Was there ever a song and dance as fantastical as W. Ford Doolittle’s ITSNTS proposal?Yesterday, we took a look at the critique of evolutionary natural selection (ENS) in PNAS by W. Ford Doolittle and Andrew Inkpen. These two Darwinians are well versed in the controversies over ENS, having watched numerous versions parade by over the decades: kin selection, group selection, niche construction, inclusive fitness, neutral evolution, stabilizing selection, holobiosis, and more. They’ve listened to arguments over the meanings of fitness, adaptation, and selection. They’ve pondered the controversy over “units of selection” – the entities on which selection acts. They know evolution in and out, from its vision of proteins to its grand scenarios about the biosphere. And they’ve seen critics ask if natural selection is a law of nature at all, or just a restatement of happenstance or a priori reasoning. They can’t leave the situation in a mess like this. The Darwin show must go on!And so they make a proposal: “ITSNTS thinking” about evolution (we’ll define that shortly). They know that Darwin Party elder Richard Lewontin laid down the rules for understanding natural selection. “Standard ENS” (evolutionary natural selection) must meet three requirements:(i) There is variation in morphological, physiological, and behavioral traits among members of a species (the principle of variation). (ii) The variation is in part heritable, so that individuals resemble their relations more than they resemble unrelated individuals and, in particular, offspring resemble their parents (the principle of heredity). (iii) Different variants leave different numbers of offspring either in immediate or remote generations (the principle of differential fitness).Lewontin believed these conditions are necessary and sufficient for ENS, even though they also fit the Stuff Happens Law. Lewontin, by defining fitness in terms of survival, also fell into the tautology trap by equating fitness to reproduction (see “Fitness for Dummies,” 19 June 2014). Lewontin’s version also fails to account for the origin of novel structures, such as wings and eyes.Godfrey-Smith further restricted natural selection by warning, “there must be some parent–offspring similarity, and the clarity of a ‘parent-offspring’ relation of the relevant kind is inversely related to the number of parents—if there are too many parents there are no parents at all.” Any “selection” that occurs, in his view, must involve clear parent-offspring relations. But in his view of natural selection, he too failed to explain the origin of complex novelties. He reduces natural selection to little more than change: “Evolution by natural selection is change in a population owing to variation, heredity and differential reproductive success.” This makes extinction of the whole population a legitimate effect of natural selection as much as major leaps upward in complexity. That’s not quite what Darwin had in mind.Doolittle’s “ITSNTS Thinking” ProposalWith that background, are you ready for Doolittle and Inkpen’s proposal to save natural selection? Can they unite the warring factions? Can they harmonize the simple cases with the complex cases? Can they re-“Darwinize” the mechanism that made Darwin famous? Here it comes: “Processes and patterns of interaction as units of selection: An introduction to ITSNTS thinking.” What is ITSNTS? Here comes:ITSNTS = “It’s the Song, Not the Singer”This had better be a good show. Let’s try to understand it before we applaud or boo. Doolittle envisions a persistent process rather than a persistent population of individuals. The process (the song) goes on, whether or not the individuals carrying the tune (the singers) change. “If there’s a song, there are singers.” Conversely, when we see individual organisms or groups following familiar patterns of behavior, we can see themes persisting through time behind their activities. “If there are singers, there’s a song.” How on earth did Doolittle come up with this genius idea? How is it not circular?Well, it all started when critics of standard ENS found exceptions to it, like stable populations of symbiotic populations (e.g., gut biota), and processes that increase the fitness of the group at the expense of the individual (such as in the “evolution of altruism” or in social insect communities, where individuals incapable of reproduction do all the work). And then, there were some mystics trying to apply natural selection to the whole biosphere, invoking visions of the goddess Gaia. Knowing the controversies such cases generated between the mystics, the group-selectionists and the diehard neo-Darwinians, Doolittle looked for common ground. Let’s give Doolittle and Inkpen space to describe the peace treaty:It is for the same reason problematic to speak of adaptation of multiparental communities formed by recruitment or re-production. Sober and Wilson recommend what they call “William’s Principle”—that “adaptation at a level requires that there was selection at that level”—noting that “[t]he fact that a trait now benefits groups does not entail that it evolved because it was beneficial to groups.” Indeed, it is not clear that any property can be considered “beneficial” to impermanent and nonreproducing communities. These might come to show traits of interest to or valued by us as researchers or citizens, such as functional stability, or resilience, or “eubiosis” (in the case of the “holobiont” that is us and our gut microbiomes), these being the indirect byproducts of “lower-level” processes. But without some form of differential reproduction or differential and continuous physical persistence, these traits