Re: Proof

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Aug 24 2001 - 23:54:42 BST

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Proof
    Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 18:54:42 -0400
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    >From: "Scott Chase" <>
    >Subject: Re: Proof
    >Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 18:31:21 -0400
    >>From: "Dace" <>
    >>To: <>
    >>Subject: Re: Proof
    >>Date: Fri, 24 Aug 2001 12:49:05 -0700
    >> > Ted, concerning (a) protein folding, and (b) genes making proteins
    >> > making organisms, what level of proof would you require to sign up for
    >> > the mainstream evolutionary / molecular biological model of the world?
    >>Walter Elsasser approached the question of organic form like any other
    >>physics problem. And he found that it had no solution. Where are the
    >>mechanisms that turn blueprints into final product? Moreover, how would
    >>such mechanisms work? Elsasser was appalled by the fact that biologists
    >>didn't even have a theory for how genes construct organisms. Right now
    >>we've got a big, fat notebook full of descriptions with no coherent order
    >>explanatory principle.
    >>When you can thermodynamically connect the dots between polypeptides and
    >>proteins, then you'll have something.
    >God of the gaps meets moving goalposts? Whenever the holes in the knowledge
    >base are filled out step by step, those launching salvos at "orthodox
    >science" (tm) need only ratchet the problem further, into areas not yet
    >"OK so you know how that gene (or those genes) play(s) a role, however
    >limited, in that developmental process, you still haven't offered a
    >and comprehensive explanation for how the organism develops from zygote to
    >fully mature adult with respect to form and behavior."
    >Expression genetics (versus transmission genetics) has a long way to go. I
    >have an even longer way to go understanding the development of organisms as
    >influenced by gene products and things such as cell surface interactions
    >signal transduction and how the context a cell finds itself in at any given
    >time influences how that cell's genetic repertoire is expressed.
    >Something like the concept or descriptive notion of a morphogenetic field
    >can go a long way to combat "bean bag / beads on a string" genocentrism of
    >the "this for that/1:1" variety, but taking this too far and adding in some
    >very contentious idea of morphic resonance basically evaporates the utility
    >of the MF concept (if any utility even exists). One paper I recall which
    >some relevant discussion is:
    >Gilbert SF, Opitz JM, Raff RA. 1996. Resynthesizing evolutionary and
    >developmental biology. Developmental Biology (173): 357-372
    >In the abstract Gilbert, Opitz and Raff say that morphogenetic fields
    >"exemplify the modular nature of developing embryos" and call them "a major
    >unit of ontogeny whose changes bring about changes in evolution." I found
    >mention of Sheldrake in their extensive references section. Of Goodwin they
    >say that his particular formulation is somewhat akin to the classical
    >version and that "this is a field outside developmental genetics and is
    >actively opposed to gene action as being important in field functions."
    >Where Gilbert Opitz and Raff slight Goodwin as being non-genic, IIRC
    >(in _How the Leopard Changed its Spots_) slights Sheldrake as being
    Ooooops! Now that was a very bad typo. This should read as "non-physical".

    Here come the rotten tomatoes.
    >in his formulations. Could someone double check this for me
    >since I don't have a copy handy?
    >One area I've been interested in is epigenetics and I've heard of
    >inheritance systems and ideas such as epialleles and epimutations, where
    >methylation states of genetic *material* (evil grin) are pertinent. It
    >it was Vincent who said something about the new _Science_ (vol 293, no.
    >5532) where epigenetics is a major topic. This could be a fruitful area for
    >further exploration. Are the MR proponents giving this or any *new* work in
    >developmental biology any *serious* consideration? Have they done much
    >reading in the hybrid field of evolutionary developmental biology where
    >expression genetics contends with transmission genetics? Are they
    >constructing an Aunt Sally of "orthodoxy" for their own amusement and/or
    >polemic advantage?

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