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A detailed model of physical reality and natural selection (722 words)

Posted on June 19, 2012 by James Kohl.

My knowledge of molecular biology, which is integrated into the physical reality of species from microbes to man, enabled me to model natural selection as the equivalent of a sensing agent. The moderator of the human-ethology yahoo group indicated this might be useful. “ I think it might be useful to consider natural selection the equivalent of a sensing agent. There could be things realized by doing this that would not be realized thinking about it in more conventional ways.

My model is more useful for others if they first realize that nutrient chemicals and pheromones are responsible for adaptive evolution via natural selection. My model will not be useful to those who think more conventionally, for example, about how visual, auditory, or tactile input might cause natural selection because it is clear that they cannot cause natural selection.

It is equally clear that if nutrient chemicals are not sensed, the individual organism will starve to death, and if pheromones are not sensed, reproduction will not be controlled. The species may starve to death if the supply of nutrient chemicals is exhausted by overpopulation of the ecological niche. Starvation may exemplify natural selection, but it does not represent adaptive evolution.

Adaptive evolution is represented when nutrient chemical-dependent ecological niche construction leads to social niche construction by conspecifics. Ecological niche construction and social niche construction then contribute equally to neurogenic niche construction, which allows nutrient chemicals and pheromones to cause changes in intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression in specialized hormone-secreting nerve cells that enable the development of the invertebrate brain via the effects of chemical input from the sensory environment on the brain’s hormone-dependent neuroanatomical structure and its function.

Nutrient chemicals and pheromones cause changes in intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression in the hormone-secreting nerve cells of invertebrates, which is an effect on gene expression that extends to vertebrate brain development and construction of our cognitive niche (or as some have called it, our socio-cognitive niche). The term “socio-cognitive” niche attests to the likely role of social odors, called pheromones, as detailed in the eusocial honeybee model organism that I used to link species from microbes to man.

The concept of the socio-cognitive niche also addresses what Jay Feierman wrote about here: “…the perspective of natural selection, modeled as a brainless sensing agent…: What is physical reality is dependent upon the sensing agent.” Microbes and bees may not cognitively sense their physical environment, but nutrient chemicals and pheromones are part of the physical reality that must be sensed by all “sensing agents” in species from microbes to man.

I mentioned here that “In Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors I modeled natural selection as if it were a sensing agent for nutrient chemicals and pheromones.” I also restated that “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.” It seems that then even Jay Feierman lost interest in what he said was his idea of “Modeling Natural Selection As If It Were A Sensing Agent.”

Indeed, after a very convoluted post Re: Physical reality and Natural Selection, Feierman seems to have changed his perspective on physical reality and natural selection because he wrote: “I’m using that as a foundation for talking about physical reality from the perspective of natural selection, when one is modeling natural selection as a sensing agent, which it is not (my emphasis).  Does this sudden reversal of his idea to model natural selection as the equivalent of a sensing agent, as he indicated might be useful, mean that his idea is not to be considered useful in discussions of physical reality from the perspective of natural selection? Or does his sudden reversal mean that my model of natural selection as a sensing agent is not useful as a foundation when talking about physical reality.

Is there other physical reality for human behavior that is more important than the molecular biology I used in a model that incorporates what Feierman indicated was his idea of natural selection as a sensing agent? My idea is that nutrient chemical-dependent ecological niche construction and pheromone-dependent social niche construction contribute equally to the neurogenic niche construction that is responsible for adaptive evolution, development of the mammalian brain, and construction of our socio-cognitive niche.

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James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl




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