Re: Clincher?

From: Chris Taylor (
Date: Thu Aug 30 2001 - 11:03:42 BST

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    > >Fraid not.
    > >
    > >Your approach is far too black-and-white. MR doesn't contradict natural
    > >selection. It rounds it out.
    > >
    > I thought Chris was talking about genetic drift and severe inbreeding,
    > whereby deleterious alleles can become fixed within a population, not
    > natural selection.

    > >MR isn't going to save a species when the material basis of its existence,
    > >genetic or environmental, is no longer present.

    I sort of expected that answer as soon as I'd sent it (as you do) -
    genetic drift leads to innaccurate DNA, meaning the 'radio' has drifted
    off station (you can even use the same term!).

    > >It restores evolutionary theory to its
    > >Darwinian moors by incorporating the inheritance of acquired traits. You
    > >should be aware that Darwin considered the capacity of organisms to shape
    > >their evolutionary future as being essential to evolutionary theory. As
    > >far
    > >as Darwin was concerned, there is no theory of evolution if the behavior of
    > >organisms isn't its driving force. He would certainly have been appalled
    > >at what has been put forth in his name in this century.

    I think it should be made clear that Darwin gets the big plaudits for
    *parts* of what he said (descent with modification [with no viable
    mechanism]; competition for resources; survival of the fittest), and
    that's all (in relation to evolutionary mechanisms anyway). Wallace more
    or less got it, and someone else would've eventually anyway. He also
    talked a lot of shit (although you can't blame him for having a guess);
    pangenes for example (genes reside in the appropriate bit of the body
    and 'hop' into the bloodstream and head for the gonads when the time
    comes, so to speak -- duh, what if a limb is chopped off, hello again M.

    Fundamentally Darwin is not a talisman to be waved about, he was just
    another scientist (a bloody good one, and on some stuff visionary
    admittedly). What he would've been happy about is not gonna sway anyone.

    > I wonder if he would have been appalled by organic selection (the "Baldwin
    > effect") whereby, in a sense, behavioral shifts could influence subsequent
    > evolutionary changes as modifications in a pliable phenotype are eventually
    > supplanted by mutations or recombinations of the genetic *material* (w.e.g.-
    > wicked evil grin as the Bostoner's might say).
    > William Bateson's son Gregory talks about this stuff (organic selection) in
    > his book _Steps to an Ecology of Mind_ (1987. Jason Aronson Inc. New
    > Jersey). It's hard to realize that Gregory was William's son, since he
    > hardly ever mentions this fact in his book ;-) (just kidding)
    > William was arch-nemesis of Paul Kammerer, if I recall Koestler's book
    > correctly. Would morphic resonance explain supposed nuptial pads in the
    > midwife toad.

    I think we might be in a minefield, what are those bumps...

    > >MR isn't going to save a species when the material basis of its existence,
    > >genetic or environmental, is no longer present.
    > >
    > >
    > > > How do species go extinct by inbreeding if MR works?
    > > >
    > > > Some species are outcompeted simply, but some dwindle (cheetahs are so
    > > > genetically homogenous due to population size reduction over the years
    > > > that skin grafts between unrelated animals more or less always take, for
    > > > example) and as they dwindle, genetic drift moves them away from the
    > > > optimal configuration for the species (fixation of deleterious alleles).
    > > >
    > > > Genetic drift explains this perfectly, with no bits left over. How about
    > > > MR? And why does the MR 'go wrong' for them in the first place (again
    > > > the geneticist's explanation holds up with no visible strain here).

     Chris Taylor ( »people»chris

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