Healthy Living

serious times

 

 

World Hunger

  • 842 million people – or one in eight people in the world – do not have enough to eat. 2
  • 98% of the world’s undernourished people live in developing countries.2
  • Where is hunger the worst?
    • Asia: 552 million2
    • Sub-Saharan Africa: 223 million2
    • Latin America and the Caribbean: 47 million2

Aiming at the very heart of hunger, The Hunger Project is currently committed to work in BangladeshBeninBurkina FasoEthiopiaIndiaGhana,MalawiMexicoMozambiquePeruSenegal and Uganda.

Women and Children

  • 60 percent of the world’s hungry are women.2
  • 50 percent of pregnant women in developing countries lack proper maternal care, resulting in 240,000 maternal deaths annually from childbirth.3
  • 1 out of 6 infants are born with a low birth weight in developing countries.4
  • Poor nutrition causes nearly half (45%) of deaths in children under five – 3.1 million children each year. That is 8,500 children per day.6
  • A third of all childhood death in sub-Saharan Africa is caused by hunger.5
  • 66 million primary school-age children attend classes hungry across the developing world, with 23 million in Africa alone.6
  • Every 10 seconds, a child dies from hunger-related diseases.5

The Hunger Project firmly believes that empowering women to be key change agents is an essential element to achieving the end of hunger and poverty. Wherever we work, our programs aim to support women and build their capacity.

HIV/AIDS and other Diseases

  • 35 million people are living with HIV/AIDS.7
  • 52 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS are women.7
  • 88 percent of all children and 60 percent of all women living with HIV are in sub-Saharan Africa.7
  • 6.9 million children died in 2011 each year – 19,000 a day- mostly from preventable health issues such as malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia.5

Launched in 2003, The Hunger Project’s HIV/AIDS and Gender Inequality Campaign works at the grassroots level to provide education about preventative and treatment measures.

Poverty

  • 1.4 billion people in developing countries live on $1.25 a day or less.8
  • Rural areas account for three out of every four people living on less than $1.25 a day.9
  • 22,000 children die each day due to conditions of poverty.10

Rural Hunger Project partners have access to income-generating workshops, empowering their self-reliance. Our Microfinance Program in Africa provides access to credit, adequate training and instilling in our partners the importance of saving.

Agriculture

  • 75 percent of the world’s poorest people — 1.4 billion women, children, and men — live in rural areas and depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihood.11
  • 50 percent of hungry people are farming families.11

In each region in which we work, The Hunger Project provides tools and training to increase farming production at the local level. In Africa, our epicenter partners run community farms where they implement new techniques while producing food for the epicenter food bank.

Water

  • 1.7 billion people lack access to clean water.12
  • 2.3 billion people suffer from water-borne diseases each year.12
  • 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water, and none of the 12 percent lives in developing countries.13

The Hunger Project works with communities to develop new water resources, ensure clean water and improved sanitation, and implement water conservation techniques

 

Sources:

  1. US Census Bureau, International Data Base
  2. State of Food Security in the World 2013
  3. MDG Report – Goal 5, 2013 (pdf)
  4. World Hunger and Poverty Statistics, 2013
  5. MDG Report – Goal 4, 2013 (pdf)
  6. World Food Programme Hunger Statistics
  7. UN AIDS Report on the Global Epidemic, 2013
  8. IFAD Rural Poverty Report 2011
  9. Human Development Report, 2007/2008
  10. UNICEF State of the World’s Children, 2010 (pdf)
  11. FAO Addressing Food Insecurity in Protracted Crises, 2010 (pdf)
  12. WHO Unsafe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (pdf)
  13. Water as Commodity – The Wrong Prescription by Maude Barlow, The Institute for Food and Development Policy
  14. A Life Free From Hunger: Tackling Child Malnutrition, Save the Children, Feb 2012

 

 

VICTIMS

SHORTLY after the birth of her sixth child, Mathilde went with her baby into the fields to collect the harvest. She saw two men approaching, wearing what she says was the uniform of the FDLR, a Rwandan militia. Fleeing them she ran into another man, who beat her head with a metal bar. She fell to the ground with her baby and lay still. Perhaps thinking he had murdered her, the man went away. The other two came and raped her, then they left her for dead.

Mathilde’s story is all too common. Rape in war is as old as war itself. After the sack of Rome 16 centuries ago Saint Augustine called rape in wartime an “ancient and customary evil”. For soldiers, it has long been considered one of the spoils of war. Antony Beevor, a historian who has written about rape during the Soviet conquest of Germany in 1945, says that rape has occurred in war since ancient times, often perpetrated by indisciplined soldiers. But he argues that there are also examples in history of rape being used strategically, to humiliate and to terrorise, such as the Moroccan regulares in Spain’s civil war.

