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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lynn Margulis, truth seeker, 1938-2011



One of the nice things about getting drummed out of academia for speaking the truth about 9/11 - the nicest thing, in fact - is the wonderful people you meet.

I just learned that one of the most wonderful, Lynn Margulis, passed away yesterday.

Lynn was one of the greatest scientists of the 20th and early 21st centuries. Her work in the life sciences, which she did not like to call "evolutionary biology," set the stage for a paradigm shift away from neo-Darwinian reductionism, and towards an appreciation of the irreducible complexity of the life processes, the importance of microbial life in those processes, and the power and ubiquity of gene-swapping and symbiosis as evolutionary forces.

Lynn was herself nearly drummed out of orthodox science as a heretic when she began propounding these views circa the early 1960s. Today, they are increasingly accepted by the scientific mainstream.

Lynn was the most eminent scientist to have spoken out for 9/11 truth. Several years ago, I sent her a snail-mail letter applauding her stance on 9/11 and inquiring about a possible radio interview. She phoned me up and we quickly discovered a lot of common ground, including mutual dissatisfaction with the mediocrity of mainstream academia and politics, a passion for truth, and (oddly) a shared predilection for visits to Oujda, Morocco - the last Moroccan city that foreigners would ordinarily visit, but one that is the home of both my in-laws and some of Lynn's most important colleagues in the study of Saharan fossils.

I spent quite a bit of time on the phone with Lynn over the past several years. Though we never got to meet in person, I felt uncannily close to her - there is really nobody I'd rather talk to - and am missing her terribly right now.

The last few times I spoke with her, she said that she didn't really want to keep harping on 9/11, that politics had become hopelessly stupid and increasingly dangerous, and that humanity was facing a very serious predicament as population and resource use overruns the planet's carrying capacity.

I had hoped to bring her to speak at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for a Sifting and Winnowing event.

Here is the email I just received:


Dear all,

It is with great sadness to pass along the news that a great American scientist has died. Lynn Margulis died on at 5:15 PM (17:15 EST) on November, 22, 2011; she was 73 years old. She suffered a massive hemorrhagic stroke last Thursday. She will be dearly missed by her devoted family, students, her many friends and colleagues around the world.

In lieu of flowers, contributions should be made to the Lynn Margulis Memorial Fund*. This fund will be used to support students that will continue her scientific research.

*Checks may be sent directly to "Lynn Margulis Memorial Fund" at Northampton Cooperative Bank, PO Box 550, Amherst, MA 01004


The Lynn Margulis Laboratory
University of Massachusetts Amherst
Department of Geosciences
611 North Pleasant Street
233 Morrill Science Center
Amherst MA 01003-9297

3 comments:

  1. I just read your post. I'm devastated. You introduced me to this amazing woman, Kevin. I thank you for that, and I can't imagine that she is gone.

    - Scott

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  2. R.I.P. Lynn Margulis, Biological Rebel

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/2011/11/24/r-i-p-lynn-margulis-biological-rebel/

    ReplyDelete