Explaining Singularity (or anything else) to a six year old

September 7, 2013 | James Kohl

“If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.” ― Albert Einstein via Guy Kawasaki (per Reese Jones on Facebook, September 3, 2013)

Discussion ensued and began to degrade with comments by Jones on my word choice. As I’ve noted, there are many people who would rather use a different word for nutrient-dependent “pheromones” that control reproduction.  “Pheromones are defined as substances which are secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species, in which they release a specific reaction, for example, a definite behavior, or a developmental process.” Here’s my response to Reese Jones in that context.

If others used the same words (nutrients or pheromones) that I do, they would have a model of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution sans mutations like I do. They could explain it to a six year old like this: “What you eat (nutrient stress) and the people you encounter (social stress) alter your health that signals your reproductive fitness. Instead, others ignore the concept of biological information (e.g., contained in nutrients and pheromones) and we now have the social life of genes sans nutrient-dependent pheromone production (except in the honeybee).

The problem exists more than a decade after Robinson (featured in the article about the social life of genes) extended the model we published in Hormones and Behavior from mammals (1996) to insects (2000). In 2013, Reese Jones doesn’t think the term pheromone should be used in the context of nutrient-dependent survival of bacterial species. Thus, he smugly complicates life and we never become electronic because our species goes extinct as surely as honeybee colonies collapse — due to alterations in their diet that limit the pheromone-dependent development of their brain and behavior.

Congratulations to proponents of Singularity who ensure there will be no such thing because they cannot grasp the complexity of systems biology, which incorporates nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution in species from microbes to man. Pretending to understand the significance of works by Lynn Margulis is an insult to those of us who do understand it. See, for example:  http://pheromones.com/pheromones-and-multicellularity Comments will probably now turn to my commercial involvement, as if others have no financial interests at all in maintaining their academic standing.

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Additional comment: Reese Jones wrote:  “life is complicated and then we become electronic”  To me, this statement represents smug academic irresponsibility because it explains nothing.  …the singularity, is a theoretical point in time when human technology (and, particularly, technological intelligence) will have so rapidly progressed that, ultimately, a greater-than-human intelligence will emerge, which will “radically change human civilization, and perhaps even human nature itself.”

Proponents of Singularity may not always declare their conflict of interest when it comes to explanations of biological facts that do not fit into their theoretical constructs of human nature, which is obviously biologically based in conserved molecular mechanisms of species from microbes to man. Here’s a representation by Reese Jones on the importance of bacteria, which is hard to compare with his comment that “life is complicated and then we become electronic”

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James Vaughn Kohl

James Vaughn Kohl

James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones.