Coming to Life

Books from Nobel laureates in molecular biology have a tradition of being surprising. James Watson(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) was catty, gossipy, and amusingly egotistical; Francis Crick(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) went haring off in all kinds of interesting directions, like a true polymath; and Kary Mullis(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) was just plain nuts. When I heard that Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard was coming out with a book, my interest and curiousity were definitely piqued. The work by Nüsslein-Volhard and Wieschaus has shaped my entire discipline, so I was eagerly anticipating what her new book, Coming to Life: How Genes Drive Development(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) would have to say.

It wasn’t what I expected at all, but I think readers here will be appreciative: it’s a primer in developmental biology, written for the layperson! Especially given a few of the responses to my last article, where the jargon seems to have lost some people, this is going to be an invaluable resource.

I am not privy to Nüsslein-Volhard’s thoughts, but I imagine that at least some of the motivation for this book had to come from having to constantly explain basic terms and concepts that developmental biologists take for granted to the public. What she has laid out here is an introduction to the vocabulary of the molecular geneticist and developmental biologist and practitioner of the arcane arts of evo-devo; it’s the kind of thing we all wish everyone knew, so that we would be able to have a conversation with more than just the people we see at Society for Developmental Biology meetings.

The book is slim at 145 pages, but covers all of basic genetics and development. In order to do this, the prose is exceptionally spare and no-nonsense, and the emphasis is always on explaining things simply and clearly, with no digressions and no unnecessary detail. For instance, recombination gets two paragraphs; the Hedgehog/Wingless genes, one paragraph and a diagram; Hox genes get a whole page. Jargon is avoided, unless it has been first introduced and explained. You should be able to finish this book and then be able to sound convincingly like a developmental biologist in a conversation, I think; it’s a kind of Berlitz course in the discipline.

It’s a fast read, too, and I don’t think I’m saying that because I already knew everything it had to say. The emphasis in all of the explanations is clarity, so despite its comprehensive nature and breakneck pace, it won’t make you stop and try to puzzle out what she’s talking about—it’s all plainly laid out for you.

This is not a very chatty book, though, and the author’s personality and personal life are not center stage at all. If you get any impression of Nüsslein-Volhard from the book, it’s one of being a bit aloof, highly pragmatic, and meticulous…which, from my few meetings with her, might not be that far off in describing her personality, at least as it appears to casual acquaintances. The most striking example of the impersonal style is in the final chapter on “Current Topics,” where she outlines some of the pending controversies in developmental biology, such as stem cells, cloning, gene therapy, and abortion. Even here, she is very cautious about stating her opinions too strongly, and my initial reaction on reading it was to wonder what her point was. It’s all of a piece, though: her goal is not to impose her opinions on the reader, but rather, to lay down the basic framework for a conversation. She is telling you what you need to understand in order to have an informed, competent opinion on these hot-button topics, not what opinion you must have.

You also won’t find much new detail into her Nobel-prize winning work—it’s scattered throughout the book, but she seems to scrupulously avoid saying “I did this.” (I suppose it would get repetitive, since there is a lot of work in here that has her name on it!) Maybe that will be another book, someday.

The book I would compare this to is Carroll’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful. Both are primers in the subject of evo-devo, but Nüsslein-Volhard’s has even fewer expectations of prior knowledge by the reader—it really does start with the minimal basics of evolution and genetics, and assumes nothing more than that the reader is intelligent and curious. Seriously, you don’t need a biology degree to read it!

Even if you do have a degree in developmental biology, though, there’s another reason to read it: Coming to Life(amzn/b&n/abe/pwll) is a first-rate example of how to communicate complex scientific concepts to the general public.


  1. says

    Thank-you for the recommendation. I’m going on tour and looking for books that will be worth reading. Definitely going to pick this one up.

    I think your last point on communications is the best reason anyone should read the book, as science education seems to be a stumbling block too often.

  2. jbark says

    I read Carroll’s book on your recommendation and did indeed find that it really helped me get a lot more out of some of your science posts (it’s a great read folks, pick it up if you get a chance).

    Having read that, is it worth checking this out too? Or might I as well save my money and re-read Carroll?

