Reincarnation Revisited

16Dec09

In my last post, I forgot to mention a very obvious example of “reincarnation” in science: genes. Everyone of us could be said to be reincarnating a part of our biological mother and father. But I think I should add to this discussion that I am being quite liberal in my interpretation of Buddhism. I read a chapter today of the book “The Monk and The Philosopher” and realized that many Buddhist would probably feel I am missing the whole point of reincarnation here. And scientists may feel I’m confusing metaphysics and physics. Anyways, I think I may be waxing philosophical here and all I really wanted to say is that I have found that there are metaphors between the scientific view of life/death and religious views.

On other point, I began to wonder today about genetic determinism. It is said that a child of a BRCA carrier has a 50% chance of inheriting the genetic mutation. As I understand it, the carrier has one copy of the BRCA gene without the mutation and another copy with the mutation. One copy the BRCA gene is received from each parent. But what if both parents had a mutation? Can a child get two copies which both have a mutation? What are the implications? Something for me to look up I guess.

Actually, what I am really wondering about is how we can say that genes are determined by chance? What happens in the copying process? Are there really no factors to dictate whether we get our mother’s or father’s copy? I imagine there are but that it’s just too terribly complex and low-level for science to currently understand?

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