Lecture/Discussion Notes Addendum
|Biology 103, Fall, 2009, Bryn Mawr College|
BIOLOGY: An exploration and conversation
Is everything "biologically based"?
Do we need more than macromolecules to make sense of life?
More than evolution and macromolecules plus some general insights from acquired from thinking about them?
Candidate additional ideas/tools ...
Multiple levels of organization
Cells as interdependent improbable assemblies of macromolecules, multicellular organisms as interdependent improbable assemblies of cells, populations/ecosystems as interdependent assemblies of organisms
Multiple and reciprocal interactions, no simple cause-effect relationships, no gene/environment controversy
Ontogeny/development - evolution within individual lifetimes
Interdependence of individuals and improbable assemblies of of which they are a part
Top down as well as bottom up influences - no individual/culture controversy
Cells as assemblies of interacting diverse macromolecules, multicellular organisms as assemblies of interacting diverse cells
Semi-autonomy and semi-homeostasis as properties of interacting macromolecules, as properties of interacting cells/organs
No one is in charge !!!!!
Implications for thinking about "death"?
- chemotaxis in bacteria - movement, responsiveness - organized proteins/signals
- human menstrual cycle (regulation in males)
- humans, like all multicellular organisms, are an interacting assembly of semi-autonomous, semi-homeostatic parts
The gene/environment controversy
"The nature versus nurture debate rages on, because there doesn't seem to be an answer as to whether there is a biological basis for personality" ... What's in a Personality
"I suppose the question boils down to our ongoing debate of nature versus nurture" ... An Exploration of Taste, Illness, and the Story of Flavor
- Genes do not code for phenotypic characteristics; they code for proteins or for molecules that regulate production of proteins; "coding" depends on other proteins/molecules; phenotypic characteristics reflect, among other things multiple proteins - typically a given gene influences lots of different phenotypic characteristics and a given phenotypic characteristic is influenced by lots of genes
- Genes are themselves regulatable by, among other things, the environment
- Genes and environment interact in the production of all phenotypic characteristics (body size, hair color, "intelligence," depression/schizophrenia)
- There isn't any gene-environment controversy
The biology/culture controversy
bodies affect llife-experiences/culture
therefore there is no biology/culture controversy: everything is affected by biology, nothing is determined by biology; its a loop
yes, everything is "biologically based"?
Bringing it all together in a test case: sex/gender
- social construction?
All "influence," non "determine", leaving one room to make choices oneself, for oneself and for culture
Thanks for joining me this semester in trying to make sense of life, a work in progress. Keep me posted about your continuing progress.