Quotation of the Day

Every personal conviction is only a step in our eternal quest.
Everybody deserves being encouraged to take the next.

Mato Nagel

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Lizard Evolution on Island of Pod Mrcaru

Scientists claim to have observed evolution happening. In 1971, they exposed 5 pairs of Italian wall lizards on island of Pod Mrcaru moved from a neighboring island Pod Kopiste in the South Adriatic Sea. They observed the spreading population in the spring and summer of 2004, 2005, and 2006 and noticed morphological changes: in head size and shape, increased bite strength and the development of new structures in the lizard’s digestive tracts; and changes in social behavior, too, while DNA analysis confirmed that the Pod Mrcaru lizards still were genetically identical to the source population. The phenotypical changes can easily be explained by adaptation to distinct environmental condition.  These observations lead them to conclude they have actually observed large-scale evolution as they assume these changes are probably genetically encoded and the result of natural selection (http://www.pnas.org/content/105/12/4792.full.pdf).

But is this really evolution? I’d rather inclined to call it genetic adaptation thought I’m fully aware that most evolutionary biologists do not discriminate between genetic adaptation and evolution. The book (http://www.amazon.com/Philosophy-Biology-2nd-Dimensions/dp/0813391261/) cites the standard definition on page one “ … evolution occurs precisely when there is a change in gene frequencies found in a population.” Some other rather call it allele frequencies or inherited traits (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution and http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Douglas-J-Futuyma/dp/0878931872/). What most evolutionary biologists agree upon is that evolution is not reversible. I’m not sure in this lizard example that the observed changes are not reversible. These following hypothesis adress adaptation that is completely revesible:

  1. Hypothesis: All observed changes in these lizards are in fact epigenetic, that appeared during ontogenesis because if distinct environmental factors. I hope the scientists ruled that out as it can be done experimentally. However the observation that DNA does not differ between lizards on these two islands rather supports this hypothesis.
  2. Hypothesis: The alleles encoding traits that reputedly evolved on Pod Mrcaru were actually already present in the source population but recessive or suppressed by a recessive suppressor gene. The most ancient documented example of such a phenomenon to my knowledge is from the bible. In that story a shepherd takes a herd of white sheep and by clever breeding turns them all black.
  3. Hypothesis: There are reversible adaptation processes to the genomic DNA itself. That we may want to call adaptational genomic DNA editing. This hypothesis, I admit, is quite hypothetical, as hypothesis often use to be. It can be deduced from fauceir theory though, and we already know phenomena that fit into the picture. These are (1) controlled changes to somatic DNA in immune cells, and (2) changes in copy number of amylase gene (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2377015/pdf/nihms-44514.pdf). Also we observe a similar phenomenon in sticklebacks’ variation in lateral plate pattern and number probably depending on predators (http://www.jstor.org/pss/4535321). Later analysis demonstrated only few loci involved (http://www.jstor.org/pss/4535321), which makes it plausible that these loci have been turned on and off by controlled mutations.  Sure this is supporting evidence at most. Of course, it does not prove the hypothesis yet.

There are however two possibilities that actually evolution occurred in this Pod Mrcaru experiment. That is changes that fulfill the fauceir definition of being not reversible and entailing increased complexity, also measurable as increased adaptability.

  1. Hypothesis: The Pod Mrcaru underwent evolutionary changes that ensure (1) isolation from the source population, either no fertile offspring (rather unlikely as the genomic DNA is obviously the same) or other impediments to mate (possibly such impediments include body size and communication) and (2) the ability to fill an other ecological niche. The first presumption is necessary to prevent the allele pool of both types to mix again, and the second assures that both types are not competitors, so that one can substitute the other. This type of evolution would not result in a more capable lizard but a more complex biotope, so this type of evolution, also called speciation, it not as much an evolution of the lizard itself but an evolution of the biotope as a whole, an other fauceir under fauceir theory’s consideration.
  2. Hypothesis: The Pod Mrcaru underwent evolutionary changes itself. That is it evolved mechanisms to adapt more rapidly to environmental changes. For instance, a new transcription factor capable to effectively sense environment, then switches on and off other genes accordingly to change the phenotype in response to the prevailing factors, such as food supply. This is real evolution to the lizard as it makes it a more complex fauceir and more resistible to environmental changes, more capable. If moved back to the Pod Kopiste island, it would probably substitute the original one.

The last hypothesis is my favored, but I suppose that such a change happened millions of year ago,  and all what we observed on Pod Mrcaru island is the lizard demonstrating this innate capability. Who knows, if exposed to appropriate environmental conditions, after a few generations the lizard’s phenotype will change into a dinosaur, just kidding of course.


