Thursday, January 18, 2007


“Matter” is the substance of anything that has mass and is observable by our senses. Matter is composed of protons, neutrons, electrons, molecules, and so on - it is the material of which the physical world is formed.

Materialism is the position that the universe is composed of matter in various forms, and everything that happens is the result of the interaction of various forms of matter.

In my last post I made a fairly simple and uncontroversial point – that evolution is really a process of some forms of matter persisting through time and others perishing.

In its simplest forms, matter persists just because it is durable, by which I mean to say that it’s hard enough and tough enough to not be ground away by interaction with the rest of the material world.

Some forms of matter combine and interact in ways that help them to persist, and these forms are “rewarded” with a longer existence. All matter is in motion, however, and everything is inevitably broken down by time and rebuilt in new formations.

What we call “life” is when some forms of matter learn to overcome this inevitable decay, and indeed to overcome time itself, by reproducing before breaking down.

In order to reproduce itself, the pattern or form of a material entity must be recorded, and its blueprint must be passed on so that its offspring can reproduce itself in turn. Science has learned that the record of life is written on a complex protein called DNA.

Let’s look at this another way. Death is inevitable, and the path to immortality is through DNA.

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