  3. Steve LaBonne says

    There seems to be a really encouraging trend of excellent popular science books being written more and more by prominent scientists themselves rather than by science writers. (That was true in the first hal of the 20th century as well, but my impression is that there was a pretty long intervening period when the professional writers dominated this market.) The scientists who take the quite substantial trouble of writing such books are very much to be appluded.

  4. Kansan for Real Science says

    Heres a comment.

    PZ Myers is a bigot using science as a vehilce for his personal prejudices and philosophical judgments.

    This is degenerating into a hate site, and I am contacting some hate site watches about listing it.

    More later.

  5. says

    I have no doubt Professor Myers is eagerly anticpating an e-mail from the Southern Poverty Law Center over his acerbic defense of science.

  6. Steve LaBonne says

    Hmm, looks like “Sade” / “Kansan for Real Science” is yet another kook whose name is Legion. Seems to be a lot of that going around.

  7. CanuckRob says

    I read Carroll’s book and it actually is what led me to this blog. I will look for this one now, who knows what it may lead to! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Kansan, too bad you don’t see that the hate is only coming from you. I think most people here just feel sorry for you.

  8. Don Culberson says

    Interesting that Kansan chose this post to come out of the closet. Of all recent posts, surely this one is least likely to be an example of a “hate” message? Its a plug for a science book for crying out loud!
    Uncle Don

  9. Keith Wolter says

    Here is a (hateful) comment or two.

    Why is it that:

    1) The fundies always feel the need to attach adjectives to their titles, like “Real Science?” Could you broadcast your lack of scientific knowledge/merit any more clearly, then when you crow that you are for “real science”? As opposed to “fake” science, i.e. the kind done by actual scientists?

    2) The fundies have the worst syntax? I’m mean, we all make misstakes, but “heres?” “Vehilce?” Get a spell checker, fo’ Chrissakes.

  10. says

    If you’ve read and had no problems following Endless Forms Most Beautiful, Nüsslein-Volhard’s book might be too basic for you. If you struggled a bit with Carroll, and think a refresher course in basic biology would be helpful, then yeah, I’d recommend Coming to Life.

    Further perspective: I’m using Endless Forms Most Beautiful in my upper level developmental biology course this fall. It has a little more depth and detail. However, Coming to Life is actually a kind of Cliff’s Notes version of what I’ll be teaching in the course.

  11. Don Culberson says

    Hey PZ, totally off topic, but I notice that when I post from home, as I did a couple times earlier today, the message goes right up on the board, but when I post from my office, as I am now, they usually are held for review, or something… I am certainly no blog or website expert, far from it! But it just seems odd and I was wondering if there is a way I can fix something at this end to keep you from having to “approve” my office generated messages. Ok.. back to regularly scheduled programming…
    Uncle Don

  12. says

    Hmmm…Sade, Whatever, Trotskyist, Kansan are all the same person, and he seems to be having a little problem with impulse control. I think maybe a little ban is in order.

  13. Alex says

    That’s been their MO for ages. They love to claim that they are the hated and persecuted ones. They love to play the victim.

  14. Comstock says

    How can the Kansan get that post in here but I can’t even include my blogspot URL in a comment without tripping the “spam/not-spam” sensors?!!?!?

    I’m also a bit of a Nüsslein-Volhard/Wieschaus worshipper, so I’m sad to hear that the book wasn’t outstanding. I’ll probably check it out anyway.

  15. says

    Don’t get me wrong — it’s an excellent book. It’s aimed at the intelligent layperson is all.

    And yeah, we’re not exactly thrilled with the fascist spam blocker we’ve got in place. We’re urging the SEED master to use a Captcha system instead, but he rightly points out that they tend to discriminate against the visually impaired. If anyone has a suggestion for a reliable MT plugin for a captcha system that also has an out for people with vision problems, let me know.

  16. Stephanie says

    Thank you for the recommendation. I’m going to be picking up Coming to Life today. I’m just finishing my first college biology course, and I’m already getting a lot more out of your more technical posts (I originally came here for the skillful creationist-squishing), but I feel like I missed a fair bit of basic stuff nonetheless (it was survey-type course–really a surface skim).

