Monday, November 28, 2011

A Liturgy


   Father, forgive us, your children

   who reduce your words to sound bytes

   and slogans, satisfied to sign checks

   and the bottoms of greeting cards,

   unknowing the names you call us by.


   Father, forgive us, your body

   who demand to see all things now,

   though by choice blind to gifts

   both simple and complex: inhaling,

   exhaling the letters of your name.


   Father, remember us, the forgetful,

   the inexcusably unmindful, who

   pray tight-fisted sealed-eyed prayers

   imploring providence provide the feast already

   before us, though in the presence of our enemies.


   Father, lighten us, your lights

   darkened by too little breath, too much wind

   made heavy with walls and ceilings,

   neither speaking nor listening,

   neither rooted nor cut to burn.


   Father, quicken us, the diseased,

   the dying, the long dead,

   from our own darkened eyes

   and foolish hearts, for muttering never

   to the still returning yes and amen.

   -- Justin Adams 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lynn Margulis, RIP

       I just read of the recent death of Lynn Margulis, a world-class biologist who was well-known in her field of study, but certainly not as well-known to the larger world as she deserved.

       Kevin Barrett has posted a brief eulogy, in which he properly notes:

"Lynn was one of the greatest scientists of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Her work in the life sciences, which she did not like to call 'evolutionary biology,' set the stage for a paradigm shift away from neo-Darwinian reductionism, and towards an appreciation of the irreducible complexity of the life processes, the importance of microbial life in those processes, and the power and ubiquity of gene-swapping and symbiosis as evolutionary forces.

"Lynn was herself nearly drummed out of orthodox science as a heretic when she began propounding these views circa the early 1960s. Today, they are increasingly accepted by the scientific mainstream."

       At the age of nineteen, she had married the brilliant Carl Sagan, who would eventually become an astronomer and cosmologist of the first rank.  She earned her Ph.D from Berkeley in 1963.  But as a young faculty member at Boston University, she had to fight the biology-academic establishment to get her seminal work published.  Her landmark paper, titled "The Origin of Mitosing Eukaryotic Cells," was rejected by a dozen prestigious scientific journals before its acceptance by the Journal of Theoretical Biology.

       From such frictions come paradigm shifts.  As the decades passed, she could have the satisfaction of seeing that her theoretical insights led to a new and fruitful understanding of biology, from the smallest bacteria to the entire planetary ecosystem.

       She also, like the rest of us, saw the political paradigm-shifting event of 9/11.  And she, along with hundreds of other scientists, professionals, and skeptics, had objections to the official story, and went public with those objections.

       "The 9/11 tragedy is the most successful and most perverse publicity stunt in the history of public relations,"  she declared, calling it "the most effective television commercial in the history of Western civilization."

       After a careful explanation (you can read it here*) of how she came to this bold conclusion, she finishes her remarks thus:

       "I suggest that those of us aware and concerned demand that the glaringly erroneous official account of 9/11 be dismissed as a fraud and a new, thorough, and impartial investigation be undertaken."

       Lynn Margulis died on Tuesday, November 22, 2011.  We may be grateful for her bright, inquisitive, and perceptive mind.

*       *       *

*This statement, along with those from many other people, can be found at the website, Patriots Question 911.  You can also read it in my first comment, below.  Your comments are always welcome.