Books by Tom Bunzel

If DNA Is Software, Who Wrote the Code?

Tom Bunzel, our first Author of the Month of 2017, explores the intriguing concept of Mind mimicking matter, as far as HTML and DNA are concerned.

That’s to say, Mind has created “code,” so what created DNA?

Read on to find out more.


By Tom Bunzel, former tech writer, now Science and Tech Editor, Collective Evolution

Even within the very brief period in our planet’s history that humans have had tools and technology (perhaps this time around) – software is a very recent occurrence and has been with us only for the past few decades.

Yet if we consider software deeply we can see that it is an extension of what humans began with as art, continued as writing and now produce as code – encoded intelligence.

What sets software apart, however, is its active nature – it performs tasks – it is active encoded intelligence. Through silicon it can calculate, simulate, and even learn on a very simple level.

bunzelt1-active-intelligence

I came to computers after being a Liberal Arts major and one of my most amazing experiences was having a series of floppy disks at a law firm teach me how to use one of the earliest word processing machines.

It was like my own Turing Test, in that at various times the program anticipated my responses to the extent that I could as easily have been taught by a human.

The experience was my first epiphany with computer technology because I realized that I was dealing with a simulated intelligence of incredible potential—and also that the presence of encoded intelligence within the word processor could only have come into being through the agency of Mind.

In the case of personal computers, this agency of course is the team of brilliant programmers who wrote the code that taught me how to use the machine.

But it indicated the “presence of a mind” (or its progeny) within inanimate objects—a plastic box with printed circuits—as electrical energy.

This was my introduction to “software.”

Several business and computer books later, somewhat cognisant about how to write “code,” I was fantasising about writing a sci-fi screenplay about an intelligent computer program discovered by neuroscience in the brain when I saw a video on TED by geneticist Juan Enriquez.

Enriquez’s talk took my reverie out of the realm of fantasy. In a very powerful presentation he did not use the usual metaphor or simile to reference DNA as “like” a computer’s floppy disk. He described it directly and plainly as operating exactly like the code in computer software.

Enriquez described an apple as a [computer] application that runs as an “executable” – it reads or processes its DNA code from top down, executing each line in turn as an instruction. In the case of an apple, when it receives sufficient energy from the sun, Enriquez said, it executes and drops from the tree.

Enriquez explained how sequencing DNA decodes its programmatic intentions through its relationship to a combination of 4 proteins, symbolically represented by 4 letters of our alphabet, A, C, T and G. Side by side with HTML, the code for a web page, it looks very similar.

bunzelt1-comparison

Moreover I realised from the video that geneticists aren’t ever creating life – they are switching the genes on and off using its internal software – and “copying and pasting” the code to, for example, revive extinct species – a process described in the video.

As I watched the video many times I was amazed that the audience, and Dr. Enriquez himself, did not seem to grasp an obvious ramification:

If DNA is code – who wrote it?

Moreover, if I DNA is code, doesn’t it posit the existence a priori of an immensely powerful intelligence?

I contemplated the reality that perhaps we don’t need to look for “intelligent life” on other worlds… Clearly, to the extent that it is “instructed” by DNA, life itself is intelligent – and it was so before humans even existed.

This insight moved me deeply and as you use computer software every day, I now invite you to think about this:

Could software happen by accident?

Our current science glosses over this very significant issue. In a NASA presentation that I feature in the book there is a slide that simply asserts that somehow chemical molecules became “alive.”

Can Science Explain the Origin of Life?

Can Science Explain the Origin of Life?

Seriously? Can anyone, based on their human experience, conceive of an event that would transform a stone into a living organism?

Indeed for all of the amazing advancement of modern genetics, the actual energy of life has never been synthesised. DNA has been synthesised but it is always “copied and pasted” (or now edited) in a living host.

And indeed there are organisms that seem to be alive in some situations and not others — some viruses apparently come “alive” only within a host organism — that is already alive.

But going back to computer software, there has never been a program that appeared by “accident.”

bunzelt1-programmer-who

Could Microsoft Word, Apple apps or Google have “evolved” without the intervention of a human programmer?

This brings up perhaps the key point that must emerge when we recognise the reality of sequenced DNA operating as software code…

By definition, decoding (or sequencing) means extracting the meaning of DNA.

In plain terms, it is the discovery that a certain sequence of letters will result in blue eyes, a different sequence in green. One sequenced set of code may be a harmless organism, or as we saw above, a different sequence may roam the planet as Ebola.

Now, consider this – whether the symbolic representations within the code are images, words, letters or chemicals, they convey meaning.