As the reporting of rape has improved, the scale of the crime has become more horrifyingly apparent (see table). And with the Bosnian war of the 1990s came the widespread recognition that rape has been used systematically as a weapon of war and that it must be punished as an egregious crime. In 2008 the UN Security Council officially acknowledged that rape has been used as a tool of war. With these kinds of resolutions and global campaigns against rape in war, the world has become more sensitive. At least in theory, the Geneva Conventions, governing the treatment of civilians in war, are respected by politicians and generals in most decent states. Generals from rich countries know that their treatment of civilians in the theatre of war comes under ever closer scrutiny. The laws and customs of war are clear. But in many parts of the world, in the Hobbesian anarchy of irregular war, with ill-disciplined private armies or militias, these norms carry little weight.

Take Congo; it highlights both how horribly common rape is, and how hard it is to document and measure, let alone stop. The eastern part of the country has been a seething mess since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. In 2008 the International Rescue Committee (IRC), a humanitarian group, estimated that 5.4m people had died in “Africa’s world war”. Despite peace deals in 2003 and 2008, the tempest of violence has yet fully to subside. As Congo’s army and myriad militias do battle, the civilians suffer most. Rape has become an ugly and defining feature of the conflict.

Plenty of figures on how many women have been raped are available but none is conclusive. In October Roger Meece, the head of the United Nations in Congo, told the UN Security Council that 15,000 women had been raped throughout the country in 2009 (men suffer too, but most victims are female). The UN Population Fund estimated 17,500 victims for the same period. The IRC says it treated 40,000 survivors in the eastern province of South Kivu alone between 2003 and 2008.

“The data only tell you so much,” says Hillary Margolis, who runs the IRC’s sexual-violence programme in North Kivu. These numbers are the bare minimum; the true figures may be much higher. Sofia Candeias, who co-ordinates the UN Development Programme’s Access to Justice project in Congo, points out that more rapes are reported in places with health services. In the areas where fighting is fiercest, women may have to walk hundreds of miles to find anyone to tell that they have been attacked. Even if they can do so, it may be months or years after the assault. Many victims are killed by their assailants. Others die of injuries. Many do not report rape because of the stigma.

Congo’s horrors are mind-boggling. A recent study by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative and Oxfam examined rape survivors at the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, a town in South Kivu province. Their ages ranged from three to 80. Some were single, some married, some widows. They came from all ethnicities. They were raped in homes, fields and forests. They were raped in front of husbands and children. Almost 60% were gang-raped. Sons were forced to rape mothers, and killed if they refused.

The attention paid to Congo reflects growing concern about rape in war. Historically the taboo surrounding rape has been so strong that few cases were reported; evidence of wartime rape before the 20th century is scarce. With better reporting, the world has woken up to the scale of the crime. The range of sexual violence in war has become apparent: the abduction of women as sex slaves, sexualised torture and mutilation, rape in public or private.

In some wars all parties engage in it. In others it is inflicted mainly by one side. Rape in wars in Africa has had a lot of attention in recent years, but it is not just an African problem. Conflicts with high levels of rape between 1980 and 2009 were most numerous in sub-Saharan Africa, according to Dara Kay Cohen of the University of Minnesota (see chart). But only a third of sub-Saharan Africa’s 28 civil wars saw the worst levels of rape—compared with half of Eastern Europe’s nine. And no part of the world has escaped the scourge.

The anarchy and impunity of war goes some way to explaining the violence. The conditions of war are often conducive to rape. Young, ill-trained men, fighting far from home, are freed from social and religious constraints. The costs of rape are lower, the potential rewards higher. And for ill-fed, underpaid combatants, rape can be a kind of payment.

Full article: http://www.economist.com/node/17900482

 

 

Successful Instruction (teacher resource)

The whole purpose of education is to educate. Therefore it is for educators to focus on EFFECTIVE methods of instruction. If teachers are not providing adequate instruction, then the students will not receive the guidance they need. Accurate and properly presented instruction is essential. This review will briefly touch on implementing instruction and models of instruction, and it will include my thoughts and reflection.

There is always a way. This holds true in all areas of life. Sometimes the way is hidden and unknown, but there is always a way. In order to find the way, one must open one’s mind to all possibilities. When planning instruction, we need to be sure the information is accurate and we need to be sure that the manner in which our instruction is presented is one that is designed to maximize the students’ ability to learn.

Conducting class takes great care and precision. It begins with a pure and loving heart that genuinely wants to help everyone. With this nature and intention, we need to be sure we are extra patient and extra focused and extra disciplined.

