In a previous study, using experimental metapopulations of the flour beetle, Tribolium castaneum, we investigated phase III of Wright's shifting balance process (Wade and Griesemer 1998). We experimentally modeled migration of varying amounts from demes of high mean fitness into demes of lower mean fitness (as in Wright's characterization of phase III) as well as the reciprocal (the opposite of phase III). We estimated the meta-populational heritability for this level of selection by regression of offspring deme means on the (...) weighted parental deme means.Here we develop a Punnett Square representation of the inheritance of the group mean to place our empirical findings in a conceptual context similar to Mendelian inheritance of individual traits. The comparison of Punnett Squares for individual and group inheritance shows how the latter concept can be rigorously defined and extended despite the lack of explicitly formulated, simple Mendelian laws of inheritance at the group level. Whereas Wright's phase III combines both interdemic selection and meta-populational inheritance, our formulation separates the issue of meta-populational heritability from that of interdemic selection. We use this conceptual context to discuss the controversies over the levels of selection and the units of inheritance. (shrink)
Two controversies exist regarding the appropriate characterization of hierarchical and adaptive evolution in natural populations. In biology, there is the Wright-Fisher controversy over the relative roles of random genetic drift, natural selection, population structure, and interdemic selection in adaptive evolution begun by Sewall Wright and Ronald Aylmer Fisher. There is also the Units of Selection debate, spanning both the biological and the philosophical literature and including the impassioned groupselection debate. Why do these two discourses exist separately, and interact relatively little? (...) We postulate that the reason for this schism can be found in the differing focus of each controversy, a deep difference itself determined by distinct general styles of inquiry (e.g., Hacking 2002; Elwick 2007; Winther 2012, 2013) guiding each discourse. That is, the Wright-Fisher debate focuses on /adaptive process/, and tends to be instructed by the /mathematical modeling style/, while the focus of the Units of Selection controversy is /adaptive product/, and is typically guided by the /function style/. The differences between the two discourses can be usefully tracked by examining their interpretations of two contested strategies for theorizing hierarchical selection: /horizontal/ and /vertical/ averaging. (shrink)
We develop an account of laboratory models, which have been central to the group selection controversy. We compare arguments for group selection in nature with Darwin's arguments for natural selection to argue that laboratory models provide important grounds for causal claims about selection. Biologists get information about causes and cause-effect relationships in the laboratory because of the special role their own causal agency plays there. They can also get information about patterns of effects and antecedent conditions in nature. But to (...) argue that some cause is actually responsible in nature, they require an inference from knowledge of causes in the laboratory context and of effects in the natural context. This process, cause detection, forms the core of an analogical argument for group selection. We discuss the differing roles of mathematical and laboratory models in constructing selective explanations at the group level and apply our discussion to the units of selection controversy to distinguish between the related problems of cause determination and evaluation of evidence. Because laboratory models are at the intersection of the two problems, their study is crucial for framing a coherent theory of explanation for evolutionary biology. (shrink)
Although epistasis is at the center of the Fisher-Wright debate, biologists not involved in the controversy are often unaware that there are actually two different formal definitions of epistasis. We compare concepts of genetic independence in the two theoretical traditions of evolutionary genetics, population genetics and quantitative genetics, and show how independence of gene action (represented by the multiplicative model of population genetics) can be different from the absence of gene interaction (represented by the linear additive model of quantitative genetics). (...) The two formulations converge with weak selection but not with strong selection or, for multiple loci, when the aggregated interaction terms are not negligible. As a result of the different formulations of gene interaction, the presence or absence of linkage disequilibrium,/D/, does not necessarily indicate the presence or absence of fitness epistasis. Indeed, linkage disequilibrium is generated in ‘additive’ models in quantitative genetics whenever two (or more) loci experience simultaneous selection. As a research strategy, it is often practical, for theoretical or experimental reasons, to minimize gene interaction by assuming independence of gene action in regard to fitness, or by assuming linear additive effects of multiple loci on a phenotype. However, minimizing the role of epistasis in theoretical investigations hinders our understanding of the origins of diversity and the evolution of complex phenotypes. (shrink)
Abstract In 1968 Simmons studied the personal and moral values of 101 fourth?year pupils of a comprehensive school by means of 10 unfinished sentences. This survey was published in 1980. The first sentence was based on an Ideal Person Test used by the Eppels in the early 1960s. In 1981 the 1968 survey was replicated and extended to include 820 fourth?year pupils (492 boys, 328 girls, average age 15 years) in six schools with different social and geographical backgrounds. The responses (...) to the first sentence confirmed many of the Eppels? findings of nearly 20 years ago particularly with respect to (a) the rejection of ideal models in favour of ?myself choices, (b) the clear preference by nearly half the subjects for ideal models chararcterised by attractive physical appearance and popularity, (c) the over?subscription of boys to material values and the oversubscription of girls to social values. (shrink)
The architects of punctuated equilibrium and species selection as well as more recent workers (Vrba) have narrowed the original formulation of species selection and made it dependent upon so-called emergent characters. One criticism of this narrow version is the dearth of emergent characters with a consequent diminution in the robustness of species selection as an important evolutionary process. We argue that monomorphic species characters may at times be the focus of selection and that under these circumstances selection at the organism (...) level is by-passed due to the absence of critical variance. Selection therefore shifts to the species level where variability reemerges in a clade. The absence of critical variance among organisms prevents effect macroevolution from operating. If species-wide properties are important in macroevolutionary processes, as we contend, systematists should pay more attention to their elucidation. (shrink)
If stem cells ever show promise in treating diseases of the human brain, any potential therapy would need to be tested in animals. But putting human brain stem cells into monkeys or apes could raise awkward ethical dilemmas, like the possibility of generating a humanlike mind in a chimpanzee's body.