The first instance of meaning that we notice with DNA is when it is sequenced and the meaning is discerned.

But even without a human to sequence the DNA, its meaning is being expressed every second within our cells as some sequences are triggered (epigenetically by the environment, internally by thought or hormones, or in a myriad of other ways).

There is no other interpretation but that we have discovered meaning within our cells.

bunzelt1-meaning

And in our experience the ONLY source for either the interpretation of meaning, or its creation, is Mind.

We can see this clearly with all encoded intelligence; with computer software it is glaring in its truth because there has never been a software program created accidentally.

We have no idea of the origins of DNA, but now we do know one thing for sure – it must be the product of an intentional, active and immense intelligence.

It is akin to the notion expressed by astronomer Fred Hoyle that to consider the possibility of DNA arising by chance would be like a tornado going through a junk yard and assembling an aircraft. (Hoyle said this about life – DNA is the software of life).

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So within your biological reality there is software – as Eckhart Tolle says, an immense intelligence that runs you breath, digestion, elimination, and ALL body functions, if all goes well, harmoniously.

How do we account for such an apparently immense intelligence that is billions of years old?

This problem can be rationally addressed by looking at Dawkins’ assumption another way – if we’re open to the reality that we created software “in our image” then we are simply mimicking or simulating a much higher intelligence with our own software technology.

I liken it to the “Bizarro” versions of Superman that I loved to read as a kid.

bunzelt1-bizarro

This deep recognition that DNA is software must rupture the most deeply held tenet of our modern science: Objectivity.

Science assumes that we are somehow separate (and objective) in our examination of nature when the obvious fact is that we are an ineffable part of nature – and our understanding is completely limited by our biology and technical instruments.

At the same time, through our conscious experience, we have intimate knowledge of an aspect of our own existence that is obvious and unquestionable – we exist and we think. There is a mental (and sometimes intelligent) component to our existence.

In the past humans have attributed the “beginning” of life to “gods” because nature was a mystery.

Returning to the realm of software (as I show in my book) the concept of “God” is like an empty variable in programming, which can hold text or numbers for calculation.

In most religions, in fact, the concept that is represented by the word “God” cannot be named.

This shook me up when I took psychedelics in college – I realised that everything I had labeled as “chemicals” or “molecules” were living energies that represented the activity of a living intelligence and that once the names were rendered unnecessary the “Doors of Perception” burst open.

Similarly I cannot provide a definitive answer to how DNA code came to be.

The “Ancient Aliens” theory is interesting, especially in view of the other anomalies and megaliths discovered and interpreted by its proponents, but as Graham Hancock suggests, we don’t need aliens.

We do need to address the mystery as just that, a MYSTERY, and use the question of the origin of DNA, in harmony with our own intimate experience with encoded intelligence, to introduce the reality of intelligence – and of course Consciousness – to the scientific conversation.

It is looking inside in the same way that we might look outside at the heavens and grope for a rational explanation but find none, and in our gut we feel the MYSTERY.

There are really only two “explanations” – if we eschew the non-explanation of calling it “God.”

One, we can kick the can down the road and presume that some other intelligence (aliens) wrote DNA code and genetically modified us for some alien purpose. This is a popular theme first raised by Chariots of the Gods by Erik von Daniken, held in contempt by modern science, but quite possibly true.

The other direction we might go, and this is where neuroscience and quantum physics are headed kicking and screaming, and which is really the most obvious answer — Intelligence is not the exception — it is in computer terms, the “default.”

Life is a priori intelligent, or a direct expression of a much vaster, infinite and higher intelligence.

This is of course an affront to our scientific hubris but it is the message of conferences like Science and Nonduality and the promise of an “observer-based” science that is humble and reverent in the face of “what is.”

It is the recognition of non-dualism – that all conceptual explanations only further the mystery – and that future discoveries must account for subjectivity and encompass the totality of phenomena.

It is not pat, warm or fuzzy – but it is what IS.

With so many people confused and unsure of how and where we came from or what we are, and current science essentially ignoring this question (Consciousness – the hard question), it seems that the opening is right in front of us.

Open a web page and View > Source and then recognise that software far more sophisticated is operating – right now – in your body, mind and consciousness.

And ask yourself, if DNA is software, where did it come from? And then let the question seep deeply into your awareness.

Books by Tom Bunzel

If DNA Is Software, Who Wrote the Code?