We need to do everything we can to help the students help themselves. In the grand scheme of things, it is up to every individual to accomplish for one’s self. As educators, we need to help our students in every way we can to learn, grow, and evolve. It is not for educators to just regurgitate information to the students without feeling. Part of being human is being emotional and sensitive. Therefore, as educators, we need to understand the human psyche and acknowledge that people are steadily “awakening” to greater depths of consciousness. We need to be aware of this reality when teaching and adjust for it accordingly. A two year old baby is in a lesser developed state of consciousness than a forty year old adult whose state of consciousness (under healthy conditions) is much more developed. With that said, we can understand the gradual expansion of consciousness over time. With these factors and more, we need to present our instruction in a manner that will provide the best results and help the student in the best way possible. This should be the goal of every instructor of knowledge.

If one wishes to improve one’s health, there are many things one can do. One may choose to eat more fruits and vegetables in order to improve health and nothing more. This WILL improve health (as long as the fruits and veggies are fresh and pure, ideally organic, and free of pesticides and other toxins). Another person may choose to do the same AND include drinking more water, taking vitamins, herbs, and “superfoods” such as, raw organic honey, goji berries, cocoa, cordyceps and more. This too will improve one’s health, even more than only eating more fruits and veggies. THEN there’s the person who chooses the same healthy diet with all superfoods AND this person chooses to do push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups and squats everyday along with weightlifting. This person, when exercising properly (in a healthy and balanced manner), will be EVEN MORE healthy than the first two people! The next person then decides to take it to the next level and do all the things the third person did and adds to it, Tai Chi, Yoga, Chi Gung, meditation, and running. With this example, we can see how some people put in greater effort than others. Successful educators work hard (with great effort to do the best) to teach every student with care and precision, which yields greater success.

Honey offers a successful approach to fighting antibiotic resistance

Honey, that delectable condiment for breads and fruits, could be one sweet solution to the serious, ever-growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, researchers said in Dallas today.

Honey could be one sweet solution to the serious, ever-growing problem of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, researchers said in Dallas* today. Medical professionals sometimes use honey successfully as a topical dressing, but it could play a larger role in fighting infections, the researchers predicted.

“The unique property of honey lies in its ability to fight infection on multiple levels, making it more difficult for bacteria to develop resistance,” said study leader Susan M. Meschwitz, Ph.D. That is, it uses a combination of weapons, including hydrogen peroxide, acidity, osmotic effect, high sugar concentration and polyphenols — all of which actively kill bacterial cells, she explained. The osmotic effect, which is the result of the high sugar concentration in honey, draws water from the bacterial cells, dehydrating and killing them.

In addition, several studies have shown that honey inhibits the formation of biofilms, or communities of slimy disease-causing bacteria, she said. “Honey may also disrupt quorum sensing, which weakens bacterial virulence, rendering the bacteria more susceptible to conventional antibiotics,” Meschwitz said. Quorum sensing is the way bacteria communicate with one another, and may be involved in the formation of biofilms. In certain bacteria, this communication system also controls the release of toxins, which affects the bacteria’s pathogenicity, or their ability to cause disease.

Meschwitz, who is with Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I., said another advantage of honey is that unlike conventional antibiotics, it doesn’t target the essential growth processes of bacteria. The problem with this type of targeting, which is the basis of conventional antibiotics, is that it results in the bacteria building up resistance to the drugs.

Honey is effective because it is filled with healthful polyphenols, or antioxidants, she said. These include the phenolic acids, caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid and ellagic acid, as well as many flavonoids. “Several studies have demonstrated a correlation between the non-peroxide antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of honey and the presence of honey phenolics,” she added. A large number of laboratory and limited clinical studies have confirmed the broad-spectrum antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties of honey, according to Meschwitz.

She said that her team also is finding that honey has antioxidant properties and is an effective antibacterial. “We have run standard antioxidant tests on honey to measure the level of antioxidant activity,” she explained. “We have separated and identified the various antioxidant polyphenol compounds. In our antibacterial studies, we have been testing honey’s activity against E. coliStaphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, among others.”

*This study was presented the 247th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS).

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140316132801.htm

Eating organic food protects from pesticide exposure

Eating organic food protects from pesticide exposure

Filed Under: Pesticides Organics Health Children
Children who switched to eating organically-grown food greatly reduced their exposure to organophosphate insecticides. Scientists from Seattle and Atlanta just published the results of their study which linked pesticides in children’s urine to pesticide residues on food. Scientists worry that organophosphates might harm children’s developing nervous systems.

Children who switched to eating organically-grown food greatly reduced their exposure to organophosphate insecticides. Scientists from Seattle and Atlanta just published the results of their study which linked pesticides in children’s urine to pesticide residues on food. Scientists worry that organophosphates might harm children’s developing nervous systems.