  17. Simon says

    I picked up this book a couple of weeks back, and have read most of it. It seems to be a good primer for developmental biology – certainly covered all the things I was interested in, and quick to read. However, somethings are lacking in the explanatory detail I’d have liked. But, considering the scope of the book I guess that’s fine. Anyway, I’m not a biologist, but a computer scientist working on biologically inspired ‘things’, and I expect the book will be really useful when I need to concisely explains biological mechanisms in my papers.

  18. says

    Hello, Everybody, Mind, and Spirit! : ) : ) : )

    Please don’t miss reading and discussing my new book “Gods, Genes, Conscience: A socio-intellectual survey of our dynamic mind, life, all creations in between and beyond, on Earth; or A critical reader’s theory of everything: past, present, future; in continuum, ad infinitum.”

    Thank you all for your kind attention and cooperation in this matter. Happy reading, thinking, scrutinizing! : ) : ) : )

    Best wishes, Mong 7/20/6usct12:35p; author Gods, Genes, Conscience and Gods, Genes, Conscience: Global Dialogues 2006; a cyberspace hermit-philosopher of Modern Mind, whose works are based on the current advances in interdisciplinary science and integrative psychology of Science and Religion worldwide; ethically, morally; metacognitively, and objectively.

  19. Cyan says

    I love the cover image for Kary Mullis’s book: “I have a gigantic surfboard cock!”

    …being this puerile takes more effort than you might think, folks.

  20. subterranean kryptonite says

    “This is degenerating into a hate site, and I am contacting some hate site watches about listing it.

    More later.”

    Posted by: Kansan for Real Science

    “whining little bitches.”

    Posted by: Trotskyist

    Having watched the actions of this troll for twenty months, I am happy to announce that it has, right here, achieved a grand total of three dozen sockpuppets. It may not be a record, but it deserves some mention.

  21. says

    I left college before E. O. Wilson’s “Sociobiology,” and while evolution was reigning orthodoxy, what was taught was sketchy. Despite a keen interest in biology, and particularly Darwinism, I soon discovered that “popular” books, while definitely absorbing and provocative, began raising more questions as they answered others. Matt Ridley, Steven Pinker, Richard Dawkins, Ullica Segerstrale, E. O. Wilson, etc. are great populizers of Darwinism, but I finally decided to read Ernst Mayr’s “What Evolution Is.” It settled some ambiguities, which was the ostensible purpose in reading it. But it did something more important. Its relentless use of exacting evolutionary and genetic language (fortunately with an ample glossary) not only clarified evolution, it revealed why evolution requires us to think very differently. Darwinism is not merely the concepts, however important they are, the Modern Synthesis and after undermines some “traditional” language and concepts, but more importantly, ways of thinking — and dramatically.

    Those who have recently been steeped in this language and thought are probably unaware that those of us from an earlier generation did not have biology presented to us in this way. Natural selection, struggle for survival (survival of the fittest), speciation, dominant/recessive genes, DNA/RNA, and the like we had. But thinking in terms of “populations” and “ancestry” rather than “essences” and the scala naturae is radical. The genome other than the “double helix” was entirely untaught, except to majors. Exons, introns, genes, sequencing, claudication, saltationism, allopatric, pair bonding, dichopatric, peripatric, sympatric, sexual selection, are an entire architecture most latecomers know little to nothing about.

    The point is that the popular books serve a useful purpose, but they cannot substitute for the technical. Yet, even after dozens of the popular, the technical (but not detailed) was still challenging, albeit rewarding. I don’t know how to bridge this gap other than immersion, but it is important that biologists recognize their conceptual scheme and the lay conceptual scheme may have overlaps, but they often are not correspondent.

  22. les says

    I suspect kansan just lost posting rights at Kansas Citizens for Science, and needs an outlet for his idiocy. Sorry to see it here.

  23. subterranean kryptonite says

    By its syntax, orthographical errors, confrontational style, tendency to bend others’ words to suit its own purpose, and its sarcastic glee when threatening to stalk its political opponents, it is clearly the same troll who was expelled, first from RSR, then from KCFS. It is a vicious hate organization with only one member, whose purpose is to disrupt normal communication for its own twisted, sociopathic purposes.

