Posted by: anon11702http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-melanin.htm
melanin is the key to civilization. comes from the greek word to mean BLACK. it is found in the pineal gland. it is instrumental in every chemical process in the body. the proof is in the pudding. people who have less melanin can not withstand the sun. which is in some cases seen a God of creation. the people who dont have brown eyes are more prone to make clouded decisions because of the amounts of harmful light that enters the eye. hair is straight and flat minus melanin which in turn cannot protect the scalp from harmful sun rays and environment(bugs lices) melanin is the skins first line of defense against any and everything. it is also like the creator. some people call the pineal gland the third eye which is why most people of color have more spiritual roots and what white people call "soul". melanin is far more than anyone wants you to know. which why there is only about a 8 sentence paragraph on it in most science books. you have to get the real good or expensive ones. i feel the knowledge should be taught to all. once you learn about melanin the government will be less likely to string you along with mass media and propaganda. there is no such thing as disease, germs and uncurable virus. it all has to do with the mucosal lining in our entire bodies and inflammation. melanin a natural fix, puts everything back into place. medications, stress and our diets make it harder for our bodies to control things naturally with negative feedback. i know you wise geeks know all about this. mark my words. try to look up melanin and see if you have a tuff time getting to the hard core facts. and if you do, you might have to dodge some racist remarks. but honestly the truth is the truth. which is why it is so easy for me to understand why any race would go through generation upon generations keeping another race- the ultimate "hue"-man race blind deaf and dumb to the truth. you don't have to have the "hue" to be humane. melanin is what makes any living thing a human being.
sincerely, a free mind
This is just being racist without having much information. I broke it down to decide what to take, what to reanalyze, and what to reject.
Here's the statement that has something accurate:
1) "[melanin] comes from the greek word to mean BLACK it is found in the pineal gland"
[Right. It's also found in other locations, such as the skin, eyes, and hair.]
1) "hair [without] melanin... in turn cannot protect the scalp from harmful sun rays"
[It's true that hair without melanin or other pigments can't absorb as much light as hair without melanin. The pigments in hair can act as "lightning rods" to absorb energy from sunlight, with differing efficiences at various wavelengths. But the good news for people with hair of all types is that 1) sunblock was invented, 2) hats are available, and 3) all hair provides a physical barrier to the penetration of UV rays into the skin. Even if hair can't strongly absorb UV light, it can still scatter it before it penetrates the skin. The people we should really feel sorry for are those who are bald.]
2) "hair [without] melanin... cannot protect the scalp from... environment(bugs lices)"
[The color of a person's hair could camoflague or enhance a parasite's color, 'tis true. But parasites come in a range of colors. Sure, lice could easily hide in my hair while they'd stand out in a person with darker hair. But if ticks start inhabiting my head, it's going to be easier to find them against my blonde hair versus someone else's black hair. So it's a toss-up as far as who has the advantage. The only out-and-out winner on this one is the bald guy who lost out on the previous statement.]
3) "melanin is the skins first line of defense against any and everything. it is also like the creator."
[Melanin, as we've seen, can protect a person from excessive UV absorption (since it absorbs a broad range of light) and from lice or other lightly-colored parasite infestation (since it takes away that type of bug's camoflague). But there are a host of disease-causing fungi, bacteria, and viruses that melanin has no protective role against. Thus, this statement overreaches itself. Skin is what I would classify as our first line of defense.
Finally, it is definitely true that the Creator is the first line of defense against any and everything. But since melanin isn't, the author will have to give me more reason to believe it's a fair comparison.]
Baseless or extremely distorted statements:
1) "melanin is the key to civilization"
[This broad statement is launched without any supporting framework. The rest of the article presents some accurate information about the places melanin can be found in the body, and then goes on to put forward a completely disproved theory of a world where bacteria and viruses do not exist. Somehow the author never got around to proving their initial point about melanin being the key to civilization. Since they do not even explain what they mean, I'm left to wonder if this statement means that the more melanin a person has, the more likely there are to conquer other nations, or what. The last time I checked, the world wasn't universally dominated by ultra-pigmented people: the folks at the UN come in a rainbow of pigments.]
2) "[melanin] is instrumental in every chemical process in the body"
[There are so many examples of biological reactions where melanin is not present. One common example would be phosphorylation, where a protein transfers a PO4(3-) group to a molecule. Also realize that melanin is not even present in every tissue in the body, and so cannot be involved in every biological process that takes place in the body.]
3) "people who have less melanin can not withstand the sun."
[I'm going to assume that the author means more melanin in a person's skin and eyes. But define "less." Less than what the author has? Less than what Sabrina Williams has? Less than what Tida has? Less than what I have? Now, I will give you the fact that albinos have a tough time sunbathing. But I doubt this author is limiting his/her argument to albinos.
