How we differentiate sense and nonsense

Science 17 February 2012: Vol. 335 no. 6070 pp. 798-798  Book Review Science and the Ontology of Belief P. William Hughes

Excerpt: Engaging both the history of philosophy and the development of science, Matson focuses on how we differentiate sense and nonsense.

One of my three comments to the Science site is

“In the notifications I received today is information on how social experiences, genotype, and phenotypic expression can alter the brain and behavior. The article exemplifies what is known about how chemicals associated with nutrition and with social experiences alter the brain and behavior. The direct link from the sensory environment to gene activation, hormone secretion and neuroanatomy is not via the spectral senses, like vision and hearing, which we typically associate with behavioral affects because that’s what we have been told about cause and effect. See, for example:

Mixing of Honeybees with Different Genotypes Affects Individual Worker Behavior and Transcription of Genes in the Neuronal Substrate Tanja Gempe, Silke Stach, Kaspar Bienefeld, Martin Beye

“…genotypes of social partners affect the behavioral responsiveness and the neuronal substrate of individual workers, indicating a complex genetic architecture underlying the expression of behavior.”

“Indirect genetic components that arise from interactions of worker phenotypes may aid in the understanding how complex innate behaviors of worker bees are orchestrated by just ~15,000 genes.”

Stories that place the input from spectral senses at a level of importance higher than input from the chemical senses are examples of the nonsense many people seem willing to believe.”

August 28, 2013

I have already addressed the need to start differentiating sense from nonsense in the context of genetic variation sans mutations. Adding two more excerpts from this study’s concluding paragraphs may help.

Excerpt: The indirect genetic effects on behavioral responsiveness observed in this study are possibly only part of an indirect genetic component shaping worker behaviors that we are unable to observe in the absence of genetic variation.

Excerpt:”Other studies in honeybees have repeatedly demonstrated that the behavioral responses of a worker to a given stimulus can change with the age of a worker [7], [8], experience [9], pheromones [48][50] and genotype [8], [9].

My comment: I’ve included the citations for references 48-50 (below) because they clearly attest to the role of pheromones in social regulation of behavior; hormone-dependent division of labor; and behavioral maturation — all of which are also nutrient-dependent. I think it is unlikely that anyone who reads these article could continue to tout their nonsense about random mutations and natural selection. Adaptive evolution is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled in the honeybee model organism and in every other species from microbes to man.

48. Alaux C, Maisonnasse A, Leconte Y (2010) Pheromones in a superorganism from gene to social regulation. Vitam Horm 83: 401–423. doi: 10.1016/s0083-6729(10)83017-1.

49. Huang ZY, Robinson GE (1992) Honeybee colony integration: Worker-worker interactions mediate hormonally regulated plasticity in division of labor. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 89: 11726–11729. doi: 10.1073/pnas.89.24.11726.

50. Leoncini I, Leconte Y, Costagliola G, Plettner E, Toth AL, et al. (2004) Regulation of behavioral maturation by a primer pheromone produced by adult worker honey bees. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 101: 17559–17564. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0407652101.


Author: James Kohl

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