  24. says

    Francis Crick was inspired for his Nobel Prize by an L.S.D. trip. Sorry but it’s true. DEAL WITH IT.

    Now — about “systems theory” randomized mutation studies.

    Is radiation random? What about “mutations of illumination”?

    What about the Petkau Effect?

    radio-eugenics is also byproduct of systems theory mutation studies — and MUCH MORE RELEVANT to our present day “environment” of mutations.

  25. Steviepinhead says

    drew, I think you might mean Kary Mullis, not Francis Crick.

    I got nothing against LSD, in very general terms (the controlled substances acts being metaphorically set aside long enough to say that). But you might want to dial down on the doses, just a hair…

    Just a thought.

    I’ve probably mentioned this before on Pharyngula (but maybe not on PT): Sean Carroll also has a new book coming out this fall (release date, October 9, 2006):

    The Making of the Fittest: DNA and the Ultimate Forensic Record of Evolution (Hardcover, 288 pp., W. W. Norton)
    by Sean B. Carroll

    The blurb may be a bit over-the-top, but it still sounds enticing:

    DNA evidence not only solves crimes–in Sean Carroll’s hands it will now end the Evolution Wars.

    DNA is the genetic material that defines us as individuals. Over the last two decades, it has emerged as a powerful tool for solving crimes and determining guilt and innocence. But, very recently, an important new aspect of DNA has been revealed—it contains a detailed record of evolution. That is, DNA is a living chronicle of how the marvelous creatures that inhabit our planet have adapted to its many environments, from the freezing waters of the Antarctic to the lush canopy of the rain forest.

    In the pages of this highly readable narrative, Sean Carroll guides the general reader on a tour of the massive DNA record of three billion years of evolution to see how the fittest are made. And what a eye-opening tour it is – one featuring immortal genes, fossil genes, and genes that bear the scars of past battles with horrible diseases. This book clinches the case for evolution, beyond any reasonable doubt. 50 illustrations; 8 pages of color.

    Of course, the evolution wars would have ended long ago if the standard applied were really “reasonable doubt.”

  26. says

    Again I submit that the “evolution wars” are a byproduct of industrial ecocide. What evolution is going on anyway? Darwin’s finches I guess — how quaint. Large mammals? Birds on whole are taking a nose dive — oops a beak dive.

    Petkau Effect — learn it. Live it. Aka the Auger Effect (if you work for the evil scientists).

  27. Azkyroth says

    More gibberish from Drew. Surprise, surprise.

    Now — about “systems theory” randomized mutation studies.

    Well, apparently “systems theory” is a real concept, but the Wikipedia entry certainly doesn’t mention genes. Also, I suspect you’re misusing the terms, since systems theory would be an approach to studying mutations, not a property of the mutations themselves. Care to provide some free, web-based, credible references for this supposed connection? I’m not made of money, and I’m not going to buy a $15-20 dollar book just to prove you wrong.

    Is radiation random? What about “mutations of illumination”?

    Radiation is partially random due to quantum effects, as I undertstand it. And what the fuck is a “mutation of illumination?” That sounds like something people would make up to sell crystals and seminars.

    What about the Petkau Effect?

    What about it? Its article doesn’t sound more than vaguely relevant to the discussion here, since it refers to effects on cell membranes rather than DNA itself, and certainly has little relevance to a popularly-accessible book on molecular biology which strives to avoid jargon and present subjects without assumptions about the audience’s scientific knowledge (as opposed to most biologists, who write with the assumption that their readers know something about biology, and yourself, who apparently writes with the assumption that his audience knows nothing about science and hence will credulously accept ever densely packed collection of buzzwords you might spew).

    radio-eugenics is also byproduct of systems theory mutation studies — and MUCH MORE RELEVANT to our present day “environment” of mutations.

    Radio-eugenics also doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry, which one would expect it to if it were of such importance and relevance. WRF is that?

