evolutionary epic is probably the best myth we will ever have.’ EO Wilson, On Human Nature, 1978

‘Sociobiology, however much it celebrates the unity of life, also tends to generate, through its uncontrolled rhetoric, a mindless social atomism…It is also interesting to note that sociobiolgoical celebration of evolution has, equally with Gaia, a religious angle… Wilson, for one, welcomes this idea. He describes the evolutionary story, and the materialism which he thinks underlies it, as a rival mythology in direct competition with traditional religion, an improved substitute which can be relied on to supersede it.’ The Evolutionary Church, Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry, Routeledge, 2003

‘Approaches to life that are, in moral terms, cold, clinical and inhuman, are sometimes labelled ‘scientific’, but this is an misunderstanding, arising from simple-minded transference of scientific method to moral attitudes.’ John Carey, Editor, Faber Book of Science, 2005

The impulse to create God in the mind

Natural impulse to create God in the mind

is itself redolent of the power of concept –

men and women have died, so convinced;

but in most, the stirring is among grasses

of the brain; whispering sparks, synapses,

sparkling questions in darkness - ancient

compulsion to kneel, pray outside the self

in times of crisis or fear; should all this be

discounted? God in the sunset, as a leaping

salmon shattering the blood-red waters?

God in the black night peace, molecules

both. Are they irreconcilable, opposites,

mutually exclusive; or is that thought,

too, belief? Built in the mind with far

less evidence; those crude descriptions

of how things are, used against anything

that cannot be so, thus described, known,

decoded - as if the accidental appearance

of creation out of darkness, space,

was not itself a miracle by another

name; theory as magnificent poem.

It’s not so hard to think of ourselves as script

It’s not so hard to think of ourselves as written script,

when the day is already a poem of coagulated light -

clotted with golden spirits of clustered autumn leaves,

perching boughs like bunches of rustling yellow birds,

shedding their warm summer skins, dried bodies,

now fluttering insanely to clanging metal earth -

as silver bones of thin grass fingers sparkle,

breathing shallow mist from seized green -

blue soothes all worries through the drinking eye,

spark-plug Sun re-charging sad flat winter hearts;

slush-ice numbing the moving river word, paralysing

her insistent voice; a last flower stands Faberged stiff.

When trees are caught in their ceremonial white sleeves,

embroidered, diaphanous from the freezing night party -

poised uplifted, only trembling with enough residual life

to shimmer, crazily cascade glittering crystals temporary

to this morning; like a storybook spell told to a believing,

enchanted child – a breakthrough of the underlying silver

script of essential tree - her starry leaf corpses embalmed -

mummified with seasonal furs. There is the white stillness

of a page, strange ache of beautiful writing;

slowing of this world moment, before light

is overpowered once more by the general

temper of a season, sieged by encroaching

darkness - though resisting to her last drop

of thick gold blood, fox-red globules gluing

to the last shine of anything - leafing Western

windows, making Stygian coins in living eyes;

but succumbing slowly to terrible night -

when small hot birds will fall dead under

malevolent winter stars - all smiling at the kill -

under the stern, bloodless white eye of frowning

Moon, her grim features set in stone,

like old women after unhappy lives -

wrinkles under ancient, hopeless dust,

that print her forgotten water, forever.

I press this silver day in the leaves of my book,

where everything in me and about me is stored;

as the sycamore key is encrypted clue to the tree,

a whole forest of sycamores coming, if unlocked.

We stand as poems in a poem

We stand as poems in a poem -

our skin taken by salmon light,

transforming us to a moment

of natural holiness; creatures

of light, burning in our skins -

molecules glowing, disrupted

from the normal, smoother calm

of everyday things to revelatory

breakdown - osmosis of light,

spirit in everything - immune

to present categories of senses;

dissolution of illusion - abrupt

individuality, skin barrier to all

other constituents of the whole

universe; the tremble of my little

crooked finger shoogles the hurt

red dust of Mars, might one day

seed whole planets or lifeforms -

fuel another struggling from water

into light, alien to this transforming

light, filling the chilled blue bowl .