cannot be considered adaptations for communities if anything resembling Lewontin’s recipe is to be applied.ITSNTS theory seeks to rationalize (or “Darwinize”) such indirect “beneficial” outcomes, casting these not as adaptations for the individuals or collectives that implement a process, but for the process itself. Indeed, it was initially motivated by the now frequent claim that microbial community activities (“functions”) are more stable or ecologically resilient than are the taxonomic compositions of the assemblages carrying them out, a phenomenon demanding evolutionary explanation.OK, we’ve listened to their song and dance. Before cheerily humming the tune, we’d better look at the lyrics. In this view, individuals don’t matter, nor do species. They’re just singers who come and go. The song’s the thing, not the things singing the song. This view might be called, ‘Survival of the Process.’ What happened to Godfrey-Smith’s warning about “too many parents”? Where did reproduction go? It went to a hyphenated word: “re-production.” The singers re-produce the song, without a requirement of sex or genes, and the song goes on.To see how ITSNTS Thinking turns into a mystical idea, look at one example they take very seriously: the nitrogen cycle. Here is a “process” that benefits numerous communities of organisms. It is “stable” in the sense that even if populations come and go, individuals would surely “re-create” the nitrogen cycle, because it benefits them all. (We might say that the nitrogen ‘song’ keeps everyone humming the tune as individuals come and go in the evolutionary theater.) The beneficial process recruits individuals as needed to carry out their sub-function, and the process persists. In ITSNTS thinking, “the continuity of process ‘resides in the recursive representation of immortal pattern by ephemeral avatars (collectively implementing taxa)’” as D. Haig had suggested in 2014. Here’s how Doolittle applies ITSNTS to the evolution of the nitrogen cycle:No individual of any species involved in that cycle performs its role self-sacrificially. Each has coevolved with other participants serving as its environment, or against a background of the products of these other participants. No alleles have been fixed just because they promote continuance of the nitrogen cycle as a cycle, for all that alleles that have been fixed may do that: the time scales are too long and there are “too many parents.” Thus, a completed nitrogen cycle … is only a “fortuitous benefit” of the coevolution of separate species, not an adaptation of some interspecies aggregate. Such properties might be seen as beneficial for life in the very long run, but have never been adaptations as traditionally defined by a history of differential reproduction within populations. Standard notions of ENS by differential reproduction, and associated concepts of adaptation of things, cannot apply.Nevertheless, because each step of the nitrogen cycle in isolation can benefit a taxon that implements it, energetically or in the provision of metabolites, and because the cycle has long been in operation, many taxa (sometimes from all three domains and forming ecological “guilds”) have evolved that can and now do, collectively, perform it (Fig. 1).So far, no comments have appeared about this proposal. If Doolittle and Inkpen hope that controversy will subside, most likely they have poured gasoline on the fire. Hard-line neo-Darwinists will scream that they have mystified natural selection. Richard Dawkins will complain that they have replaced selfish genes with selfish processes. And many may wonder about the origin of the processes, and how new beneficial processes could arise. To paraphrase DeVries, ITSNTS can explain the survival of the process, but not the arrival of the process.Dr Bergman’s book explains the rise of eugenics from Britain to America to Nazi GermanyBefore anyone is tempted to drink Doolittle’s Kool-Aid, we want to point out that it has fatal flaws. If he can “Darwinize” the nitrogen cycle, and in the process eliminate traditional meanings of fitness, inheritance and reproduction, then natural selection has become disconnected from reality. It’s some mystical process out there that wants to “survive” by using real “things” as its pawns. Did you catch the phrase “immortal pattern by ephemeral avatars”? Sounds like Baal worship. We might note with a snicker, too, that ITSNTS tries to look sweet and nice compared to “red in tooth and claw” – which means all those genocidal wars that Jerry Bergman documents in his book The Darwin Effect were for naught. In fact, if Doolittle is right, the perpetrators of those horrors were fighting against evolution! They failed to worship this Gaia-like providential deity that tries to keep the sweet song going. I hope you Darwinists are paying attention to what’s happening to your theory before the Kool-Aid sets in.Needless to say, ITSNTS fails just as completely as all the other versions of natural selection at accounting for the origin of irreducibly complex systems. But perhaps the worst fatality in “ITSNTS Thinking” is that it accounts for too much. If all units of selection must be considered – genes, cells, organisms, species, and communities – singers in the grand old song, then why not add planets, solar systems, galaxies, and universes while they’re at it? And don’t forget the multiverse, too!The most valuable service Doolittle and Inkpen have provided in this paper is not just the laughter at watching drunk old men singing “How dry I am” on stage. No, the biggest take-away from this paper is that natural selection remains a vacuous, ill-defined, vague, controversial, meaningless, illogical, mystical restatement of the Stuff Happens Law. Thank you, Dr. Doolittle. You have done much to advance our cause, “Time to Ditch Natural Selection” (3 October 2015).Bethell interviews Richard Lewontin and others who admit failings in natural selection theory.Christians, creationists, ID advocates, please condemn this house of cards before it collapses. Evolutionists, run from it, too, so you won’t be caught in its downfall. Do something worthwhile with your science, like biomimetics. And historians, get out your keyboards. Natural selection will soon be known as the Worst Theory in the History of Science.