I have a lot less melanin than most, but I'm still able to "withstand" the sun. Granted, I'm not going to go out on a sunny day without sunblock, but it's vampires -- not Caucasions generally -- that die when sunlight hits them.
This question of how much melanin a person has in their skin/eyes is difficult or even impossible to quantify exactly. Sure, if Christine (her Dad's parents were native Chinese) is talking to Kwansima (Ghanese), I'm going to be able to see a difference in the amount of pigment in their skin. And Kwansima is probably going to get a lot fewer sunburns than Christine. But that doesn't mean Christine can't "withstand" the sun.]
4) "the people who dont have brown eyes are more prone to make clouded decisions because of the amounts of harmful light that enters the eye"
[No evidence is presented to support this claim, but if it is true, I would expect black-eyed people to have the most wisdom and decision-making prowess. Uh-oh. Problem. Some fair-skinned people have black eyes! What does this do to the Theory of Melanin-Inducing Prowess? Is it the melanin in their skin, or in their eyes that determines their value on a scale of melanin-enrichedness. Or is it the average of the two?
There's two other problems with this statement: 1) it has an incorrect understanding of how light enters the eye, and 2) it makes the value judgment that light is harmful. Light enters the eye through the cornea, lens, and pupil, not through the iris. It's not as if all green-irised people saw everything looking like the Land of Oz. Only if the cornea or lens were tinted would a person always see a tinted view. Once light enters through the pupil, it's detected as the retinal cells absorb light of different wavelengths and transmit electrial signals to nearby nerves which deliver the signal to the brain where it is interpreted.
Thus, the tint of a person's iris has nothing to do with the amount of light delivered to the person's retina. And if it did, this person has oversimplified the scenario that would ensue. If the tint of a person's iris actually determined the amount of light allowed into the eye, then you would have to find the optimal tint to allow for the right amount of light to be let in. A person with black eyes might not let enough light through and be functionally blind, a person with brown eyes might be legally blind, a person with blue eyes might collect too much light and have to wear prescription sunglasses their entire life, and a person with green eyes might be the one who could see well in broad daylight.
Finally can light be categorically described as harmful? Yes, a blinding amount of light is harmful, but without light nothing could ever be seen. "...[E]verything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: 'Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.'" (Ephesians 5:13-14).
The fact that God compares Himself to light would make me skeptical of anyone who unqualifiedly labels light "harmful." I'm also suspect when someone sacrifices the truth just to make a point.]
5) "hair is straight and flat minus melanin"
[Think about the shelves and shelves of noodles at Meijer. If you picked up three boxes, you could get quite a variety of shapes and colors. Maybe you'd find orange carrot cartwheels, yellowish lasagna noodles, and spinach shells. At the factory that makes these noodles, you'd probably see that a stock batch of noodle dough was made into these three different varieties. What makes them different is their processing: 1) the color/taste could be changed by adding food coloring or flavoring, and 2) the shape could be changed as the dough was molded, cut, or extruded into cartwheels, ripply lasagna noodles, or shells. If you switched up the processing steps, the same noodle dough could be used to make spinach cartwheels or orange carrot shells. Shape and color are independent properties.
This is also true to some extent for hair. Hair is made of protein. Protein can have primary, secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structure. The primary structure is the series of amino acids that make up the protein. These amino acids have side groups that can effect how the amino acids can interact with one another, like puzzle pieces. Secondary structures are repetitive patterns formed by arranging amino acids. Certain series of amino acids are capable of forming different types of secondary structures. For example, a series of glycines (the simplest amino acids with a single hydrogen as its R group) would interact with one another much differently than a series of tryptophans (which have an aromatic group as its R group). Two commonly occuring types of secondary structure are alpha helices and beta sheets. An alpha helix looks like a spring (I'll abbreviate it with 00000), and a beta sheet with its rigid ripples looks like a sun chip (I'll abbreviate it with }}}}}}}). Think of a protein as a string of amino acids. Different stretches of amino acids in this string can interact with another and form the secondary structures that end up looking like springs and sun chips. So if a protein had some stretches that couldn't form any secondary structure, it'd remain plain and flexible like this: --------------. If a protein could form two alpha helices with one beta barrel in the middle, and straight stretches in between, it would be something like this: -------00000---------}}}}}}}----------00000---------. The straight stretches of string are flexible, and the "spring" and "sunchips" could then fold back on top of one another and form an extremely complex structure. This folded structure made up of interacting secondary structures is called the tertiary structure. Finally, the quaternary structure of a protein is the final structure formed when all its subunits (the individually folded tertiary structures each made up of its own sequence of amino acids) are assembled. Not all proteins have quaternary structure, because some are made up of "only" one unit. On the other hand, hemoglobin is made up of four subunits.