Our blood rises, animal, defensive,

so wild with life in our veins

it has turned brilliant red, hot,

burning in cold; red and hot also

our mouths, holes into the fabric

where we draw down oxygen,

food for our organism – speak;

displaying already moving white words

of our ghost, a visible print of the living

breath; rare witness to our being here -

bone and flesh statues, representations

made particular by arcane processes

shuffling in the unformed dark; seed-

being as mysterious now in evolved recipe

as it was in the first shaped clay and water.

Together we are writing the word

of love - our testament to origin - 

in a kinder milk-blue poem of evening,

before midnight’s ruthless black stanza.    

From the dust of stars came letters

From the dust of stars came letters;

to spell creation - from the crumbs

of earth and water, desire of light,

came life - hearing original Word;

a voice calling form, function,

replication and multiplication -

reproduction; the urge to live,

survive in the immortal chain,

genome to genome, as incorporation,

adapted - ghosts of the living filleted

from the dead, still existing; disembodied

code like the first spirit - which is living -

printed in another, another;

infinite presence, first seed

of the organic, love’s own chemistry,

exemplified in everything now alive.

The notion of Evolution does not kill God

The notion of evolution does not kill God;

thinking life is holy does not require God

standing by on the existential touchlines

with His electric, Michelangelo finger -

zapping lightning bolts, rustling up

Adam and Eve in a minute or two -

what about allegory, symbolism and myth;

making things comprehensible, graspable -

beautiful. If life began in a drop of water,

with star molecules - a clinging of RNA -

force moving through shell and wing;

foot, fur, finger, multi-coloured skin -

it is no less miraculous that life evolved;

more miraculous than water into wine -

blind men seeing, cripples walking,

a man returning from bodily death,

brutal expiry of organic chemistry; 

is wonderful, weird like a butterfly,

seeing eye; aptly, such holiness,

a pure concentration of our own.

Evolution makes the case for God

Evolution makes the case for God -

slightly re-tailored, less old-fashioned,

starchy, as men from the past preferred;

better than any Creationist, Evangelical.

God said plainly he was the Word -

the Word of Life, and now we read

how the word spelled us from the dust,

three billion letters over four billennia,

just to make each one; no wonder each

is loved, being from the original Word

echoing through time, through life.

Expression and chain, binding all,

born from God’s unending desire

to create, as author of the code -

poet who wrote the world -

and all its scripted creatures.

Genome without a body

Is an angel some expression of the Genome

without a body? Jostling molecules of fiery

red heart, other fantastic chemistries.

Distilled, still powerful as a memory,

showing our fossil wings, our genetic template;

shining still under skin, poking shoulder blades.

Our survival into wherever - whatever realm

the genome writes; written before chemistry,

realisation here. Those haloes almost seen;

personal air around affected by everything

we do - enhancing, diminishing, polishing,

stoking; responsible for our own pilot light,

until the body crumbles back to molecules -

and we see what creature shivers there now.

Umbilical Soul

As a baby is plugged -

wound from the mother;

so the soul, plugged,

is wound from God.

Beating blood hose -

organic oxygen pipe.

Invisible spirit-wire -

conducting fuel: love.

‘When human life lay grovelling in men’s sight, crushed to the earth under the dead weight of superstition…a man of Greece was first to raise mortal eyes in defiance, first to stand erect and brave the challenge. Fables of the gods did not crush him…He, first of all men, longed to smash the constraining locks of nature’s doors…He ventured far out beyond the flaming ramparts of the world and voyaged in mind throughout infinity. Returning victorious, he proclaimed to us what can be and what cannot: how the power of each thing is limited…Therefore superstition in its turn lies crushed beneath his feet, and we by his triumph are lifted level with the skies.’ Lucretius, Book 1

‘Religion constitutes the greatest challenge to human sociobiology and its most exciting opportunity to progress as a truly original theoretical discipline. If the mind is to any extent guided by Kantian imperatives, they are more likely to be found in religious feeling than in rational thought… Make no mistake about the power of scientific materialism. It presents the human mind with an alternative mythology that until now has always, point for point in zones of conflict, defeated traditional religion…The time has come to ask: Does a way exist to divert the power of religion into the great new enterprises that lay bare the source of that power?’ EO Wilson, On Human Nature, 1978

‘Wilson is, of course, recognising an important truth here. He has seen that every thought-system has at its core a guiding myth – not a myth in the sense of a lie but of an imaginative vision, a picture which does indeed ‘express its appeal to the deepest needs of our nature’. And he sees, what not all scientists do see, that this is as true of world-views that are accepted as scientific as it is of other world-views.’ Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry, Routeledge, 2003

Why steal God

Why steal God because he will not fit into a theory;

box of numbers, squiggling partial understandings –

if something is not X, Y or Z, therefore it does not exist;

if God is not an old omnipotent white man, then nothing.

