There is a worry that the ‘major transitions in evolution’ represent an arbitrary group of events. This worry is warranted, and we show why. We argue that the transition to a new level of hierarchy necessarily involves a nonselectionist chance process. Thus any unified theory of evolutionary transitions must be more like a general theory of fortuitous luck, rather than a rigid formulation of expected events. We provide a systematic account of evolutionary transitions based on a second-order regularity of chance (...) events, as stipulated by the ZFEL (Zero Force Evolutionary Law). And in doing so, we make evolutionary transitions explainable and predictable, and so not entirely contingent after all. (shrink)
Today, phallocentrism is perpetuated by a flourishing medical construction that focuses exclusively on penile erections as the essence of men's sexual function and satisfaction. This article describes how this medicalization is promoted by urologists, medical industries, mass media, and various entrepreneurs. Many men and women provide a ready audience for this construction because of masculine ideology and gender socialization. While there may be some advantages to this construction, there are major disadvantages to men in terms of the inevitable failure of (...) the promised perfectible erection and the perpetuation of a falsely universalized and biologized vision of sexual experience. Any sexual interests of women in other than phallocentric sexual scripting are denied. (shrink)
This paper presents a modified random network model to illustrate how groups can form in the absence of evolutionary forces, assuming groups are collections of entities at any level of organization. This model is inspired by the Zero Force Evolutionary Law, which states that there is always a tendency for diversity and complexity to increase in any evolutionary system containing variation and heredity. That is, in the absence of evolutionary forces, the expectation is a continual increase in diversity and complexity (...) at any level of biological hierarchy. I show that, when modeled, this expectation of increasing variation results not only in the formation of groups, but also in a higher probability of group formation than is found in a model that is purely random. (shrink)
Using the Bible in Christian ethics is often not as simple as many would expect it to be. This is particularly the case for the use of the Old Testament. Part of the challenge is the complexity of grasping the customs and norms that are reflected in the Old Testament. They are often at odds with what is acceptable in contemporary thinking. In this article, we examine the difficulty of using the Old Testament in Christian ethics by using the narrative (...) of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38 as case study. We show that this particular text alerts us to the complex relationship between ethics and culture, not only in the world of the text, but also the world of the interpreter. Based on our analysis of the text we argue for its meta-ethical contribution to the practice of Christian ethics. We do not endeavour to resolve the perceived tension between the implied ethics of the text and that of contemporary interpreters, but view the unresolved tension as one of the text’s key contributions to the practice of Christian ethics. (shrink)
Our understanding of the universe has grown rapidly in recent decades. We’ve discovered evidence of water in nearby planets, discovered planets outside our solar system, mapped the genomes of thousands of organisms, and probed the very origins and limits of life. The scientific perspective of life-as-it-could-be has expanded in part by research in astrobiology, synthetic biology, and artificial life. In the face of such scientific developments, we argue there is an ever-growing need for universal biology, life-as-it-must-be, the multidisciplinary study of (...) non-contingent aspects of life as guided by biological theory and constrained by the universe. We present three distinct but connected ways of universalizing biology—with respect to characterizing aspects of life everywhere, with respect to the explanatory scope of biological theory, and with respect to extending biological insights to the structure of nonbiological entities. For each of these, we sketch the theoretical goals and challenges, as well as give examples of current research that might be labeled universal biology. (shrink)
The problem with reductionism in biology is not the reduction, but the implicit attitude of determinism that usually accompanies it. Methodological reductionism is supported by deterministic beliefs, but making such a connection is problematic when it is based on an idea of determinism as fixed predictability. Conflating determinism with predictability gives rise to inaccurate models that overlook the dynamic complexity of our world, as well as ignore our epistemic limitations when we try to model it. Furthermore, the assumption of a (...) strictly deterministic framework is unnecessarily hindering to biology. By removing the dogma of determinism, biological methods, including reductive methods, can be expanded to include stochastic models and probabilistic interpretations. Thus, the dogma of reductionism can be saved once its ties with determinism are severed. In this paper, I analyze two problems that have faced molecular biology for the last 50 years—protein folding and cancer. Both cases demonstrate the long influence of reductionism and determinism on molecular biology, as well as how abandoning determinism has opened the door to more probabilistic and unconstrained reductive methods in biology. (shrink)
Disease-mongering in the case of sexual problems has some special elements. These include that discussions of sex provoke embarrassment and reveal a lack of knowledge on the part of both clinician and patient, the aggressiveness of Big Pharma in the face of the huge profitability of sexual products; and the socially constructed nature of sexual satisfaction. These special elements engender concern for the prospects for patient empowerment and the convergence of patient-clinician power in the consulting room. Consequently, political action to (...) raise public and professional awareness about the realities of commercialisation and conflict of interest, and to resist further medicalisation may be as warranted for concerned scholars as academic analyses, at least at the present time. (shrink)
En este trabajo nos proponemos abordar la relación entre la perspectiva teórica de la narrativa, con sus anclajes en la filosofía, la lingüística, la teoría literaria y el psicoanálisis -entre otros- y la problemática contemporánea de identidades y subjetividades desde una perspectiva no esencialist..