  28. says

    Thus far the readers of this blog require a lot of remedial education. See I read Professor’s blog entry — including Professor’s links:

    It seems that, by mistaking the “omics” wave for the systems approach itself, we are forgetting some of the most influential systems approaches of the past: when Christiane Nusslein-Volhard and Eric Wieschaus targeted the whole Drosophila genome using random mutagenesis to unravel the riddle of embryonic pattern formation, they were doing systems biology

    That’s be an excerpt from a couple links in.

    Now onto radio-eugenics — do you really rely on Wikipedia — that encyclopedia that any one can enter into?

    Sure I read it but it’s just a backup source for entertainment.

    So I take it you didn’t google “radio-eugenics”? This means I’m qualified to do the following.

  29. says

    As I’ve stated previously the below work is currently “promoted” by John Casti’s recent book “One True Platonic Heaven” and George Johnson’s “Fire in the Mind”–both writers are in Santa Fe and attached to the top military-science thinktanks: Los Alamos, Santa Fe Institute and Sandia Labs. drew hempel, M.A.

    My source on the World Institute that promotes radio-eugenics is the book: “Evolving Mankind’s Future” by Julius Stulman published in the mid-60s.

    In 1975 the World Institute published a book by University of Pittsburgh philosophy of science professor Dr. Oliver Reiser called “Cosmic Humanism and World Unity.” That book is a follow up to an earlier “Master Synthesis” as Dr. Reiser describes it: The book “Cosmic Humanism” published in the mid 1960s.

    The book published by the World Institute in 1975 still quite openly promoted radio-eugenics. What you may not realize though is that this plan is not just for radio-eugenics–it is for the creation of a multidimensional “World Brain”–evolution of life based on the unified field theory–exactly as described in The Matrix. This is what Dr. Reiser means by “mutations of illumination.”

    “Cosmic Humanism” published in the mid-1960s promotes and justifies the following on radio-eugenics:
    “1) Using atomic energy (radiations) to initiate the genic (or chromosome) changes which cause mutations; and 2) doing this under the guidance of a psychosocial field to control the course of the biological changes so that the form of emergence is determined.” (pp. 528-9)
    “The study of the biological effects of the atomic explosions in Japan indicate that the radioactivity thus produced can cause sterilization and death in those exposed, and possible malformations in subsequent generations of those born of the generation that lived through the baptism of fire to reproduce themselves.
    “But we also know, on the other hand, that nature has always in the past exacted a high price for biological ‘progress’–which means that for every mutation that is beneficial many more mutations are harmful, and it is possible that the same ratio would be maintained on the human level. But we underline the possible. Perhaps the beneficial use of atomic energy (outside its uses in medicine) is a matter of selecting the right types and dosages (frequency and duration) of irradiation, plus the controlling influence of a mental guiding field. This latter would be a kind of psychokinetic effect on the level of biological causation.” (p. 533)

    I would like to dismiss this as a crackpot plan except for the following reasons.

    1) The World Institute was created with the support and guidance of the ruling elite (by Domhoff’s, Chomsky’s or Mill’s standards).

    2) Dr. Reiser, quite simply, is a very brilliant, in fact the most brilliant theorist I’ve ever read. He was very prolific and his earlier book “World Philosophy” was supported by Einstein as the closest model to the Unified Field Theory. Reiser was, from what I can tell, not only the first scientist to discover what is now called the superstring theory, but he traced the validity of that theory all the way back to ancient Sumeria. He is very openly a Free Mason and he relies on the work of other Free Masons.

    3) I discovered Dr. Reiser’s work after I had finished my masters thesis (published on the internet as “Epicenters of Justice.”) My research is based on the premise of resonance science as taught by Pythagoras. Pythagoras taught the unified field theory as an infinite spiral of harmonic energy-information, modelled by basic music theory. Plato, in Timeaus, wrote down this theory but repressed the infinite spiral into a closed materialist system called the “circle of fifths” in music. This model was Plato’s World Soul and it enabled the averaged quantification of infinity–mathematical examples of this inaccurate average are the “irrational number,” then the “derivative,” the “logarhythim,” “spherical harmonics,” and “systems theory.”

