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Today is the last Sunday before Christmas. I can confidently predict that every Christian congregation -- and possibly those of other religions too -- will hear a sermon about the birth of Jesus.
I can also predict some of the themes of those sermons.
Some will use Mary’s status to urge people to do something about poverty. Or about justice. Or perhaps about historic discrimination against women. The Christmas story becomes a means of getting at a social issue.
Others will use a series of carefully selected Bible verses to prove, beyond any doubt, that God Almighty became a helpless crying baby. And/or that biblical prophets knew all the details of an obscure birth that would take place 500 years later.
And therefore, by extension, that every other word in the Holy Book must also be 100% accurate.
A friend and retired preacher calls all of this “head stuff.” It’s wonderful material to argue about. But it makes no difference at all to how you drive on the highway. Or how you treat the cashier at the grocery store.
Categories: Sharp Edges
Tags: Michael Dowd, Evolution, brains, belonging
You’ve probably seen pictures of human nerves – a central neuron with axons and dendrites radiating out from it like the roots of a tree. (If not, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuron)
The neuron is the trunk, the central core, that contains the cell’s nucleus. The axons and dendrites are the extended arms that connect with other nerve cells to transmit information.
The resemblance to tree roots may be more than coincidence. UBC-Okanagan forest ecology professor Suzanne Simard has proven conclusively that trees communicate with each other through their roots.
Dig into the soil of any forest, and you’ll find a network of tree roots, overlapping, inter-weaving. You probably won’t see the second component of communication, the invisible filaments of fungi.
Simard’s research demonstrates, beyond dispute, that trees send messages, and food, to each other through their roots, with those fungal filaments bridging the gaps in much the same way that synapses work in the human brain.
Categories: Soft Edges
Tags: Suzanne Simard, roots, forests, consciousness, brains, lobotomy