It is already 46,000 words long, with several illustrations. The final version should have between 50,000 and 60,000 words and up to 30 illustrations, some of them coloured (though shades of grey may be acceptable). Estimated completion date: Autumn 2010.
Is a genome of only 23,000 genes sufficient to explain the complexity of the body and brain? This popular science book examines this question as well as related aspects of the brain/ mind / consciousness debate. Some startling conclusions are reached, as there appear to be only a few megabytes in the genes and non-coding RNA of the Genome, whilst there are maybe terabytes of information in the body-brain system. That is even before the environment augments brain complexity through the learning process. This is the implication of genome decoding which has not been emphasised in the literature. Hence it is time that the implications of the loaves and fishes effect were openly discussed, since precise studies in this area are lacking. In contrast to most work in the field, which remains curiously vague about the precise information content in the genome, this book presents simple calculations to estimate genome complexity and brain / body complexity. It compares the two and examines proposals that attempt to explain the discrepancy. Alternatives to purely genetic or epi-genetic theories are explored.
The related question of how the mind arises from or is connected with the brain is also addressed. Mechanistic models favoured by die-hard defenders of the now discredited behaviourist school of thought are examined and found wanting. The importance of subjective consciousness is emphasised and the implications of a new form of dualism are discussed. Processes such as perceptual binding and free will are examined. Arguments are presented against the widespread assumption that free will, the self and even time itself are but illusions.
The evolution of the human body, brain and mind is re-examined and some of the assumptions of old-fashioned versions of Darwinism questioned. Was conflict and struggle the main driver behind evolutionary change, or did cooperation and altruism play an equal or greater role? The importance of consciousness in the evolutionary process is emphasised.
In addition to the themes already listed, there is also a brief overview of some of the most important areas of modern science. Revolutionary new developments in power generation and quantum gravity Theories of Everything are discussed using inside insights I have obtained from personal contact with some leading figures in the field