Twenty-three elementary-aged children participated in a 15 day study which was divided into three parts. First the children ate their usual diet of conventionally-grown food for 3 days. Then they were switched to organically-grown substitutes for 5 days. For the final 7 days, they switched back to conventional food.

The organic substitutes were mainly fruits, vegetables, juices, and grain products (such as wheat) because these foods are often contaminated with organophosphates.

Urine samples were collected twice a day for each child. Researchers tested the urine for signs of pesticides.

In the case of two organophosphate insecticides — malathion and chlorpyrifos — the results were startling. Signs of these two chemicals were found in the urine in the first part of the study. Almost immediately after the children switched to an organic diet, these chemicals could not be detected. The chemicals showed up again when the children switched back to their normal diet.

The researchers said “We were able to demonstrate that an organic diet provides a dramatic and immediate protective effect against exposures to organophosphorus pesticides that are commonly used in agriculture.”

More information on chlorpyrifos

The organophosphate family of chemicals damages the nervous system (which includes the brain), so scientists are particularly concerned about children’s exposure because their bodies are still developing. Chlorpyrifos is one of the many insecticides in this chemical family.

In 1999, the Environmental Protection Agency decided to start cancelling some uses of chlorpyrifos, in part because of some disturbing animal studies. For example, newborn rats were much more susceptible to toxic effects of chlorpyrifos than adults. Also, even low doses of chlorpyrifos caused structural changes in the development of the brain.

While chlorpyrifos has been greatly restricted for uses in and around homes, it is still widely used in agriculture. The study described above makes it clear that children are still exposed to chlorpyrifos from residues on food.

http://www.pesticide.org/the-buzz/eating-organic-food-protects-children-from-pesticide-exposure

Taking Action to Reduce Global Warming

Taking Action to Reduce Global Warming

The following article is a review on a study taken from the journal Science Education entitled, Beliefs and Willingness to Act About Global Warming: Where to Focus Science Pedagogy?

[view full article online after registering] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/sce.2013.97.issue-2/issuetoc

This article will focus on the role that science educators have in promoting student awareness of global warming and their role in empowering students to take action to reduce global warming. In this study, 500 secondary students from New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and 785 secondary students from England, contribute their thoughts regarding the effectiveness of various actions that need to be taken to address the issue of global warming through the use of a specially designed questionnaire. The relationship between beliefs and willingness to take action to help reduce the impact of global warming is a major focal point of this study, as well as actions science educators may take to encourage pro-environmental behavior. Herein, I will give a summary of the study and the points that I feel are the most important, and I will include my thoughts on actions science educators should take to address socioscientific issues.

Climate neutrality is a term that wraps up the goal of achieving a balanced and harmonious planet. To achieve this, the article explains, it is imperative that governments, cities, businesses, and individuals, especially in developed countries, make changes to their energy usage. For global warming to be reduced and eventually brought back to equilibrium, people need to change. This parallels the prophetic Biblical message that states for kingdoms to change, people need to change. Similarly, if we want to reduce green house gases and restore the natural balance, people need to change the way they think and the way they behave.

Science educators are employed to disseminate science understandings and science inquiry skills. However, this research supports the notion that science educators can make a real contribution to the adoption of pro-environmental behaviors. Science teachers, in my opinion, need to focus not only on issues surrounding global warming, but also on promoting students’ scientific knowledge and social activism in ways that reinforce each other.

In this study, science education would be making a necessary and essential contribution to enabling students to make reasoned decisions in science-related personal and civic matters. When students feel personally empowered to effect change related to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, this prerequisite for action will motivate them to engage in content-specific knowledge and cognitive skills. While socioscientific activism may not be a traditional role of science teachers, it is a role that is becoming more and more of a NEED.

This study begins by analyzing students from two different cultures and imploring their beliefs about the necessity to take action to reduce global warming, followed by their WILLINGNESS to take pro-environmental action. It was stated in this research, that for students to be empowered to meet the challenge of global warming, students must, “be motivated for action toward the global warming problem (have hope and vision for the future, have a general feeling that they can influence the future of the world, be interested and engaged in the global warming issue, and think that environmental protection is important for society),” and they need to have, “sufficient knowledge about the science of global warming, possible adequate actions in terms of personal lifestyle, technical solutions and political measures, and possible channels of influence through politics, organizations, etc.”

Sufficient knowledge thus becomes the role of science educators. Science educators need to broaden the awareness of the students. This can easily be done while maintaining the traditional approach of imparting science understanding. Planting trees and learning about botany is a great way for science teachers to impart the knowledge they are employed to impart, while promoting an ACTIVE role in reducing global warming. In the article, they go on to say that science education, “can assist in meeting many of these requirements, and a science teacher, focusing on social activism as well as science understanding and inquiry processes, and who is also aware of these empirical findings and theoretical positions about being pro-environmentally active, will make better informed pedagogical decisions that may assist students in deciding to take pro-environmental actions.” Science teachers may be able to enhance more of their students’ understanding by requiring them to compare energy use and consequent greenhouse gas emissions of different appliances and houses without insulation and other areas of study.

