Re: Teleology etc.

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Aug 10 2001 - 22:30:00 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Teleology etc.
    Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 17:30:00 -0400
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    >From: Chris Taylor <>
    >Subject: Re: Teleology etc.
    >Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2001 18:57:43 +0100
    >Sorry you're getting such a kicking Ted - I have to say I admire your
    >staying power!
    >Two points to start:
    >1) You just can't cite Kant as an authority on molecular biology.
    >2) Protein folding is rather complex - many chaperones help out,
    >different cellular compartments are involved, as are timing effects to
    >allow local folding. You need a concept of an energy landscape, which is
    >'out there' in a sense(...), but you most emphatically do not need
    >mystery fields of force.
    Skimming Voet and Voet's text _Biochemistry_ (1995, John Wiley & Sons, New
    York, p. 198-202) I can see there are some gnarly details. There's
    self-assembly. Primary structure relates to folding pathways and native
    conformation and this may have evolutionary ramifications. Atop this are the
    folding accessory proteins which include the chaperones and aid the folding
    process by molecular "massaging" and such. This last notion comes from
    Alberts et al's text _Molecular Biology of the Cell_ (1994, Garland
    Publishing, Inc, New York, p 214). Way over my head, but it seems important
    enough to consider when the so-called problem of protein folding becomes an
    issue. I suppose the texts I refer to are way out of date and that much work
    has been done in this field (pun unintended) and that those involved are not
    pursuing MR as a viable explanation.
    > > To my knowledge Wilson has never responded to Sheldrake's thesis that
    > > termite mounds are governed by morphic fields, with the termites
    >occupying a
    > > similar role to cells within animal bodies. Wilson has never responded
    > > this suggestion because he has no alternative. It's just up in the air.
    > He
    > > doesn't like the field explanation, but he can't offer anything better.
    > > I'm sure that there is a similar
    > > rule or small group of rules, probably connected with pheromonic
    > > chemical marking, that will suffice to explain termite mound
    > > construction.
    >I've seen simulated paper wasps build complex nests despite individuals
    >only having small simple locally applicable rule sets (consisting of
    >simple input=output pairs). Termites would be easy enough too. Wilson
    >didn't have decent computers and complexity theory to help him.
    >And btw where did the *first* termite mound come from (and the first
    >protein structures too)?
    > > Sheldrake gets around both of these problems.
    >No he doesn't - he tells us a story without evidence. He's his own worst
    >enemy as far as science is concerned, but then I suspect we're not his
    >target demographic.
    > > Memes not a product of genes, so must be from MR etc. etc.
    >Uh-uh - the whole point of this group is the study of culturally
    >heritable patterns - heritable as in copyable. No need for any ethereal
    >templates. And again, where do the first ones come from? Evolution by
    >natural selection operating on variation explains this diversification
    >for me, what does MR have to say about it (genuine question)?
    > > Has anybody spoke to the infamous 100th monkey phenomenon yet?
    >Pah-leeze put me out of my misery...
    Sorry, I'm the culprit for introducing that into the discussion.

    How would this 100th monkey story differ from the blue tits and milk bottle
    thingy? These notions becoming a part of the collective consciousness, wrong
    as they may be, are fair game in this forum. Frans de Waal talks about the
    100th monkey stuff in his book _The Ape and the Sushi Master_ (2001, Basic
    Books, New York). What is it about these ideas that is so appealing?

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