Re: Re[3]: The evolution of "evolution"

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Thu 27 Oct 2005 - 13:30:33 GMT

  • Next message: Scott Chase: "Re: The evolution of "evolution""

    --- Robin Faichney <> wrote:

    > Wednesday, October 26, 2005, 8:06:27 AM, Dace wrote:
    > > From a material standpoint nothing mediates the
    > mutual attraction or
    > > repulsion of objects as a result of either gravity
    > or magnetism. This is
    > > why the field is postulated, in order to account
    > for the undeniable reality
    > > of such long-range effects. No field of physics
    > has ever been detected.
    > > Rather, it is *deduced.* The strength of a field
    > must be calculated on the
    > > basis of abstract equations, not read off from a
    > meter that directly
    > > measures it.
    > I recently used something called a "field strength
    > meter" to measure
    > microwave radiation around my house. (I live within
    > 120m of a mast
    > with several arrays.) Regarding magnetism, I have a
    > very handy device
    > called a compass. Let me know when you have such
    > things for your fields.
    IMO "fields" in developmental biology ("morphogenetic fields") are nothing more than spatial regions progressively subdivided over developmental time. They are a way of looking at the modular nature of development and can evolve over evolutionary time. They are NOT set against genes, but merely serve as a means of putting genes (via their products) in context. The word "field" is an analogy carried over from electromagnetism.

    Since Dace ignores modern biology he feels he can poke fun at biologists for their collective ignorance of developmental processes thus making it necessary, in his mind, to invoke paranormal factors (morphic resonance) or long abandoned ideas (neo-Lamarckian organic memory). He ignores pioneers like Mendel, Morgan, Sturtevant, Watson and Crick, probably because they are too mechanistic, materialistic and/or reductionistic for him. I wonder if he's ever done a Punnett square or a mapping problem as undergraduate biology majors painfully learn to do in genetics classes or taken a developmental biology class in the past 5 years or so.

    He should read and critique Sean Carroll's cutting edge book on evo-devo _Endless Forms Most Beautiful_. In that book he can see where the field on evo-devo is moving. I doubt they will need morphic resonance or neo-Lamarckian organic memory when they have toolkit genes (eg- the Hox clusters) and genetic switches.

    His tactics (ie- setting up strawmen that he can easily knock down) are similar to those employed by creationists (aka "intelligenet design" proponents). They take a very distorted form of a biological argument, knock it over and invoke their favored ideas as a substitute. This may convince the undereducated in biology, but not anyone serious about the relevant topics.

    __________________________________ Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005

    =============================================================== This was distributed via the memetics list associated with the Journal of Memetics - Evolutionary Models of Information Transmission For information about the journal and the list (e.g. unsubscribing) see:

    This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Thu 27 Oct 2005 - 13:51:23 GMT