Essays

— The Book of —
Continuing Creation:
A Spiritual Path Based on Nature, Reason, and Science

Book Essays will be posted week-by-week, as they are written.  Each Essay stands alone, independent of the others; but you will want to read the INTRODUCTION and HOW TO READ THIS BOOK first (they are both very short), and then read the OVERVIEW.  The 27-page Overview presents all the major concepts in the Book of G>O>D>.   A list of all the eventual Essays appears in the right-hand column — titles of posted Essays are in bold; titles of Essays still being written are in not in bold.

Meditations for Co-Creators

“Meditation is paying sustained, unmixed attention to one thing at a time.” (– Paraphrasing Simone Weil.) “The quieter you become, the more you can hear.” (– Anonymous) “Be here now. Be someplace else later. Is that so complicated? (– David M. Bader) “You should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you are […]

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Evaluating Taoism and Zen

Evaluating Taoism and Zen “Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which […]

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The Processes of Evolution — and their spiritual meaning

The Processes of Evolution — and their spiritual meaning The Way of Continuing Creation is based on Nature, Reason, and Science.  For our Spiritual Practice of Continuing Creation, the Science of Evolution is the most important of all the sciences. Not because it is the most fundamental (physics and chemistry are more fundamental), but because […]

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FORERUNNERS TO OUR SPIRITUAL PATH

Deism, Process Theology, Stoicism, Freemasonry, Positivism, Secular Humanism, Existentialism, Skepticism, Pragmatism, Unitarianism, and Transcendentalism: These are the theologies and philosophies that are the main forerunners to our Book of Continuing Creation  Many of the concepts in our Book have been adapted from them. These eleven Theological and Philosophical Forerunners are the subjects of this Essay.

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IS GOD LOVE? IS G>O>D> LOVE?

When people say “God is Love,” they most often mean that God is 100% composed of love, or “God equals Love.”  And when people say that God is Love, they are usually talking about the human type of Love – warm, intimate, caring, emotional, conscious, intended, purposeful – done by a being who is also […]