    Dr. Reiser calls it “Taming the Infinite” and his Ph.D. was called “Creative Monism” as he also calls “Nondualism in Action.” My Masters thesis was called “Sound-Current Nondualism.” In otherwords the basis of the Free Masons is a path back to nondualism (the unified field theory) through technology. The difference is that Pythagoras was a yoga master, trained in Egypt for 22 years. Pure consciousness is the only way to achieve the pure resonance required to achieve nondualism. This truth is eternal–traced back to the Vedas, the Kabbala, and supposedly to Atlantis, and Lumeria, etc. Pythagoras’ teachings were oral transmission of harmonic energy-information.

    The recent Oxford Ph.D. by Peter Kingsley, “Ancient Philosophy, Mystery, and Magic: Empedocles and Pythagorean Tradition” (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995) proves the Plato and Aristotle consciously denigrated the nondualism of Pythagoras. Our language (the subject-object structure of phonetic language) is dualistic. This quite simply is the drive of the FreeMasons–a destructive pursuit of nondualism through unbalanced dualism. The theory of nondualism is that everything returns to its source.

    4) Dr. Reiser’s proposals not only predict but fully explain the motivations and developments of today’s destructive technology. Even the internet–he called “Project Promethesus and Krishna.” He called for a Planetary Democracy or Federation so that individuals, through the internet, would respond to problems no matter where they happened throughout the world. The whole process would be monitored and controlled from above.

    5) Project HAARP mirrors exactly the ionospheric guidance field promoted by Dr. Reiser. All the conscious policies of genocide are motivated by “good intentions” of the elite (i.e. the thousand points of light of George Bush). This theory explains the good intentions behind the grotesque experiments in genetic engineering, the cancer epidemic from synthetic and electro-magnetic polluton, etc. David Noble shows the direct connection between today’s technological projects and the Freemasons.
    George Bush Sr., by the way, received eight personal energy-work or qigong treatments by China’s “National Treasure” of qigong, the very powerful yoga master Dr. Yan Xin. George Bush declared Dr. Yan Xin to be today’s world’s greatest spiritual leader. In a western scientic published study (the journal “Material Innovations” Dr. Yan Xin has slowed down the decay rates of nuclear particles–technically impossible, unless the superstring theory is true.

    As I stated before, the University of Minnesota was the world’s leading institute in eugenics previous to the Nazis. But, as well documented in Bertram Gross’s book “Friendly Fascism” (South End Press) and in other works, the U.S. corporate-state elite were poised to side with either the Nazis or the U.S. government. In otherwords the corporate-state elite funded the Nazis and enabled their policies. On this basis mutlidimensional radio-eugenics is the next logical step of development.
    6) Is it not true that “Floridation of the water supply” was considered a “communist conspiracy?” Yet it’s been now well documented that the corporate-state elite deliberately promoted and enacted floridation of the nation’s water supply in order to cover-up the continued floride poisoning from the aluminum and nuclear industry.
    It is in his article “Cosmecology: A Theory of Evolution” published in the Journal of Heredity, 1937, that Dr. Oliver Reiser proposes:

    Radio-Eugenics–more glibly described as “mutations of illumination.”

    In 1975 radio-eugenics was much further refined and still being promoted by the secretive WORLD INSTITUTE COUNCIL.
    As its primary spokesman Professor Reiser states: “new DNAs and new fields of force are parts of the Archetypal Guiding Field which is the Cosmic Imagination.” (p. 445, Cosmic Humanism)

    So who is behind the promotion of radio-eugenics at the WORLD INSTITUTE COUNCIL? Only the top ruling elite of the U.S.

    Its founder Julius Stulman was, “one of the most important manufacturers and wholesale distributors of forest products.” Stulman operated Lumber Industries, Inc. and controlled the Lumber Exchange Terminal.

    Julius Stulman first proposed the WORLD INSTITUTE to the grand capitalist economist Alexander Sachs, who in 1939, converted Roosevelt into supporting the Atomic Project.
    Stulman was then invited to present his ideas to scholars at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. Stulman discussed the WORLD INSTITUTE with John Van Neumann, Walter Stewart, Robert Warren, and Albert Einstein, all while the bomb was being developed.
    In 1944 Stulman published an article called “Energy Theory as Applied to Human Relations.” It was this article that caught the eye of Dr. Reiser, the promoter of Radio-eugenics in the Journal of Heredity.

