Science in Society Archive

Science in Society #54 - Letters to the Editor

Science in Society 54

God in everything

As a convinced and practising Quaker for nearly 50 years now, and someone who has never felt comfortable with the theism that was part of my Anglican upbringing, I agree fully with Lives of Meaning (SiS 54). Weekly attendance at Quaker meeting for worship opens the way for me to experience connectedness to the whole that the author speaks of. I do not say ‘my’ connectedness because it is an experience that is open to absolutely everyone and more particularly if they want to join with us in the simple silence of a gathered Quaker meeting.
Rory Short, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa

My people say that once there was a Totality that became Aware - and so a God - just as he exploded. Since then, all things perceptible are fragments of this sundered One: us, our world and those we share it with, the stars we dance around, and all creatures, men and gods. Turn on your radio to FM, go between the stations. You can still hear him sigh.
Todd Millions, Cypress Hills Range, Saskatchewan, Canada

Paradigm shift for genomics?

A colleague recently drew my attention to your provocative and spot-on piece Mystery of Missing Heritability Solved? (SiS 53).  I am a clinical psychiatrist with a deep interest in, and unusually enthusiastic scepticism about GWAS (genome wide association studies) and the feverish hunt for “bad genes”. You are more than right, and your opponents are not even wrong. The deluge of data from GWAS and other approaches will force a genuine paradigm shift in the way we view the living state and our place in it (and how that translates to policy at every level of human conduct).
Mike C Jones, University of Missouri, Columbia USA

Cancer and a farmer’s epiphany

You do not know how much Cancer an Epigenetic Disease (SiS 54) has made my day and stimulated me. In the past, I have been considered a Grass Roots farmer, a title that brings fuzzy feelings of stewardship of the land. Nothing could be further from the truth. Why?  Because of the way the greater part of the world’s food is being raised. Ninety percent of the food in America is annualized, which means that the fertile top soil is being plowed physically and doused with chemicals.   Plowing breaks the synergistic bonds that took thousands of years to build up between the millions of species, from the perennial grasses, plants, soil bacteria, soil fungi, to larger animals like ants, coyotes, etc.

By plowing for annualization of food production, I create an environment that selects for pests, i.e., cancerous organisms in the ecosystem. What follows are poisonous chemicals or sprays to help control the pests in the environment that I created, not only locally but also regionally, as the pests spread. And other major problems follow - dust storms, floods – as top soils that have been plowed cannot absorb water as quickly

About a month ago, our house was literally covered in several inches of dirt consisting of top soil from our neighbour’s fields that blew for just 3 hours.

We need to see cancer in the light of a system, a condition, not a specific disease.   Cancer can best be defined as any organism that strives to use, and exploit every other thing including each other for its own benefit.

I have witnessed ant colonies survive many things including harsh poisons, some for over 40 years, during which the individual agents, ants, have been replaced many times over. It is the colony that survives and gives significance - eternal significance - to the individual ants.

If we are to stop being a cancer to earth, we must learn to see human civilization as a whole in the individual person. We are the top dog in the food chain. We cannot win this fight. We cannot be cancer to Earth without it being cancerous back to us.

We have been using weed sprays, poisons, pesticides for over 50 years.  I tried to avoid any direct contact with them.   When glyphosate was first introduced, it was said we could drink it and not notice anything.  But of all the sprays I have used, glyphosate was the first one that my body could detect, regardless of how I tried to avoid having any direct contact with it. Now, 15 or 20 years later we know why!

The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas, USA, has been working on changing our annualized food production for years.  When I was a kid, at least the milk I drank, the meat I ate, and the eggs I consumed were not annualized. Now they are - if I buy them in most food chain stores - because they have been fed on annualized grains. Before, the cows and chickens were reared on perennial grasses and grains.
Jerold Hubbard, Pest Creator alias Grass Roots Farmer, Johnson, Kansas, USA

Cancer and electronic imbalance

The whole approach to cancer prevention and treatment warrants re-evaluation in view of the fundamentally importance evidence presented in Cancer a Redox Disease (SiS 54). It seems to me that recharging by regularly earthing barefoot on the ground for an hour a day might also be beneficial as this has been shown to reduce inflammation and improve capillary blood flow. ( I am a 74 year old semi-retired doctor. For the past 40 years I have been increasingly aware that while allopathic medicine is unequalled in acute interventions, it does not really look at why people become ill. Claude Bernard's famous dictum “Le microbe n’est rien - le terrain c’est tout” has been conveniently forgotten although the answer really does lie in the “soil” or the host with the ubiquitous microbes and other environmental toxins becoming relatively ineffective when the host is really healthy.
Dr. Michael Godfrey, Tauranga, New Zealand