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  2. Robert M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, 1974, 1999, William Morrow and Company.
  3. Voltaire, Candid, or All for the Best, 1759.
  4. The Story of a Soul (L'histoire d'une âme): the autobiography of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. Translated by Taylor, Thomas N. Teddington, Middlesex: Echo Library. ISBN 978-1-4068-0771-4. ISBN 1-4068-0771-0.
  5. Sam Harris, Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion, 2014, Simon & Schuster, p. 119.
  6. Sam Harris, Ibid. p. 123.
  7. Sam Harris, Ibid. p. 122.
  8. Matthieu Ricard, Antoine Lutz, and Richard J. Davidson, “Mind of the Meditator,” Scientific American, November, 2014, pp. 39-45.
  9. Ruth A. Baer, “Mindfulness Training as a Clinical Intervention: A Conceptual and Empirical Review,” available at http://www.wisebrain.org/papers/MindfulnessPsyTx.pdf. See also, Kabat-Zinn J (2013). Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness. New York: Bantam Dell. ISBN 978-0345539724. See also, J.D. Cresswell, "Mindfulness Interventions," Annual Review of Psychology (January 2017). 68: 491–516. doi:10.1146/annurev-psych-042716-051139. PMID 27687118.  See also “Methodologically rigorous RCTs have demonstrated that mindfulness interventions improve outcomes in multiple domains (e.g., chronic pain, depression relapse, addiction),” American Psychological Association (APA.org, 2012).  See also, Kabat-Zinn, “What Is Mindfulness? Definition + Benefits,” Incl. Psychology. In Purser, PositivePsychology.com. 2015.
  10. K. Pickert,  "The art of being mindful. Finding peace in a stressed-out, digitally dependent culture may just be a matter of thinking differently," February 2014,  Time. Vol. 183 no. 4. pp. 40–6. PMID 24640415.
  11. Lawrence LeShan, Ibid., pp. 85-88.
  12. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/mindfulness-exercises/art-20046356.
  13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%A9r%C3%A8se_of_Lisieux#The_%22little_way%22.  See also https://wedaretosay.com/what-is-the-little-way-of-st-therese-of-lisieux/.
  14. Dr. Philip Halapin, M.D., a psychiatrist practicing medicine in Virginia.
  15. Dr. Philip Halapin, M.D., a psychiatrist practicing medicine in Virginia.
  16. LeShan, Ibid., p. 54-6.
  17. LeShan, Ibid, p. 76
  18. Jose Ortega Y Gasset, Meditations on Quixote, 1961, W.W. Norton & Company, p.89.
  19. “Meditation Mapped in Monks,” BBC News, 3-1-2002.  See also Ryan Buxton, “Neuroscientist Explains The Similarities Between The Brains Of Praying Nuns And Psychedelic Drug Users,”  Huffington Post, 05/28/2015. See also, Nicole Spector, “This is Your Brain on Prayer and Meditation,“ NBC News,  10-20-16.
  20. Emily Singer, “Mongrel Microbe Tests Story of Complex Life,” 11-30-2015, Quanta Magazine, re-reported in Scientific American https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/mongrel-microbe-tests-story-of-complex-life/.
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  26. Arvin Ash, Abiogenesis – How Life Came from Inanimate Matter, 9-6-2019, a video film, www.arvinash.com
  27. Robert. M. Hazen, The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 Billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet, 2012, Penguin Books.
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  33. Nick Lane, The Vital Question: Energy, Evolution, and the Origins of Complex Life, 2015, W.W. Norton & Co., pp. 1 and 4-5.
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  40. Hazen, pp.129-130.
  41. Arvin Ash, Ibid.
  42. Arvin Ash, “Abiogenesis – How Life Came from Inanimate Matter,” a video film, 9-6-2019, www.arvinash.com
  43. Juli Peretó, "Controversies on the Origin of Life," 2005, International Microbiology. 8 (1): 23–31. PMID 15906258. See also, David Warmflash and Benjamin Warmflash, "Did Life Come from Another World?," Scientific American, November 2005, 293 (5): 64–71. Bibcode:2005SciAm.293e..64W. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1105-64. PMID 16318028.
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  48. Stephen J. Gould, The Lying Stones of Marrakech: Penultimate Reflections in Natural History, 2001, Vintage, pp. 119–121. ISBN 978-0-09-928583-0. See also, Ernst Mayr, Toward a New Philosophy of Biology: Observations of An Evolutionist, 1988, Harvard University Press. p. 499. ISBN 978-0-674-89666-6.
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  55. Robert M. Hazen, The Story of Earth: The First 4.5 billion Years, from Stardust to Living Planet, 2013, Penguin Books, p. 128, paraphrased.
  56. Tom Herrmann and Sandeep Sharma, “Physiology, Membrane,” 3-2-2019, StatPearls, SIU School of Medicine, Baptist Regional Medical Center, PMID 30855799.
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  58. Arvin Ash, “Abiogenesis,” Ibid.
  59. Arvin Ash, “Abiogenesis,” Ibid.
  60. Arvin Ash, “Abiogenesis,” Ibid.
  61. Ann Taylor and Scott Feller, the entry for “Lipids” in Chemistry Explained, online at http://www.chemistryexplained.com/Kr-Ma/Lipids.html.
  62. Andrew Pohorille and David Deamer, "Self-assembly and Function of Primitive Cell Membranes," 6-23-2009, Research in Microbiology, 160 (7): 449–456. 
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    Diatoms Make Silica Cell Walls that Are Similar to Crystals

    Since quartz crystals and many other mineral crystals are primarily made of silica (i.e., of silicon-dioxide) it worth noting that tiny single-celled living creatures called diatoms form their outer cells walls using silica. In other words, diatoms make their outer walls out of a mineral that also makes up rocks.  Diatoms are a type of micro-algae found in oceans, waterways, and soils worldwide. Like green plants and green algae, diatoms convert light energy to chemical energy by photosynthesis, although this shared capability evolved independently in both lineages. Diatoms generate about 20 to 50 percent of the oxygen produced on the planet each year,71 "What are Diatoms?" Diatoms of North America. Archived from the original on 25 January 2020. Retrieved 28 January 2020.
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    Diagram of a Folded Protein (myoblobin)

    Folded Structure of Myoblobin protein "Folding proteins in fatal ways, December, 2003, Nature. 426 (6968): 900–4, bibcode:2003 Natur.426..900S. doi:10.1038/nature02264. PMID 14685251. S2CID 6451881. See also B. Alberts, D. Bray D, K. Hopkin, A. Johnson, J. Lewis, M. Raff, K. Roberts, and P. Walter, "Protein Structure and Function," Essential Cell Biology (Third ed.), 2010, Garland Science. pp. 120–70. ISBN 978-0-8153-4454-4.
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  97. The ability of electron microscopes to see the atomic structures of molecules has led to the new field of Structural Cell Biology. Powerful microscopy plus crystallography and computational tools are now able to generate testable atomic models of cellular machines. 99 https://www.cell.com/trends/cell-biology/fulltext/S0962-8924(06)00020-1. Synthetic Biology Another new field, Synthetic Biology, uses our understanding of cellular machines and other aspects of cellular biology to engineer new functions into living things, producing useful chemical compounds such as pharmaceuticals and biofuels. “This effort has already led to some astonishing successes, but much work, including standardization of techniques for manipulating genes, still needs to be done before cells can be as easily engineered as traditional machines.” http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2011/issue88/ Synthetic Biology Creates A Vaccine for the Covid-19 Virus
    Covid-19 Virus

