Bio: My name is Ray Nabors. I have a Ph.D. in Agriculture Biology. That is a doctor for cultivated plants. It has been an ideal career. I diagnose diseases and pests of plants, working outdoors all the time.
When the plant dies, no one cries. Working in hospitals without windows was depressing. Sick people are difficult, they feel bad all over. Those that will recover are fussy because they feel bad. The ones that are at the point of death are unusually serene given the circumstances. I was always sympathetic and close to those near the end. When they died, I cried. Veterinarians have attachment to their patients and death is yet sad. They also work in animal waste much of the time, if they are farm veterinarians. For me, the logical choice was plants. It does not pay as well but my life work has been satisfying.
My summers were spent on a farm in Mississippi. My grandfather never owned a gasoline engine. He had a pair of matched Tennessee mules. I have plowed cotton with a mule, not many people can claim that skill. He had a few dairy cows, pastured his hogs and had egg chickens as well as meat chickens. We had fresh eggs, fresh chicken, the best honey cured pork, and fresh milk. He always sold the calf when a cow was freshened. Beef was a big paycheck. Time on that farm made a big difference in my life. My grandparents had little money, but we ate like kings. They had a huge garden, they grew their own tobacco and just bought the cigarette papers to roll the smokes. My grandfather built his own house, adding on as the family grew. Raymond Nabors the First was the most independent man I have ever known.
It was fortunate for me that I had the privilege of attending Catholic schools. My mother was abandoned by my father when she was pregnant. He left her with his parents on their farm in Mississippi. We moved to the city, but my summers were spent on the farm. Grandparents cared for me while mom worked at a Catholic women's college. She had no high school diploma, but the nuns helped her learn medical technology by allowing her to audit classes. There was no government help. The nuns felt sorry for mom. We were in poverty. I did not realize it, but food, shelter and clothing were difficult for us to acquire. Four years into that program, when I started school, mom applied and got a job as a medical technologist. Her salary went up considerably. She bought a house and sent me to Catholic schools. She was the first EEG technician in that city and spent her career working at St. Jude hospital. I want those who read this story to understand how proud of her I am. Her EEG's were published in most of our medical journals and Katie was listed as one of the authors. She never did get a high school diploma. She has passed away. She grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River. during the great depression. She wore flower sacks for dresses and no shoes. Her father lost his job, her mother died. My grandfather fed his family, mom and two uncles by fishing, hunting and gathering. He made moonshine for sale and that was all the money they had. Mom knew what real hunger was. After seeing what she accomplished, I knew I could do anything. I love biological science. Domestic plants and animals are easy to study.
If you have any doubts about the discovery of evolution by Charles Darwin, look at agriculture and animal husbandry. Our first domestic animal, the dog, is a different species than the wolf from which it was selected by our ancient ancestors. That change can be measured. People took wolf pups and raised them starting 15,000 years ago. Those people in many places around the world raised wolves, selected them for work animals, guarding their homes and for companionship. Wolves live in families. They are very loyal to their families. That loyalty is to be seen with dog owners all over the world today. Trained sheep dogs are some of the most intelligent animals alive today. They love their work and their human family alpha males and females.
We have similar domestication with plants. The most widely grown grain today is what we call corn. The derivation of the word corn is from Europe referring to all domesticated grains. In Europe that would have been wheat, rye, and oats. The name was applied to maize. After the slaughter of Native Americans, the name stuck. The earliest known fossils of maize are cobs found in central American caves. These cobs are as small as your thumb and had only a few kernels. Our native American ancestors, my maternal grandmother was one, gave us the most important plant foods in the world. Corn is now grown world wide. The Native Americans had already selected for sweet corn and popcorn as well as field corn. We have varieties of corn today that produce 200 - 300 bushels per acre. An acre is about the size of a football field, in case you did not know. That is enough corn to feed a family and their chickens and rabbits for a year. Corn is the product of out-crossing. There are at least two species of plants, and probably more, that were crossed to make corn. We do not know how corn was first bred. The annual world corn crop today is worth more money than all of the gold and silver stolen by the conquistadors. Domesticated crops are different species than their wild ancestors. Wheat was derived from crossing two wild grasses. Wheat is the most widely consumed grain today. Corn used to produce ethanol for food leaves distillers grain as a by product. That distillers grain has twice the nutritional value of cracked corn for feed.
Finally, the truth regarding claims that cows and livestock cause global warming by producing methane gas (farts). Humans produce as much methane as all of the other mammals on earth combined. That amount of methane produced by all the mammals on the planet is small when compared with the methane produced by the enormous colonies of ants and termites, especially in the tropics. There are way more pounds of ants and termites (insects living in colonies have really big families), than all of the vertebrates on Earth, including birds, reptiles, mammals, amphibians and fish. Every living thing with a digestive tract produces methane as a bi-product. It is a curiosity that we as a species find passing gas comical. By the way, when you are behind a mule when plowing or a team of mules pulling a wagon to town for shopping, the scenery never changes.
