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Happy Darwin Day: The Modern Synthesis Has Causation in Biology Wrong

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Charles Darwin

Denis Noble

JP Rushton

Richard Lynn

L:inda Gottfredson

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2800 words

The first Darwin Day I started writing just for this day, I wrote about (and defended Darwin’s words) how both Creationists and evolutionists who are themselves evolutionary progressionists twist Darwin’s words for their own gain. Darwin never wrote in The Descent of Man that the ‘higher races’ would take out ‘the lower races’, but that doesn’t stop Creationists and evolutionists—who I presume have not read one sentence in Darwin’s words from one of his books—from taking what Darwin meant out of context and attributing to him beliefs he does not hold. This year, though, I am going in a different direction. The Modern Synthesis (MS) has causation in biology wrong. The MS upholds the ‘gene’ as one of the highest seats in evolutionary biology, with a sort of ‘power’ to direct. Though, as I will show, genes do nothing unless transcribed by the system. Since the MS has causation in biology wrong, then we either need to extend or replace the MS.

To begin, Darwin, without knowledge of genes or other hypothesized units of inheritance, had a theory of inheritance in which things called ‘gemmules’ (what Darwin called heritable molecules) were transmitted to offspring (Choi and Mango, 2014). It’s ironic, because Darwin’s theory of inheritance was one of the more Lamarckian theories of inheritance in his day, and Darwin himself sympathized with the Lamarckian view of evolution—he most definitely did not discard it like modern-day Darwinists do. Darwin suggested that these gemmules circulated in the body and that some were used for the regeneration of some bodily tissues, but most aggregated in the reproductive organs (Jablonka and Lamb, 2015: 23). Further, according to Darwin, gemmules were not always immediately used but could reappear later in life or even be used in future generations. Darwin even said that “inheritance must be looked at as a form of growth” (Darwin, 1883, vol 2, p. 398; quoted by Jablonka and Lamb, 2015: 24).

The crux of the MS is the selfish gene theory of Dawkins (1976). Dawkins (1976, 2006) writing “They are in you and me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence.” “They”, of course, being genes. The gene has been given a sort of power that it does not have, but has been placed on it by overzealous people, quick to jump to conclusions while we still have yet to understand what ‘genes’ do. The MS—with the selfish gene theory—is at the forefront of the neo-Darwinist revolution, that evolution is gene-centered, with genes playing the starring role in the evolutionary story.

Though, numerous researchers are against such simplistic and reductionist viewpoints of evolution, mainly the gene-centered view of evolution pushed by the MS. There is no privileged level of causation in biology (though I will state later in this article that I think ATP comes close to it) (Noble, 2016). 

Neo-Darwinists, like Richard Dawkins, overstate natural selection’s importance regarding evolution. They elevate the gene’s overall importance. In the quote from Dawkins above, where he stated that “they” (genes) “created us, body and mind”, he is implying that genes are a sort of ‘blueprint’, like a ‘plan’ or ‘recipe’ for the form of the organism. But this was taken care of by Susan Oyama in her 1985 book The Ontogeny of Information where she writes on pages 77:

Though a plan implies action, it does not itself act, so if the genes are a blueprint, something else is the constructor-construction worker. Though blueprints are usually contrasted with building materials, the genes are quite easily conceptualized as templates for building tools and materials; once so utilized, of course, they enter the developmental process and influence its course. The point of the blueprint analogy, though, does not seem to be to illuminate developmental processes, but rather to assume them and, in celebrating their regularity, to impute cognitive functions to genes. How these functions are exercised is left unclear in this type of metaphor, except that the genetic plan is seen in some peculiar way to carry itself out, generating all the necessary steps in the necessary sequence. No light is shed on multiple developmental possibilities, species-typical or atypical.

The genes-as-blueprints canard is one that is heavily used by proponents of the MS. Oyama also writes on page 53 “Just as traditional thought placed biological forms in the mind of God, so modern thought finds many ways of endowing the genes with ultimate formative power, a power bestowed by Nature over countless millennia.” This same sentiment from Oyama is also echoed by developmental systems theorist and psychologist David Moore in his book The Dependent Gene: The Fallacy of “Nature VS. nurture”, where he writes:

Such contextual dependence renders untenable the simplistic belief that there are coherent, long-lived entities called “genes” that dictate instructions to cellular machinery that merely constructs the body accordingly. The common belief that genes contain context-independent “information”—and so are analogous to “blueprints” or “recipes”—is simply false. (p. 81) (Quoted from Schneider, 2007)

Environmental factors are imperative in determining which protein-coding exons get read from a cistron, when and how often. So the very concept of a gene depends on the environment and environmental inputs, and thusly gene ABC does not code for trait T on its own.

When it comes to epigenetics (defined here as inherited changes in gene expression with no genetic change to the genome), this completely changes how we view evolution.

The underlying nucleotide sequence stays the same but differences are inherited due to environmental stressors. I’ve stated in the past that these inherited marks on the genome (through histone modification, DNA methylation, which then alter the chromatin structure of the DNA. Further, this would show up on heritability estimates as ‘genetic’ when the ’cause’ was ‘environmental’ in nature (which is also yet another reason that heritability estimates are inflated).

DNA methylation, histone modification and noncoding RNA all can affect the structure of chromatin. As of now, the mechanisms of mitotic inheritance aren’t too well known, but advances in the field are coming.

If you want to talk the P and F1 generations regarding transgenerational epigenetics, then you must realize that these changes do not occur on the genome, the genome remains the same, just certain genes are expressed differently (as I’m sure you know). Though mi-MRNA signals can change the DNA methylation patterns in the F2 sperm which then is replicated in meiotic and mitotic cycles (Trerotola et al, 2015).

For another similar process on how DNA methylation persists, this (semiconservative) replication of DNA methylation occurs on both strands of the DNA which then become hemimethylated DNA which can then become fully methylated by methylase maintenance. So chromatin structure affects the genetic expression of the eukaryotic genome which then becomes the basis for epigenetic effects. Xist RNA also mediates the X-chromosome deactivation. This doesn’t even get into how and why the microbiome can also affect gene expression (which has also been called ‘the second genome’ (Zhu, Wang, and Li, 2010) with other authors calling it an ‘organ’ (Clarke et al, 2014; Brown and Hazen, 2015) this can also affect gene expression and heritable variation that becomes the target of selection (along with the other modes of selection) (Maurice, Haiser, and Turnbaug, 2014; Byrd and Segre, 2015). This shows that gene expression in the F2 and F3 generations is not so simple, and that other factors such as our gut microbiota can also affect gene expression and stressors experienced by parents and grandparents can also be passed to future generations, and may have a chance of becoming part of heritable variation that natural selection then acts on (Jablonka and Lamb, 2015).

The point of the debate with neo-Darwinists is over causation: do genes hold this ‘ultimate formative power’ as people like Dawkins contest? Or are genes nothing but ‘slaves’, passive, not active, causes as Denis Noble writes in his 2016 book Dance to the Tune of Life. (Noble, 2008 discusses genes and causation, again showing that there is no true causation, but getting technical, ATP is up there in the ‘chain’, if you want to get literal. The point is that genes do not have the ‘power’ that the neo-Darwinists think they do, they’re just slaves for the intelligent physiological system.)