Darwin begins On the Origin of Species by asking the reader to “reflect on the vast diversity of the plants and animals which have been cultivated” (1859, p. 7); almost five-hundred pages later, he closes by having the reader consider the “endless forms most beautiful and wonderful” that have evolved (1859, p. 490). Darwin contemplates diversity throughout the Origin and presents the principle of divergence as a way to explain it. Darwin formulated the principle of divergence around 1857 (Browne 1980), (...) at which point he began replacing his previous view of “limited perfect adaptedness” with a view of relative adaptedness (Ospovat 1981; Burian 1983). Proponents of perfect adaptedness, such as Paley and .. (shrink)
The view that complexity increases in evolution is uncontroversial, yet little is known about the possible causes of such a trend. One hypothesis, the Zero Force Evolutionary Law (ZFEL), predicts a strong drive toward complexity, although such a tendency can be overwhelmed by selection and constraints. In the absence of strong opposition, heritable variation accumulates and complexity increases. In order to investigate this claim, we evaluate the gross morphological complexity of laboratory mutants in Drosophila melanogaster, which represent organisms that arise (...) in a context where selective forces are greatly reduced. Complexity was measured with respect to part types, shape, and color over two independent focal levels. Compared to the wild type, we find that D. melanogaster mutants are significantly more complex. When the parts of mutants are categorized by degree of constraint, we find that weakly constrained parts are significantly more complex than more constrained parts. These results support the ZFEL hypothesis. They also represent a first step in establishing the domain of application of the ZFEL and show one way in which a larger empirical investigation of the principle might proceed. (shrink)
Resumen En este artículo analizo las actividades de imagen que se realizan cuando se emplea tú genérico. Además, correlaciono la presencia de la segunda persona singular tácita o explícita con el tipo de actividades de imagen documentadas en el Corpus sociolingüístico de la Ciudad de México. Los resultados sugieren que los hablantes muestran una preferencia por la omisión del sujeto pronominal de segunda persona singular genérico cuando realizan actividades de autoimagen y que esta estrategia les permite ocultar al yo. Por (...) el contrario, cuando realizan actividades de cortesía recurren con mayor frecuencia a la expresión de SP genéricos de segunda persona, esto es, el tú genérico explícito contribuye para codificar una estrategia centrada en el interlocutor. El análisis corrobora que los hablantes mexicanos se preocupan por el cuidado de su propia imagen y por la de sus interlocutores, privilegiando los deseos de imagen de afiliación. (shrink)
Clatterbuck et al. (Biol Philos 28: 577–592, 2013) argue that there is no fact of the matter whether selection dominates drift or vice versa in any particular case of evolution. Their reasons are not empirically based; rather, they are purely conceptual. We show that their conceptual presuppositions are unmotivated, unnecessary and overly complex. We also show that their conclusion runs contrary to current biological practice. The solution is to recognize that evolution involves a probabilistic sampling process, and that drift is (...) a deviation from probabilistic expectation. We conclude that conceptually, there are no problems with distinguishing drift from selection, and empirically—as modern science illustrates—when drift does occur, there is a quantifiable fact of the matter to be discovered. (shrink)
We examined the dilemmas posed by the involvement of expert witnesses in court cases and the institutional constraints on the ethics of expert testimony. The causes for the incorporation of bad science into legal decisions, potential solutions to this dilemma, and the limitations of these solutions are considered. We concluded that law, science, and experts must respond to the problems posed by expert witnessing.
DOI: 10.5294/PEBI.2015.19.2.11 La Fundación Colombiana de Ética y Bioética FUCEB, agradece a todos los que han hecho posible su participación en esta audiencia y elogia que se haya facilitado una legítima expresión del pueblo sobre el tema de la eutanasia.
Se realizó una revisión bibliográfica de materiales disponibles en revistas electrónicas de la base SciELO con el objetivo de fundamentar la contribución de la Medicina Tradicional y Natural a la Salud Pública cubana y las interrelaciones ciencia-tecnología-sociedad. La perspectiva Ciencia, Tecnología y Sociedad (CTS) contribuye a construir una cultura científica para que la población en general pueda llegar a sentirla como propia, lo cual requiere priorizar la aplicación de la Medicina Tradicional y Natural (MTN) socialmente útil y culturalmente relevante con (...) el compromiso social basado en la erradicación de la pobreza, la armonía con la naturaleza y el desarrollo sustentable. Se enfatizó en la importancia de la medicina preventiva, además de poner en evidencia la necesidad de reconceptualizar la investigación en las ciencias médicas sobre la base de una visión interdisciplinaria que permita revelar fenómenos no explicados hasta el momento, aspecto que necesita del enfoque desde la perspectiva de la ciencia, tecnología y sociedad como complemento esencial. We conducted a bibliographic review of materials available in electronic journals in SciELO base aiming to substantiate the contribution of Natural and traditional medicine to the Cuban public health and the interrelationships of science-technology - society. Science, technology and society (CTS) perspective contributes to build a scientific culture so the population can in general get to feel it as their own, which requires to prioritize the application of traditional medicine and Natural (MTN), socially useful and culturally relevant social commitment based on the eradication of poverty, the harmony with nature and sustainable development. Emphasized the importance of preventive medicine, as well as highlight the need to reconceptualize the research in the medical sciences on the basis of an interdisciplinary view that reveal phenomena not explained so far, issue that needs the approach from the perspective of science, technology and society as essential complement. (shrink)
Donde la palabra se torna insuficiente y la realidad se vuelve inenarrable, la imagen y la ficción pueden convertirse en el único resquicio para contar lo que debe ser contado. Es por ello que el álbum ilustrado se revela como idóneo para abordar la cuestión del Holocausto con un público infantil y juvenil. Este artículo presenta el análisis de los rasgos definitorios de los álbumes con tal temática mediante el estudio de un corpus de cuatro ejemplos, y ahonda en las (...) posibilidades didácticas de un título en particular, Bruno. El niño que aprendió a volar, de Nadia Terranova y Ofra Amit. Los resultados nos hacen concluir que es posible crear desde el lirismo imágenes para enseñar la más infame atrocidad. (shrink)