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Is modeling natural selection as a sensing agent reasonable?

Posted on June 12, 2012 by James Kohl.

In part two of my posts from May 15th, I expressed concern that someone might attempt to usurp my position on the importance of ecological, social, and neurogenic niches to adaptive evolution. On June 11, the moderator of the human ethology yahoo group did it. He posted what he claimed was his thought about “…why modeling natural selection as a sensing agent is reasonable.” This thought came after a proposal earlier in the day that “One can, for the sake of argument and trying to understand a concept, consider natural selection as a selecting agent with the equivalent of senses.”


Natural selection as a ‘sensing agent’ is modeled in Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.

In my article title (above) the nature of evolved behaviors is natural selection, and the sensing agent of  natural selection is olfaction.  Olfaction is the ‘sensing agent’ of natural selection, because natural selection requires selection of nutrient chemicals that metabolize to pheromones that control reproduction and species diversification.

My complaint:

Jay R. Feierman is the human ethology group’s moderator. His despicable claim that my model is his thought comes only after several years of my participation in the group. His only response to me during the past few years was when I faked agreement with his confusing comments on sensory input and activation of genes. Until now, he has shown nothing but his confusion about the difference between epigenetic effects on intracellular signaling (i.e., gene activation) and stochastic gene expression as he continued to link visual and auditory input to gene expression and behavior without detailing how they caused the gene expression.

He clearly has no idea of how adaptive evolution could allow anything other than olfactory/pheromonal input to directly effect receptor-mediated events and intracellular signaling that drives the development of behavior in species from microbes to man. But he continued to post on visual input and auditory input while attempting to make them the cause of gene activation in the cells that link gene expression to behavior.

When non-olfactory/pheromonal sensory input alters gene expression,  it does so at the same time as olfactory/pheromonal input allows nutrient chemicals and pheromones to epigenetically  cause changes in intracellular signaling that  lead to stochastic gene expression and diversification of species-specific behaviors.  Visual, auditory, and tactile input do not lead to diversification of species because there is no common molecular biology that allows anything but olfactory/pheromonal input to to directly effect the development of behavior.

Olfactory/pheromonal input is the sensory input from the environment with a direct link to changes in intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression in all species from microbes to man.  It is why modeling natural selection as a sensing agent is not only reasonable but possible to detail along every step of the evolved gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ system pathway that allowed me to conclude that olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans.

Offering my model to others as his thought is something that only someone like Jay Feierman could do. Unfortunately, there are more people like him than like those who spend decades developing a model, as I did, before he claimed my model as his thought. I will post information here about the claims of anyone else who attempts to include my ‘intellectual property’ in their ‘thoughts’ about the development of behavior — if only as an attempt to stop them, or to limit their efforts by exposing them. It’s unfortunate that their efforts are so predictable.




James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl

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