According to this study, more English students than NSW students believed that nuclear power, home insulation, less artificial fertilizer use, and more recycling would reduce global warming. About forty percent of all the students believed that the best ways to address global warming were to use public transportation, renewable resources, to plant more trees, to use smaller cars, and to use less home electricity. The other forty percent believed recycling, the use of nuclear energy, the use of energy efficient appliances, insulation (to reduce energy use), and fertilizer free foods is the best approach in addressing the global warming issue. Lastly, approximately twenty percent of the students believed that using fewer new items and eating less meat were important in creating a pro-environmental impact.

To increase economic savings, insulation improvements and the use of fuel-efficient vehicles was thought to be the major areas of improvement. However, while nuclear power was agreed to be a great way to produce energy without heavily damaging the environment, it comes at a high economic cost. In the grand scheme of things though, it is agreed that these costs are worthwhile and this form of energy use should be embraced. Like adults, students may be largely unaware that nuclear energy is a low greenhouse gas emission technology.

To add greater clarity to their thoughts, three categories were developed. The first category addresses the potential effectiveness of education. In both countries, students agree that the highest potential effectiveness of education are supporting energy production from renewable resources, planting more trees, purchasing energy-efficient domestic appliances, and accepting a diet with less meat content. This study suggests that educators can have a huge impact in increasing awareness that these actions can contribute to a reduction in global warming. Education, then, would serve as a great tool to create behavior change on a population basis.

The second area considered the natural willingness to act. In the study, students said that they were willing to save electricity at home, to buy more energy-efficient appliances, and to improve home insulation. However, there were differences in opinion between the two cultures regarding recycling, using smaller cars, planting more trees, using less artificial fertilizer in food production, buying fewer new items, and purchasing energy-efficient domestic goods. The English students said they were less willing to engage in action regarding these areas, whereas, NSW students said they were more inclined to undertake pro-environmental actions.
The third area considered the natural reluctance to act. The studies found that the action with the smallest natural reluctance to act was switching off unused domestic appliances. The studies also showed that English students appeared less reluctant to improve home insulation.

A major finding of this study is that the association between beliefs about the effectiveness of specific actions to reduce global warming and the willingness to take those specific actions varies greatly. This discussion is not suggesting that teachers tell students how to behave, but instead, for teachers to provide students with opportunities to debate, evaluate, and judge for themselves the relative merits of competing positions. For people to change, they have to WANT to change. When presented with clear information regarding the topic of global warming, hopefully everyone will make the selfless choice to take ACTION in order to create a positive pro-environmental change!

The studies showed that the most productive behaviors on which to focus education are eating less meat, using renewables, and to use fertilizer-free food. For some of these actions, students seemed to be unaware that eating meat increases one’s contribution to global warming. Most people are familiar with carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas, but many people are unaware of the fact that methane produced by livestock and nitrous oxide released through fertilizer runoff promotes global warming and is destructive to the planet. It was concluded in this article that an increased understanding about the role of meat eating and fertilizer use in global warming needs more emphasis.

While this article addressing the scientific aspects of global warming, woven within it is a spiritual and philosophical message as well. For us to WANT to help the earth and all life in it and on it by working toward addressing the global warming issue, we have to have LOVE FOR LIFE! We have to CARE first and foremost. Only when we WANT to change, will we change. This study showed that may students (and adults) WANT to change and they do care, but how many will TAKE ACTION!?! The study showed us that while students care, only a small percentage are willing to take action. The actions that they take are certainly selfless when they go out of their way to conserve energy use and to avoid wasting and being cognizant of the impact of their actions in the natural world, yet the studies show clearly that while MANY agree that reducing meat intake is a necessary pro-environmental action, very FEW are willing to make the sacrifice. In order to make a big impact and to restore the natural equilibrium of the world, we MUST be willing to sacrifice our selfish desires and our unnecessary ways of life. We need to be DISCIPLINED and MOTIVATED to create a positive change and DEDICATED to inspiring others to change. Now is time to take action to create a better world for ourselves and for the future generations to come!

health is wealth

简化24式太极拳 (Tai chi 24-form)

Human DNA Origins: Genetic study and its relationship to the Divine

Human DNA Origins: Genetic study and its relationship to the Divine

The study of genetics is such a broad topic that volumes and volumes have been written already and more are being written and more will certainly continue to be written as we continue to learn and understand. Genetics is defined by Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary as, the branch of biology dealing with heredity and variation among related organisms, largely in their evolutionary aspects. As an applied science it deals with the fundamentals of plant and animal breeding, especially in the production and development of improved strains, varieties, and breeds. This paper will focus primarily on human origins, growth, and development.