When discovering the structure of DNA, Francis Crick famously announced to his drinking companions in a Cambridge tavern that he had discovered ‘the secret of life’. The director of his Institute, Max Perutz, was rather more careful than Crick when he said that DNA was the ‘score of life’. That is more correct since a musical score does nothing until it is played, DNA does nothing until activated to do so.

[…]

Recent experimental work in biological science has deconstructed the idea of a gene, and an important message of this book is that it has thereby drthroned the gene as a uniquely privileged level of causation. As we will  see, genes, defined as DNA sequences, are indeed essential, but not in the way in which they are often portrayed. (Noble, 2016: 53)

A 2017 paper titled Was the Watchmaker Blind? Or Was She One-Eyed?, Noble and Noble (2017) write that organisms and their interacting populations have evolved mechanisms so that they can harness blind stochasticity, thereby generating functional changes to the phenotype as to better respond to environmental challenges. They put forth a good argument, though it really makes me think because I’ve been such a staunch critic against evolution having a ‘direction’ and against the ‘teleological view’ of evolution: “If organisms have agency and, within obvious limits, can choose their lifestyles, and if these lifestyles result in inheritable epigenetic changes, then it follows that organisms can at least partially make choices that can have long-term evolutionary impact.

Noble and Noble (2017) argue (using Dawkins’ analogy of the Blind Watchmaker) that humans are the only Watchmakers that we know of. Humans evolved from other organisms. The ability to become a Watchmaker has evolved. Ergo, there is no surprise that there is directed agency for other organisms that directs their evolution too. There are several processes, they conclude, that could account for directed evolutionary change which are “targeted mutation, gene transposition, epigenetics, cultural change, niche construction and adaptation” (Noble and Noble, 2017). Niche construction, for instance, is heavily pushed by Kevin Laland, author of the book Darwin’s Unfinished Symphony: How Culture Made the Human Mind who has a few papers and featured it heavily in his new book. Either way, these ways in which organisms can in a way direct their own evolution are not covered by the MS.

Though I couldn’t end this article without, of course, discussing Jerry Coyne who goes absolutely crazy at people pushing to either extend or replace the MS. His most recent article is about Kevin Laland and how he is “at it again” touting “a radically different view of evolution”. It seems as Coyne has made up his mind and that the MS is all there is—he believes it is no problem for our current understanding of evolutionary theory to absorb things such as niche construction, epigenetic inheritance, stochasticity, and even (way more controversially) directed mutations. Coyne has also criticized Noble’s attacks on the MS, though Noble came back and responded to Coyne during a video presentation.

Lastly, Portin and Wilkins (2017) review the history of the gene, and go through different definitions it has been given over the decades. They conclude in this paper that they “will propose a definition that we believe comes closer to doing justice to the idea of the “gene,”
in light of current knowledge. It makes no reference to “the unit of heredity”—the long-standing sense of the term—because we feel that it is now clear that no such generic universal unit exists.
” Writing on page 1361-1362:

A gene is a DNA sequence (whose component segments do not necessarily need to be physically contiguous) that specifies one or more sequence-related RNAs/proteins that are both evoked by GRNs and participate as elements in GRNs, often with indirect effects, or as outputs of GRNs, the latter yielding more direct phenotypic effects. [GRNs are genetic regulatory networks]

This is similar to what Jablonka and Lamb (2015: 17) write:

Although many psychiatrists, biochemists, and other scientists who are not geneticists (yet express themselves with remarkable facility on genetic issues) still use the language of genes as simple causal agents, and promise their audience rapid solutions to all sorts of problems, they are no more than propagandists whose knowledge or motives must be suspect. The geneticists themselves now think and talk (most of the time) in terms of genetic networks composed of tens or hundreds of genes and gene products, which interact with each other and together affect the development of a particular trait. They recognize that whether or not a trait (a sexual preference, for example) develops does not depend, in the majority of cases, on a difference in a single gene. It involves interactions among many genes, many proteins and other types of molecule, and the environment in which an individual develops.

The gene as an active causal actor has been definitively refuted. Genes on their own do nothing at all, until they are transcribed by the intelligent physiological system. Noble likens genes as slaves that are used by the system to carry out processes by and for the system. So genes are caused to give their information by and to the system that activates them (Noble, 2011). Noble’s slave metaphor makes much more sense than Dawkins’ selfish metaphor, since genes are used like slaves by the system, the genes are then caused to give their information by and to the system that activates them, which shows how they are a passive, not active, cause, completely upending the MS and how it views causation in biology. Indeed, Jablonka and Lamb state that one of their problems with Dawkins is that “Dawkins assumes that the gene is the only biological (noncultural) hereditary unit. This simply is not true. There are additional biological inheritance systems, which he does not consider, and these have properties different from those we see in the genetic system. In these systems his distinction between replicator and vehicle is not valid.

So, both Gould and Dawkins overlooked the inheritance of acquired characters, as Jablonka and Lamb write in their book. They argue that inherited variation had a large effect on the evolution of species, but admit that evidence for the view is scant. They write on page 145 “If you accept that heritable epigenetic variation is possible, self-evidently some of the variants will have an advantage relative to other variants. Even if all epigenetic variations were blind, this would happen, and it’s very much more likely if we accept that a lot of them are induced and directed.” Not everything that is inherited is genetic.

DNA is found in the cell, and what powers the cell? ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Cells use and store ATP to carry out their functions (Khakh and Burnstock, 2016). Cells produce ATP from ADP and Pi. Cells use exergonic reactions to provide the energy needed to synthesize ATP from ADP and Pi. The hydrolysis of ATP provides the energy needed to drive endergonic actions.So the cells continuously produced more ATP from ADP and Pi to then carry out diverse functionings across the body. So, in a way, you can argue that one of the ultimate causes is ATP since it has to power the cell, then you can look at all of the other reactions that occur before ATP is created and privilege that part of the chain, but there will never be some ultimate causation, since, as Noble argues in his book Dance to the Tune of Life, there is no privileged causation in biology.

In conclusion, evolution, development, and life, in general, is extremely complex. Paradigms like the selfish gene—a largely reductionist paradigm—do not account for numerous other factors that drive the evolution of species, such as targeted mutation, niche construction etc. An extended evolutionary synthesis that integrates these phenomena will better be able to describe what occurs to drive the evolution of species, and if the directed mutation idea has any weight, then it will be interesting to see how and why certain organisms have evolved this ability. It’s ironic how the MS is being defended as if it is infallible—like it can do no wrong and that it does not need to be added to/extended or replaced by something else that incorporates the phenomena brought up in this article.

Either way, a revolution in modern biology is coming, and Darwin would have it no other way. The Modern Synthesis has causation in biology wrong: the gene is not an active agent in evolution, it only does what it is told by the intelligent physiological system, and so we must look at whole organisms and not reduce organisms down to genes, but we must look at the whole organism—a holistic view of the organism, not one that is reduced down to just ‘the genes’, because there is no privileged level of causation in biology (Noble, 2016).

