Evolved free will versus the path of least resistance
January 27, 2013 | James Kohl
In the light of biology we are the result of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled reproduction, which unlike a series of random lightening strikes, exemplifies cause and effect in species from microbes to man. The “path of least resistance” theory does not seem to make much sense in the light of biology.
If “nothing in biology makes any sense except in the light of evolution” and adaptive evolution is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled, where does the randomness of theories like this come from? Is there evidence that chromatin remodeling and de novo gene expression results from the path of least resistance, or is someone attempting again to make us all look like fools who believe in trite sayings? Apologies if I missed an explanation for the random folding of proteins that’s required. I never thought of it that way, for obvious reasons (i.e., “evolution is like a lightening strike” makes no sense).
It has become clear during the past few years that our experiences bring with them epigenetic effects on genetic predispositions. We choose our experiences, we do not choose their epigenetic effects. We have free will with consequences.
The consequences show up as alterations in the microRNA / messenger RNA balance, which is responsible for de novo protein synthesis that regulates the molecular mechanisms underlying neural plasticity and everything else. Ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction enabled our neural plasticity based on our genetic predispositions.
Few people comprehend the complexity of the systems biology, which is why most may never understand that “Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.” Belief in theories that posit mutations as the cause of adaptive evolution is easier to profess, and requires no knowledge of the basic principles of biology or levels of biological organization that link sensory cause to epigenetic effects on hormones that affect behavior.
Belief in a path of least resistance (e.g., lightening strike theory) also exemplifies weak mentalizing abilities (i.e., the inability to think in terms of Creation of a cell with enough complexity to respond to any and all environments with adaptation or death).
Adapt or die is a function of free will not shared with other animals, but free will does not necessarily make us less animalistic. It merely allows us to consider whether we will respond to the epigenetic effects of nutrients and pheromones with thoughts about the consequences or unconsciously respond with behaviors that in many cases may be ridiculously self – destructive, if only because they do nothing to benefit others.