ranking biological success

James LYONSW at UCONNVM.bitnet
Tue Jan 11 09:52:57 EST 1994


IN: <9401110452.AA08395 at net.bio.net> Laurence Fiddick writes:
To: bioforum at net.bio.net
From: fiddick at lifesci.ucsb.edu (Laurence Fiddick)

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.

James replies:

double huh? You could (as many ecologists do) argue that a measure of an
organism's success is their ability to produce genes (which, if expanded
with the umbrella statement to: fitness may be measured as the number of
genes an individual can manage to thrust into the next generation regardless
of who carries them relative to the number of genes evryone else succeeds
in thrusting encompasses the relative nature of success as well as
inclusive fitness,(large breath) and thus prove my point that an individual
is comprised of many parts, one of which is DNA, some of which are genes,
and that the credit for success belongs neither to genes, nor species, but to
individuals who comprise species wholly and are part gene.



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