Re: memetics-digest V1 #1588

From: Dace (
Date: Sun 27 Nov 2005 - 22:45:46 GMT

  • Next message: Davi Johnson: ""Abstract" Memes?"

    > From: Chris Taylor <>
    > Subject: Going on the offensive
    > Okay Ted we're going round in circles now:
    > Protein folding (again): Fine, there are many stable
    > configurations for some proteins to fold to (cf. prion disease
    > for a nasty one) but that is managed by (1) a whole suite of
    > stuff during manufacture (chaperones, pauses in translation
    > etc.) and (2) a really thorough misfold-spotting machinery that
    > recycles anything remotely dodgy.

    How do the chaperones know what to do? Are they guided by genetic instructions? Is it mechanical necessity? How does misfold-spotting machinery know which is folded right and which is wrong?

    > Cell 'manufacture': Who exactly is looking at making cells from
    > scratch? I'll wager statistically nobody. Everyone is looking at
    > actual biological processes, which have no start.

    I'm not sure how you got the idea that I was saying anything about making cells from scratch.

    > Clouds(?): This is just nonsensical. Structure in cells is
    > elaborate.

    Yes, structure in cells is far more elaborate than in a cloud of gas. That's the problem. According to thermodynamics, the behavior of free molecules is indeterminate, and only at the large-scale does a gas reveal certain patterns of behavior. But the patterned behavior found in cells, which are composed of free molecules, is vastly more intricate and complex than the patterns found in a gas. How do we account for this discrepency?

    > As for 'free will': This is just bizarre. Does a motion sensor
    > have the 'will' to sound an alarm when it is triggered? Does
    > chemotaxis qualify as something different (no)? Does a bee have
    > a 'desire' to remember a route using that special neural
    > structure it has (no)? There is a sliding scale for awareness to
    > be sure, but it drops off pretty rapidly and is reliant on
    > having something that can process _large amounts of information
    > at once_. Action-reaction pairs are _not_ thought. Without
    > thought there can be no 'desire' for anything.

    If organisms are machines, then even among humans free will is impossible. If organisms are not machines but merely contain mechanical elements within a holistic context, then free will can exist at any level of development. The meaning of evolution is that species are self-created in conjunction with natural selection. Thus human free will is only the individualization of what ordinarily manifests at the species level.

    > (1) What controlled experiments have _directly tested_ what you
    > et al. suggest as possible, rather than everything relying on
    > rationalised passive observations?

    I guess you haven't read Hill's paper. There are many experiements demonstrating holistic effects, but this is a good place to start. Hill demonstrates that the mutations occurring in an isolated population are nonrandom insofar as they reflect the mutations of a closely related but physically separated population undergoing exposure to toxic chemicals or high temperatures. This has profound implications for evolution. If a given species is divided into two populations, and a new threat to its survival hits one population before the other, then the second population has time to adapt to the threat before it hits.

    > (2) What is the origin of life in the morpho world?

    I'm with Smith-Cairns. Why do you ask?

    > (3) What is the mechanism of evolution, in full? All Lamarckian?

    Lamarckian evolution is theologically guided. God started the process and guided it with the intention of producing H sapiens. Darwin dropped Lamarck's theology but kept his emphasis on the inheritance of traits developed through use and disuse. Such traits cannot be inherited genetically and must rely on holistic memory which, according to Sheldrake, operates via the resonance of current forms with prior, similar forms.

    > (4) What is a 'lethal' gene for you (i.e. knockout/mutant =
    > never develops or dies very early)?

    Again, why do you ask? What's your point?


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