Adonis Diaries

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Genes are transformed by Nurturing: Genes functioning as Default program

New experiments conducted since 2000 are overturning the old paradigm that says: “Nature/Genes are the main factors in a person’s characteristics for succeeding and prospering in life…Such as a person natural capacities (physical and mental), dispositions, evolutionary heritage…”

In the old paradigm, culture, nurture, experiences (personal history) were relegated to far lower status, and most psychology experiments neglected to include nurturing as a factor for the effects on a person characteristics…

The old paradigm says: “Innate faculties are the foundations for the evolution of any specie…”. This old paradigm follows the rationalist thinkers as Descartes and Leibniz…

Even the linguist Noam Chomsky took side with this theory by stating that language acquisition by toddlers is innate. Why? Because toddlers are unable to formulate the rules of language syntax to follow, and yet they learn to talk perfectly correct…Consequently, since there are scarcity of “stimuli” to induce the process of empirical practice of language…toddlers must be learning according to their innate faculties…

There are flaws in that logic and I will expand more later on.

The breakthrough came about a decade ago, as experiments demonstrated that genes function differently in various environments. The technology of brain imagery was an efficient tool in these experiments. For an example of such experiments:

The experimental group of rats that received maternal care and nurturing developed zones in the brain that grew faster and with more complex connections than the control group of rats. The experimental rats were secreting far less of the “stress hormone” such as cortisol.

Mind you that I am not attaching any connotation to the term Nurturing, even though people think it has a positive or good connotation.

Epigenetic study the influences of the environment on the expression of genes. The genes in the DNA dictate the synthesis of proteins that cells depend on. The way a gene is read, it can be modified by the environment. For example, chemical compounds modification may change how a gene responds without altering the DNA chain. Chemical modifications in a gene can be inherited (transmitted to offspring)

Jesse Prinz, professor of philosophy at New York City Univ., published a guide on the current state of research on nature versus nurture titled “Beyond Human Nature: How culture and experience shape our lives”. Prinz wrote: “A very few proportion of published articles in psychology magazines have considered culture as a factor in their studies…”

For example, even our vision of colors has evolved, and only sustained practice in tasks can change our genes functionality at a higher level of performance…

The group of scientists adopting the new paradigm says: “The capacity to practice on tasks requiring multiple functions (running, playing baseball…) in different environments is the guiding factor for the development and evolution of any specie…”

The new paradigm has the empiricist (experimental) thinkers such as Locke as mentor who claimed that experience (practice) is sufficient enough to endow us with the required capacities…

Prinz put forth the concept that it is the way our brain grossly “statistically” processes data and sensorial inputs that enhance acquisition of language. The more frequent in short time the events occur, the more “weight” are attached to the connections among the relationship of the events. The innate argument is the “black box” that scientists use to throw in whatever they failed to conduct in experiments…

Toddlers imitate and mostly extrapolate from data and inputs: They are constantly testing, evaluating, and comparing what structures come their way. The cluster of sensorial stimulus that exhibit trends of regularity and consistency are retained in the memory as good for saving, emulating, and forming the world model…

A toddler abandoned in nature, away from any human community with a verbal language, will imitate the voices of the animals around and manage to communicate with them…I conjecture that the toddler might acquire altered sensory capabilities than common people…

A toddler switched to a community not speaking the language of his original community, will speak the language of his adoptive community…

It is the social status-quo that gives the illusion of “innate” differences for justifying a political system…

We are born with a default genes program (what was acquired by successive generations of change and evolution) that is ready to compose with whatever environment is sent our way, and we have to struggle to either adapt, change our world model, or perish…

Actually, Prinz wrote: “Answers to questionnaires on mankind sexual behaviors and preferences are not to be taken seriously: We tend not to say the truth, even if we knew it. Those who would like to comprehend mankind sexual preferences ought to read history books, instead of watching the gorillas. Biology helps explain why we are more inclined to flirt with another person rather than a potato…But this is the beginning of history…”

All communities of living species , including mankind, had to relocate due to climatic changes and mankind furious interventions. Relocating to a different environment prime the default genes program to taking over our survival mechanism.  If the environment is not suitable to the default program, the community had to alter its “nurturing protocol” (daily life-style, culture, ceremonies, moral values, social/political system. community organization, institutions…), mostly by trial and error method, and reform to a nurturing program that works…

Every community reached a fork in its evolution, many forks at different periods, in order to consider which nurturing protocol to reform. Each time, the community has to make a choice : reform and adapt, or hit the wall.