    Covid-19 Virus

    In late 2020, synthetic biology successfully produced some of the first vaccines to fight the COVID-19 virus. Unlike traditional vaccines which use weakened or inactivated versions of the germ they intend to fight, the new vaccines use laboratory-made mRNA.  When injected into our arms, the new mRNA vaccines instruct some of our cells to make a harmless piece of “spike protein” on their own surfaces, like the spikes found on the surface of the COVID-19 virus. Next, our bodies’ overall immune systems recognize the spiky proteins as “foreign bodies,” and our immune systems begin making antibodies to kill the cells that have spikes. At the end of the process, our bodies have learned how to kill any and all cells that have spikes, thus protecting us against future infection from real COVID-19 viruses. 100 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/different-vaccines/mrna.html.
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  152. Paraphrased from Bill Steele’s article, “Before Cells, Biochemicals May Have Combined in Clay,” 11-7-2013, Cornell Chronicle, Cornell University.
  153. Bill Steele, Ibid.
  154. Bill Steele, Ibid.
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  156. Leslie March, “Life's Crystal Code,” 3-19-2009, www.space.com.
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  159. Arvin Ash, “Abiogenesis,” a video film, Ibid.
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  163. Michael Schirber, “Diamonds May Be Life's Birthstone,” Space.com, 9-25-2008,  https://www.space.com/5882-diamonds-life-birthstone.html.
  164. Michael Schirber, Ibid.
  165. Michael Schirber, Ibid.
  166. Leslie Mullen, “Life's Crystal Code,” www.space.com, 3-19-2009.]
  167. Robert Hazen, Ibid., p.138.
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  198. Roger T. Ames, Roger T. (1998) ed. Wandering at Ease in the Zhuangzi, 1998, State University of New York Press.[/note) Our Way of positive participation in Continuing Creation advocates just the opposite: we affirm that reality is real, and our human constructive efforts are critically important in achieving progress… on all fronts that are moral.  (See our Essays, Leading a Fulfilled and Happy Life, and Leading a Virtuous Life.) The Tao Te Ching Fortunately, the other foundational book of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching, agrees with us: it is very much about purposeful living and working; but always in a centered, calm, and effective manner. In this view, “aimless wandering” is a meditative tool for resting and rejuvenating the mind and body, before returning to constructive living. The Tao Te Ching -- “The Way and its Power,” or “The Way and its Virtue” – is attributed to Lao Tzu or Laozi, “The Old Master”.  The Tao Te Ching is a collection of just 81 very short, poem-like statements (“chapters”) about the nature of reality and how to live life.
    Illustration for The Tao Te Ching

    Illustration for The Tao Te Ching

    There is no historical evidence that the Old Master ever lived, or that he wrote the Tao Te Ching. A number of scholars believe that the little book was written by a collaboration of authors. Legend says that after writing the book, Lao Tzu retired alone into the mountains, never to be heard from again. 207 Livia Kohn and Michael Lafargue, eds., Lao-Tzu and the Tao-Te-Ching, 1998, State University of New York Press, ISBN 978-0-7914-3599-1.
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  206. Alan Watts, Ibid. p. 25.
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  211. Stephan Prothero, Ibid., p. 282]
  212. Tai chi exercises, a set of highly controlled gestural exercises, coupled with “right breathing” and “correct concentration,” are today practiced all over the world, usually outdoors in the open air. These flowing exercises can be performed by people of all ages and nearly all physical abilities.
  213. Tai chi (or Tai chi Ch’uan), began as a martial arts tradition. Two other Chinese martial arts practices are Bagua Zhang, and Xing Yi Quan. They also embody Taoist principles to a significant extent, and some practitioners consider their art a means of practicing Taoism. 221 Robert Rousseau, "An Introduction to Chinese Martial Arts Styles." Retrieved 2017-06-01. See also, Stephen Prothero, Ibid., p. 283.
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  220. Alan Watts, Ibid.,p. 28.
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  222. Prothero, Ibid., pp. 303-306.
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