Thursday, November 24, 2011


Primordial Soup
As my neighbours to the south celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I thought I would take a moment to reflect upon what I am thankful for.

I am fortunate enough to not have to worry about food in my belly, water to quench my thirst, shelter over my head, or loved ones for companionship.

There is something unique and wonderful about being alive in this time.  We have access to things that even the most fortunate ones of days gone by did not have.

I am talking about knowledge.  Pure unadulterated knowledge that has been brought about by the mechanisms of science.  This knowledge is freely available and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to appreciate it.

The following facts and thousands of others just like it were unavailable to the vast majority of our ancestors.

  • At the centre of the earth is a moon-sized ball composed of a nickel-iron alloy.
  • In 1953, Watson and Crick cracked the DNA molecule revealing the building blocks that (almost) every species on earth uses to construct itself.
  • Somewhere in the primordial soup billions of years ago, a single self-replicating entity came into existence.  We are all descendants of that entity.
  • There are over 100 billion galaxies.

We are truly lucky to be alive during the age of science.

With great knowledge comes great responsibility.

In days gone by, we were told about the ills of the world but could do little about it.  How could you help those in Africa during the early 20th century?  It was just too hard.

Now we have numerous tools to act on the information we are given.

And that is also something to be thankful about.  Science has given us the opportunity to help others less fortunate than ourselves.

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