Thursday, April 30, 2009

Buddhist Enzymes

A lot of people feel threatened by science, thinking that it somehow violates or denies the existence of God. Of course, maybe they feel threatened because their definition of "God" is too specific. If we let go of the notion of "God" in the strict biblical sense, and start looking at God as more of a force, or better yet an ultimate collection of all forces (both known and unknown) working together in an immensely complex and dynamic balance which makes up the universe as we know it. That's a possibility I am comfortable with . God isn't so much a personality (wrath, love, jealousy), more of an unfathomable system binding everything together.

I find that enzymes are good metaphor for things such as religion, human/culture interactions, ect. (Nerd Alert!)

Enzymes contain a cavity called an "active site." A group of molecules, known as a substrate, will bind to the enzyme by fitting into the active site. To explain how enzyme interact with the substrate, they first created the "lock and key" model. This model claims that a specific substrate will bind in a specific active site, one that has the same shape. The active site itself is static and won't change shape. Think of two puzzle pieces fitting together. You can't jam them to make them fit. Either they fit, or they don't.

However, in 1958, scientists realized that the active sites of enzymes aren't static, they're dynamic, and can reshape itself to accommodate substrates with different shapes. Enzymes are still extremely specific, but the specificity is related more to the chemical make-up of the enzyme rather then mere shape. A good example is a hand going into a glove. While the overall shape of the glove is the same (glove shaped), it's slightly different when there is a hand in the glove versus an empty glove.

As a Buddhist, I like the induced fit model better because it fits with Buddhist teachings about the dynamic state of the universe. (Buddha taught that nothing is impervious to change.) The lock and key model also deals in absolutes: either it fits, or it doesn't. Absolutes are a big no-no in Buddhism, and especially for me. I always prefer to find a way of compromise to make thing's work.

As for my belief in a supreme creator, the simple answer is this: I don't know. How can I? The world's leading scientists don't know, and I'm merely a college junior.

Conclusion:
Enzymes are awesome. And don't forget to smile ^_^

3 comments:

ZazenLover said...

great post! :)

wolfie185 said...

Nice post!! I agree, my answer to God is "I don't know" and how can I, everthing is human perspective, our human wants, needs, cravings.

They call him James Ure said...

Awesome post. I absolutely loved it and especially agree with this part and the way you said it:

If we let go of the notion of "God" in the strict biblical sense, and start looking at God as more of a force, or better yet an ultimate collection of all forces (both known and unknown) working together in an immensely complex and dynamic balance which makes up the universe as we know it. That's a possibility I am comfortable with . God isn't so much a personality (wrath, love, jealousy), more of an unfathomable system binding everything together.

Well said.