On genetic instructions

Jan 2000, Dov to HBG, re DA’s Jan 03 2000 posting.

DA, I admire your wonderful way with words and your vivid adjectives in reference to the ants and their brain, and who wouldn’t accept your succinct observation re the formation and function of their brain. But I do not understand why these matters evoke in you an objection to imagined stands that you cite/relate, i.e. (1) that stochastic/environment proponents find it difficult to explain cells performances of assigned roles and (2) that some of them are even guilty of believing that genetic instructions are not real.

And I fail to understand the basis of your accusation of the stochastic proponents of the crime of attributing causation to chance or preference to the environment.

Of course, you are right in stating that chance plus environment do not “generate” any aspect of life. I doubt that anyone makes such a claim. However, there is a solid basis to assumptions (a) that chance plus environment ENABLED origin of life, and (b) to more than one possible mechanism of genetic “instruction” and (c) that the source of “causation” is the living organism itself.

In a recent state-of-knowledge review in Science (I can’t locate it, probably vol 286/#5448) it was stated that epigenetic changes in gene expression, such as silencing one copy of a gene, are not linked to DNA alterations, and such changes can be passed from one cell to another and sometimes from parent to offspring. If this is indeed so I wonder what we may learn from it.

Dov

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