The Journey

The journey was a learning experience for me. I had many surprises along the way:
• I learned how brilliant and correct Darwin was for all the right reasons.
• I also learned how correct Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, the famous French biologist, was for all the wrong reasons.
• Gregor Mendel led us to an understanding of genetics that is dramatically oversimplified, his work possibly falsified, yet Mendelian genetics is still foundational.
• Ray Kurzweil is predicting “The Singularity is Near.” Bill Joy is the co-founder of Sun Microsystems. They have opposite views of our future, but both are equally frightening.
• I had never heard of the “species problem” and still don’t understand it.
• The genome is so magnificent and complicated that it may take centuries for us to understand it fully.
• We still don’t know for sure how and when Homo sapiens got here but Svante Pääbo and his team are revolutionizing our understanding of human evolution.
• We have about the same number of genes as a mouse but it is the epigenome that really makes us human.
• Our main differentiator is our brain – not our upright posture. We still don’t know why the latter evolved.
• Our tools to study the brain are brilliant examples of the epitome of evolution, but our understanding of how the brain works is still in the future.
• CRISPR will take us closer to the Methuselarity.
• Nanotechnology, like artificial intelligence, could either be an existential threat or the savior of mankind.

Many people who have not read the book have asked me to tell them the answers. I declined for two reasons: 1) they would not understand the answers without taking the journey, and 2) The journey is the most fun. If you wish to take the journey, you may read the book or get a taste of it through this Interactive Journey.