User:J. C. Martinez-Garcia/Notebook/HMS Activities/2008/12/09

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Some comments on the book by Jablonka and Lamb

I finished today the book by Jablonka and Lamf. I can give now my summary of this book:

Jablonka and Lamb proposed a new synthesis of the evolutionary theory which takes into account the known four inheritance systems, i.e.:

  1. The genetic system.
  2. The epigenetic system.
  3. The behavioral system
  4. The symbolic system.

They gave in the book very appealing arguments to argue about the role of the non genetic inheritance systems in evolution. The book is a very good one, and the description of the origin of these systems -which are not decoupled the ones from the orthes- is very appealing.

Even if accept theirs argument about how some of these systems have evolved to make evolvability possible, I did not see in their exposition a concluding argument. They explain that the role of the systems in the evolvability question is must be a by product of the evolution of these systems for other purposes, but that the requirements impossed by the environment shaped them to have as one their function to make possible evolvability. Indee their approach gives a developmental vision when proposing heritably varying traits as th units of evolution. This concept allows them to avoid evolutionary explanation only supported by the gene vision. I agree with this vision, and now my effort will be to take into account this idea to tackle some problems concerning social niche construction (as an strategie of social systems to drive its own evolution). Ah! I must not forget that behind all this exposition is the idea that instruction (i.e. learning) is together with natural selection the fundamental force shaping the evolution of life. Inheritance systems make then possible to emergency of educated guesses with the ability to drive its own evolution. This instructional approach is what I consider to be the approach that I must follow in my evolutionary quest.

Social niches

I was thinking to tackle the question of the evolutionary meaning of love through the instructional approach. However, the Dawkins vision of religion as a virus parasiting in memetic terms the human social structure is also very. What if love is just a by-product of teh construction of social niches and has no meaning at all? It will be sad to arrive to this conclusion, but I need to study this topic. Love from an evolutionary point of view I think is a very human thing to to. That is an important problem.

On robustness

I must not forget to remember that any robust trait in an organism must be the result of the interplay between the four known inheritance system. It will be then important to chose a robust trait and then trying to interpret it in terms inheritability. That is a good idea.