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36 Comments

  1. meLo says:

    “do genes hold this ‘ultimate formative power’ as people like Dawkins contest? Or are genes nothing but ‘slaves’, passive, not active, causes as Denis Noble writes in his 2016 Noble’s slave metaphor makes much more sense than Dawkins’ selfish metaphor, ”

    Neither make any sense whatsoever. It is undeniable proof of their ideological investments.

    “Genes on their own do nothing at all, until they are transcribed by the intelligent physiological system.”

    This is a nonsensical statement. A physiological system cannot be intelligent unless you twist the meaning of the word.

    ” It seems as Coyne has made up his mind and that the MS is all there is—he believes it is no problem for our current understanding of evolutionary theory to absorb things such as niche construction, epigenetic inheritance, stochasticity, and even (way more controversially) directed mutations””

    Nobody ever said that. Not even Coyne.

    “A gene is a DNA sequence (whose component segments do not necessarily need to be physically contiguous) that specifies one or more sequence-related RNAs/proteins that are both evoked by GRNs and participate as elements in GRNs, often with indirect effects, or as outputs of GRNs, the latter yielding more direct phenotypic effects. [GRNs are genetic regulatory networks]”

    They also forgot to add that is passed on to each generation through meiosis, hence why it is a unit of heredity.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      It is undeniable proof of their ideological investments.

      How? The analogy is very simple. Slaves are used. Slaves don’t do the work until they’re made to. Genes don’t code for proteins until they’re made to by the system. Please provide quotations from Noble that makes you believe that he has ‘ideological investments’ (what are they?).

      This is a nonsensical statement. A physiological system cannot be intelligent unless you twist the meaning of the word.

      Even omitting the word ‘intelligent’ from ‘intelligent physiological system’, ‘genes’ do nothing until they are transcribed by the system—ready to be used as slaves, hence Noble’s metaphor of genes-as-slaves. Either way, intelligent physiological systems are driven by intelligent cells which is how variation that can far outstrip traditional Darwinian evolution occurs, and it occurs due to the ‘intelligent’ system picking up cues from the ‘intelligent’ cells that can ‘sense’ the environment and can then direct evolution based on what is occurring in the environment, as I’ve cited many times.

      Nobody ever said that. Not even Coyne.

      He has said as much. I can’t find where he stated something similar with a cursory search so I’ll read all of his epigenetics articles this week and get you the quotation. If I have recalled this in error I will omit that sentence.

      They also forgot to add that is passed on to each generation through meiosis, hence why it is a unit of heredity.

      (I think we should also have a nice discussion on meiosis/meitosis and ATP since they are critical to this discussion.)

      They state their reasoning in the paper:

      Severe cracks in the concept of the gene

      These new findings have shown that there are multiple possible relationships between DNA sequences and the molecular products they specify. The net result has been the realization that the basic concept of the gene as some form of generic, universal “unit of heredity” is too simple, and correspondingly, that, a new definition or concept of “the gene” is needed (Keller 2000; Falk 2009; Portin 2009).

      The relationships they list are: i) there are few barriers to transcription in eukaryotic organisms; ii) the exons of different genes can be members of more than one transcript; iii) genes can be found ‘in pieces’ across the genome; iv) functional status of some genes “can be inherited from one generation of individuals to the next“, though the inheriance is not always stable and can be ‘swept away’ in subsequent generations; v) ‘genetic restoration’ may take place, which is “the healing of fixed mutations“, and this lead to the hypothesis that organisms can ‘re-write their DNA’ based on RNA messages which they inherited from previous generations; and iv) there are genes that specify only RNA products. These six reasons laid out in the paper are why, as they argue, the concept of genes being ‘the unit of inheritance’ has ‘severe cracks’.

      The fact of the matter is this: the MS as we know it today is the synthesis between Darwin’s theory of natural selection, along with the assumption that most—or all—of the variation on which selection acts are solely due to gene mutations. This is false

      Neo-Darwinism, the Modern Synthesis and selfish genes: are they of use in physiology?

      Finally, also recall that this is largely an attack on Dawkins’ view of evolution. Jablonka and Lamb write in their book Evolution in Four Dimensions: “Dawkins assumes that the gene is the only biological (noncultural) hereditary unit. This simply is not true. There are additional biological inheritance systems, which he does not consider, and these have properties different from those we see in the genetic system. In these systems his distinction between replicator and vehicle is not valid.

      Dawkins’ assumption is very wrong. Hell, he even downplays the role of genetic drift in evolution as far as I can remember from the his books I’ve read. You can read the first chapter of the book that this quotation came from here.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “How? The analogy is very simple. Slaves are used. Slaves don’t do the work until they’re made to. Genes don’t code for proteins until they’re made to by the system. Please provide quotations from Noble that makes you believe that he has ‘ideological investments’ (what are they?).”

      Because it’s anthropomorphic. i don’t need quotations. The moment scientists start using that kind of provocative language it signals ideology, because they are not making objective observations. Noble could have simply provided evidence for other modes of inheritance,instead of pretending he was a new Galileo, reminds me of HBDers. Instead he decides to rant about how genes aren’t everything like some manchild.

      ” Either way, intelligent physiological systems are driven by intelligent cells”

      More anthropomorphic language that doesn’t reflect reality. Incredibly unscientific. You’re just trying to “trigger” people and it’s pathetic.

      “He has said as much.”

      No he didn’t, I read the article. You just strawman him as usual.

      “These six reasons laid out in the paper are why, as they argue, the concept of genes being ‘the unit of inheritance’ has ‘severe cracks’.”

      Those aren’t severe cracks, it’s just semantics. Genes are units of heredity, even if it isn’t an absolute function.

      “he even downplays the role of genetic drift in evolution as far as I can remember from the his books I’ve read. ”

      The only thing I really disagree with in the MS is it’s emphasis on natural selection over genetic drift and sexual selection.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Because it’s anthropomorphic. i don’t need quotations. The moment scientists start using that kind of provocative language it signals ideology, because they are not making objective observations. Noble could have simply provided evidence for other modes of inheritance,instead of pretending he was a new Galileo, reminds me of HBDers. Instead he decides to rant about how genes aren’t everything like some manchild.

      Yes it is anthropometric. But does anything in the analogy not make sense to use it for how genes (and gene products) are used by the system?

      How is he a manchild? Does his writing actually come across like that? Just because people argue against the primacy of genes does not make them ‘manchildren’. And Noble (and others) have provided numerous lines of evidence for other modes of inheritance.

      Incredibly unscientific. You’re just trying to “trigger” people and it’s pathetic.

      You, here, are assuming my motivation.

      How is it unscientific? I’m just using the language of molecular biologists who study single cells and thusly describe their behavior.

      Bacteria have been shown to acquire information, store, process, and use information, can learn, remember and make decisions.

      The cognitive cell: bacterial behavior reconsidered

      Bacteria are far more intelligent than we can think of. They adopt different survival strategies to make their life comfortable. Researches on bacterial communication to date suggest that bacteria can communicate with each other using chemical signaling molecules as well as using ion channel mediated electrical signaling.

      Bacterial intelligence: imitation games, time-sharing, and long-range quantum coherence.

      It’s also been found that they have the ability to learn and remember:

      Cellular memory hints at the origins of intelligence

      There is a large consensus in this field that they do show ‘cognition’ and behaviors that we, normally, would not attribute to bacteria.

