October 12


The Epigenetics Conundrum

By heheals

October 12, 2020

Let’s talk about epigenetics & evolution.

Humanists of the Palouse: http://humanistsofthepalouse.org/
The Third Way and Lamarckism: http://www.thethirdwayofevolution.com/people/view/raju-pookottil
Goofy Austrian conference: https://www.nature.com/natureevents/science/events/57615-EVOLUTION_Genetic_Novelty_Genomic_Variations_by_RNA_Networks_and_Viruses
IGF2/Hunger Winter paper: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2579375/



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  1. One interesting question is hidden in this piece of prose.

    "But what about our own brains? Although we can pass some part of the explanatory buck to evolution, this is insufficient. Even for evolution there is a similar mapping problem to contend with. Like computation, only certain abstract features of the physiological processes of a body are relevant to survival and reproduction. These are selectively favored to be preserved generation to generation. But although natural selection preserves them with respect to this function, natural selection does not produce the physical mechanisms from which it selects."

    Deacon, Terrence W.. Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter (p. 105). W. W. Norton & Company

    So the real question, I'd be interested to know, professor Myer, are you equating adaptation with selection? If not, how do you explain adaptation.

  2. Isn’t adaptation the same as evolution? If you look at a cell’s behavior, it clearly adapts to its environment. If we are all made up of trillions of cells then we would, as whole humans, be doing the same. Perception of our environment influences the chemicals that we produce in our bodies. For example, fear will produce cortisol and love will produce oxytocin. Perception comes first before the chemical production. How does this proven science fit in with what you’re claiming? It’s entirely possible to evolve/adapt and not have it be random or accidental. What if the purpose of being here is expansion through conscious perception? Why is it not worth considering if it means we can control their own health without medication or medical intervention? Big Pharma grants perhaps?

  3. The real statistics are against you. If only one of the millions of highly educated and intelligent scientists and writers over the centuries are correct about their encounters with God then your atheistic statements are false and presumptive.

    You are just a silly desperate atheist hoping to ignore or avoid the eventual confrontation you will have with God, and not to your liking, it seems.

    Jesus said, "if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins. For God so loved the world He gave His only Son that we who believe should have eternal life. He said, "This is eternal life, that you believe in God and Christ whom He sent."

    Stop feeding your academic ego and find life in a God who loves you and gave His life for you to be saved from His judgment.

    Be thoughtful,

    John Smith, Ph.D.

  4. it should be understood that a behavior in a population happens before an adaptation.
    adaptations become useful if they positively modify the success of a population already behaving in a way that modification would enhance.

  5. Is it the case that epigenetic factors have no important influence on psychology and other ways we relate to the world in terms of brain function?

    It seems that our overall subjective state is tied to a lot of information from the body. How much epigenetic expression manifests at the subjective level – this could include a change of subjectivity such as feeling slightly more stress overall – as a result of several interacting factors – for example.

    It would seem odd if the answer was zero influence. The question is then what aspects of the influence result in the creation of feedbacks that sustain particular epigenetic expressions. Perhaps "stressed people" create "stress-providing-environments".

    This is way over-simplified and a "too powerful" effect. The question is if anything analogous to this is going on at any level of influence and consequence.

  6. mr Myers, i am guessing that the phenomena of epigentics are predominately expressed in male gonads as their gametes are continually produced in the life of the male;where as female gametes are produced early and lie dormant? there by environmental effects on male gametes are more prevalent?

  7. Hello PZ. I have been following you and think that you stand as my standard bearer of my atheism. If you have time, may I ask how dogs and cows are bred? like, some cows and dogs are bred to have big bodies and muscle mass and are born to increase muscle mass? don't we have this same dna in humans as well? that our bodies can easily build muscle vs others? or did I get this wrong? (time stamp 17:32)

  8. Oh man oh man. Recently had the pleasure to come into contact with two creationists, Robert Ackerman and Tomi Aalto. Apparently to them it's also all epigenetics. Everything is regulated via epigenetics. Even everything that's not. Now I only need to know in what type of environmental stressors humans would give birth to Gibbons.

  9. 1:20 oh, oh, I can see the creationist already taking part of this video and make PZ sound as if he is saying there are some problem with evolution. I bet the Discovery Institute already have some on in the case editing this video.

  10. PZ thank you for this talk…I belong to a humanist group in my home town and this month's lecturer will be speaking on epigenetics and I have been looking into the topic ,and this talk has given me a whole new layer of this topic to consider and augment my understanding of it…again thank you

  11. Hi, PZ. Thank you for this interesting video. I needed something like this, because last week, I found a Catho crackpot on YT who was saying that Richard Dawkins' view of evolution as directed by genes (as he wrote in his book The Selfish Gene) was obsolete & that the late, Dr Lynn Margulis had proved him wrong etc. Of course, the Catho crackpot hater made no sense, but thanks to him, I later found a link to a scientific meeting at Oxford where Dr Margulis & Dr Dawkins debated in 2009. The series is 3 hrs long (2 videos+ 1 audio) I watched it all and I was surprised by the confrontational tone of Dr Margulis, Dr Denis Noble & another man in the audience towards Richard. They were arguing on Epigenetics, cells' organelles/material vs Genes inheritance and evolution and the debate got heated a few times. I don't know if you saw it, so I will leave a link & maybe ask you to comment on the event in another video? I'm interested to know your point of view on that scientific meeting, if you're looking for a video subject to cover, that is.


  12. Just a few minutes in… I am looking forward to hearing a down-to-earth explanation of this topic! I need a better understanding of the whole hype around it and what is actually scientific fact.

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