martes, marzo 25, 2008

Population genetics & game theory are not "The logic of life"

The theoretical disciplines of population genetics and game theory are upheld by neodarwinians as general explanatory frameworks for the study of evolution. These provide explanations that do not require understanding of development, physiology, and practically all mechanistic causation at an organismic level, even if these are acknowledged to be crucial. All organism-level mechanisms can be taken as simple "givens" imposed from the outside as from a completely mysterious black box.
This divorce and alienation of organismic biology from "evolutionary theory" was philosophically formalized by Ernst Mayr. To Mayr, any study at the organismic level, for instance of physiology, or developmental mechanisms, can only answer "how" questions of immediate mechanism; whereas evolutionary science is in charge of a different level of analysis of "why" questions and "ultimate" causation (by long-term selection, of course). Immediate mechanism apparently could be "whatever". Mayr then manages to make evolutionary science autonomous as a discipline....but only by means of turning its back on organismic biology.
The effect is disastrous. Neodarwinists have become addicted to attaching ad-hoc explanations to simply "given" organismal conditions, and destine all that level of causation to a wastepaper basket labeled "NON-evolutionary proximal mechanisms". Indeed the implication is that proximal mechanism is not an important part of properly "evolutionary" explanation. But then, if there is no general theory for biology, with no theoretical notions about all that biology that is going on at organismal level, how can a neodarwinist claim to have found a general framework for evolutionary biology? Indeed, is it even possible to have a general theory for evolution, without having a general theory for biology? A truly satisfactory evolutionary theoretical framework requires good theoretical grounds for handling the organismic level, rather than a philosophical argument to ignore it. Truth is, neodarwinists have no theory of organism.

That something is wrong with the "autonomy" of "evolutionary" science surfaces in many details. Consider, for instance, just how impervious the general frameworks of population genetics and game theory are to any data input from other fields of research, and specially so the more historical such as phylogenetic systematics. Consider, for instance, just how useless population genetics is to explain how reptilian jaw bones ended in the mammalian middle ear. The analogy in physics would perhaps be a theoretical physics-cosmology that won't take any lesson from astronomy and is not too helpful to explain any astronomical phenomenon.

In contrast, the systemic -historic perspective fully acknowledges and further emphasizes the historical nature of evolutionary explanations. Plus, we have the notion of autopoiesis for the theoretical handling of the organism level...

2 comentarios:

Sanders dijo...

bueno muchachos yo sé que por aquí nadie necesita este tipo de sermones.Por eso está en inglés, son más los amigos angloparlantes los que están necesitando despejarse estas brumas de encima de la cabecita

biocomplex dijo...

¿Han pensado en unirse a hispaciencia?

De esta forma, los “iluminados”, charlatanes, sectas y demás personas que quieran promocionar su “verdad” mediante métodos no racionales, falsamente empíricos o directamente especulativos, no tienen cabida en el Proyecto Hispaciencia

Ustedes son empíricos y no les va el hablar sobre peluches y muñecos de plástico.