I became a Deist when in high school. I was never able to reconcile the teachings that the holy trinity was a great mystery. After arithmetic, algebra and geometry I knew 3 did not equal 1. I did not make a big discussion about that, but I had arguments with teachers in class about the science of evolution. Our religion instructor came to the conclusion that I was going to hell. He believed the world was 10,000 years old and that was the time of creation. Our Human ancestors date back one million years. Life on earth occurred at least 1.5 billion years ago. It may have been due to pan-spermia (came from an asteroid or rock from space) having formed elsewhere in the universe or it may have happened here. How life arrived on Earth becomes scientifically easier to explain mathematically if there is a creator in the equation. String theory is also more comfortable with a creator in the equations. There is not a great mystery in the science, there are only more questions to answer. I am not a mathematician so I cannot explain the math. However, I have read articles by other scientists that have brought these ideas forward. So, do we include the possibility of GOD in the scientific studies? Only as long as it does not artificially change the research.
Keep in mind that I am a biologist. I am going to ask readers to use their imaginations with these thoughts. Our Native American people referred to GOD as the Great Spirit. GOD cannot be quantified. GOD is someone we believe to be. For our Deist population, GOD "is" much as Native Americans believed. The Big Bang 14.5 billion years ago was creation. That scientific theory is difficult to ignore given the evidence. We know that a planet situated at the right distance from a star around which that planet orbits, if that planet has water, life can succeed. The number of criteria necessary for this to happen would lead one to assume that planets with life would be rare. In our solar system, only one is known. Looking at other solar systems, our solar system is a rare type. More solar systems have two suns. However, the fact that there are so many trillions of stars with orbiting planets makes the probability very high that life exists on other planets. We also must consider how long it took for evolution on earth to produce a living creature that could study the science of exploration beyond their home planet. Life began on earth after approximately 3 billion years. Earth was not host to life for most of the time it existed. So if life on other planets exists as we assume, there is a 90% chance that that life is one celled. Because most of the first four billion years of Earth's existence was without life. Once life was upon the Earth, that life was single celled for more of the time life has existed on our home planet. Multi celled creatures are a recent development. We may be sending signals to other life forms that are similar to bacteria and algae here on Earth.
There is a difference between life and non living substance. You can stop along a country highway and pick up a rock off the side of the road. Take that rock and put it into a glass of water. If you leave that rock in the water for a week or more, the water will turn cloudy and eventually become brown or more likely green. Spores upon that rock begin to reproduce with the addition of water. As far as we know, life requires water. If you remove that rock, rinse it and heat it, (sterilize it), then put it into water, that water will not have life within it and will not turn green or brown. All life we know of must consume other life to live. Even plants must consume the rotting bodies of other plants and animals for nutrients to survive and thrive. Vegetarian diets are good for people, we have a vegetarian digestive tract. People can live and thrive without meat. Most of us consume meat because it tastes good. Most vegetarians feel sorry for the domesticated animals used as food. It is strange that we do not have sorrow for plants that die for us to live. When you eat seeds like beans or grain, you are eating the live babies of plants. In recent years studies have been done. When one tree is cut down in a forest it gives off pheromones (external hormones). Other trees of that species in the forest begin to give off the same hormones once one is cut down. Those other trees can sense it. The same thing happens in a field of cabbages when the first head is cut, the other cabbages down wind give off the same external hormone. There was a study done on forest trees that were given food. The food given the trees was laced with radioactive carbon. They tested the surrounding smaller trees to find out which were offspring of the tree being fed (DNA analysis). Within a short period of time the smaller trees related to the parent tree also had radioactive carbons in their bodies. In other words, trees feed their offspring to the exclusion of other trees in the area. Do plants have a sense of family? We have evidence that it is possible.
The phrase GOD is Life, has been said by many religious people. When my retort to that statement was Life is GOD, the immediate response was no, that is not right because------? Dwelling on that hypothesis for some time led me to believe it is possible. Here is why. We know bacteria is alive but minerals are not. All life lives for a time then death occurs. Our genetics live on in our children. That is why we have this great urge to mate and produce offspring. This is a trait common to all forms of life. It is possible that GOD might indeed be a Great Spirit. That GOD comes to live within us as we are conceived and born. When our life is at an end and we have produced more offspring for GOD to occupy, we return to GOD. So maybe GOD recycles all life. Now there is no logical reason why GOD would be in one plant or animal and not another, so GOD would be present in every living thing in all of the universe because GOD can be within all living things. When our spirit goes back to GOD it is comforting to think there will be spirits of trees and dogs. This hypothesis would be difficult to prove without scientific evidence. None that I know of is available. So, keep in mind, this is a thought not a belief. It is a comforting thought to think that GOD is within me and my tree. Just maybe, we and all life will go back to our Creator when our body ceases to be biology and becomes chemistry. Does GOD come along when we are alive? When we die is it because GOD goes away from our body? Could we be conscious forever with GOD? Love GOD, we know creation is awesome!.