Callouses and Kings

Date: Mon Aug 13 2001 - 13:18:50 BST

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    > > 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
    > 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)?

    MR offers a model of evolution that gives organisms an active role in
    shaping themselves. We know, for instance, that camels begin
    calluses on their kneepads when they're still in the womb. This
    suggest that camels who developed calluses as a result of
    kneeling in the
    desert passed this trait onto their offspring. Since behavior can't
    directly affect genes, the logical assumption is that the calluses are
    passed on non-genetically. Otherwise we must accept the colossal
    improbability that the genetic mutation for calluses on the
    kneepads just
    happened to appear right when the camels needed it. You'd think
    they'd have
    to have gone through a lot of useless mutations first, like calluses in
    other places, or the wrong alterations on kneepads before they'd hit
    on the
    right mutation. How many millions of years should it have taken for
    them to
    get the right mutation? Now consider the fact that this applies
    many times
    over for every species on earth, and you start to see just how high
    mountain of improbability is. Sheldrake offers a more streamlined,
    model of evolution.

    Callouses would not evolve all of a piece, but gradually; but what
    you're REALLY missing here is dermatological understanding.
    Animals (including us) can develop callouses anywhere there is
    chafing on the skin; it's built into the dermis; the only modification
    needed is one that permits such growth in the absence of
    stimulation, and that mutation could happen anywhere, and only
    stick where it was useful and selected for. There was a hundred
    million years for camels and their precursors to produce such a
    mutation - no problem. Elegant explanations are not always
    correct; otherwise we would embrace the elegant yet Occam-
    violating explanation of a Master Designer intentionally sticking
    those clumsy thumbs on pandas.

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