07/02/2009 11:29

            No, this is not what you think  --an exhortation for membership in a sun worshipping club – nor, a resuscitation of  Jacques Rouseau’s Philosophy, the Natural Man. Let me keep you guessing until you get what I wish to impart.

            When we were kids, we used to observe how the ants in our backyard in a strange regular pattern would collect bits and pieces of food. After almost 50 years, we read that social scientists are researching on the social organizational set-up and cooperation of the ants in assuring their instinct of survival. An aspect  which they think man can learn something from.

            In  Botany class (1963), we were taught that photosynthesis is a chemical reaction of plants turning sunlight into food. The traditional belief then was that molecules called chromophores transformed the energy and transferred this to other molecules toward the reaction center. Today, it almost took more than 200 years to change that traditional view of Jan Ingenhousz who discovered the process and plant respiration. How? 2007 scientists re-visited photosynthesis using technology and spectroscopy technique to confirm that a quantum process is transferring this energy simultaneously to the chemical center. Incidentally, this plant food production may just be another discovery to make solar cells more effective and long lasting.

            If you happen to drive along I-5 from Los Angeles to San Francisco, you will not  miss near Dagget Point an array of solar panels numbering about 2,000 reflecting the heat and sun light to heat a boiler with a turbine which generates electricity to the area. A hundred miles from there, you will  again notice along Altamont Pass numerous towering windmills generating electricity.

            Of course, we knew long before that the knowledge about radar emanated from the bats. Not too long from now, we will read about how a specie of fish can really “walk” or skimp on water using their aerodynamic fins.

            By this time, I think you can now guess what  BACK TO NATURE is all about. Without being too theological about the subject, I always consider the divine mandate in Genesis on having dominion over nature and animals as a way of telling modern man that some of the “secrets” of creation is right in our midst. Morally, man has to learn how to put to good use what nature has set for him. Where  religion points to (biblically), science must continue. Like exploring the universe as key to our survival, knowing the earth and its surrounding is fulfilling a human quest towards glorifying the Designer. As the ancients would say, "majorem Dei gloriam".