Epigenetics and systems biology

Epigenetics has changed the whole story. A particular piece of RNA in two cells might be doing opposite things in each. That’s very hard to understand, but it’s part of the complexity of life. By looking for simple stories, we often under-estimate how complex life actually is and we convince ourselves that we’ve understood it when we haven’t.

Feierman wrote:  “Random mutations are the substrates upon which directional natural selection acts.”

See also: IUPS (2013) July 21-26 at https://www.iups.org/

Feierman continues to block most of my posts to the human ethology group, which is why I am posting notice of the IUPS meeting to evol-psych. Sooner or later, everyone will learn the truth about random mutations theory. And the truth is that Epigenetics has changed the whole story.  (except on the ISHE’s human ethology yahoo group).


An anonymous correspondent wrote: Denis Noble is right that last orders are set to be called on the New Synthesis, but wrong, muddled or creatively sterile in just about everything else he says.

Donald W. Zimmerman wrote: “I do not know much about the work of Denis Noble. However, I have great respect for the discipline or theoretical point of view known as “systems biology,” which incorporates insights that were presented by several biologists and philosophers of science many years ago and have become more prominent in recent years. I see the approach of that discipline as the way of the future, both for evolutionary psychology in particular and for biological theory generally. Probably theorists would be further ahead today if they had paid more attention to that perspective a lot earlier.”

My response to Zimmerman follows:


DWZ: This comment, coming from you, is laughable. You are one of the most foolishly antagonistic people I have ever encountered in the context of the systems biology that I have detailed. You’re right up there with Edgar Owen and Clarence ‘Sonny’ Williams, despite your obvious intelligence. See for example: Nutrient-dependent / Pheromone-controlled Adaptive Evolution

Note: This model of “systems biologyrepresents the conservation of bottom-up organization and top-down activation via:
Nutrient stress-induced and social stress-induced intracellular changes in the microRNA  (miRNA)  /  messenger RNA  (mRNA) balance;
Intermolecular changes in DNA (genes) and alternative splicing;
Non-random experience-dependent stochastic variations in de novo gene expression and biosynthesis of odor receptors;
The required gene-cell-tissue-organ-organ system pathway that links sensory input directly to gene activation in neurosecretory cells and to miRNA-facilitated learning and memory in the amygdala of the adaptively evolved mammalian brain;
The required reciprocity that links gene expression to behavior that alters gene expression (i.e., reciprocity from genes to behavior and back) in model organisms like the honeybee.


Who are the biologists and philosophers of science from many years ago who might have helped theorists progress if they had paid more attention to the systems biology perspective a lot earlier? I may want to cite their works if I have not already done that in my series of published works beginning in 1995. Here’s one biologist that I cited, for example: “I should think we might fairly gauge the future of biological science, centuries ahead by estimating the time it will take to reach a complete comprehensive understanding of odor. It may not seem a profound enough problem to dominate all the life sciences, but it contains, piece by piece, all the mysteries.” Lewis Thomas as cited in The Scent of Eros: Mysteries of Odor in Human Sexuality (1995/2002)



Author: James Kohl

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