Studying genetics is a way for us to learn more about life. Throughout the ages human beings have been looking for answers. Science is a field of study wherein research is conducted in order to establish data. Evidence needs to be presented and facts (defined as such based upon said research) need to be proven.

Cells were discovered over 300 years ago. The cell is an extremely efficient and well-networked system with millions and billions of processors and billions of pieces of information. Cells are the structural and functional units of all organisms. The average human has at least one hundred trillion cells. Each cell functions independently and collectively with other cells. Each cell contains a precisely orchestrated and magnificently integrated manifestation of life. The nucleus within the cell controls the growth, metabolism, and reproduction of the cell. Microbiologist J. Craig Venter, who created the first computer designed, synthetically produced genome (set of application programs for an organism) said in an interview, “life is basically the result of an information process, a software process. Our genetic code is our software, and our cells are dynamically, constantly reading that code.” Many who study genetics say that a cell has within it thousands of computers that are all exchanging information and functioning in a synchronized manner. This analogy helps us to understand that within the cell there are many singular intelligences independently functioning as they have been designed to function. However, while this is a great analogy, in reality, the nature and function of the inner world of the cell and the inner world of the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and the genetic code within the cell, is beyond anything we could create in its beauty and sublimity.

James D. Watson and Francis Crick were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material” From then on those who studied DNA in depth marveled at the ancient knowledge that having been hidden, was now unveiled. This discovery has been one of the major scientific events of the 20th century. Watson commented on a schematic illustration of the double helix formation of DNA, saying, “the two sugar-phosphate backbones twist about on the outside with the flat hydrogen-bonded base pairs forming the core. Seen this way, the structure resembles a spiral staircase with the base pairs forming the steps.” This knowledge has changed our understanding of the world drastically. Human existence originates in the DNA.

DNA consists of two anti-parallel strands of nucleotides that are 20 antron (microunits) in diameter and formed in a double helix formation. The nucleotide strands consist mostly of Deoxyribose sugar, Phosphate, Nitrogen bases, and Phosphodiester bonds. Author, Elof Axel Carlson, describes the DNA molecule in his book, Neither Gods Nor Beasts, as such, “The DNA molecule is crystalline and replicates by separating the two strands. The two strands are complimentary. The DNA specifies proteins as its major role in transmitting information. Genes are DNA and their sequences could be worked out and their products could be predicted from those sequences.”

Inside of every cell of every living thing is a long molecule of DNA. E. Coli bacteria are great for scientific study due to their simplicity and rapid replication. Due to this simplicity and continuous replication, the complex enigmatic DNA molecule is studied in depth. When people realized that the DNA molecule could be studied and gene splicing took place, genetic engineering was born. This study led to a large amount of research into seeking cures to cancer and other diseases, and this research continues today. This research has led to more advanced knowledge that has led to cures. However, when the DNA of humans, animals, and plants are mixed and deliberately changed by scientists, changes take place. This reality continues to fuel debates and controversy regarding whether genetic engineering is safe. People are concerned that scientists will mix human DNA with animal DNA giving birth to life forms that many people believe should not come into existence. The common term, “playing God” is employed implying that only God (the creator of life) should manage and dictate the manner in which DNA is directed.

When one studies the nature of DNA it becomes clear that DNA is operating on its own. It functions as it does and we watch and bear witness to the plain and clear reality. It is clear that it is intelligent and continuously at work. Bearing in mind that this is the microscopic, we can bear witness to the many layers of depth. The DNA is within the cell and the cell is within the human body. Thus the particle is within the whole. While the particle on the microscopic level functions in its own realm and carries out its task accordingly, the human body in the macroscopic realm (according to the given scale) contains the DNA. If the body dies, the cell dies, and the chromosomes containing the DNA die. In such a way, the cell is completely dependent on the whole for its life force.

How did DNA become as such? How does it know to function as it does? What makes it live and what gives it its elaborate design. Our perception plays an important role in understanding. Some watch the DNA function with its intelligence and precision. Others watch it all manifest as such and give credit to the Divine, saying that it is designed as such and functions as such because the Divine has made it so.

We can make similar observations in the macroscopic world. We can watch the plants and animals and reflect upon the manner in which they function and ask how did it become so? Considering the internal encoded genes being created and orchestrated as such and the external manifestation of this as it plays out in the natural world, we can see that something is responsible for the existence of life. When seeking knowledge of the existence of DNA we are actively engaged in tracing life back to its source. To truly understand all the details and the manner in which DNA comes into existence as well as the manner in which DNA exists and functions, we need to understand the power that gives life to DNA.