As a community goes smack into the wall, the energy and imagination needed to backtrack and try another alternative are too high to grapple with, and the usual “let go and wait. Good things come to those who wait…” Eventually, the community disappear…the verbal language, the written language, the myths, the customs and traditions…they all disappear, and nothing is left to recall what this community did and believed in.

At many forks in the evolution of a community, a few “illuminated” persons (leaders, prophets, village fool…) ring the bell and sound the alarm for change…If the Timing is appropriate, the “illuminated” group succeed in undertaking the required reforms to survive…

Generally, the Timing or the Fool are not at the meeting, and the community resumes its life-style according to the default genes program.

It means, either the community believed that “Nurturing is not that relevant in the upbringing of kids so that the kids grow free on their own, as they feel like living…” or the community believed that the current and ancient customs and traditions are immutable and should not be interpreted and revised according to changing realities…

A couple of years ago, I have watched a documentary on twins relocated separately to different environments.  The cases are biased and confounded:

1. I don’t recall twins “nurtured” in very extreme different environments, like in a well-to-do and in a very poor, disfavored and crime-plagued neighborhood. The locations were in developed States and the general cultural climates were pretty much homogeneous to impact the general genes default program…

2. The twins were not assigned to countries with different languages and customs, such as western, oriental, Asian, Islamic environmental culture

Fundamentally, the history of a specie evolution is a series of transformation of the nurturing protocol (daily life-style, culture, ceremonies, moral values, social/political system. community organization, institutions…)

The last chapter of my autobiography tried to connect the nurture and the nature factors in my upbringing and development at critical period of my life. This could be an interesting personal case study to revisit as my comprehension of the topic evolves.

Note 1: For more references on experiments and research on Epigenetics: bit.ly/insermepi; and epigenesys.eu

Note 2: Post inspired from the piece of Simon Blackburn in the French weekly Corrier International # 1122. Simon Blackburn  is professor of philosophy at the Cambridge Univ. and published “Praise of sexual desire, 2009″

The illusion of knowing is the major obstacle to discovery; (October 4, 2009)

Even a century ago, a scientist would publish a single manuscript after a life time of research and toiling.

Transmission of opinions and suggestions among scientists were sent via long erudite letters by peers.

Translators of these remarkable books didn’t go unnoticed as today, but they were rewarded academically. Nowadays, any “respectable” scientist works for several institutions, private and public, and at various nations.

Even two centuries ago, scientists did not need to refer to Pythagoras or Archimedes.  Modern scientists have no time or need to refer to more recent scientists such as Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Laplace, Lavoisier, or Kelvin. Soon Einstein and Heisenberg will be outmoded.

The team of the geeks in “Sciences and Future” met in August for brainstorming in “pause mode” to deliberate on the unique question confronting the team:

In the last few decades, what discoveries were true breakthroughs?”  The team reached an understanding on 5 scientific fields: climatology, neuroscience, astronomy, cellular biology, and Internet.

Consequently, I will answer a few of the questions that you might think you know in these fields so that our knowledge is no longer an illusion.

The internet shifts from the virtual to the real

There are 3 generations of internet or Web.

The first generation or Web1.0 was created from 2003 to 2005 and is represented by MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube that gathers people on common interest social aspects or making “friends”.

The second generation or Web 2.0 is represented by Twitter or the microblogging platform for messages restricted to 140 characters. Thus, these micro messages can be regrouped and analyze to constitute a story contributed by many Twitter bloggers.

The third generation of Web 3.0 is ready technologically; this generation is already labeled object oriented intelligence sources.  For example, you record a message on your cell phone and then stick a yellow sticker on a wall or an object. The next visitor will pass his cell phone over the sticker and copy your message of whatever you have seen or appreciated. This generation can zip all kinds of products and gather intelligence and compare with other resources.