      Should our brains be used as measuring sticks for what is considered ‘intelligent’? Because then you could talk about anthropocentric biases.

      No he didn’t, I read the article. You just strawman him as usual.

      I know that I read him say that in one of his articles railing on Noble. I’ll find it by the week’s end. It’s not a strawman, at all. How is him stating that the MS can integrate these things that Noble et al bring up a strawman? Enlighten me. Either way, after I read all of those articles and it is not there then I will omit that sentence.

      Those aren’t severe cracks, it’s just semantics. Genes are units of heredity, even if it isn’t an absolute function.

      How are they semantics? The gene is assumed to work in a certain way, and those examples—along with many others—show why we should rethink our definition of ‘gene’.

      The only thing I really disagree with in the MS is it’s emphasis on natural selection over genetic drift and sexual selection.

      The point is, the MS rests on assuming that most or all variation is due to genetic mutations that then get selected for and eventually become a part of heritable variation in that organism’s genome. Do you disagree with that?

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    • meLo says:

      “But does anything in the analogy not make sense to use it for how genes (and gene products) are used by the system?”

      It doesn’t matter if it makes sense, it’s unscientific.

      “There is a large consensus in this field that they do show ‘cognition’ and behaviors that we, normally, would not attribute to bacteria.”

      Intelligence is relative, so no cell is actually self conscious. None of what you cited surprises me in the slightest. It’s not new information, they’re simply calling anything that moves “intelligent”. Cells and bacteria could possibly be intelligent, but only through reaction and non neurological means. They don’t have brains. Unless you consider the nucleus as such, but then that would mean Dna is what gives a cell it’s intelligence.

      ” How is him stating that the MS can integrate these things that Noble et al bring up a strawman?”

      Are you saying Coyne said he could or couldn’t integrate noble’s Ideas?

      “You, here, are assuming my motivation.”

      No assumptions. Your language is evidence itself.

      “How are they semantics? ”

      Because no matter what they say a gene is still a mode of inheritance, and that is a fact.

      “Do you disagree with that?”

      Of course not lol, That’s a fact, that most evolution is due to mutation. You have yet to provide evidence for the contrary.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      It doesn’t matter if it makes sense, it’s unscientific.

      Great logic. Dawkins’ selfish gene theory doesn’t make sense because genes don’t work like that. But with what we know about the gene today in 2018, we can test the genes-as-slaves metaphor and, lo and behold, genes and gene products are used as slaves by the system to carry out instructions.

      Cells and bacteria could possibly be intelligent, but only through reaction and non neurological means. They don’t have brains. Unless you consider the nucleus as such, but then that would mean Dna is what gives a cell it’s intelligence.

      Except the papers I cited (and there are still many more) show that bacteria react and remember what occurred during a stimulus and then avoid it. Yes, cells don’t have brains and if we don’t use the human brain as a measuring stick for ‘intelligence’, then all organisms—life—is intelligent.

      Macromolecular networks and intelligence in microorganisms

      Are you saying Coyne said he could or couldn’t integrate noble’s Ideas?

      Could.

      No assumptions. Your language is evidence itself.

      What leads you to believe that I’m trying to ‘trigger’ people with my language?

      Because no matter what they say a gene is still a mode of inheritance, and that is a fact.

      No matter the new evidence against something, that something is still a fact ‘cuz I said so. The quote from Oyama is apt here, too.

      Of course not lol, That’s a fact, that most evolution is due to mutation. You have yet to provide evidence for the contrary.

      The papers and books I cited in this article…

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “we can test the genes-as-slaves metaphor and, lo and behold, genes and gene products are used as slaves by the system to carry out instructions.”

      So arms and legs are our slaves? Yeah a metaphor can make sense, but there’s not a reason for it. You should objectively observe and describe phenomena while discussing the implications.

      “Yes, cells don’t have brains and if we don’t use the human brain as a measuring stick for ‘intelligence’, then all organisms—life—is intelligent.”

      The measuring stick is not the human brain it’s the nervous system. If cells do not have this, then that means what you are perceiving as intelligence is simply chemical reaction and genetic plasticity, not because it’s actively making decisions.

      “Could.”

      Nevermind then.

      “What leads you to believe that I’m trying to ‘trigger’ people with my language?”

      Why else would you use it? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t accurately describe it, and you have admitted you are a contrarian.

      ” evidence against something”

      It wasn’t against it. Genes are modes of inheritance, this empirically observed and objective, but they are not the only ones.

      “The papers and books I cited in this article…”

      Again your citations didn’t contradict anything of the modern synthesis, it just adds on to it.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      So arms and legs are our slaves? Yeah a metaphor can make sense, but there’s not a reason for it. You should objectively observe and describe phenomena while discussing the implications.

      Pretty much. Genes don’t transcribe themselves. DNA on its own does nothing. So they are used by and for the system.

      The measuring stick is not the human brain it’s the nervous system. If cells do not have this, then that means what you are perceiving as intelligence is simply chemical reaction and genetic plasticity, not because it’s actively making decisions.

      Why is nervous system a criterion for intelligence/intelligent behavior? I personally think that life is intelligence, no matter how small it is. Life is intelligence.

      This is addressed in the paper Macromolecular networks and intelligence in microorganisms:

      The modern biological perspective on “intelligence,” even at its most fundamental level, tends to associate it with the human brain. In this context, “intelligence” is a property of the human brain, or a feature that somehow emerges from its activity. Accepting that intelligence may not be exclusively a feature of the human brain, but rather it may be present – at least to a degree – in all creatures possessing brains or nervous systems, already helps refine the general features of intelligence. However, intelligence may not have to be associated solely with a certain biological organ, such as a brain or a nervous system. Brains and nervous systems may be highly adapted conduits for expressing and integrating multiple intelligent behaviors. Some of these behaviors may be exhibited by other complex adaptive systems present in living organisms that do not have a brain or nervous system. As early as 1995, Hellingwerf et al. (1995) suggested that some two-component systems in bacteria comply with the requirements for elements of a neural network.

      Why else would you use it? It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t accurately describe it, and you have admitted you are a contrarian.

      Everything I’m writing to you in this comment section and this article is 100 percent my belief on this matter.

      It wasn’t against it. Genes are modes of inheritance, this empirically observed and objective, but they are not the only ones.

      So we don’t really disagree. I’ll still defend that definition though.

      Again your citations didn’t contradict anything of the modern synthesis, it just adds on to it.

      Would you agree with an extension?

      Like

  2. meLo says:

    “Pretty much. ”

    No, the point flew over your head. “So they are used by and for the system.” is an accurate statement saying “genes are slaves” is not.

    “Why is nervous system a criterion for intelligence/intelligent behavior? I personally think that life is intelligence, no matter how small it is. Life is intelligence.”

    Because the nervous system controls the body and without it there is no distinction between Cellular Intelligence and atomic intelligence. You may as well consider atoms intelligent.

    “So we don’t really disagree.”

    DUHHHHHHHH, jesus christ.

    “Would you agree with an extension?”

    If that’ll put an end to all of this bullshit, then sure why the fuck not.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      saying “genes are slaves” is not.

      They’re saying the same things. You just have a problem with the wording.