Deep inside the highly coiled DNA, a mysterious intelligence exists. It exists and it is alive and intelligent and responsible for life on earth. To understand the power that creates DNA we must consider the whole spectrum. DNA exists within the cell and the cell exists with in the human body. The human body exists on a flying planet and the planet exists in a gigantic universe that is bigger than we can truly comprehend. If we consider the power that gives life to the DNA, we must consider the power that gives life to the cell (the same power). Following this line of thought, consider the power that gives life to the human being, the earth, the universe, and beyond. It is logical to consider that something (intentionally leaving it undefined) is responsible for the existence of life because something is orchestrating the inner world and as such, controlling the manner in which life on earth comes into being. The “outer world” (life as we experience it) is macroscopic when compared to the microscopic DNA within the cell, but when compared to the universe, human beings and planets are the microscopic world. Life exists in great depths and layers within layers of perceived understanding.

Bill Gates, who pioneered the personal computer and found Microsoft, said that “Human DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than anything we’ve ever created.” The manner in which DNA exists is so advanced and so sophisticated that no one could design anything greater. The power that gives life to the human being, gives life to DNA. That same power simultaneously gives life to the earth, the galaxy, the universe, and beyond. Only the power that is responsible for giving life to all wields the power to constantly sustain the universe. It fills the stars with light and expands the cosmic expanse. It gives the planets flight and it gives us the breath of life.

Human origins is a topic that leads us deep into the past. As one walking in the darkness, the human race walks in the darkness of ignorance. As scientists, we want to find evidence in order to find more insight into human existence. The study of genetics helps us understand how the body functions. We can look into the DNA and see the code that is responsible the external manifestation (phenotype). DNA exists in all living things.

In the medical field, understanding genetics allows greater access to solutions. Cures to sicknesses are obtainable. With greater knowledge and application of genetics, comes the ability to correct disorders. Many people are doing fascinating research into finding cures. Through the study of genetics, scientists have gained the ability to manipulate genes. Scientists have observed specific genes that are responsible for specific manifestations.

The work of the Czechoslovakian monk, Gregor Mendel, led to a greater understanding of chromosome heredity. Since then, greater insight regarding DNA replication has given us the ability to have greater control over the outcome of events. We watch and bear witness to chromosomes undergoing mitosis (The process where a single cell divides and normally results in two identical cells, each containing the same number of chromosomes and genetic content as that of the original cell). This is the basis for the continuation of life. When seeking knowledge regarding the origins of human existence, we are left with many questions. It has become clear that humans, as well as all other life forms, undergo change, growth, and development. The only thing that stays the same in this world is the reality that everything changes. This has led to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. While the reality of evolution is clear for those who observe and study the impact of change over time, the origins of the human race still remains an enigma. Many believe that we evolved from primates, yet this theory is lacking solid evidence and continues to fuel much controversy. Many reason, that if primates evolved into sophisticated beings that can split the atom and fly into outer space, then why haven’t lions or elephants or any other animal evolved as such? Why is it only limited to primates? Logic tells us that if such heights of evolution are reached by primates, then similar heights of evolutionary progress should be reached by others as well. Researcher Mikhah Ben David discusses the genetic anomalies of human beings in chapter 51 of Biogenesis;

“With regards to human genetic anomalies, all primates have a head of hair that grows to a certain length and then stops. Similarly, all primates have fingernails and toenails that grow to a certain length and then stop (unlike humans). The human skull is much flatter in terms of facial relief and feature prominence. This is unsuitable for development, as the receded forehead and such would make the eyes more susceptible to both damage and blinding sunlight. Animals are perfect for their context, environment, and stage of evolutionary development. There is a marked difference between human brains and those of pure primates.

The comparison with regards to method of movement or “locomotion” is easily as wide as the comparison of brains and skulls. Humans are bipedal; primates are quadrupeds. Why such a change would have universally “evolved” is beyond logical explanation. To say that the evolutionary reason was to stand erect in order to see predators is insufficient, as few primates are done in because of their lack of standing erect. How then, and why, would this trait have “evolved” with minimal evolutionary, utilitarian use, simultaneously with “nature” (allegedly) stripping us of our natural protection from the elements, primate-strength, and self-regulating hair and nail growth? Sexually, primate females have estrous cycles and are sexually receptive only at particular times. Human females have no estrous cycles in the primate sense. Humans are continuously receptive to sex.

Primates also have 48 chromosomes. Humans are considered vastly superior in a wide array of areas, yet somehow we only have 46 chromosomes. This begs the question of how we could just lose two full chromosomes (which represents a great deal of DNA), in the first place, and in the process become so much better. Nothing about it makes logical sense.