    In 1963 the U.S. proposed a clearinghouse to provide world-wide scientific information and guidance. Julius Stulman offered his concept of the WORLD INSTITUTE. He was recommended to the U.S. by the former Director General of Technical Administration Assistance of the United Nations, Hugh L. Keenleyside. The World Institute was established across the street from the U.N.

    The WORLD INSTITUTE was instigated as a “GREAT SOCIETY” vision for the evolution of humanity beyond the COLD WAR. The WORLD INSTITUTE is described as being integrated with resource centers all over the planet and Julius Stulman consulted with presidents from all over the world.
    Under the vision of the WORLD INSTITUTE’s Cosmecology, “Planet Earth” is seen as an EGG that is developing an embryo which will give birth to a WORLD BRAIN or the WORLD SENSORIUM–a paranormal existence beyond space-time integrated with the Unified Energy Field of the universe.

    Dr. C. Hilton Rice first proposed this vision of Planet Earth, again back in the 1930s:
    “The world-mother nourishes its embryo from the materials of the earth-egg. He [Dr. Rice] saw the plant and animal divisions of the earth-organism as being in functional complementarity, precisely like the two layers of gastrula.” (p. 48, Cosmic Humanism and World Unity, 1975)
    Animals are the Entoderm and Plants are the Ectoderm of the EGG–resources to be used for the development of the WORLD BRAIN.


    From radioactive “harmonic” mutations, guided by the LOGOS FIELD or COSMIC IMAGINATION, humans will evolve, whereby they will be merged into a paranormal reality beyond space-time. “It was suggested that we might create and utilize an artifical ion blanket.” (p. 453) (PROJECT HAARP)

    “If then, we humans are cells in the great cortex of a world organism, would it not require a super-observer (extra-terrestrial) to scan the cultural movements of humanity and recognize them as planetary brain waves?” (p. 449, Cosmic Humanism)

    “This Logos Field would be able to integrate the action-patterns of the human neuroblasts of the ‘world sensorium’ into a meaningful drama.” (p. 472)

    “We need to fabricate radiation belts of spiritual consonance around the earth in a manner analagous to the Van Allen radiation belt which encloses the earth.” (p. 472)

    Thought-belts of the planetary cortex control the DNA-RNA–“the program of the integration of knowledge concerning the cosmos from top to bottom.” (p. 47, CH and WU)

    “Organizing fields of energy as guiding agencies” (p. 34)
    All of this is coordinated by FREEMASONS. Dr. Reiser’s associates included Major J. K. DeLoach, a mysterious civil engineer who promoted the connection between the great eye of the pyramid (seen on the dollar bill) and resonant energy-information.

    DeLoach specialized in studying ancient Egypt and India.
    Reiser relied on Dr. Herman Von Baravalle, a mathematician who specialized in Ancient Egyptian and esoteric math.
    Another associate was Dr. Royal Frye, the nuclear physicist at Boston University who besides writing standard textbooks, specialized in the connection between harmonic energy-information and radiation. He conducted his studies with Esther Watson Tipple, daughter of Thomas A. Watson, coworker with Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone. Watson revealed his Freemason inclinations in a monograph entitled “From Electrons to God.”

    What will the NEW HUMAN be like according to the WORLD INSTITUTE? There will be a “heart-head synthesis.” There will be Cosmic Consciousness–the ability to hear and see with the whole body. There will be the ability to communicate with intelligent beings of the universe.
    Cosmic Imagination (the Unified Field Theory) becomes moral in “man” as the INNER MESSIAH (p. 45) Reality will exist in a higher dimension than the fourth dimension. The phenomenona of super-light phase wave speeds are possible.
    The Nerve Nets of the New Human will be integrated into ONE GREAT CIRCUIT–a condition Dr. Reiser compares to the state of Samadhi in yoga. Consciousness will be in higher dimensions guided by the LOGOS FIELD and senses will be psychic.

    The leaders need to “exploit the possibilities of such action currents of thought.”

    Nodes of overlapping waves–superlight waves–show group waves where to go and their product is light and matter. Magnetic fields are the ganglia of the WORLD BRAIN. (p. 55)

    All of this is the inherent drive of the musical-mathematical spiral being quantified into a circle by Plato.