Okay, long answer here! Hair has proteins which define its structure, and other non-proteins that define its color. The cell's a crowded place. Many intracellular proteins are "folded up inside themselves," and can thus navigate the crowded freeways of the cell. The proteins that make up hair, however, suffer from no such space limitations. They emerge from your scalp and have quite a bit of space to work with. Their structure is different that that of hemoglobin's, too. They don't tightly fold up on themselves: they have secondary structure, but no tertiary structure. Thus, differences in their secondary structures become extremely noticeable macroscopically. If you take ten springs and tie them together with string, your work or art is going to look completely different from your neighbor's, whose tied together sun chips. If one girl's hair has proteins with a lot of alpha helices, it's going to lookly completely different from the girl's hair that has lots of beta barrels.
The structure of the hair is determined by its primary and secondary structure. Think about the proteins as cotton thread. Depending on how those threads are arranged, they can form a fabric that's chunky and thick like flannel or a fabric that's thin and flexible like knit. The difference is in how the thread is handled.
That's what hair is often like. The proteins determine the structure of the hair. The finishing step to fabric or hair is the coloration. The color of fabric for the most part depends on the pigments introduced and taken up by the fabric. So, you can have blue knit or blue flannel, pure knit or purple flannel. The structure and the color are distinct and can be mixed and matched. That's how it is with hair. The structure and the color come from different molecules.
Of course, hair is more complicated than fabric. The structure of the proteins in hair is defined by that person's genome, and the amount of melanin secreted by a person is also genetically determined. And that's why certain characteristics of hair are often seen together, even though the structure and color of a person's hair arise from different molecules and different processes. If the genes encoding hair protein structure and the genes encoding melanin secretion are located on similar regions of a person's chromosome, they're most likely going to be inherited together when your mom and dad's chromosomes square dance.
"Kinky" hair and intense melanin concentrations are often seen together for this reason. But it's not because melanin has anything to do with the structure of hair. In fact, I've seen kids who have extremely kinky blonde hair. And I'm sure there's Africans with naturally straight hair. It's just that kinky hair and intense melanin concentrations are often seen together, like muted colors in flannels, and bright colors in knits.]
Now we get to the interesting stuff:
6) "some people call the pineal gland the third eye which is why most people of color have more spiritual roots and what white people call 'soul'"
[Define "people of color." Define "spiritual roots." Define "soul."
There's two issues here: 1) That "people of color" are more "spiritual" than um, people of less color. 2) That this difference is caused by melanin, which is secreted by the pineal gland.
Last time I checked, every person was spiritual, having a spirit. But I think that's not the author's working definition of spiritual. S/he might mean that black people are more likely to be extremely outgoing and sociable, project their personality better, demonstrate their feelings more effectively, etc. I can definitely say that I miss this aspect of black culture. I miss the 20-30 hugs I got every Sunday at Dublin St., and the sense that I was always among friends, the way that people went out of their way to connect with each other, and the warmth and love that so many of my friends there just exuded and made a point of sharing with you. I miss that most every Sunday, and when a tiny glimpse of it comes my way at my current church, I revel in it! But I don't think these characteristics are caused by melanin. I think they're a cultural thing, and that any culture can learn to do these things.
Just looking at American history, one dictate of some American Indian tribes was to not show outward emotion. That's one reason Jonathan Edwards had a hard time "reading" his congregation! If melanin was the sole cause of emotional display, or whatever else the author calls "soul," then an American Indians should have displayed much more emotion than Caucasions.
It highlights the difference between a cause and an incidental. While cultures often include people that look very similar, that doesn't mean a person acts like the others around them because their appearances match. It's just that at the Tower of Babel, people sharing a language migrated together, had kids that looked like them, had kids that looked like them, etc., and families transmit ways of doing and thinking about things (cultures). Other people who were born in another culture can enter a new one, if they choose to conform to that second culture. The person from Iceland who decides to migrate Zambia could choose to assimilate into the new culture. If they can make that choice, even though they look totally different than the descendants of the founders of that culture, than culture doesn't stem from appearance.
This statement also raises the whole question of nature, nurture, and will. If melanin always affected a person's behavior, and they had no choice over its production, wouldn't that go against the idea of free will? The most ironic thing I find about this statement is that the author is trying to reduce something spiritual -- "soul" -- to something physical.]