      You may as well consider atoms intelligent

      Atoms aren’t alive.

      Glad to know we finally (largely) agree on something

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “They’re saying the same things. ”

      Again, not the point, and any respectable scientist would have a problem with that wording.

      “Atoms aren’t alive.”

      That’s debatable.

      “A definition of atomic intelligence can be: The non-random behavior of particles. A measure of random behavior is Entropy hence alternatively atomic intelligence can be defined as inversely proportional to the entropy of a system. The higher the entropy of a system the more random is its behavior and hence less is its intrinsic internal intelligence. The lower the entropy less is the random behavior which is equivalent to molecular formation in the case of an atom. Hence the ability of an element A to form molecules or compounds with other elements is a measure of atom A’s intelligence.

      Using the above definition we can compare intelligent atoms to unintelligent or dumb atoms. Dumb atoms are therefore those that do not form molecules and exhibit pure random behavior. These elements are referred to as noble gases or inert gases because they do not react with other elements to form molecules. Helium (He), Neon Ne), Argon (Ar), Krypton (Kr), Xenon (Xe) and Radon (Rn) remain as atoms not even combining with their own to form molecules such as H2 or O2 or Cl2. Since they have a complete octet in their outer shell they do not have any residual forces to make them bond with other atoms to form molecules. Left to themselves they exhibit random behavior by bouncing off each other and remaining in a gaseous state. This is unintelligent behavior and these atoms can therefore be termed as dumb atoms. Compared to these atoms at the other extreme is the Carbon atom that can be termed as brilliant due to the infinite number of molecules that it can form

      Apart from these noble gases all other atoms form molecules. Their ability to form molecules varies with their valence which can be anything from 1 through7. A measure of intelligence of an atom can therefore be its valence since it gives a measure of how many other atoms it can combine with, resulting in a variety of molecules. But a better measure of an atom’s intelligence is also its ability to form chains or repeated links thereby forming complex compounds. Carbon with its exceptional ability to form long chains as witnessed in the chain structure of Hydrocarbons can be termed as very “clever”.”

      https://physics.aps.org/articles/v6/46

      http://www.scind.org/123/Science/intelligence-in-matter.html

      So, if we go by your broad definition of intelligence, as pure behavioral plasticity, then we must consider atoms intelligent, so your “life” criteria becomes arbitrary. As I’m sure you know life isn’t even a well defined concept, which just adds another layer of doubt. The reason I pace the cut off at the CNS and other complex structures like it, is because it is leaps in magnitude greater than the supposed “intelligence” of microorganisms in creating self awareness.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Again, not the point, and any respectable scientist would have a problem with that wording.

      Any examples? Dawkins’ selfish gene (untestable hypothesis) is just the same way but it’s fawned over which such ‘extraordinary power’. Genes don’t work how most think as I have shown.

      So, if we go by your broad definition of intelligence, as pure behavioral plasticity, then we must consider atoms intelligent, so your “life” criteria becomes arbitrary.

      Life is intelligence. If life is intelligence, then intelligence has the following (look up MRS GREN): Movement, Respiration, Sensitivity, Growth, Reproduction, Excretion, and Nutrition. If atoms are missing one of the above, then atoms are not alive. One major criterion for life is that said living being must have a metabolism. Atoms don’t have metabolisms, therefore atoms are not alive. Even the ‘simple’ cell has organs called ‘organelles’ (mitochondria, ribosomes, vacuoles, nucleus and… DNA).

      The reason I pace the cut off at the CNS and other complex structures like it, is because it is leaps in magnitude greater than the supposed “intelligence” of microorganisms in creating self awareness.

      How? Bacteria are ‘actively oriented towards what comes next’, and they can also learn statistical associations between variables. And in one of the other cites I provided, they state that “macromolecular networks in microbes confer intelligent characteristics, such as memory, anticipation, adaptation and reflection.” I’ve proven my point about cells, and those cells drive our physiology, our physiology evolved to be homeodynamic, and it’s due to the cells that control it. I’d also say that’s an arbitrary cut-off.

      Like

  3. meLo says:

    “Any examples? Dawkins’ selfish gene (untestable hypothesis) is just the same way but it’s fawned over which such ‘extraordinary power’. ”

    How is it untestable? Calling genes slaves is also untestable. Nobody fawns over Dawkins, this is what I mean by strawman arguments. You’re debating me, not dawkins or his proponents.

    “Genes don’t work how most think as I have shown.”

    Oh please, enlighten me how you just know what everyone thinks?

    “then intelligence has the following”

    But I already demonstrated that Atoms are intelligent, so either you need to accept that 1) inanimate objects can be intelligent or 2) your criteria of life is subjective, which we already know it is, Viruses do not have a metabolism, are they alive?

    “and they can also learn statistical associations between variables. ”

    Cells cannot understand statistics they lack any organelles that could produce such an ability, which is why the quotation says “intelligent characteristics’ not “cells are intelligent”.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      How is it untestable?

      What type of hypothesis would show that genes are ‘selfish’? Dawkins even admits that there is probably nothing to test his theory, so he admits that his theory is unfalsifiable.

      Calling genes slaves is also untestable.

      No, I’ve already been through the logical progression with you. Systems use genes. Masters use slaves. The gene doesn’t work unless it’s transcribed by the system; the gene cannot transcribe itself. The slave does not work unless he is told to by the master; the slave does not work on his own (under his own power). The assertion that genes are slaves is testable, and since genes cannot transcribe themselves then they must be activated for and by the system that uses it. It’s very testable, and we’ve shown this to be true.

      Oh please, enlighten me how you just know what everyone thinks?

      “Everyone” meaning those who push the MS and the idea of ‘selfish’ ‘genes’ and the assumption that they work in an additive fashion.

      I’ve shown that they do not work additively. Genes work from the top-down, as well as bottom-up, which have non-linear effects. That’s enough to take down the claims from the MS and Dawkins and friends.

      your criteria of life is subjective

      MRS GREN is not subjective.

      Viruses do not have a metabolism, are they alive?

      Nor do they maintain homeostasis, and they also don’t reproduce on their own. Viruses are non-living entities (Sanchez and Lagunoff, 2015).

      Cells cannot understand statistics

      They can understand the statistical association between environmental variables. The cell, in its environment, can do this. Is that so outrageous a statement? Cells can learn statistical associations between variables, which is how they adapt to their environments. Is that so hard to believe? I never said anything about cells understanding ‘statistics’, just that they integrate the statistical structure from the environment and can react accordingly if, and when, it changes.

      they lack any organelles that could produce such an ability

      They can still sense changes to the environment and learn the statistical structure of the environment and react to environmental changes.

      “intelligent characteristics’ not “cells are intelligent”.

      Intelligent characteristics means….? That they show what we would call ‘intelligent’ behavior (as I have shown with the previous citations provided).

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “What type of hypothesis would show that genes are ‘selfish’? ”

      If you take selfish as a metaphor, then any behavior by the gene that implies non cooperation would be evidence for the hypothesis.

      “No, I’ve already been through the logical progression with you. ”

      Yes, if “genes are slaves” is a testable hypothesis, then so is “genes are selfish” the validity doesn’t concern whether a hypothesis can be formulated or not. So if Dawkins is untestable, then that means it’s unfalsfiable, meaning it can’t be wrong and the same applies to Noble

      “Genes work from the top-down, as well as bottom-up, which have non-linear effects. ”

      That doesn’t contradict the modern synthesis.

