I have always had an inquiring mind. While growing up, I had the urge to take things apart to find out how they worked. I also spent hours with my Erector set trying to build things that would perform new functions. There were always questions, however, that were beyond my scope such as how did this world that we live in come to be?
When I was trained as a software engineer, I developed a fascination for how man was using computers to create a parallel world based on silicon rather than organic materials. The processor performed a similar function to our brain. The camera performed a similar function to our eyes, and so on. The software that we developed to operate on the computers often performed functions that the human brain performed such as mathematical calculations, determining the best route to get between two points, recognizing faces, etc.
My first book, Inner Voices: Making Mindful Decisions, describes a ten-layer functional model for how the human mind works to make decisions that affect our lives. One of the lowest layers in that model is driven by our DNA, and a key message is that “our DNA is not our friend”. Following is a brief excerpt:
DNA’s drive for survival and propagation is so strong that it resorts to draconian measures:
· It triggers many destructive behaviors, such as aggression, discrimination, and promiscuity, that were once necessary to ensure survival and diversity of the gene pool.
· It shuts down both female and male reproductive systems at an age when it believes that any offspring produced may be substandard or poorly cared for.
· It enables diseases to weed out the weakest members of a species to ensure that they don’t pollute the gene pool.
· If a disease does not lead to death, DNA will unravel itself to eliminate its current host organism so that it doesn’t use up resources that could help its progeny to survive and continue on its evolutionary path.
In this book, The Cosmic Evolution Game, I have created a functional programming model for DNA. The story is an intriguing view of how DNA is driving the evolution of mankind, while man struggles to break the bonds of DNA in order to gain control of his evolutionary path into the future.
Because of this view into the future and its strong adherence to commonly-accepted scientific rules and evolutionary history, The Cosmic Evolution Game fits into the realm of hard science fiction. The storyline draws on a common science fiction fantasy theme where an alien life form must inhabit a living body to survive and carry out its purpose on Earth. In this case, however, DNA is depicted at that alien life form. The potential scenarios presented for the future actually are based on clear extrapolations of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and synthetic biology.
Avid science fiction fans will recognize references to many classics of the genre: Foundation, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Star Trek, etc. The Cosmic Evolution Game, provides answers to several of the most enduring ultimate questions:
1. How did we get here?
2. What is the purpose of life?
3. Is death inevitable?
4. Is there a heaven, and if so, where is it?
5. Are there other intelligent life forms in the universe?
It is the first question that provided the major impetus to write this book. I had just finished reading Perry Marshall’s book, Evolution 2.0: Breaking the Deadlock Between DARWIN and DESIGN, which presents clear evidence supporting intelligent design as the key driver for evolutionary change rather than multiple random mutations. The Cosmic Evolution Game answers this very controversial argument between Creationism and Neo-Darwinism by showing how the evolution of life on Earth has been driven by multiple forces including: intelligent design, various DNA functions that manipulate genes, random mutations, natural selection, and genetic engineering.
Hard science fiction fans will also be treated to a “meeting of the minds” featuring many of the members of the Astrophysics Hall of Fame (e.g. Einstein, Hawking, Hubble, and future cosmologists) in an attempt to save the universe from the destructive evolutionary force of entropy!