Cosmos and Feierman: Bamboozled Again

Carl Sagan’s Two Warnings For Humanity In His Very Last Interview – You Might Want To Hear This

Excerpt: “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.” – Carl Sagan

My comment: Jay R. Feierman has been the charlatan / moderator of the International Society for Human Ethololgy’s yahoo group for more than 7 years. He continues to tout a ridiculous theory of evolution based on the biologically implausible role of mutations. For example:

Jay R. Feierman: I am absolutely certain that if you showed this statement to any professor of biology or genetics in any accredited university anywhere in the world that 100% of them would say that “Random mutations are the substrate upon which directional natural selection acts” is a correct and true statement. 

All current extant literature attests only to the obvious role of ecological variation, which enables the ecological adaptations manifested in species diversity.

Foote et al (2013)Ecological variation is the raw material by which natural selection can drive evolutionary divergence [1–4].

Chung et al (2014) “…ecological divergence and mate choice may produce reproductive isolation and speciation….

Plucain  et al (2014) Ecological opportunities promote population divergence into coexisting lineages.

James V. Kohl: Evolution by natural selection cannot be the outcome if something is not first selected. Selection is always for nutrients. It is as simple as that.”

What explanation is there for Feierman’s refusal to accept what has become obvious about ecological variation to virtually everyone else? Why does he think mutations are somehow involved in species diversity, but that nutrient availability is not? Organisms that do not select food, do not vary from other organisms that have died from starvation. Why would anyone not realize that fact?

Jay R. Feierman: Variation is not nutrient availability and the something that is doing the selecting is not the individual organism. A feature of an educated person is to realize what they do not know. Sadly, you don’t know that you have an incorrect understanding Darwinian biological evolution.

My first encounter with Feierman led me to explain to him a mammalian model of hormone-organized and hormone-activated behavior. I was dumbfounded when after my conference presentation he asked “What about birds?” Although I had no reason to believe that the molecular mechanisms of hormone-organized and hormone-activated behavior varied across species, birds aren’t mammals. I can’t recall if I answered Feierman in 1995.

Experimental evidence has since linked ecological variation and selection for nutrients to ecological adaptations in birds. If experimental evidence did not link the conserved molecular mechanisms of biologically based cause and effect in all species, there would still be no evidence that human language is akin to birdsong in ecologically adapted birds. Instead, it has become clear that the nutrient-dependent  microRNA/messenger RNA balance links specific microRNAs (miRs) in birds (e.g. miR-9 and miR-140-5p) to the FoxP2 human ‘language gene[1].

For example, food rewards have been linked to hormone-organized and hormone-activated  neural circuitry and song neurons in Bengalese finches [2].  This link was expected, and nutrient-dependent pheromone production has also been linked to sexual selection in birds [3].

The link from nutrient uptake to pheromones that control the physiology of reproduction in birds and in humans links nutrient-dependent gene regulation in zebra finches from the social context of their singing behavior to the social context involved in the genetically predisposed development of human language via the same gene: FoxP2.

Conservation of the FoxP2 gene across mammals suggests that two amino acid substitutions differentiate the cell types associated with human language development from cell types with identical amino acid sequences in rhesus macaques, gorillas, and chimpanzees [4]. This is precisely what is expected in the context of conserved molecular mechanisms that epigenetically link species of microbes to man.

If Feierman understood anything at all about ecological adaptations, he probably would not continue to claim that I have an incorrect understanding of Darwin’s claims. Darwin wrote that ‘conditions of life’ must first be considered before natural selection is considered.

Whether the birds are singing or copulating and whether humans are talking about sex or ‘having it,” nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled conserved molecular mechanisms of species diversity seem to underlie similarities and differences in species from microbes to man. Besides, nothing in the extant literature suggests that “Random mutations are the substrate upon which directional natural selection acts” is a correct and true statement.” Instead, that statement suggests the question “What about birds?” is a foolish question. Obviously, Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ apply to the birds and the bees and every other species.

Cited works

1.            Shi, Z.; Luo, G.; Fu, L.; Fang, Z.; Wang, X.; Li, X., miR-9 and miR-140-5p Target FoxP2 and Are Regulated as a Function of the Social Context of Singing Behavior in Zebra Finches. The Journal of Neuroscience 2013, 33 (42), 16510-16521. doi: 10.1523/jneurosci.0838-13.2013

2.            Seki, Y.; Hessler, N. A.; Xie, K.; Okanoya, K., Food rewards modulate the activity of song neurons in Bengalese finches. European Journal of Neuroscience 2014, 39 (6), 975-983. doi: 10.1111/ejn.12457

3.            Whittaker, D. J.; Gerlach, N. M.; Soini, H. A.; Novotny, M. V.; Ketterson, E. D., Bird odour predicts reproductive success. Anim Behav 2013, 86 (4), 697–703. doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2013.07.025

4.            Sherwood, C. C.; Subiaul, F.; Zawidzki, T. W., A natural history of the human mind: tracing evolutionary changes in brain and cognition. Journal of Anatomy 2008, 212 (4), 426-454. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7580.2008.00868.x


Author: James Kohl

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