Whose reality is yours? (exposed)

September 12, 2013 | James Kohl

Editorial: Nature 501, 136 () doi:10.1038/501136a

Reality at risk 

Excerpt: “To understand what working scientists free from the constraints of celebrity actually do all day, one might turn to the blogosphere…”

My comment: Turning to the blogosphere might lead you to find more than 600 reality-exposing blog posts. During the past few years, these  blog posts have been used to support a realistic representation of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution. The blog posts, at “Pheromones.com,” also refute mutation-driven evolution. Cited works are typically linked from the blog posts, and there are repeated links to works that I have authored or co-authored since 1995.  For example:

1996 From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior

2001 Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology

2006 The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences

2012 Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors

2013 Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model

Each of these published works supports their less technical representation in: The Scent of Eros: Mysteries of Odor in Human Sexuality (1995/2002), which is now available as an E-book.

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Attacking “Mutations Theory” and “Just-So” stories.

My technical and non-technical representations of biological facts refute mutations theory. Simon Le Vay’s summary of my award-winning 57-page 2006 monograph, which was published in 2007 as a book chapter in “Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality” inadvertently remains one of the most concise attacks on mutation-driven evolution. In one of his books, he wrote on page 210:

“James Kohl, an independent researcher…, believes that pheromones may have a primary influence in setting up a person’s basic sexual orientation. Other, more consciously perceived aspects of attractiveness, such as facial appearance, are attached to a person’s basic orientation through a process of association during early postnatal life… This model is attractive in that it solves the “binding problem” of sexual attraction. By that I mean the problem of why all the different features of men or women (visual appearance and feel of face, body, and genitals; voice quality, smell; personality and behavior, etc.) attract people as a more or less coherent package representing one sex, rather than as an arbitrary collage of male and female characteristics. If all these characteristics come to be attractive because they were experienced in association with a male- or female-specific pheromone, then they will naturally go together even in the absence of complex genetically coded instructions.

I solved the “binding problem” of sexual attraction with details of molecular epigenetics that were first offered in our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review article. The details link nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled behavioral development of species from microbes to man. I have since offered examples from across the animal kingdom to fully support the facts I have repeatedly clarified as new information became available. But facts alone may never be enough. Le Vay added: “Still, even in fruit flies, other sensory input besides pheromones — acoustic, tactile, and visual stimuli — play a role in sexual attraction, and sex specific responses to these stimuli appear to be innate rather than learned by association. We simply don’t know where the boundary between prespecified attraction and learned association lie in our own species, nor do we have compelling evidence for the primacy of one sense over another.”

According to Le Vay,  there is no compelling evidence for the primacy of human olfaction. For comparison, the mere appearance of innate sex specific responses to acoustic, tactile, and visual stimuli is “self-evident.”  Such appearances must also be considered self-evident, since no scientific evidence in any species suggests that any sex specific response to acoustic, tactile, and visual stimuli is innate. Yet, what Le Vay appears to consider to be self-evident, is enough evidence for him to dismiss the wide body of scientific literature detailing the more obvious fact that only sex-specific responses to pheromones are innate. All other responses to sensory input from the environment are clearly learned via their association with the epigenetic effects of nutrients (e.g., associated with food odors), and sex specific responses are clearly learned via their association with pheromones.

In mammals, other vertebrates, and invertebrates, the epigenetic effects of food odors and pheromones are on genes in cells of hormone-secreting tissue in an organ called the brain. The brain controls behavior via conserved molecular mechanisms present in species from microbes to man.  These conserved molecular mechanisms epigenetically link food odors to learned behaviors that are, like sex differences in behavior, genetically predisposed.  That’s why the concluding sentence of my 2012 review states that “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.” The only appropriate response to Le Vay’s caveat “Still, even in fruit flies, other sensory input besides pheromones…” is:  “Why does anyone think that might be true?”  Other sensory input besides pheromones is not nutrient-dependent, and it is not species-specific, and it does not control reproduction in any species.

If ever there was a reason to keep in mind what is held by Le Vay and others to be self-evident, that reason has been eliminated by what is known about the physiology of reproduction, which is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. Note, however, that nothing about the physiology of sexual reproduction in mammals has changed since its advent in the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled reproduction of unicellular organisms. Unicellular organisms have no eyes or ears, and probably have only enough tactile sensation to somehow know when they bump into a conspecific with ‘opposite sex’ physiology, presumably because they can “sniff out” the sex differences like every other species on this planet does.

What then can be said about scientific understanding that comes from working scientists and the blogosphere? Perhaps Le Vay also said that best in his inadvertent attack on mutations theory. He added that I also market “human pheromones” to the general public. The inference is clear. If you are an academic (i.e., not a working scientist, or no longer a working scientist, but kudos to Le Vay for his past work), you are among others who have not solved the “binding problem” of sexual attraction.  If you also are among those who believe in the non-existent explanatory power of mutation-driven evolution, you must attack anyone who threatens to expose academic nonsense. Le Vay attempts to make it clear that anyone who has solved a problem that academics and past research have not solved must be driven by commercial interests, and that my attackers are not. The importance of scientific facts thus pales by comparison to whatever interests are most appealing to academics, who may want to control your reality. The late Elaine Morgan warned us about the academic priesthood in her 2009 TED talk.

The Academic Priesthood

Excerpt 2 from the article Reality at risk 

More people are likely to have encountered Dawkins as the doctrinaire neo-atheist of The God Delusion than as the peerless commentator on the machinery of evolution in The Selfish Gene — and vastly more than as the author of scientific papers on animal behaviour.

My comment: Dawkins is clearly not a “peerless commentator on the machinery of evolution” and his “scientific papers on animal behavior” have yet to address the overwhelming role that epigenetic effects of the sensory environment must play in the alternative splicings required for the ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction of adaptive evolution. Nevertheless, his peers are people like the current president of the International Union of Physiological Sciences, Denis Noble, who recently published Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology, and contributors to the recent book of 2011 conference proceedings Biological Information: New Perspectives. Anyone who thinks Dawkins is a “peerless commentator on the machinery of evolution” might have been misled by others touting the nonsense of random mutations while others have been led to believe that Dawkins has no peers. Indeed, he may need not a one, he has effectively “marketed” himself at a time when I have attempted to present the reality of biologically based cause and effect that is apparently unknown to him.

 

 

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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.