Did you mean to imply that microbes have intentions?

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Michael Oren

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Michael Oren  asked the Naked Scientists:

Love everything naked, you do an excellent job at science clarification etc.

BUT Listened to the 4/11/10 podcast about the incorporation of one microbes DNA by another.  You said something about how the native bacteria grabbed the DNA from the seaweed bacteria because it knew how to breakdown seaweed.  A lot of us ascribe intentionality to genetic processes, but it ain't necessarily so....  More likely and, perhaps more interestingly, those microbes swapped DNA, which I think is common in the bacterial world,  those that incorporated the seaweed-digesting genetic material became more "Fit."  I don't know if this is how things happen at the molecular level, but I've based my personal world view on the concept that molecules don't have intentions,  whew!!!

It's a complex issue, the communication piece that is.  Most of your listeners would understand these anthropomorphic reference to be underlain with the more comprehensive selection processes, but every once in a while it might be nice to address this more accurately or precisely.  Natural Selection is worth being unrelentingly heralded by yous guys! ;)

Obviously, it's my hot button.  Whatever you decide to do is fine with me.  I respect your judgement a great deal.


Mike Oren
Bend, OR, USA

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 18/05/2010 09:30:02 by _system »