If He cannot swoop down like a giant seagull, stop wars,

child death - alleviate famine, stop the mountains falling,

then what’s the point? God is an expansive thought,

simple and vast - force and life, original and infinite;

too much to get your head round - yet understood

by small children. Holy, the best term for Nature’s

chemistry, life proving to be letters strung, re-strung;

idea that whole creature poems come from one word.

‘What a book a Devil’s chaplain might write on the clumsy, wasteful, blundering low & horridly cruel works of nature!’ Charles Darwin (1809-82), private notebook

‘Quantum religio potuit suadere malorum’ – how many crimes has religion made people commit

Look, ye cannae blame Goad fir his foallowers

Look, ye cannae blame Goad fir his foallowers -

He hasnae goat a say, Free Will an a that; cannae

interveen wi a great pointy finger an say: ‘Oi,

yoos loat doon there - ad rather be foallowed

by a loast dug’, thin that soarry bunch o blitherin

dunderheeds, self-righteous eejits, thinkin theyrit

whin they seem tae hae missed the most basic

bits, point o ma word – ‘Love thy neighbour’

a said, nae blow thim up, nae pittin yerself up,

superior like, thinkin am listenin mair tae yoo,

whin a dinnae go in fer that direct line stuff,

Broadband connection tae special chums -

am mair subtle see - ma interface wi Free Will

bein yin o ma best inventions; it’s complicated

mind, a dinnae expect tae be fully understood -

an nae judgin ithers, that’s ma department, ken,

whin they’re deed; (o yiz are a sorry then!).

But tak aboot presumptious, claimin me fir

their ain, personal - oan-the-shoulder, ear-

whisperin wee Goad, when a am The Yin,

ken, the Boass - if we’re gettin self-important,

it wiz me whit created the yooniverse; planets,

waa-ter, light fir blinkin’ sake, an a ma creatures –

a dinnae like tae see even yin ended afore it’s time,

nae kiddin, honest; one wee bit wild goat starved oot

o’ existence maks me greet, fir a am aw compassion -

aw life is precious tae me; it’s ma principle

tae be creative, tae bring forth yet mair life,

an untimely death, extinction, is the De’il’s work,

nae mine, mind - nae mine. An remember, yoos -

by their work shall ye know them – a ma servants

shid be blimmin oabvious frae their shining deeds,

ken; nae wearin a badge, cloak o words, word

oan thir flamin forehead - that’s nae ma bag -

ye dinnae need tae keep goan oan an oan aboot me,

just get oan wi yeers lives, rememberin whit a said,

aboot love, caring fir ithers, lookin after Earth;

that’s whit a want, maks me shine stroanger…’

See, he canne say a that, wid muck up Free Will,

an he canne hae that – so if yir affa suffering fae

a those Holy Willies - an wonderin whit a shame

smoatin went oot o’  fashion, then just remember;

ye canne hud Goad responsible fir his foallowers,

though ye can mak sure yir nae pit aff by them... 

‘There is much more of both (Epicureanism and Stoicism) in our current ideas that we usually notice. But there was then a further special reason for welcoming the Epicurean attack on religion, namely the wars and persecutions that disgraced the name of religion in the 16th and 17th Centuries. Enlightenment philosphers such as Hobbes, Hume and Voltaire who were horrified by those wars and persecutions saw a quite new force in Lucretius’ invectives against religion.’ Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry, Routeledge, 2003

We made God to our own design

We made God to our own design - then disappointed, angry -

knocked Him down like a child’s high tower of bricks; railing

against the deity - instead of the paucity of our own invention.

We did things in God’s name, then turned round, blamed Him

for our misdemeanours; even when they were directly against

everything Jesus taught of peace, compassion, tolerance, love.

