One of the greatest scientific events on Planet Earth was the inception of the biological design of sperm and egg. It should be the source for jubilant thanksgiving, for without them the highest form of life on Earth would have been marine or fresh-water green slime.

The following is an excerpt from my book, “Biodesign Out For A Walk,” Chapter 26; “Soul Medicine.”

According to Edwin Way Teal ( author of “The Wilderness World of John Muir”) naturalist John Muir was a scientist, a poet, a mystic, a philosopher and a humorist.

“While walking in the Mendocino woods, the students came upon a pickup truck with a camper. The back bumper featured a sticker that boldly stated, ‘Don’t come a-knockin’ if this truck’s a-rockin’.’ The boys began to cheer, and the girls said the boys were disgusting. I discovered that the best word that defined the teenage humor gender gap was ‘disgusting.’

“Once we were discussing the importance of Mendel’s laws of segregation and independent assortment in evolution. I reminded them that a good example was the fact that every corn kernel resulted from a sperm that swam down a silk thread and fertilized an ovum. Gina blurted out, ‘Mr. Young, ever since you told us that in our sophomore year, I haven’t been able to eat corn; it’s disgusting.’ ”

It can be a fool’s errand to overly anthropomorphize biological organs, but generally the girls were not too pleased when we identified apples as enlarged ovaries.

The turkeys that will grace millions of Thanksgiving tables are distant relatives of the ones Pilgrims feasted on. They have been selectively (and probably artificially) bred so that they have huge breasts and are unable to fly.

I find it fascinating that every turkey, every kernel of corn, every apple and every human being began when a sperm fertilized an egg in a mysterious process that scientists have yet to fully comprehend.

Many people may no longer say grace before their Thanksgiving dinner, but the mere existence of sperm and egg should be reason enough for shouts of exaltation and gratefulness.

Lowell H. Young

St. Helena

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