(Visited 649 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Chinese workers will initially comprise less than five percent of the total workforce, and this will further reduce as South Africans gain experience in the development, operation and maintenance of wind farm projects. Long-term commitment, investment 6 December 2010 Apart from its technology partners, MRE has a direct funding partner, the China-Africa Development Fund, which is able to underwrite any project sanctioned by MRE. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material MRE is working together with China’s Long Yuan Corporation to develop six wind farm projects capable of producing an output of 1 500 megawatts. Construction at one such facility, planned for De Aar in the Northern Cape, is set for March 2011, with completion of the first phase set for June 2012. Residents of the small town, some 60km north of Prieska in the Northern Cape, got a taste of things to come when solar energy was delivered free to their community hall and church in May this year. These two facilities would create more than 1 500 “green” jobs, and would service South Africa’s fledgling wind power industry as well as those of other African countries. The Guodian Corporation (Guodian means “state power” in Mandarin) is a large state-owned enterprise that focuses on electricity generation. With a capacity of 85 000 MW, it is twice the size of South Africa’s Eskom, and includes nuclear, hydro-electrical and coal-fired power stations. “This tiny place was originally built as a mining town, but since the operations closed down, it’s been a tough struggle for the residents,” said MRE director Johnny Cullum at the time. “This beginning, although it benefits only a small number of people right now, represents our broad-ranging solar and wind energy initiative for the whole of South Africa.” The town was chosen as an area to test the solar modules in harsh South African conditions, and the generated electricity will benefit the 600 residents of the town that survives on a small agricultural industry. Mulilo Renewable Energy (MRE) was formed by a group of internationally recognised South African businessmen, and their partners envisage investing around R15-billion in renewable energy projects in the country over the next few years. Testing solar modules Cape Town-based Mulilo Renewable Energy has partnered with several Chinese companies to take advantage of the increased interest in renewable energy in South Africa by developing generation capacity from wind and solar energy sources. Long Yuan’s parent company, the Guodian Corporation, has made a long-term commitment to South Africa, and plans to build a state-of-the-art turbine assembly plant as well as a blade manufacturing facility in the Western Cape. The company has also been constructing a solar energy farm using technology supplied by one of China’s top three photovoltaic cell manufacturers, Yingli Solar, in the town of Copperton. The China-Africa Development Fund was established in June 2007, and now has access to several billion dollars provided by the China Development Bank. This equity investment fund aims to help Chinese companies develop cooperative ventures with Africa and to enter the African market. read more
chris cameron 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People… 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout Using facial recognition technology, the kiosks, which encourage users to “Share Happy,” can tell a person’s age, gender and emotion. When the machine determines a person is happy and has a large enough smile, the user is rewarded with an ice cream bar. Happy users can even share their smiles online by uploading the photo to Facebook directly from the kiosk. The kiosk is currently only available in the French city of Cannes, known for its world famous yearly film festival. As facial recognition technology evolves to become more accessible to more companies, kiosks like these are going to pop up in many more places. Augmented reality has taken advantage of the public kiosk medium for a several years, but the majority have been at auto shows and other specialized events.I would expect that locations more generally open to the public, like shopping malls and storefronts, will start to incorporate these interactive displays more and more. AR vendors like Total Immersion have used kiosks to draw attention to shops with enhanced window shopping, and to new movies with augmented movie posters. American ad agencies are slowly catching up to the largely Europe-based AR ad market, so don’t be surprised when you see shopping mall maps start to interact with you.While this example from Unilever isn’t exactly augmenting anyone’s reality (except for the fact that it gives you ice cream), it is an interesting example of how these technologies are merging. These kiosks could point to an evolution of social experiences away from desktops and mobile devices as AR and related technologies mature in the near future. Related Posts As seen in the doodle on the Google homepage this morning, today is the first day of summer – a time when families pack up their cars and get away from the real world for a few days. One of the staples of the quintessential summer experience – the beloved ice cream truck – is getting a new spin this year. International brand conglomerate Unilever has introduced an interactive social kiosk that dispenses tasty treats to passers by. The fee? Ice cream lovers need only provide a smile. Tags:#Augmented Reality#web read more
