Newsletter Archive Online

The San Francisco Tesla Society

presents a free presentation featuring

Roulette Wm. Smith, Ph.D.

"On the Biogenesis, Development and
Evolution of Common Sense and Spirituality:

Implications for Critical Reasoning in the Sciences, Religions and Society"

Sunday, January 14, 2007  1 - 5 p.m. at

San Francisco Public Library
Park Branch - Lower Right Entrance
1833 Page Street @ Cole
San Francisco, CA  94117

Three seemingly disparate research interests reached remarkable confluence during the past five years. In 1979, I proposed that DNA is the likely repository of long term memories in living systems (LTM; Smith, 1979). That report focused on roles of slowly infectious pathogens (e.g., lentiviruses and prions) in dementia, ‘immune dementia’ (e.g., HIV/AIDS), and evolution. A second set of reports explored aberrations in common sense in a cohort of elementary school children, and, ostensibly, the association between ‘aberrant’ common sense and transmissible negativism ‘psychoviruses’ (TN; Smith, 1987; Smith, 1988). Then, after reports of two human genome projects revealed that the human proteome (i.e., protein-encoding portion of the genome) comprises approximately 1.2% of the human genome, I undertook an exploration of implications of the ‘DNA as LTM’ hypothesis for LTM in brain and evolution (Smith, 2003; Smith, 2006). These reports noted that crude measures of nurturance could be reflected in changing Guanine*Cytosine :: Adenine*Thymidine ratios in selected regions in brain, and particularly in non-proteomic regions of the genome.

This presentation focuses on implications of the ‘DNA as LTM’ hypothesis for molecular and biological aspects of common sense and spirituality. If common sense is defined as core nurturance and mental speciation, and if spirituality is defined as mental speciation beyond common sense, we then consider the following questions: How ‘common’ are common sense and spirituality? Is there an underlying molecular basis for either or both? Are there common changes in DNA associated with common sense and/or spirituality? If so, are those changes likely to be reflected in proteomic or non-proteomic regions of the genome? Because TN is implicated in ‘aberrant’ common sense, what factors contribute to alterations in common sense?

In addition, we explore themes emerging from an analysis of the notion of common sense in more than 40 languages. We also provide preliminary results from a study of the evolutionary impact of World War II on common sense among Germans and Holocaust survivors in the USA and Israel. These data and the TN data implicate war and trauma as factors contributing to divergences in common sense, thereby revealing concrete consequences of peace.

We conclude our report with analyses of broad implications of research on common sense and spirituality. Among these topics are: critical reasoning; common sense in science in contrast to “scientific methods;” similarities and differences in sciences and religions; and, general social and evolutionary implications (e.g., for curriculum and instruction; economics; political science; disease and public health; systems research and chaos theory).

Roulette Wm. Smith is the Director of the Institute for Postgraduate Interdisciplinary Studies in Palo Alto, California.

Smith, R. W. (1979). Long-Term Memories: Where Does the 'Buck' Stop? — Toward a Testable Theory of Debugging the Molecular Basis of Long-Term Memories in Living Organisms. Abstracts, Seventh Meeting of the International Society for Neurochemistry [Jerusalem, ISRAEL — September 2-6], p. 590.

Smith, R. W. (1987). The National Impact of Negativistic Leadership: A Need for National Caveats Emptor. In Abstracts, 1987 Annual Meeting of the Western Political Science Association [Anaheim, CA — March 26-28], p. 28.

Smith, R. W. (1988). Transmissible Negativism and Its Possible Relation to Irrational Behavior and Poor Common Sense. Presented to the XXIV International Congress of Psychology [Sidney, AUSTRALIA — August 28 - September 2].

Smith, R. Wm. (2003). Revisiting the Molecular Biology, Genetics and Genomics of Long-Term Memory in Living Systems. Abstracts, XIX International Congress of Genetics [Melbourne, AUSTRALIA – July 6-11], Abstract #5.C.0802, p. 133.

Smith, R. Wm. (2006). Evolution and Long-Term Memories in Living Systems: Using molecular biology to resolve three great debates … Lamarck versus Darwin, Nature versus Nurture, and The Central Dogma. Presentation to the San Francisco Tesla Society (
) [San Francisco, CA – February 12].

PDF Version of our January - March 2007 Newsletter.


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