    The music logarithmic spiral is the basis for resonance science and is applied to genetics, chemistry, physics, astronomy, etc. throughout the work of Dr. Reiser. To repeat that now famous quote: “a field of electromagnetic force is built up to the place where the never-ending spiral [of fifths] approaches the radii [of octaves], and the cycle can be rounded off to a circle, which provides equal interval measurement so that all the tones involved are infused with vitality.” (p. 214)

  30. Steviepinhead says

    Drew, while you did actually provide a reference, and while it’s not impossible that Crick could have been experimenting with low doses of LSD during the period in question, your reference is more in the nature of an allegation or a claim than a proof: a posthumous secondhand assertion in the Mail on Sunday is hardly the same as the same story reported during life and confirmed by Crick, Watson, or other multiple, verifiable sources.

    It’s a bit disturbing that you don’t seem to recognize the difference between a claim and an evidence-based demonstration–but perhaps not surprising in light of all you’ve imparted here.

    And a citation to the “Mail on Sunday” is, I think it’s fair to say–at least within the universe inhabited by the Reality-Based Community (y’know, the one where you check the stowage of your parasail three times before you exit the plane, regardless of what you’ve been smoking)–NOT EXACTLY on the same plane as a citation to The Times, of either NY or London, in terms of reportorial distinction (though even the Grey Lady’s slip’s been showing lately…).

    Let’s assume the Crick LSD claim is true, however. How does his low-dosage insight, supported by the all the preceding hard work and the x-ray crystallography evidence, compare remotely with what you’ve been haranguing us about?

    Or assist you in recovering from my suggestion that you may well need to dial back on YOUR dosages? Or at least dial UP on the evidentiary side of the ledger…

    As for whether evolution is currently occurring in large mammals, you need to get your nose out of the Mail and into something peer-reviewed–or at least a well-written popularization of the peer-reviewed. Try maybe the current Special Edition of SciAm, “Becoming Human.” Perhaps the article on founder mutations, some of which are verifiably recent, and involve that large and still-evolving mammal, H. sap (mailensis).

    Truly, dude, good luck with all that.

  31. says

    Well there is the fact that Crick ripped off his “x-ray crystallography evidence” from a female lab researcher — that was her actually name — Ms. Generica or something. OK I’m joking about those last couple phrases but I can get her name from either google or the used bookstore dude.

    By the way — all these references to me taking medicine is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. How fast totally unsubstantiated rumors on this “science” blog become some acceptable norm.

    Just proves the high-minded “insights” that pass for “genius” (insert standardized brown-nosing trivia test results here).

    My source for higher mammals no longer evolving is one of the top conservation biologists — Dr Soule. I’m sure that Professor Myers will back him up.

    Oh — is that the source on Crick doing LSD? I’m surprised you totally rely on MY post as YOUR source. hahah.

    I sure wouldn’t. I’d google the shit out of that source.

  32. Steviepinhead says

    I didn’t–bwa ha ha ha!–just rely on YOUR source, O Hempelesque One. I went straight to the Mail on Sunday, with its immense collection of tabloid trash “reportage.”

    And I wouldn’t hold your breath waiting for PZ to agree that larger mammals are no longer evolving…

  33. says

    It’s odd that you link to the “Astonishing Hypothesis” for Crick — that’s a bit like linking to “Genes, Girls, and Gamow” for Watson — a rather weak showing. The classic Crick book is “What Mad Pursuit”.

  34. fnxtr says

    You mean Rosalind Franklin? The crystallographer who was awarded the Nobel prize posthumously? It was a different time and scientific respectability seemed to depend a lot on whether you had dangly bits. Fortunately things are slowly changing in that regard.

  35. says

    The Nobel is never given posthumously. Rosalind Franklin did not get one (and I’m not entirely convinced that she deserved one–not to belittle the importance of her work, but Nobels are not handed out equitably or without politics).

  36. fnxtr says

    Oops. I looked again. Mea culpa. Thanks, PZ. Don’t know where I absorbed that factoid. Gone now. Sad story, that.