The First Flower

ronprice(Tas Australia)April 17, 2008

In the last months of my career as a full-time teacher, the last months of my part-time and casual teaching as well as into the early years of my full retirement from virtually all volunteer work,1 news was reported of the discovery in northeast China of the earliest flowering plants more than 124 MYA. The print and electronic media, first in scholarly journals and the popular press and then on TV,2 told us about what they called the first flower among the worldÂs flowering plants. Flowering plants are the dominant vegetation on the planet and they include: flowers, trees and many life sustaining crops. The field of study in which this knowledge, this specialized expertise, can be found is called palaeobotany and palaeobotany is a child, one of the multitude of children, of the Enlightenment. Its founding father was Gasper Maria von Sternberg(1761-1838).3 -Ron Price with thanks to 2the journal Science in 27 November 1998, the National Geographic News, 3 May 2002 and SBS TV, 8:30-9:30 p.m. 17 February 2008; as well as 2 Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

1 Except for my work with the International BahaÂi community

Yes, you can learn all about this

in the world of palaeobotany, or

in a newspaper or on TVÂall to

the level of your capacity and

interest. If, as it is often said,

people prefer entertainment to

edification and put a premium

on personality at the expense of

issues, they can get a quick one

TV hit of that first flower and tree

back in the cretaceous period of the

Cainozoic era in their fragmentary

forms: leaves, stems, branches, stems,

trunks, pollen, spores, seedsÂall old

ancestors in the long evolutionary story

of flowers going back to dinosaur times.

But now, growing in this new age, a new

flower has begun to bloom compared to

which all other flowers are but thorns;

and, yes, a tree is now growing in the

world of existence: its boughs and its

branches, its stems and its offshoots,

its leaves and its trunk will endure as

long as those most august attributes

and most excellent titles will last,1

attributes and titles of that essence

which the wisdom of the wise and

the learning of the learned can not

comprehend--will never understand.

1 BahaÂuÂllah, BahaÂi Prayers, Wilmette, 1985, p.233.

Ron Price

16 April 2008

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ronprice, after reading your post my first reaction was "...and your point is?" Then I did some 'research' on the subject of "Enlightenment". A movement was started which proposed that 'reason' be substituted for 'belief? faith? superstition?". I am not sure I understand it all.
But this I do know. Science, and paleobotany is a science, recognises gaps in its body of knowledge as evidenced by terms like "Postulate", "Hypothesis" and "Theory". A case can be made that science developed from superstition. Two immediate examples are alchemy/chemistry and astrology/astronomy. In this sense enlightenment is a work-in-progress of the human race and not attributable to an individual. Indeed, it is unclear to me when was the era of "The Age of Enlightenment".

After reading over my effort here, I feel that I really must pose the question, "and your point is?".
And yes, I am impressed by your record of employment.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2008 at 6:39AM
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