As with all wild animals (plants, as well), primates have relatively few genetic disorders spread throughout their gene pools. Mostly, though, serious defects are quickly weeded out in the wild, so wild gene pools stay relatively free of disorders. In contrast, humans have over 4,000 genetic disorders, and several of those will absolutely kill every victim before reproduction is possible. This begs the question of how such defects could possibly get into the human gene pool in the first place, much less how they remain so widespread.

A favorite Darwinist statistic is that the total genome (all of the DNA) of humans differs from chimpanzees by only 1% and from gorillas by 2%. This makes it seem as if evolution is indeed correct and that humans and primates are virtually kissing cousins. However, what they don’t stress is that 1% of the human genome’s three billion base pairs is 30 million base pairs. In terms of gene manipulation, this can easily add up to a tremendous amount of difference. So are we predominately primate genetically? It would appear so. However, those 30 million or so base pairs are a difference that is impossible to relegate to “natural selection.””

There are many levels of truth. The theory of evolution has many layers of truth, but is it the whole story? When did we go from being animals to being intelligent beings (not to say that animals are not intelligent, but instead to imply an advanced level of sophistication? Did this naturally happen over time? Genes that control the size and complexity of the brain have undergone much more rapid evolution in humans than in non-human primates or other mammals. Humans have extraordinarily large and complex brains, even when compared with non-human primates. The human brain is several times larger than primates and “it is far more complicated in terms of structure,” said senior author Bruce Lahn of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Chicago. He explains the “special event” that took place in the human genome, “the human lineage appears to have been subjected to very different selective regimes compared to most other lineages,” said Lahn. “Selection for greater intelligence and hence larger and more complex brains is far more intense during human evolution than during the evolution of other mammals.” To many researches this suggests that, while evolution is real, our true origins are mysterious.

The ultimate source of life is the source of the universe and all existence. It is intelligent and aware and it is responsible for human existence. The source of the DNA is present now. Just as the cell is dependent upon the whole (the human body) for sustenance, the human being is dependent upon the earth for sustenance. Within the universe we exist and the universe exists within the power that gives life to all. The power that gives life is present always, permeating all life. As particles within the whole, we depend on the whole for life. Just as the cell is dependent upon the whole (the human body), the human body is dependent on the whole (the universe and beyond) for life. The all-permeating intelligent power that sustains all life is real. No one can truly be told what it is, one needs to see for oneself. There are many ways to come to know and understand the mysterious creator of life. Studying genetics is a way for us to look into the microscopic world and see a reality that is so beautiful and sublime, that for some, this alone is evidence that the source of life is alive and controlling everything. We all bear witness to the marvel and beauty of the cosmos. Glorious and beautiful is the kingdom of the universe. We bear witness to the universe as it exists and its existence is evidence of a creator.

In Chemistry, we deal with reactants and products. One cannot make products, without reactants. Therefore it is reasonable to consider that something is responsible for producing the product. It is reasonable to think that there is a source for the universe and beyond. Everything is so precise and so complex that it is too sophisticated to lack intelligent guidance. The pyramids are generally considered to have been built rather than having had naturally formed. Their construction is too precise and unlike something that would naturally occur on earth. Similarly, all life on earth is so complex that it is clear that an all-permeating power exists. We exist within the life of the creator. We experience life because it allows us to. It is more real than words can say, and it is always aware of what we think and say. It makes the earth fly and it gives the sun its warmth. It sustains the universe and gives us the breath of life. It allows us to learn and understand. Genetic research brings knowledge and understanding. As more knowledge regarding human origins is made known to the world, the greater capacity to understand where we came from will be obtained. Understanding where we came from, will help us determine where we are going.

Works Cited

Watson, James D. The Double HELIX. The Kingsport Press, Kingsport, TN. 1968. pg. 202.

Carlson, Elof Axel. Neither Gods Nor Beasts. ColdSpringHarbor Laboratory Press, Cold Spring Harbor, New York. 2008. pgs 74-75.

David, Micah Ben. Biogenesis Ilm Publishing, London, United   Kingdom. 2006. pgs,  351-355.

G. & C. Merriam Co. Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary. 1999. pg, 345.

Medical Science documentary on DNA evolution Vs Religious Theologies http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X6FpP41vOo.

Programming for life. (Educational program, study of genetics): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00vBqYDBW5s http://programmingoflife.com/facts

       Scientists Build First Man-Made Genome; Synthetic Life Comes Next: http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2008/01/synthetic_genome?currentPage=all

Human Brain Evolution was a ‘Special Event.’ http://www.hhmi.org/news/lahn3.html

educational program: study of genetics

« Older entries