Dick Strawkins wrote:
The problem there, I think, is that, as Jacques Monod put it, â€œAnother curious aspect of the theory of evolution is that everybody thinks he understands it.â€
And, not to throw too many stones at Dr. Coyne and despite his book "Why Evolution is True", I would say he also falls into that group. Seems to me that there is a credible case to be made that self-organization also plays a very significant role in the process over and above that provided by random variation and selection.
How on earth does what you've just written constitute a 'credible case' for your wild claim that 'self-organization also plays a very significant role in the process over and above that provided by random variation and selection'?
credâ€¢iâ€¢ble (krd-bl) adj.
1. Capable of being believed; plausible.
Considering that a rather broad range and large number of people seem to think the concept is plausible not to mention being buttressed by actual physical realizations of Kauffmanâ€™s â€œautocatalytic setsâ€, as indicated in the links I provided, I would say that that constitutes or at least suggests â€œa credible caseâ€. Juryâ€™s still out of course, but as a scientist I would think you would recognize it as at least a plausible hypothesis.
Dick Strawkins wrote:You are claiming that variation and selection are less important in evolution than some kind of self-organizational process.
Seems you may have gone off the rails over the phrase â€œover and aboveâ€ which means:
over and above
in addition to a particular amount or thing: Pensioners will receive an increase of Â£5 per week over and above inflation. The average family pays 40% of their income in taxes, and that's over and above their mortgage, bills, and food.
I certainly wasnâ€™t saying that â€œself-organization is more
important than selectionâ€, nor was Kauffman:
Kauffman wrote:The emergent order seen in genomic networks foretells a conceptual struggle, perhaps even a conceptual revolution, in evolutionary theory. â€¦. If this idea is true [that, for example, â€œthe homeostatic stability of cellsâ€ is â€œpart of the order for free afforded by self-organization in genomic regulatory networksâ€], then we must rethink evolutionary theory, for the sources of order in the biosphere will now include both selection and self-organization. [pg 25]
But we have only begun to tell the story of emergent order. For spontaneous order, I hope to show you, has been as potent as natural selection in the creation of the living world. We are the children of twin sources of order, not a singular source. â€¦. [pg 71]
Doesnâ€™t look to me like any claim on his part that self-organization is more important than selection â€“ a point he emphasizes any number of times throughout the book. This paper
suggests, and develops in some detail, the somewhat poetic â€œself organization proposes, but natural selection disposesâ€ analogous to the proverb â€œman proposes, God disposesâ€.
Dick Strawkins wrote:If you can produce a credible case then I have no doubt a Nobel prize awaits you because it would turn the entire field of biology on it's head.
Considering the rather large number of people who have published peer-review papers on the topic of self-organization
, I would say any claims I might make would have to take a back seat â€“ and the one at the very back of a very long bus.
Dick Strawkins wrote:What you've done, however, is not so much present a case that self organization is more important in evolution ...
As indicated, no one â€“ that I know of in any case â€“ is saying that it is more important, only that it plays a central role â€“ along with selection.
Dick Strawkins wrote:But even that is more of a hypothesis than a proven fact and even IF proven that RNA self organized into replicating polymers that only gives us one point in the evolutionary tree.
Apart from the apparent fact â€“ as indicated in the quotes I provided earlier â€“ that â€œreproducing peptide, DNA, and RNA collectively autocatalytic sets have now been made experimentallyâ€, one might argue that that isnâ€™t, if true, just â€œone point on the evolutionary treeâ€, but the root if not the seeds and principle of the entire edifice. â€œAs the twig is bent so is the tree inclined.â€
Dick Strawkins wrote:Wouldn't it be more accurate to say that a credible case can be made that self organizing systems are involved in the biochemistry of life - but these are minor aspects of evolution compared to proven factors such as genetic drift, variation and natural selection?
Maybe. But what evidence do you have that those are only â€œminor
aspectsâ€? Considering the very significant amount of physics that more or less proves the pervasiveness and importance of emergence and self-organization in various physical systems, including biological ones, I would say â€œminorâ€ is rather an untenable position to be taking.
And, as a rather simple case in point, you might want to check out the operation of even simple Boolean networks
, and that Mathematica demonstration of them, which clearly show that homeostatic behaviour tends naturally to fall out of the application of very simple rules â€“ almost, one might suggest, as if systems were finely tuned to exhibit such behaviours.