The Mystery of Mankind


Here’s an interesting book tracing scientific development since the publication of the human genome in 2001. It was thought that this discovery would explain the wide variety in form and attributes of the millions of species on the planet. In fact it raised a lot more questions about things we don’t yet understand. This book well illustrates the phrase, ‘The more we know, the more we realise we don’t know.’ Examples abound through the book, but here’s a quote from the closing pages:

“Might further scientific investigation vindicate Darwin’s mechanism of natural selection as the explanation for the infinite beauty and diversity of the natural world? Might biologists at some time in the future penetrate the impenetrable Double Helix to reveal how the genes of a snowdrop determine its delicate form and colour, so readily distinguishable from those of a tulip or any other form of life, or find in the 2 per cent of the genome that separate us from our primate cousins those random genetic mutations that gave rise to the non-material mind, and confirm as ‘mere illusion’ our perception of ourselves as free autonomous beings? The answer to all these questions must be ‘no’. We are not just a mystery to ourselves, but our existence as the sole witness of the splendours of the universe is its central mystery.”

I don’t profess to understand much of the science – a lot of it is way over my  head. But I did enjoy the sense of wonder at the beautiful mystery of our world.


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