Personally, I think that even the Twitter is already a perfect source of information by intelligence agencies; these centers can hire thousands of Twitter users and direct them on specific topic of interests in many countries.

Cells can be rejuvenated to its embryo stage

The lab technician would take samples of your skin. The skin cells can be treated to reach its first born state.

Whatever genetic diseases that cell inherited it will take another 30 years for the disease to emerge.  All the while you are thirty years younger. Better, skin cells can be treated to isolate a specific cell for any body member like liver, heart, brain, or whatever.

The sick tissue in any part of your body can be rejuvenated within a month. This biomedical technique of treating adult cells into embryo state was made possible because many laws prohibited using fetus embryo on the ground that the cell belonged to another person.

Is man’s activity altering nature more than geophysics?

Man feared the return of the ice age; it turned out that the climate is getting hotter and the poles are melting.

The emergence of urban and industrial societies as a geophysical force is altering the environment power for rejuvenation according to human threshold for survival.

Since 1824, Joseph Fourier theorized that gases in the atmosphere have the potential to increase surface temperature.

Even in 1896, John Tyndall predicted that the concentration of CO2 will increase temperature to 5 degrees by the end of the 20th century. Now, this is a fact and each year the casualties in man and nature are increasing by the violence of climatic changes. People are waiting anxiously the international summit on the environment in Copenhagen this December.

Awareness of man effective participation in climatic changes was proven when the ozone layer of O3 in the stratosphere was depleting. Seas level is increasing 3 mm a year since 1993.  So far, only Danemark produces the fourth of its power using eoliens or wind turbines.

Ex-President Bush Junior said in 1992: “The American way of life is not negotiable.”

The philosopher Michelle Serres said in 1990: “This world that we treated as an object is returning as a subject; capable of vengeance.

The humorist Coluche said: “For an ecologist to be elected as President, trees should be allowed to vote.”

The brain is in perpetual re-structuring

There are specialized neurons that can be activated when an action is executed or when an action is also observed (mirror neurons).  These mirror neurons are the biological basis for empathy, imitation, and training; almost every decision is influenced by our emotions.

Neurons have the potential to flow or transfer from one brain to another when recycling cognitive aptitudes such as reading and writing are elevated.  Neurons and connections are modified when training tasks are memorized.

We have 8 varieties of intelligence; mainly the visual, spatial, naturalist, logic-mathematics, corporal, musical, inter-personal, and intra-personal intelligences.

The new battery of experiments for testing cognitive and movements capabilities are designed to account for our eight kinds of intelligences. It is the quantity of synapses (connections) and not the weight of the brain that differentiate among the various intelligences.

There are phases in our sleep when brain activities are most intense while muscular activities are extremely inhibited; this phase is called “paradox sleep”.  We produce new neurons at every stage of growth, especially in the hippocampus and the smell brains.

Almost 10% of our synapses are established when we are born and they increase with our activities and cognitive demands (efforts, mental and physical, mean increase in fresh synapses and neurons).

Hormones or chemical messengers for the brains

Serotonin is a chemical messenger to the brains; it is implicated in sleep, feeding and sexual habits. A decrease in its production is associated to depressive moods. Anti-depressant drugs increase the concentration of serotonin in the blood.

Dopamine is a chemical hormone that controls movements, moods, addiction, and the circuit of pleasure; its deficiency generates rigidity in the muscles which is the symptoms of Parkinson disease.

Adrenaline is a chemical hormone that is secreted at moments of stress and is attached on large numbers of receptors to re-enforce cardiac functions, accelerate the heart beats, elevate arterial pressure, inhibit digestion and increase the level of glycemy.

Cortisol is secreted in moments of stress to increase the rate of glucose in the blood stream and liberating energy to counter dangers.

Insulin enhances the stock of glucose in the tissues and thus decreases glycemy.

Acetylcholine is a neuro-transmitter that excites the targeted brain when acquiring new training and for enhancing memory; its deficiency is the origin of Alzheimer disease.

Erythropoietin stimulates the synthesis of red blood cells; its deficiency results in anemia.  The word “doping” is related to sport competitors abusing of this hormone.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
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