Fatalism Must Die; And It Is
DNA/genes lost a trait 50 million years ago, but the trait was preserved: https://www.cell.com/cell/fulltext/S0092-8674(19)31374-1…. This is sort of a big deal, since evolutionary biologists had long hoped to pin everything on genetics. Moreover, classic evolutionary models predicted (incorrectly, we see here) that advantage (survival of the fittest) goes hand-in-hand with trait preservation and genetic preservation. Yet here again, we find that genetics alone is bankrupt as a complete explanatory model. The forces of evolution (namely natural selection, gene drift, and gene flow) are missing vital explanation.
This is news to the layperson, but specialists in the field have been questioning the forces of evolution for some time, since they don’t sufficiently account for a lot of findings. This is, in fact, why we now include gene drift and gene flow in the model. Even mutation isn't understood in the strict sense (to be clear here, I mean that we don't know exactly why certain mutations occur instead of others; and we certainly cannot yet predict them, even in short timetables with simple viruses - if we did, our flu vaccines would predictably be above 50% efficacy). Molecular biologists have no use for natural selection. But even beyond mutation, drift, and flow, there exist some other players; and thus we’ve developed the terms epigenetics, proteome, membranome, and microbiome. DNA doesn’t cut it. These other worlds (not a typo) help explain things better. And this is just the beginning of the revisions in our understanding.
Genetics, genetics, genetics. People worship genetics. People blame life on genetics. Unfortunately (or FORTUNately, if you catch my meaning) for them, the genetics house of cards has been getting actively destroyed by 60 years of scientific discovery, leading to these other terms above and even more not contained within this post.
Genetics as abused by the lay populace is largely a rehash of the pseudoscience which blames outcomes on the Fates or the gods or the stars or the "cards" or the power crystal in your pocket. Most people are drawing causal connections based on unsubstantiated quackery. As the study referenced above shows, DNA is not the be-all end-all explanation for traits. Guess what: there is no single simple explanation in causation, and the explanationS certainly aren’t all to be found in ideas of heredity. We choose our fate. We choose our stars. We do not choose which cards we're dealt; but we alone play them.
Just a reminder that your spouse, NOT YOUR FAMILY, is more predictive for lifespan: https://www.genetics.org/content/210/3/1109… . The impact of heritability itself is up for revision.
I’ve taken this subject on time and time again:
Fatalism needs to die. And it is.
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