      “MRS GREN is not subjective.”

      Yes it is, all definition of life are.

      https://sci-hub.tw/10.1007/s11084-010-9192-3

      “Viruses are non-living entities ”

      Here is a more accurate and recent paper:

      https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1369848616300103?via%3Dihub

      “selfish replicators not only belong to the biological realm but are intrinsic to any evolving system of replicators. No such system can evolve without the emergence of parasites, and moreover, parasites drive the evolution of biological complexity at multiple levels. The history of life is a story of parasite-host coevolution that includes both the incessant arms race and various forms of cooperation. All organisms are communities of interacting, coevolving replicators of different classes.”

      “I never said anything about cells understanding ‘statistics’, just that they integrate the statistical structure from the environment and can react accordingly if, and when, it changes.”

      Yes you did, you could of just said “cells react to environmental stimuli”, Instead you said they can learn statistical association, that’s physically impossible.

      How does the nucleus within cells mimic synaptic plasticity?

      “That they show what we would call ‘intelligent’ behavior”

      But that doesn’t make them intelligent. It’s a anthropomorphic metaphor.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      If you take selfish as a metaphor, then any behavior by the gene that implies non cooperation would be evidence for the hypothesis.

      How do genes logically, show behavior?

      The selfish gene idea is wrong because DNA does nothing on its own; it can’t initiate transcription or its own replication. Therefore you cannot logically call them ‘selfish’. This then goes back to genes being passive, not active, causes.

      if Dawkins is untestable, then that means it’s unfalsfiable

      Regarding Noble’s switching out ‘selfish’ with ‘prisoners’, this is true (regarding its non-testability), and this was even admitted by Dawkins himself in The Extended Phenotype. But you’re talking about the slaves metaphor. I won’t repeat myself.

      Either way, the selfish gene theory is just a story and not a testable hypothesis, admitted by the creator of said theory.

      That doesn’t contradict the modern synthesis.

      Highly interactive top-down, bottom-up regulation with non-linear effects does contradict the MS. The whole point against the MS is that there is no privileged level of causation in biology.

      Yes it is, all definition of life are.

      I’ll give you that; I was hasty with my response. Everything is arbitrary. How we define things is how we classify them. MRS GREN is how life is defined in biology. If one thing is missing, then it is not living.

      Here is a more accurate and recent paper

      selfish replicators not only belong to the biological realm

      This has been falsified.

      Interesting paper. But Dawkins’ replicator/gene concept is wrong.

      That viruses have some aspects of what life does not make them living entities, since they need another biological entity for parasitism. If a virus is inactive (because it has no host), is it alive? Dead? In a state of limbo?

      What is ‘life’ to you?

      Instead you said they can learn statistical association, that’s physically impossible.

      Wrong.

      Multiple signal integration may enable the bacterium to ‘compute’ the optimal physiological response by evaluating its current internal physiological status and the external environmental status. After evaluation, the system should then be able to adapt accordingly (Bray, 1995). Thus, there may well be selection pressure for sophistication in signal transduction.

      Macromolecular Intelligence in Micromolecules

      But that doesn’t make them intelligent. It’s a anthropomorphic metaphor.

      So only humans show intelligent behavior? Is just calling their actions ‘intelligent’ anthropmorphic?

      We propose that, if we were to leave terms such as “human” and “brain” out of the defining features of “intelligence,” all forms of life – from microbes to humans – exhibit some or all characteristics consistent with “intelligence.”

      Macromolecular networks and intelligence in microorganisms.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “How do genes logically, show behavior?”

      You said The selfish gene hypothesis was untestable, so therefore it must also be unfalsifiable, meaning, the validity of the hypothesis’ logic is irrelevant. Dawkins also said that his and Noble’s Thesis were a essentially saying the same thing, just with different metaphors. In my own opinion, After reading both aforementioned thesis’ it seems noble was describing processes, while Dawkins was more worried about results. If you know what I mean.

      “I won’t repeat myself.”

      You never stop repeating yourself, even after your garbage has been debunked.

      “If one thing is missing, then it is not living.”

      You’re assuming life is a binary concept, it’s not.

      “This has been falsified.”

      How could something untestable be falsifiable?

      ” Dawkins’ replicator/gene concept is wrong.”

      No it’s not, DNA is a replicator, that’s a fact.

      “since they need another biological entity for parasitism”

      All life forms engage in parasitism to some degree, all life uses replication(no matter how primitive). Like how we eat other animals for energy to propagate our genes.

      “What is ‘life’ to you?”

      A spectrum, and I think one of the most(if not the most) essential part of life is the ability to replicate.

      “Wrong.”

      No it’s not. Ecoli regulates GS through gene expression, meaning it’s a form of genetic plasticity, not synaptic plasticity. So it’s just short term evolution, not intelligence.

      “So only humans show intelligent behavior?”

      Of course not, all organisms with nervous systems are.

      Ill respond to the other posts a little later, Im on “date” tonight.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      In my own opinion, After reading both aforementioned thesis’ it seems noble was describing processes, while Dawkins was more worried about results. If you know what I mean.

      Great point. I can agree with that. Noble clearly describes the process of transcription because he’s a physiologist and physiologists study what makes systems work—they study what makes life ‘Life’.

      Though Noble’s ‘genes as slaves’ isn’t the analog to Dawkins’ selfish genes; the analog is Noble using genes as prisoners, instead of slaves, and he uses his analog to show that Dawkins’ hypothesis—along with his own reversal of it—is not testable.

      Though how do genes show behavior?

      You agree that DNA is not the only unit of inheritance, right? What other systems of inheritance do you take to?

      You’re assuming life is a binary concept, it’s not.

      Binary? You mean dead/living, right?

      I’m open to arguments on this and I’ve been reading philosophy on this.

      Have you read the SEP article on Life?

      It will be argued below that living systems may be defined as open systems maintained in steady-states, far-from-equilibrium, due to matter-energy flows in which informed (genetically) autocatalytic cycles extract energy, build complex internal structures, allowing growth even as they create greater entropy in their environments, and capable, over multigenerational time. of evolution.

      Using this definition, viruses would be alive; but not molecules/atoms. See, even if I accept your premise that viruses are alive (still digging into the literature on this, I will write something on it soon), I don’t have to accept that atoms are alive, as they don’t hold to that definition.

      Out of curiosity, care to point me to what you’ve been reading on this matter? Any philosophers of biology?

      How could something untestable be falsifiable?

      Excuse my error. Dawkins’ vehicle/replicator analogy is not valid for the other inheritance systems (Dawkins believes that the gene is the only biological inheritance unit).

      All life forms engage in parasitism to some degree, all life uses replication(no matter how primitive). Like how we eat other animals for energy to propagate our genes.

      I mean, if you broaden the term ‘parasitism’ I guess you can say that. Definition from Dictionary.com: “A symbiotic relationship in which one organism (the parasite) benefits and the other (the host) is generally harmed. Parasites derive nutrition from their host and may also gain other benefits such as shelter and a habitat in which to grow and reproduce.” (Though you can, broadly, say that all organisms are parasites.)