I think a lot of people limit racism to white supremacy. Here's an example to broaden their limitation. And as far as spiritual need, God sees us all in need of Him. And it's through Him that we can be united: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." (Galatians 3:28).
Sure, some cultures are going to encourage kids to be more open with their thoughts and feelings. Some are going to encourage their kids to think about God. Other cultures are going to dissuade those tendencies. But it's not a difference caused by melanin. That's trying to simplify a observation by saying it stems from a physical instead of a spiritual cause.
And the glorious thing is that God works. While some cultures are teaching their kids to be open to the true God, He's glorified by that. While some cultures are trying to fence God out, He still is working to reach out to them! There's one Savior who knows our spirits, and can help us to know Him. That's why we can live out 2 Corinthians 5:15-16 "And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again. So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer." Compare Revelation 14:6 and 7:9: "Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth -- to every nation, tribe, language and people." "After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands." God's Word and His Spirit are going out to each person in each nation, and people from each of those nations is coming to know Him.]
7) "melanin is far more than anyone wants you to know. which why there is only about a 8 sentence paragraph on it in most science books. you have to get the real good or expensive ones. i feel the knowledge should be taught to all."
[If there was a conspiracy to hide the fact that people have melanin and that it plays a physiological role, there wouldn't be an accurate wikipedia article about it. But wait -- there is. And if you're looking for a detailed description of melanin in a general science book, you probably aren't going to find a lot of information. Look up a book that's more specific to your interest: melanin. You can find books about pigment physiology, skin disorders, stability of pigments, etc. Basic biology books are going to spend the predominant amount of their time on basics, for example the central dogma of DNA --> RNA --> protein. For advanced information, you'll have to look for specific titles.]
8) "once you learn about melanin the government will be less likely to string you along with mass media and propaganda. there is no such thing as disease, germs and uncurable virus. it all has to do with the mucosal lining in our entire bodies and inflammation. melanin a natural fix, puts everything back into place. medications, stress and our diets make it harder for our bodies to control things naturally with negative feedback. i know you wise geeks know about this."
[Now we see a glimpse of pathology through the author's eyes. First, let's try to understand the author's position. The first question is, if there's no such thing as "disease, germs and uncurable virus[es]" then why do people get sick? The author doesn't say. S/he might believe that autoimmune diseases are possible, but there's not enough evidence to say either way. One cause of diease s/he leaves off of his/her list of "organisms not believed in" are macroscopic parasites. Since s/he mentions lice previously, it's probably safe to assume s/he believes in them.
In the author's view, what's the role of mucous membranes? Evidently to keep parasites from entering our bodies. What is the purpose of inflammation? Perhaps it is the body's way of fighting internal parasites such as tapeworms. Then how does melanin factor into this process of fighting macroscopic parasites? It's "a natural fix, puts everything back into place." The mechanism is not discussed, and no references are supplied. We're supposed to believe this author's word that the government is suppressing information about melanin and oppressing all of us through our ignorance so we'll listen to Big Pharma that's pushing this bunk about bacteria so we'll buy their drugs, we'll pay the doctor telling us we have a bacterial infection and that's why our snot is green, and we'll listen to friend in the lab next door who *says* she's growing up bacteria on agar plates.
The author's progression in this piece started with several fun facts about melanin over-editorialized and incorrectly interpreted. And now it's dissolved into questioning such basics as whether bacteria exist.
9) "mark my words. try to look up melanin and see if you have a tuff time getting to the hard core facts. and if you do, you might have to dodge some racist remarks. but honestly the truth is the truth. which is why it is so easy for me to understand why any race would go through generation upon generations keeping another race- the ultimate "hue"-man race blind deaf and dumb to the truth. you don't have to have the "hue" to be humane. melanin is what makes any living thing a human being."
[As far as dodging racist remarks, the author gives his/her own share of these missiles. And I disagree that every living thing with a melanin is a human being. If that was the case, then every plant with melanin would be a human! Okay, so that was a misstatment on their part.
More to the point, melanin does not define humanity. While it's a clever play-on-words to talk about being "hue"-man, the fact is that everyone except albinoes secretes some amount of melanin. Is the author prepared to discover that he is discriminating against albinoes?
Absolutizing melanin to the point of saying that it defines a person, and that a person with more melanin is more human idolizes it, and attempts to put melanin in place of God himself. Earlier on, the author talked about God. But at this point of the discussion, the author shows how man-centric, or humanistic, his/her worldview actually is. It is God, and God alone, who has decided to make each of us as humans. Having more melanin does not make a person more human. Having the breath of God inside us is what makes us human: "[T]he Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being." (Genesis 2:7) The testimony of the soul, the spirit, and the body are in agreement: God has created them, and His work is marvelous in our eyes.