Creative Commons License

This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

Homosexuality – The Fauceir Perspective


This is a reply to an excellently written and inspiring post.

First, let’s recall some simple evolutionary mechanics. Classical evolutionary theory claims the survival of the fittest in a given population by natural selection which results in a change of allele frequencies. (This rules hold true mostly for bacteria in a Petri dish where effects by sexual reproduction, and biotope dynamics can be neglected.) In such a Petri dish mostly those bacteria survive which have the best strategy to reproduce and to cope with environmental factors.

Next, we move to an other level of abstraction and this is where fauceir theory comes into play. Let’s regard these bacteria as fauciers, abstract units of evolution that behave exactly as stated above, and let’s treat a social group of humans as fauceirs too. (For the same reasons as stated above in conjunction with bacteria in a Petri dish, we consider these groups of humans being tribes living in stone age.) Among other things, a tribe’s survival and competitiveness depends on its reproduction rate which is considerably reduced if this tribe feeds members that are unable or unwilling to reproduce naturally. Therefore, those tribes that evolved strategies to resourcefully cope with the problem of homosexuality were better off and survived while those who have been neglectful became extinct. It is not the topic of this post to discuss all the strategies, fauceirs all of them too, in detail. Just mention some types of strategies that might have evolved:

  1. Genetic. It is in our genes that we (usually) feel attracted to a person of the opposite sex’ appearance, and the same way it might be coded that (at least some of us) feel annoyed when observing same sex caresses.
  2. Behavioral. The subconscious patterns of behavior some of them preformed by genes some others imprinted.
  3. Ethical. Our morals are mainly defined by religion and other social conventions. The education by parents and by society mostly accounts for this part.
  4. Rational. Or, what someone considers being rational. The rational position is what an individual evolves by rationally processing all experiences.

Conclusions:

  • As suppression of homosexuality played an important role in humans survival, it is not an issue any more. Our planet is rather overcrowded and soon we expect the development of techniques that make sex unnecessary to propagate human race.
  • There is more to the aversion of homosexuality than simply irrationality.
  • By these theoretical considerations it is fairly plausible that a child with homosexual feelings suffers in a family whose parents have a strong aversion to homosexuality. And I’m sure that empirical data do support this. Then, if we admit that, we also have to admit that a child with normal feeling might feel annoyed by parents with homosexual behavior.
  • If we admit that some of the traits associated with homosexuality (be it aversion or inclination) go in families, a child is best raised by its own parents.

And the taxi driver in the above mentioned post, who wanted to explain rationally his engrained aversion, we’d better not to give a child of him to a homosexual couple for upbringing.

Militant Atheists

Militant Atheist

Hypothetical (?) militant Atheist

In some atheist blogs, the notion of a militant atheist is mocked.  This claim might attest these peoples peacefulness. You can believe it or not. It is a matter of fact that terrible crimes have been perpetrated by communists, self-proclaimed atheists. And if you add fascists that are not theists either, you come up with the past century’s most terrible crimes perpetrated by atheists.

See also a newer post here.


Creative Commons License

This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at www.fauceir.org.

Decorating eggs before Easter

The principle of Sorbic Easter eggs decoration

The principle of Sorbic Easter eggs decoration

Eggs are decorated before Easter worldwide. As part of local folklore, techniques vary however. In some Sorbic villages around Schleife, wax is printed by the help of goose feathers on the egg shell. The feather is cut to form simple geometrical shapes; the triangle is the most common as it results naturally from the feather’s anatomy.  It is the artisan’s skills, fantasy, and imagination that develops ever varying decorations. Children learn this skill from early childhood as it is a tradition in each household to decorate eggs on Good Friday.

One may fancy that this way of decorating eggs helped to develop fauceir theory as like this type of decoration that yields complex ornaments with simple geometric shapes is the same approach used by fauceir theory. Fauceir theory develops solutions to complex evolutionary problems by the help of units with only a limited set of attributes. Besides, the Ancient Greeks, developed their phonetic spelling in a period when decoration with ornaments was flourishing, while in other parts of the world where ornaments have not been as common hieroglyphics survived. Also we consider the first ornaments in ochre the beginning of human abstract thinking.

„Every phenomenon in nature and society can be explained by fauceir theory.“

Mato Nagel

… it not always useful though. As fauceir theory is the most abstract way to look at things, its stance often seems to akwardly pontificate. Still, the most important contribution is to explain whether or not progress is involved.