Eye movements are a vital part of our interaction with the world. They play a pivotal role in perception, cognition, and education. Research in this field is now proceeding at a considerable pace and casting new light on how the eyes move and what information we can derive during the frequent and brief periods of fixation. However, the origins of this work are less well known, even though much of our knowledge was derived from this research with far more primitive (...) equipment. -/- This book is unique in tracing the history of eye movement research. It shows how great strides were made in this area before modern recording devices were available, especially in the measurement of nystagmus. When photographic techniques were adapted to measure discontinuous eye movements, from about 1900, many of the issues that are now basic to modern research were then investigated. One of the earliest cognitive tasks examined was reading, and it remains in the vanguard of contemporary research. -/- Modern researchers in this field will be astonished at the subtleties of these early experimental studies and the ingenuity of interpretations that were advanced one and even two centuries ago. Though physicians often carried out the original eye movement research, later on it was pursued by psychologists - it is within contemporary neuroscience that we find these two strands reunited. -/- Anyone interested in the origins of psychology and neuroscience will find much to stimulate and surprise them in this valuable new work. (shrink)
What does it mean to know something - scientifically, anthropologically, socially? What is the relationship between different forms of knowledge and ways of knowing? How is knowledge mobilised in society and to what ends? Drawing on ethnographic examples from across the world, and from the virtual and global "places" created by new information technologies, Anthropology and Science presents examples of living and dynamic epistemologies and practices, and of how scientific ways of knowing operate in the world. Authors address the nature (...) of both scientific and experiential knowledge, and look at competing and alternative ideas about what it means to be human. The essays analyze the politics and ethics of positioning "science", "culture" or "society" as authoritative. They explore how certain modes of knowing are made authoritative and command allegiance (or not), and look at scientific and other rationalities - whether these challenge or are compatible with science. (shrink)
The nature of religion -- The moral instinct -- The evolution of religious behavior -- Music, dance, and trance -- Ancestral religion -- The transformation -- The tree of religion -- Morality, trade, and trust -- The ecology of religion -- Religion and warfare -- Religion and nation -- The future of religion.
"Many of you know about an important disagreement that JennyWade has with Spiral Dynamics, namely, whether orange and green are two different stages of development or whether they are two different paths through the same stage of development (see her book, Changes of Mind ). Both Don Beck and JennyWade are members of IC, so it's an in-house friendly disagreement. Also, this discussion is a little bit technical, and demands a general grasp of what (...) we call a phase-4 model--'all quadrants, all levels, all lines, all states'--but I'll go through it briefly for those who are interested. (shrink)
: This essay examines an aesthetics of disgust through an analysis of the work of Scottish painter Jenny Saville. Saville's paintings suggest that there is something valuable in retaining and interrogating our immediate and seemingly unambivalent reactions of disgust. I contrast Saville's representations of disgust to the repudiation of disgust that characterizes contemporary corporeal politics. Drawing on the theoretical work of Elspeth Probyn and Julia Kristeva, I suggest that an aesthetics of disgust reveals the fundamental ambiguity of embodiment, allowing (...) us to critically attend to the aesthetic and cultural objectification of the female body. (shrink)
Wars have been entered into as a means of gaining property, taking slaves and dominating and controlling peoples. The pacifist claims that no form of war can ever be justified. By contrast, just war theory holds that it is possible for a war to be morally justified, an idea that underlies much international law, as can be seen in the Geneva Conventions. Teichman introduces us to such thinkers as Aristotle, Cicero, Augustine, Aquinas, Hugo Grotius, John Rawls and Elizabeth Anscombe on (...) the very idea of a just war. (shrink)