What Would Jesus or Buddha have Tweeted?

There hasn’t been much discussion about this controversial question, perhaps in part because it’s so utterly pointless.

Scientists estimate Jesus would have had twelve followers, but even by his time, immortal tweets like Dumped kingdom for inner world of stainless beauty @suddhodana @maya or Reached enlightnement: yay! Wow, legs sore #bodhitree  would have been long lost to history.

Well, never mind about all that for now; in the interest of being current, scienceandreligion.com has a twitter.com account – if anyone would like to follow it, the account is @iain39.

This invitation applies whether you’re interested in occasional ideas about science and religion, or have no patience for lengthy posts!

Gradual evolution of Twitter bird: from simple to simpler

About iain carstairs

I have a great interest in both scientific advances and the beauty of religion, and created www.scienceandreligion.com about 15 years ago with the aim of finding common ground between the scientist and the believer, and to encourage debate between the two sides.
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7 Responses to What Would Jesus or Buddha have Tweeted?

  1. Renounce the world! #itoldyouso #greedneverchanges

  2. Nandakumar says:

    A facebook page would be a good idea too I think.

    • You might be right – I’ve posted blogs before on FB and got almost zero response, so I figured perhaps that audience just wasn’t interested. But one of my tweets got forwarded by someone to 2,500 people, which is amazing coverage. Could never have imagined this sort of dynamic in the 1970’s

  3. Don Salmon says:

    Unrelated to this post but to other recent posts: if you haven’t heard of this, you might want to look into it:

    By Michael J Edelman (Huntington Woods, MI USA) – See all my reviews
    This review is from: Evolution: A View from the 21st Century (FT Press Science) (Hardcover)

    There have been four major revolutions in the understanding of inheritance and evolution: First, the Mendelian revolution, which explained how characteristics of organisms might be passed on to successive generations. Second, the Darwinian, which described the process of speciation, and the idea of selection within a gene pool. Third was the discovery of DNA, and unless you’re a biologist, that’s probably as far as your knowledge goes.

    But in the years since Watson’s and Crick’s description of the double helix of DNA have seen an explosion in the understanding of genetics and evolution that is perhaps even more far reaching than the three previous revolutions combined. The idea of gradual evolution, with natural selection paring away at a set of random mutations has been overthrown in favor of a much more active, one might almost say goal-seeking mechanism, in which organisms play an active role in shaping their evolution.

    Consider the case of drug immunity in bacteria. The old story goes something like this: You dose a colony of bacteria with penicillin, killing off 99.99% of them, but then remaining 0.01% carries with it an immunity to penicillin. They replicate and pass this immunity on to their offspring, creating a new colony of penicillin resistant bacteria. You now dose this regrown colony with amoxycillin, killing off 99.99%, and the remaining fraction reproduce, and then you use streptomycin and so on and so on, each time regenerating the community with the new immunity.

    There’s a serious problem with this story. How can immunity to all possible antibiotics be carried somewhere in the colony? That would imply that every colony of bacteria contains an infinite number of genes that bestow immunity on an infinite number of possible antibiotics- clearly an impossibility. Random mutation is much to slow a mechanism to create these immunities over the times observed. The implication is that some much more active mechanism is at work.

    It turns out that a lot of bacteria (and other cells) display what’s called natural genetic engineering- the ability to force changes in their genetic structure in order to adapt to change in a single generation. That’s kind of astounding. It implies a much greater active role for cells than has ever been imagined. Add to that other recently discovered phenomena, like “horizontal” transfer of genetic fragments between organisms. This is no mere hypothetical; It’s been hypothesized that such a mechanism is responsible for the acquisition of immunity to glyphosate weedkillers (i.e., Roundup) in plants that have been exposed to GM crops carrying that gene.

    All this is part of what author Shapiro and others see as consequences of the active information-processing properties of cells- the cell not as a mere repository of genetic information (or “read only memory”, as Shapiro puts it) but a full blown information processor, storing, manipulating, and creating new information. There are error-correction functions that actually repair strands of DNA in real time during replication, and strands of DNA can actually “double” to increase the amount of information that can be encoded, as new information is acquired by an evolving organism. And there are epigentic factors, information not carried within the DNA, that also contribute to the evolution and genetic transmission of characteristics.

    This is not, despite the inviting cover and title, a work of popular science. Rather, it’s a summary of current knowledge and a manifesto (if you will) for future research that appears to be aimed at researchers in the field. As such, it’s not easy going, even for those with some background in biology and genetics. Nonetheless, this is a very rewarding book for those who have the background and a strong interest in evolution- not just biologists, but researchers and students computer scientists, physicists, and others interested in the mechanics of evolution and evolutionary processes across nature and natural systems.

    • this is exactly what i have been trying to get over! how can any group of bacteria expand their DNA variations in all directions under the oppressive influence of antibiotics – a situation more likely to decrease their activity if anything – when they don’t do so in the absence of antibiotics? if the underlying mechanism is a random number generator, it should either be active all the time or not at all. if it’s active all the time, it means all life with DNA is inherently unstable, and massively so – and can distort itself in a matter of evolutionary instants.

      when you point this out, the biologists just say “evolutionary pressure”. but this is a mental construct to rationalise what has already happened – a bit like saying “of course the sun gods made the sun come up because – oh, look! there it is now! proof!”

      these mental constructs are designed to rationalise a random, incremental process because their thought patterns work incrementally, and only a random generator fits with their “no intelligence allowed in nature” philosophy. so the explanation grows from their slanted view of the world, not from reality itself. this is why it is impossible to dislodge the crazy theory – because you would have to dislodge them from their own way of thinking.

      not only would random random mutation be slow and completely unfocused but mistakes are fixed on the spot by the DNA’s own equipment! every second in sunlight creates hundreds of mutations in each of your skin cells, but they’re all fixed as they occur. but no matter what evidence you point to, the biologists just say “random mutations”. or “natural selection”. when you ask how error-fixing equipment can come from errors, they just say, “random mutations – natural selection” like some kind of droning mantra.

      thanks for the bright light! i feel i can stop hammering my head against the wall now and die in peace

      • Don Salmon says:

        but wait, stick around with us a little bit longer!:>)) you still have to figure out how to tell the scientists that they don’t need materialism – that allowing a bit of intelligence in won’t set us back 400 years, leading us back into a new dark age. So, let’s see, how to undo materialism…..(I’m still working on that one)……

    • I just ordered the book! Can’t wait to get into it.

      From the reviews I saw on Amazon, and the extracts available to read, this is the end of random mutation, natural selection. The end, completely gone, vanished, old uninformed nonsense, all washed away for good. Gone, gone, gone. At last!! Now science can really get somewhere, maybe even in my own lifetime!

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