      Are humans a parasite on earth? We cause ‘disease’ to the earth.

      A spectrum, and I think one of the most(if not the most) essential part of life is the ability to replicate.

      Can you please elaborate on ‘A spectrum’? What kind of spectrum? What’s on the left and right of this spectrum? I can agree with ability to replicate; which is one point of MRS GREN, but which other parts of that do you not agree with?

      No it’s not. Ecoli regulates GS through gene expression, meaning it’s a form of genetic plasticity, not synaptic plasticity. So it’s just short term evolution, not intelligence.

      Quasi-intelligence is a better term (used in the paper). Adaptive physiology occurs due to signal transduction (ST); with ST, organisms can carry out many physiological ‘intelligent’ functions. Lyon (2015) discusses the ‘cognitive toolkit’, and E. coli has all 8 of these ‘tools’ that metazoans have: Sensing and perception; valence; behavior; memory; learning; anticipation; decision making; and communication.

      Bruggeman et al (2000) show that E. coli’s ‘simple’ behavior may improve its fitness compared to those organisms who do not have this ‘quasi-intelligence’. E. coli shows learned behavior, is that also short-term evolution?

      Of course not, all organisms with nervous systems are.

      Why limit intelligence of an organism to just a brain or nervous system? Is there no other way that organisms can show intelligent behavior (say, like the criteria laid out above from Lyon)? Yes they do not have nervous systems; but they can still learn and anticipate, which is an aspect of ‘intelligence’.

      Ill respond to the other posts a little later, Im on “date” tonight.

      No worries. Good luck bro.

      Like

  4. meLo says:

    “Though how do genes show behavior?”

    Genes show behavior by propagating it. While Phenotype is the distal level of selection, Phenotype comes from genotype, and while they ca be mutually exclusive, Usually they aren’t, humans high levels of plasticity makes them are what make them the few “exceptions”.

    “You agree that DNA is not the only unit of inheritance, right?”

    Well, I believe that ultimately DNA is the only way of long term inheritance that has been empirically verified.

    “You agree that DNA is not the only unit of inheritance, right?”

    I don’t think any one definition can fully encapsulate life.

    “Are humans a parasite on earth?”

    I think so.

    “What’s on the left and right of this spectrum?”

    Molecules on the left, multicelluar matter on the right.

    “Quasi-intelligence is a better term ”

    No, its all regulated through genomic expression. it’s not a conscious response.

    “Is there no other way that organisms can show intelligent behavior ”

    Even atoms and molecules show behavior that mimics intelligence, they just don’t have any physical mechanisms that could produce consciousness.

    “No worries. Good luck bro.”

    Thank you.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Genes show behavior by propagating it. While Phenotype is the distal level of selection, Phenotype comes from genotype, and while they ca be mutually exclusive, Usually they aren’t, humans high levels of plasticity makes them are what make them the few “exceptions”.

      Genes cannot logically ‘show behavior’. What are the few ‘exceptions’?

      Well, I believe that ultimately DNA is the only way of long term inheritance that has been empirically verified.

      What do you think of the other systems of inheritance laid out by Jabklonka and Lamb?

      I don’t think any one definition can fully encapsulate life.

      What about the SEP definition? What do you think is wrong with that?

      I think so.

      I agree, but I think it’s kinda stretching the definition.

      Molecules on the left, multicelluar matter on the right.

      Gould’s wall of complexity, then?

      No, its all regulated through genomic expression. it’s not a conscious response.

      ‘Learning’ was defined as an increase in signal transduction capacity. The signal transduction systems have evolved in E. coli to physiological plasticity and adaptability. Other papers have shown, published after the one we are discussing, that E. coli makes decisions (see Westerhoff et al, 2014).

      Even atoms and molecules show behavior that mimics intelligence, they just don’t have any physical mechanisms that could produce consciousness.

      They cannot make conscious choices; bacteria and cells can. This is why Life is intelligence.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “Genes cannot logically ‘show behavior’.

      The show it by propagating it.

      “What are the few ‘exceptions’?”

      Humans are an exceptionally Plastic. Reading comprehension

      “What do you think of the other systems of inheritance laid out by Jabklonka and Lamb?”

      Well, there is no evidence that epigenetic changes last for more than only a few generations. I’ve been reading on cytoplasmic/extranuclear inheritance.

      “What about the SEP definition? What do you think is wrong with that?”

      There’s not anything necessarily wrong with it, it’s just binary. multicelluar organisms consist of micro organisms which consist of protein/molecules, which consist of atoms. Atoms of course show some primitive intelligent behavior. Though they are not intelligent.

      “Other papers have shown, published after the one we are discussing, that E. coli makes decisions”

      I’m assuming you didn’t read the whole paper:

      ” We intuitively feel that the intelligence in microorganisms and in humans is different. The physiological adaptive behavior of microorganisms is not stable and disappears when the environment does not support this behavior. Programs of adaptive behavior are imprinted on the population genome. When adaptation is lost, new training is required to regain this adaptation. Microorganisms exhibit some features of elastic behavior, but they do not have the conditional reflexes of higher animals. In an evolutionary context, in animals the elementary reflection of the environment is replaced by perceptive reflection and animals gain different forms of individually adapted behavioral changes co-tuned to the changes in the environment. Animal activity toward objects develops depending on the objects animals have already dealt with. This correlates with anatomical changes; the cerebral cortex emerges in addition to basal ganglia that cause a crucial shift in animal behavior. Basal ganglia enable signal reception and turn on inherited behavioral programs. The cerebral cortex, in its turn, enables analysis and integration of external signals, reflection on external objects and situations, building up of new connections and, ultimately, development of the behavior that is based, not on the inherited programs, but rather on the animal’s perception of external reality. With the development of the cerebral cortex, new forms of individual behavior based on objective reflection of the environment are formed.

      Further development of the cerebral cortex takes place in humans. Aside from both inherited programs and individually gained experience, humans develop a third form of behavior: the ability to transfer collective experience from one human being to another. The transfer of collective experience includes the knowledge gained at school, at work, in life, etc. Animals are born with the inherited programs and enrich these programs through individual experience. Humans might be born with the poorest instinctive inborn programs, but can develop their mental processes, not only through personal experience, but also through learning from collective experience. Human individuals are able to communicate with each other and even, through the media of oral tradition and written history, with their predecessors. Nevertheless, in the context of scaling the degree of the strength of emergence, the complexity of the human brain does not change immensely compared to the brain of an animal. Rather, the new behavior emerges from the changes in the design, and not from a tremendous increase of interacting components.

      Intelligence is a strongly emergent property in both microorganisms and animals, including humans. Still, there is a difference in the way these intelligences are manifested. Thus, humans study microorganisms and debate about microbial intelligence, and bacteria, while supremely adapted and aware of their environments, are probably not even aware of us and our endeavors.”

      “They cannot make conscious choices; bacteria and cells can.”

      No they can’t, it’s physically impossible,

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      The show it by propagating it.

      Doesn’t make logical sense. Genes don’t “show” behavior.

      Well, there is no evidence that epigenetic changes last for more than only a few generations. I’ve been reading on cytoplasmic/extranuclear inheritance.

