The Biology of Belief by Bruce H Lipton, Ph D

Books about how new findings of science support "New Age" beliefs have been common since at least since the Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism by Fritjof Capra was first published many years ago. The most popular example is the movie "What the Bleep Do We Know?"

However, the emphasis has been on physics, especially quantum physics. This book examines cell biology instead, though he also tries to rope in quantum physics. The author is a cell biologist with impressive credentials.

His central thesis – on the scientific level – is that our cells (and therefore ourselves) are not controlled by our DNA or genes. Rather, they react to their environment.

He doesn't spell this out, but I must assume there are genetic limits or boundaries. Our cells can't suddenly decide to change our eye color from blue to brown. If we're fully grown, I don't believe they can grow our skeletons even if we decide we wish to be professional basketball players.

This is a direct challenge to most of biology, which reveres our DNA and genes as the control mechanisms over who and what we are.

However, in recent years there's been a new branch of biology called epigenetics, which studies how our cells can choose to read or not read certain parts of our genes.

For example, the presence of certain genes are correlated with the possibility of developing certain cancers later in life. Newspaper stories make it sound as though women with the gene are "fated" to get breast cancer.

Lipton points out that depending on their environment, cells can choose to read or not read these genes, and therefore develop cancer – or not.

I find this quite reasonable. I believe I first encountered the term "epigenetics" when I read a book on resveratrol, the polyphenol found in grapes and grape products (such as red wine). The research into resveratrol suggests that it helps our cells to express the healthy parts of our genes while ignoring the unhealthy parts.

But here's where the author's case breaks down. He says the cell's environment includes electrical energy (true enough), and implies this is controlled by our beliefs.

And he brings in quantum mechanics to explain how our brains communicate with our cells to determine their actions.

It's not easy to follow, because he is a good writer and uses many scientific details, but this process is simply not explained in the same step by step detail he gives to cell biology. He makes many logical jumps.

I'm no expert, but I don't believe quantum physics even applies to the molecular level on which our biology is based. I thought it applied only to subatomic particles. By the time atoms combine to form molecules, they are matter and behave according to the laws of biochemistry.

In one chapter he goes into great detail about the importance of parents programming their children positively, starting with their own health. He cites many statistics showing that children exposed in the womb to alcohol and tobacco suffer health problems later on.

He seems to shift from rejecting determinism by genes to adopting determinism by parental influence.

At the end, he really cops out by acknowledging that he doesn't have a way to change our subconscious programming – which controls our beliefs.

Instead, he redirects us to check out a program for that created by someone else.

There's a lot of interesting material here. I believe it raises lots of interesting and valuable questions, but it doesn't make its case.

Science, Technology, Biology And Our Future

A new era of science has begun. Starting now, and lasting for at least the next 15 years, many discoveries will be made and found at an incredible rate. Of course we will have incredible discoveries 15 years out, but right now marks a particular point in our history within science and technology that will shape our lives for many years ahead, and will revolutionize our thinking. Here are just a few of those things that will change the world.

Within the past year a new form of stem cell research has begun. Stem cell research has always been riddled with controversy because of the need for human embryos. A new technique is being perfected that allows scientists to take the skin cells off of a patient and essentially transforms them into stem cells (this has currently only been done on animals). With a patient's own stem cells now (from the patients skin, no embryos needed) available they can then convert them into any cell in the body and replicate them. This is huge, and advancements can come quickly now because human embryos aren't needed and politics won't get in the way.

Recently the Large Hadron Collider project announced it's soon-to-be completion. They installed the last major part in this huge under ground particle accelerator. Scientists are hoping by bashing elements and atoms at near light speeds they can unravel many of the mysteries in science and quantum mechanics. The Large Hadron Collider will possibly tell us if there are other dimensions, and possibly make Michio Kaku happy by also letting us know if strings do exist (sub atomic scale) and if String Theory is fact.

Lastly, we are also entering a new telescope type era. The Large Binocular Telescope has officially announced its competition. It has two 8.4 meter mirrors to view the night sky like never before. It will have ten times the resolution of the Hubble Telescope. Coming up we have the Kepler Mission which will look at 100,000 stars and look for earth-like planets in space. We also have the Giant Magellan Telescope, and The Thirty Meter Telescope (Major Funding By Gordon Moore) slated form completion by 2015.

Within the next 10 years these telescopes will be able to confirm if there are truly rocky earth-like worlds out there with the ingredients for life. Our new science is telling us that at least a quarter of all stars have planets orbiting them. Considering that there are about 400 billion stars in our galaxy, and at least 100 billion galaxies, the odds are great for earth-like planets to be around. We already have confirmed multiple rocky slightly larger than earth planets in the habitable zone. With our new technology and telescopes we can see just how many there are, and exactly what their atmospheres are made out of.

Going a step further. It's possible we will make one of the biggest discoveries of all time within the next 20 years if we continue at the rate of technological advancement that we are going at. We may possibly know the answer to if there is other life out there, not from earth. I personally believe it could simply be there is or isn't, but the scientific community is saying within 15-20 years we may finally have an answer.

Concluding. We are making huge advancements in medicine, technology, space, and other areas. It's interesting to see how far we have come as a civilization. Hopefully along with our advancements we still realize how important the simple things are and keep our earth healthy and clean. It is an exciting future, enjoy the ride.