We made war in God’s name - whose word is Peace -

flew Him as a flag, who has no colour but the red heart;

no motive but creativity, preservation, perfection of life.

How we have castigated Him for the actions of any church -

his tribes of so-called followers caring more for themselves

than the poor, sick and vulnerable; children, so near to God.

We have made God in our own image

We have made God in our own image -

then blamed Him for His form, attitudes,

the nature we created; made accusations

of abandonment, non-existence, indifference,

just for not matching up to our own criteria -

so it is not the concept of God that is at fault,

antipathy is to our own invention – creation,

historical embroidery over simple messages;

just stick to love and peace man, God works!

Men felt it necessary to have a war against God

Men felt it necessary to have a war against God, struggle

for freedom, because they made God to be tyrant, gaoler;

invented churches stuffed full of unchristian ‘Christians’,

not knowing the meaning of love, tolerance, compassion,

who would walk on by anyone not white, non-smoking, teetotal,

heterosexual; never mind AIDS victim, schitzophrenic, alcoholic;

all those whom God has made our joint responsibility, mission -

the mission of the ordinary, everyday, whom science has proved

our brothers, sisters, children, just as Jesus said; all our family

in the unity of life, in the open hand of existence - where love

is the imperative, practised insipiration - synthesis with light

into the nature of goodness; lantern lighting the crooked path.

‘I am not saying that the atomic theory would never have emerged in science if it had not had these particular philosophical and poetic roots in Greece and Rome. I am saying that, if the theory had had different roots, it would not have brought with it this particular world picture, this myth, this drama, this way of accomodating science in the range of human activities, this notion of what it is to have a scientific attitude…In particular, there seems no reason to think that the mere advance of science itself would necessarily have brought with it the Epicureans’ undiscriminating, wholesale hostility to everything called religion – their notion that the value of science lay primarily in its power to make people happier by displacing religion from human life.’ Mary Midgley, Science and Poetry, Routeledge, 2003

Don’t blame God for how we made him up

Don’t blame God for how we made him up -

conjured from the tip of mortality’s tiny pen;

whoever thought a Creator who turned water

into wine - (also amoebae, flowers, people) -

would demand total abstinence from alcohol

to be thought holy - get real! Cheers, Jesus! 

God is possible again!

God is possible again;

break out the Bibles!!

Immortal God has arisen

from the dead once more!

Increasing reports of God’s death

have been greatly exaggerated -

by atheists and Nietszche -

or monocultured scientists;

by rationalists, 

life pessimists -

but not horticulturists!

or even ornithologists!

Written in organic poetry -

stripped bones of existence,

Genome’s lettered heart -

the Word is now revealed;

meaning Life - just

how He said it was.

Note from the author
exploring the project

    The Human Genome Project
    – Public versus private
    Gene Patenting
    Blood Poems
    Holy-Moley-More God!
        Holy Physics
        More Religious Chemistry
        Artificial Life
        Genomic Vision

Leave a comment
About the author
Make a contribution
Legal note on copyrightHome.htmlNote_from_the_author.htmlExploring_the_project.htmlQuotes.htmlIntroduction.htmlContents.htmlSEQUENCE_ONE.htmlSEQUENCE_TWO.htmlSEQUENCE_THREE.htmlSEQUENCE_FOUR.htmlEthics.htmlPublic_versus_Private.htmlPublic_versus_Private.htmlGene_Patenting.htmlBlood_Poems.htmlHoly_Physics.htmlMore_religious_chemistry.htmlArtificial_Life.htmlGenomic_Vision.htmlComment.htmlAbout.htmlContribute.htmlCopyright.htmlshapeimage_4_link_0shapeimage_4_link_1shapeimage_4_link_2shapeimage_4_link_3shapeimage_4_link_4shapeimage_4_link_5shapeimage_4_link_6shapeimage_4_link_7shapeimage_4_link_8shapeimage_4_link_9shapeimage_4_link_10shapeimage_4_link_11shapeimage_4_link_12shapeimage_4_link_13shapeimage_4_link_14shapeimage_4_link_15shapeimage_4_link_16shapeimage_4_link_17shapeimage_4_link_18shapeimage_4_link_19shapeimage_4_link_20shapeimage_4_link_21shapeimage_4_link_22shapeimage_4_link_23