      There is evidence in humans; when a mother is stressed during pregnancy those epigenetic tags get passed to the offspring, which then affects the child’s physiological stress management processes which then cause lower test scores, too. You should read Jablonka and Lamb’s book they go into great depth on the non-genetic inheritance systems.

      Stress at home and stress experienced in the womb and infancy cause greater stress reactivity later in life, which then diminishes confidence and focus in school (see Bogden and Harari, 2012)

      There’s not anything necessarily wrong with it, it’s just binary. multicelluar organisms consist of micro organisms which consist of protein/molecules, which consist of atoms. Atoms of course show some primitive intelligent behavior. Though they are not intelligent.

      Atoms aren’t alive; cells are.

      I’m assuming you didn’t read the whole paper:

      No they can’t, it’s physically impossible,

      I did read the full paper and it is physically possible for cells to make choices. I’ve cited articles further up the thread in support. Read the “Problem Solving” section; I never claimed that microbes and humans had ‘similar intelligence’; only that if you remove the terms ‘human’ and ‘brain’ from our lexicon then all life is ‘intelligent’.

      Like

  5. meLo says:

    “Doesn’t make logical sense. Genes don’t “show” behavior.”

    They show it by propagating it. When I said Dawkins was concerned over end results, this is what I meant. Ultimately the gene propagates phenotype even if the gene itself is not sentient in anyway. Yet it still displays behavior in other ways like how it reacts to environmental stimuli(evolution), however it is the genes and this corresponding plethora of phenotype that are selected for, not the environment.

    “Stress at home and stress experienced in the womb and infancy cause greater stress reactivity later in life, which then diminishes confidence and focus in school”

    How many generations does this affect last?

    “Atoms aren’t alive; cells are.”

    Cells aren’t consciously intelligent, neither are atoms.

    “I did read the full paper and it is physically possible for cells to make choices.”

    If you did read the paper then your conclusion would be completely different.

    Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      They show it by propagating it.

      So genes, unconscious genes, ‘show behavior by propagating it’? That doesn’t make logical sense, either.

      not the environment

      The environment can be selected for too, with epigenetic tags. Environments are inherited too.

      How many generations does this effect last?

      I don’t know.

      Cells aren’t consciously intelligence, neither are atoms.

      I’ve shown that learning and memory have been observed in protoplasmic slime molds (see the Nature article I cited earlier from Philip Ball).

      If you did read the paper then your conclusion would be completely different.

      My conclusion is fine.

      E. coli registers statistical patterns which is then crucial for predicting where the change is leading which then guides responses like motion, development, and metabolism. Unpredictable environments can only be made predictable by the informational structure that lies within the ‘environment’. The system of the cell is able to abstract patterns in changing environments which then guides responses.

      Take the last word.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “That doesn’t make logical sense, either.’

      It makes perfect sense in the context of metaphors. I see, so you thought”intelligent” physiology actually meant the system was intelligent?….LMAO

      “Environments are inherited too.”

      In a metaphorical sense, yes. In a literal sense, no.

      “I don’t know.”

      That matters…..a lot.

      “E. coli registers statistical patterns”

      Through genomic expression, not interactions between neurons. They are not conscious and subsequently are not intelligent.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      It makes perfect sense in the context of metaphors. I see, so you thought”intelligent” physiology actually meant the system was intelligent?….LMAO

      Yes, since it’s driven by intelligent cells. Without intelligent physiology, we would not be here. Because evolution through natural selection takes place on a much longer time scale, intelligent physiology evolved to abstract patterns from the environment and drive evolution in that way. I provided references for this last month over at PP’s.

      In a metaphorical sense, yes. In a literal sense, no.

      Care to elaborate?

      That matters…..a lot.

      It can be subsumed into genetic variation and count as ‘genetic’ when the actual source of said variation was environmental in nature which is another way h2 estimates are inflated.

      But I’ll get back to you on that note.

      Through genomic expression, not interactions between neurons. They are not conscious and subsequently are not intelligent.

      All organisms show characteristics we would call ‘intelligent’, from the smallest microbe to the biggest animal.

      Also see this reference:

      Life and consciousness – The Vedāntic view

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “Yes, since it’s driven by intelligent cells”

      The nucleus is the brain of the cell, all actions are due to gene expression not the firing between synapses.

      “Care to elaborate?”

      Yes genes propagate and compete with each other by reacting to the environment, metaphorically they are alive. The metaphor is sound.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      The intelligence of the cell isn’t “in the genes”; it’s abstracted de novo from experience.

      Denis Noble rebutted the metaphor. It’s not a physiologically testable hypothesis. Dawkins admits it in The Extended Phenotype.

      Neo-Darwinism, the Modern Synthesis and selfish genes: are they of use in physiology?

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “It’s not a physiologically testable hypothesis.”

      Metaphors are not a hypothesis.

      “The intelligence of the cell isn’t “in the genes””

      It is, you’re brain is not the environment, it’s only shaped by it.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      Metaphors are not a hypothesis.

      So the metaphor is useless since it doesn’t explain anything. The metaphor, referred to as a hypothesis, becomes circular when interpreted as a scientific theory.

      If there is no experiment to prove Dawkins’ claim then his claim/theory is irrelevant. The metaphor has no basis. Denis Noble obliterated it.

      Have you read The Selfish Gene?

      It is, you’re brain is not the environment, it’s only shaped by it.

      It is not. It’s abstracted de novo from experience—i.e., no previous experience ‘needed’, brand new. The functions ‘use’ genes as resources—but are not ‘determined’ by the genes. This doesn’t mean that ‘intelligence is in the genes’.

      Without this adaptability from the cells (which became our physiological systems), we would not have evolved. These systems evolved to respond to environmental change—quickly—not over the long-term like ‘normal’ Darwinian evolution. This ability of the cells to respond and react to the environment is the basis for ‘intelligence physiology’, the evolution of intelligent systems.

      Like

    • meLo says:

      “So the metaphor is useless since it doesn’t explain anything.”

      A metaphor is a metaphor, it’s use is to simplify complex concepts for laymen. His metaphor was sound, I proved this. Stop being autistic. Noble didn’t “obliterate” anything He disagreed with Dawkins subjective metaphor and then produced an equally valid and subjective metaphor, they both described the same thing with just different focuses. I’m far past the point Of arguing ideologues with you. If you don’t have anything scientific to provide, then I think you should just go ahead and take this L.

      “The functions ‘use’ genes as resources”

      Glad to know you agree. Cells interact through genomic plasticity. Sorry I don’t have time for your semanticism.

      Like

    • RaceRealist says:

      The point of Noble’s counter-metaphor was to show that it cannot be tested, which Dawkins himself agrees with. It’s irrelevant that it’s ‘for the laymen’.

      So did you read the book?

      Glad to know you agree

      That’s not agreement. De novo, experience.

      Like

  6. meLo says:

    A metaphor cannot be tested you idiot.

    “That’s not agreement. ”

    It is, you’re just semantic.

    Like

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Jean Baptiste Lamarck

Eva Jablonka

Charles Murray

Arthur Jensen

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If you have any suggestions for future posts, criticisms or praises for me, email me at RaceRealist88@gmail.com
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