Re: Science as Idea & Meme (cont'd)

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Thu 19 Jun 2003 - 10:53:05 GMT

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    > How do they do that when every cell has precisely the same genes (including
    > the homeobox genes)? Clearly the answer comes from its spatial position,
    > i.e. the "field" effect. Blah yadda etc. <snip>.

    Ffs man give it up ;) I admire your tenacity, and your grasp of the raw facts, along with your dedication to micro-questioning assumptions, but not every assumption is a hazard sign. The fields that determine developmental patterns are gradients of chemicals, some of which are metabolites, some are RNAs blah blah blah. Genes are induced at a rate determined by the chance that a molecule that fits a promoter will bump up against it in the right way (paraphrasing a little to save pain). The concentration of those signal molecules in a region of a cell (often localisation is via the train network of microtubules where that other nutter Penrose's conciousness lives lol), and across sheets of cells, switches on cascades of genes, that express proteins and RNAs that do stuff.

    The fact that the picture is incomplete is not a problem for theory. If that is your issue go get stuck into some really hard scientists like chemists who afaik still work only with models. Biology is a soft target for new age bull because it is all storytelling at the end of the day. You have to go with your gut sometimes and that leaves us open to reductio nonsense like yours (nothing personal - I admire skilled debating in it's own right but I have a vested interest so I'm a little shirty). Also just cos a theory (like MR) 'explains' most stuff _so_far_ doesn't make it a winner. It is at best a competing explanation which if valid will eventually be accepted by the usual route. The problem is that it predicts less, and has less explanatory power, than the stuff I believe.

    And of course if all this is just a totally immersive 'real-life' arcade game of sorts, then we'll all be disproved when we run out of credit and emerge from the booth, tentacles raised in shock, our forty eyes squinting at the light.

    Slonshal, Chris.

      Chris Taylor ( »people»chris

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