Awesome article! I´ve got one question though regarding K-channels etc. I haven´t read Gilbert Ling´s book yet and intending to do so, but it was my understanding that channels don´t exist and actually represent protein-interactions related to the fluid crystal structure of the cell. Is that right? I am a biology student, and most of the stuff discussed here is still way beyond me. Science is complicated and you have to learn a lot of names. But one thing I start to understand is that life is a flow of electrons and it is this flow that connects all living matter. If people understand this, the way we live would change tremendously. I think it is really important to spread this idea, if one wants to make a positive change in this world. Basically this is how indigenous people used to understand their presence.
Konstantin Weltersbach, Dusseldorf, Germany

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies
Michael Godfrey, you are right. I was sceptical about earthing for a long time, but it does make sense in view of how important electronic balance is for health. Earthing simply involves connecting yourself electrically to the ground so excess positive charges built up in your body can be neutralized, or equivalently, the insufficiency of electrons can be made up.

Konstantin, you raise a very good point. I deal with Gilbert Ling’s idea in more detail in my new book, 'Living Rainbow H2O'. Gilbert will have to speak for himself. But he may be right in that what conventional cell biologists regard as a potassium channel could be something else, a protein in the cell membrane that changes conformation according to its electronic environment, and releases K+ previously bound to it. Also, Gilbert does not actually deny the existence of channels as such in some specialized epithelial cells.

Science and democracy strikes a chord

Mae-Wan Ho on Science and Democracy (SiS 51) is a brilliant and telling article. I agree with all main points and particularly your key demands for democratic and responsible science. You have made great strides in renewing my faith in scientists. Many thanks
Benjamin Edom, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK

I agree strongly with most of what you’ve said, especially about corporate science not being open or democratic. I’ve read the Rainbow Worm, and while I think your holistic views a vast improvement on reductionist materialism, I still do not think they go far enough as far as consciousness is concerned. For example, the gap between phenomenological states and holistic physical states still seems wide to me. Also, if we insist that the ‘left’ adopt a particular ideology, even a holistic one, aren’t we still imposing one monolithic point of view on people? I think that people and groups should be just as free to decide for themselves on scientific issues as on others. If they are not, you are still acting like a power elite. Replacing a dogma of reductionist materialism with one of holistic materialism just seems like a swapping of dogmas to me, and not a truly open or democratic process. One alternative is a pluralistic approach that welcomes a diversity of views and accepts dissent.
Dr, Matt Colborn, Bourne, Lincolnshire, UK

The depth of your physics is shown in your clarity on social and economic issues. Organic materialism hits the nail on the head. I have been spellbound by The Rainbow and the Worm (my physics education extends to A level), and is further evidence of a brilliant and courageous mind.
Simon Hodges, www., Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Thank God for courageous and humane scientists like Mae-Wan Ho. Science must be controlled by democracy just as the business world and even religion must be if we are to make progress to a more just, cooperative and safe planet. I am 76 years young and I know it can be done, provided we all support people like Mae-Wan. PS I loved The Rainbow Worm, even though the thermodynamics gave me a headache.
Mike Mortimer, Zug, Switzerland

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho replies
Thank goodness for the criticism among the lavish praises! Matt Colborn raises a good point. I agree fully that the gap between phenomenological states and holistic physical states is still wide. But I plead absolutely not guilty to perpetrating dogmas. In Rainbow Worm, I specifically stress that the organism is nothing if not diverse and pluralistic. Perhaps you are confusing relativism with pluralism. Indigenous cultures are very diverse, yet almost all have a deep and reliable knowledge of nature that enables people to live sustainably. In that sense, indigenous knowledge is at least equal to the best scientific knowledge of contemporary western culture. More importantly, indigenous knowledge systems are coherent with one another; and I suggest the best western scientific knowledge would also be coherent with indigenous knowledge. The problem with what you call reductionist materialism is that it neither produces reliable knowledge that enables us to live sustainably with nature, nor is it coherent with indigenous knowledge. If what you mean by pluralism is “anything goes”, that to me is relativism, not pluralism. Nature herself does not tolerate arbitrary relativism; she is the ultimate arbiter of what goes, but she is not dogmatic. There are myriad ways, indeed, we need all myriad ways to truth and beauty; to know nature authentically we need a combination of science, art, poetry, music, and for some, religion. (See Announcing Art/Science/Music Festival Colours of Water, ISIS Special.)

Article first published 14/05/12

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