ranking biological success

Laurence Fiddick fiddick at lifesci.ucsb.edu
Mon Jan 10 23:36:40 EST 1994


In <9401101318.AA22838 at net.bio.net> LYONSW at UCONNVM.bitnet (James) writes:

>Second, the problem with selfish DNA arguments is that at no time in
>MOST species can DNA exist with any degree of success without individuals,
>and vice versa, so that we must conclude that an individual and its DNA
>(or DNA and its indivdual) represent a single entity.  I cannot exist with
>out my mouth, but I ascribe very little of my rare successes to it.  It cannot
>exist without me.  It is a part of me, and I am dependent on it. My DNA
>is likewise a part of me, albeit a very seminal part and all-important part,
>but since I cannot define myself as being without DNA, it and I are one.

huh? the reason why genes are successful is that they construct organisms, so   
it would seem that you are holding their success against them. you may ascribe
very little of your success to your mouth, but for the genes that code in part
for the design of your mouth, your mouth is critical to their success or lack 
of it. further, that you cannot define yourself as being without dna has no 
bearing on whether your dna can define itself as being without the rest of you.
it can. perhaps it wouldn't be very successful, but that it beside the point
and as regards success, unfair for the reason above. it would be like saying
you as an individual couldn't be successful without air to breathe; therefore,
success is best considered a property of you and the air you breathe,
holistically.



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