Bibliography and References

Bernal, Martin: Black Athena

Black Edwin: IBM and the Holocaust

Bhaumik, Mani: Code Name God

Brown, Dan: The Lost Symbol, (Institute of Noetic Sciences)

Castaneda, Carlos: The Teachings of Don Juan

His Holiness the Dalia Lama & Howard C. Cutler, M.D.: The Art of Happiness

Damassio, Antonio, Self Comes to Mind

Davila, Randy: The Gnostic Mystery

de Mello, Anthony SJ & J. Francis Stroud: Awareness: The Perils and Opportunities of Reality

Dispenza, Joe: Evolve Your Brain: The Science of Changing Your Mind

Dreaver, Jim: End Your Story, Begin Your Life

Duhigg, Charles: The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Enriquez, Juan: Video on TED

Gaffney, Rinpoche, Sogyal & Andrew Harvey: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Haramein, Nassim: The Black Whole

Huxley, Aldous: The Doors of Perception

Hofstadter, Douglas: I Am a Strange Loop

Lipton, Bruce: The Biology of Belief

Malkowski, Edward: The Spiritual Technology of Ancient Egypt

Needleman, Jacob: Why Can’t We Be Good? and A Sense of the Cosmos

Pert, Candace: Molecules of Emotion: The Science Behind Mind-Body Medicine

Prager, Dennis: Happiness Is a Serious Problem

Ruiz, Don Miguel: The Four Agreements

Rushkoff, Douglas: Life Inc. and Program or be Programmed

Schwaller de Lubicz, Rene: The Temple of Man

Taleb, Nassim Nicholas: The Black Swan: Second Edition: The Impact of the Highly Improbable

Tolle, Eckhart: A New Earth and The Power of Now

Tompkins, Peter: Secrets of the Great Pyramid and The Secret Life of Plants

Tompkins, Peter & Harleston Jr., Hugh: Mysteries of the Mexican Pyramids

von Daniken, Erik: Chariots of the Gods

Zukav, Gary: The Dancing Wu Li Masters and The Seat of the Soul

(A DVD version of a television special on West’s theories was narrated by Charlton Heston)

About the Author

Tom Bunzel is the Technology and Science Columnist for Collective Evolution, a web portal with over 3 million hits per month. He has covered and spoken at the Science and Nonduality Conference and the Superconscious Mind Congress in Puebla, Mexico. As “Professor PowerPoint” he wrote, lectured and taught seminars on business and technology and appeared on Tech TV Call for Help.

Bunzel’s business-related book for Wiley is Tools of Engagement: Presenting and Training in a World of Social Media. Presence of Mind: Journey to a New Operating System combines his fascination with technology with spirituality. Other books include Solving the PowerPoint Predicament: Using Digital Media for Effective Communication a detailed, project-oriented approach to creating effective presenting. A full bio and listing of his books is available on Amazon.

Tom currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada where he’s also Director of Corporate Communications for Community Vision Inc.

4 thoughts on “If DNA is Software, Who “Wrote” the Code?”

  1. Debra Swihart says:

    I have read the book and found it to be thought provoking. It is science at it’s best as it raises more questions than it answers. It also is a courageous personal account of the authors own break down and rebuilding of his emotional computer. The mental programing process and the reprograming through a spiritual journey . It has integrity and will have you questioning your own programing in the days following the read. Buy the book and you will open to a world inside yourself you didn’t know before. I’m still realizing things.

    1. Tom Bunzel says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. They are greatly appreciated.

  2. Michael Shea says:

    The book sounds interesting and I plan to read it, however I am a little upset that the Kindle version is the same price and a hard copy.

    There is another point of view that treats DNA segments as “genetic program”, see http://www.panspermia.org. This site promotes the ideas of Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe regarding microbial life seeding the planet both in the past and the present, along with growing field of research into horizontal gene transfer to challenge the Neo-Darwinian paradigm.

    While the site does not promote any spiritual or mystical ideas about evolution (which I personally don’t discount) it does provide both the background and timely updates on scientific discoveries that more and more show that natural selection alone cannot be the driving force behind evolution.

    1. Tom Bunzel says:

      Hi Michael,

      Your name sounds familiar? Thanks for responding.

      My publisher informed me (when I raised your issue previously) that Kindle price is set by Amazon and he/we/I have nothing to do with it. I don’t understand the details but he also said that they’re paying for my ideas; nonetheless if it were my call I agree – I would discount the electronic version.

      I have heard of panspermia and am also intrigued by the apparent presence of organic chemical material and perhaps even organisms with DNA on meteors and comets?

      It would make a lot of sense in terms of Graham and Terence McKenna’s notions that certain plants are part of the evolutionary process in terms of helping human consciousness evolve.

      For me my search for explanations really ends with the recognition that Mind must be primary and how it manifested can go in many directions.

      But let me look at your link and see where that takes me. Thanks for your comment.

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