Angels and devils in evolutonary theory

Deep pragmatism’ as a source of morality

by Peter Reuell

Summary: ““Everyday morality is about being selfish versus caring about others. That’s what we think about when we think about ‘morality’—the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other,” he said.

Article Excerpt 1) “Much of Greene’s experimental research uses brain imaging…”

Jaak Panksepp (2010) “…the social brain has many levels. If you don’t understand the foundational level, then you can do brain imaging until you’re blue in the face, but you still will not understand the process at a deep causal level.”

Article Excerpt 2) ” … some gut reactions are less widely shared.”

My comment: Nutrient-stress and social stress contribute to gut reactions via the same signaling pathway in mammals. In angels and devils, that pathway is the gonadotropin releasing hormone neuronal system. It enables the epigenetic landscape to become the physical landscape of our DNA via feedback loops manifested in “mosaic copy number variation in human neurons.”

You should not need to be a Nobel Laureate to realize that “feedback loops link odor and pheromone signaling with reproduction” in species from microbes to man. You could simply acknowledge that food odors are responsible for nutrient appeal. That understanding led me to examine new ideas about adaptations that led to examples of adaptations that are now included in extant literature such as “Signaling Crosstalk: Integrating Nutrient Availability and Sex” and “Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model.”

Understanding new ideas may require you to first abandon the experimentally unsubstantiated nonsense of theories that suggest that mutation-initiated natural selection enables adaptive evolution (e.g., via predation or anything else). Please consider using a common sense approach to adaptations. Darwin did. He put ‘conditions of life’ before natural selection. His ‘conditions of life’ are nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled.

Dobzhansky took a common sense approach to  Darwin’s ideas about ‘conditions of life.’ In a one-sentence title, he wrote: “Nothing in Biology Makes Any Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.  His focus on amino acid substitutions that differentiate species was prescient and largely ignored.

That’s the problem. We’ve been left with ignorance of how nutrition enables amino acid substitutions that are controlled by their metabolism to the species-specific pheromones, which control the physiology of reproduction in species from microbes to man. Instead, evolutionary theorists have led some people to believe that snake predation led from snakes eating our monkey ancestors to adaptive evolution of the human brain and our visual acuity and specificity as an adaptation for snake detection.

If you think that snake-centric theory is a common sense approach to adaptive evolution, you may agree with the concept of  ‘Deep pragmatism’ as a source of morality. But, don’t tell Panksepp, or anyone else who understands the social brain at a deep causal level, unless you want to make them laugh.

See for example the award-winning reviews that do not pit the angels and devils of evolutionary theory against each other:

2002 Comparative approaches in evolutionary psychology: molecular neuroscience meets the mind  (link opens pdf)


2001 Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology (link opens pdf)

Author: James Kohl

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