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Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH View comments LATEST STORIES Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes PLAY LIST 01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting QUOTABLEYoung, on stepping up in the second half: “I could have done that the whole game. I wasn’t attacking as much. I was thinking too much in the first half. I didn’t play my game in the first half. That came back and bit me. I just didn’t play my game in the first half but I did in the second.”REMEMBER THE 10Oklahoma State held a pregame moment of silence to honor the 10 people affiliated with the school’s athletic program who died in a plane crash on Jan. 27, 2001.UP NEXTOklahoma hosts Kansas on Tuesday.Oklahoma State visits Texas Tech on Tuesday. “We’ve got to work harder on getting more motion away from the ball and get the ball moving a little bit,” Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger said. “Again, obviously what Trae is doing with the ball is pretty special, but we need to get a little bit of movement, too.”Jeffrey Carroll had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Kendall Smith added 20 points for Oklahoma State (13-6, 3-4 Big 12). Smith’s 3 with 8 seconds left in regulation tied it at 73.“It’s a game of runs,” Smith said. “They were playing well, but we fought and did what we were capable of. We’re fighters, and that’s what it came down to.”The Cowboys went on to post their first win over a Top 10 team for first-year coach Mike Boynton.“Really happy for my kids as they continue to show what they’re about and who they are as people,” Boynton said. “Guys that keep fighting for each other, keep fighting for the culture that we’re trying to build, keep fighting to try to help people understand that we’ve got a pretty good basketball team. We can compete with anybody in the country.”ADVERTISEMENT Oklahoma State led by two points late in overtime when Carroll missed a free throw that gave the Sooners a chance with 7.4 seconds remaining. Young struggled to get the ball up the court and was forced into a poor shot.Oklahoma (14-4, 4-3) was coming off a loss to Kansas State. The Sooners had beaten Oklahoma State 109-89 in Norman on Jan. 3.The Cowboys played a nearly flawless first 10 minutes and bolted out to a 25-6 lead. The Sooners slowed the surge with an 8-0 run, but Oklahoma State held strong. Smith’s 3-pointer as time expired in the first half gave the Cowboys a 42-30 lead. The Cowboys held Oklahoma to 30 percent shooting before the break. Young scored 14 points in the first half, but he made just 4 of 15 shots.“Got to start out the game better,” Young said. “That’s the one thing. I’m going to get back and watch film. Just being ready to go from the beginning. That starts with me. I didn’t bring the energy from the beginning. So just do that and we will get better.”Oklahoma scored the first seven points of the second half to force an Oklahoma State timeout. A dunk by Brady Manek on an assist from Young cut Oklahoma State’s lead to 44-41. The Sooners tied the game at 53 on a long pass from Young that led to a layup by Kameron McGusty, and a 3-pointer by Young gave the Sooners the lead for the first time.Smith’s 3-pointer at the end of regulation gave the Cowboys a chance to regroup.“He is, in a lot of ways, the epitome of what our team is,” Boynton said. “We’ve had a lot of tough moments, for whatever reason at different times, and those kids don’t quit. They don’t give up, they don’t feel sorry for themselves.”BIG PICTUREOklahoma: The Sooners had a backbreaking week. Two losses to unranked teams, even on the road, won’t look good for the Sooners on Selection Sunday when it comes time to consider the highest seeded teams.Oklahoma State: The Cowboys have had several close calls against good opponents this season and finally got their breakthrough. It’s exactly the kind of boost they needed to strengthen their NCAA Tournament resume. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Read Next Oklahoma State guard Lindy Waters III (21) and guard Tavarius Shine, right, celebrate at the end of an NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma in Stillwater, Okla., Saturday, Jan. 20, 2018. Oklahoma State won 83-81 in overtime. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)STILLWATER, Okla. — Trae Young had a sinking feeling when his final shot left his hand.The freshman point guard scored 48 points, but he missed a deep 3 at the buzzer in overtime as No. 4 Oklahoma fell to Oklahoma State 83-81 on Saturday.ADVERTISEMENT “I knew it wasn’t going to go in,” he said. “No, I didn’t feel comfortable.”Young, who leads the nation in scoring, had 34 points after halftime. He matched the fifth-highest scoring effort in Sooners’ history after also missing a 3-point try at the end of regulation.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutYoung shot 14 for 39, including 8 for 20 on 3-pointers, and made all 12 of his free throws. ESPN Stats & Info said the 39 shots and 20 3-point attempts were both Big 12 records.None of Young’s teammates scored more than eight points. MOST READ read more