Sensing and secreting: Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’

April 25, 2014 | James Kohl

Combinatorial Communication in Bacteria: Implications for the Origins of Linguistic Generativity

Excerpt: “…in order to understand the evolutionary origins of human communication and language, the most insightful comparisons will be with the cognitive mechanisms that make ostensive and hence linguistic communication possible in the first place…”

Reported as: Microbes provide insights into evolution of human language

Excerpt: “…even a species of pond life communicates by similar methods.”

Robert Karl Stonjek (RKS) “Unless there is an unbroken hierarchy between this cell communication and human communication then it is unrelated to human language, and as combinatorial elements in communication is not found in non-primates we can assume that this discovery is unrelated to human language which is a form of communication between individuals.”

My comment: There IS an unbroken hierarchy between this cell communication and human communication. However, RKS has continued to think about theory and to tout his naive misunderstanding of nature in his role as moderator of several different yahoo discussion groups and on several different facebook pages. He has also consistently failed to address what is currently known about the conserved molecular mechanisms that link microbes to man via an unbroken hierarchy of cell communication, while insisting that evolutionary theory makes more sense than biological facts. For example, before banning me from participation on his Evolutionary Psychology yahoo group, he wrote (in November 2012):   Most of the members on this and my other forums can just about quote your position verbatim by now and do not need to hear it endlessly repeated.

How else can the endlessly repeated claims of evolutionary theorists be addressed, if not by repeated emphasis of biological facts? We see the claims addressed with biological facts in the article on Combinatorial Communication. But RKS denies that the combinatorial elements in communication among microbes are found in non-primates. Since these combinatorial elements are conserved across species, why we can assume that this discovery is “…related to human language which is a form of communication between individuals.” Indeed, communication among conspecifics always involves sensing and secreting. That is a biological fact manifested in microbes to man.

Simply put, food odors are sensed and they metabolize to pheromones that are secreted and sensed. Thus, the conserved molecular mechanisms of chemical ecology link the ability of microbes to sense food. The ability to sense food results is directly linked  — via their ability to metabolize nutrients — to the species-specific pheromones that control the physiology of reproduction in species from microbes to man.

RKS (in psychiatry research): “If you were, as you claim to be, a serious scientist then you would follow the same path to success as other scientists in the field of your choice i.e. publication of papers, attendance at conferences, especially giving presentations and speeches there, and the publication of a book/s outlining your entire theory and model so that it can discussed in universities and other interested groups.

That you languish in the opinion/discussion forum is, by far, the biggest admission of the weakness of your overall position.”

No one, including RKS has ever addressed the weakness of my overall position, which has been established in a series of presentations and published works beginning in 1992. (Note: It appears that his comment has been removed from the psychiatry research post by RKS, although I was still able to find the link to it.) All my efforts now link the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in organized genomes of species from microbes to man via the conserved molecular mechanisms of intracellular, intermolecular interactions, and extracellular signaling.

The strength of my overall position continues to show up in articles that link model organisms from microbes to man via conserved molecular mechanisms. The fact that Microbes provide insights into evolution of human language can be examined in the context of  The microbiota–gut–brain axis: neurobehavioral correlates, health and sociality. A citation to Kohl (2012) Diversity and function of the avian gut microbiota is not to my 2012 review, but it links the vertebrate gut microbiome to the invertebrate gut microbiome in Genome Yields Clues to Tsetse Fly’s Strange and Deadly Ways.

Once the conserved molecular mechanisms of intracellular and intercellular communication have been linked from microbes to birds and mammals, it is easier to understand the role of gut microbiomes in the The Hadza of Tanzania.

Top down cause now links vitamin B synthesis by microbes in flies to microbial synthesis of vitamin D in humans, which stabilizes the nutrient-dependent human genome in populations where malaria is endemic via amino acid substitutions manifested in hemoglobin variants such as the hemoglobin S variant that theorists attribute to a mutation.

Remember that evolutionary theorists like their ideas about mutations, natural selection, and evolution, and see Gut microbes and integrative neuroscience See also: When “…social neuroscientists ignore relational context… they risk establishing a body of social neuroscience that is narrow, of limited generalizability, and confusing. If relational context is taken into account as researchers build a social neuroscience of relationships, they stand a better chance of producing a coherent, integrated body of knowledge that will be intrinsically and practically valuable.

Excerpt from my comment: “Socioaffective neuroscience and psychology may progress more quickly by keeping these apparent facts in mind: Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans (Keller et al., 2007; Kohl, 2007; Villarreal, 2009; Vosshall, Wong, & Axel, 2000).”

George F. R. Ellis replied: This is absolutely correct and forms part of the larger concept that top-down causation is a key factor not just in the way the brain works but in broader contexts in biology and even physics. This is explored here:

The link above takes you to  Top-down causation Organized by George F. R. Ellis, Denis Noble and Timothy O’Connor

Ask yourself: What have researchers learned as they sequence, map, and decode species’ genomes? Find the answers.  No biologically-based experimental evidence links mutations to benefits. The idea of beneficial mutations comes from social scientists and population geneticists. It is an idea that competes with the reality of ecological variation and ecological adaptations, which is why it has created a nightmare for serious scientists.

Each time serious scientists try to reintroduce physics, chemistry, and molecular biology into conversations with social scientists, questions arise from the social scientists as if anything they could dream up might be their dream come true. Can’t mutations do this? No! They can’t.

The idea that “constraint-breaking” mutations somehow cause species diversity is the idea the puts an end to all other ideas about evolution and replaces them with scientific facts. Nei’s book Mutation-Driven Evolution, was published on the same day as I published a review article: Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model, which details how CHEMICAL ECOLOGY DRIVES ADAPTIVE EVOLUTION VIA: (1) ecological niche construction, (2) social niche construction, (3) neurogenic niche construction, and (4) socio-cognitive niche construction. Compare the accurate representations of biologically-based cause and effect with across-species examples to Nei’s idea that “…genomic conservation and constraint-breaking mutation is the ultimate source of all biological innovations and the enormous amount of biodiversity in this world.” Ask yourself: Is there a model for that, or is it a pseudoscientific theory that has never been supported by experimental evidence of biologically based cause and effect?



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.