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Ch. 1 - Necker Cubes and Buffalos 
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Post Ch. 1 - Necker Cubes and Buffalos
Ch. 1 - Necker Cubes and Buffalos



Fri Jul 31, 2009 11:05 pm
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Interbane wrote:

RT: "We see this clearly in genes, where the information embedded in the DNA code persists as adaptivity to an ecological niche, so the reality of the gene is seen in its phenotype (embodied trait) rather than simply in the chemical bases."

This doesn't fit. A phenotype is still a concept we use to understand reality. We can find instances of the category everywhere, but connecting the dots is done within our minds to form the category. This is an example of the type of information that is different from 'rules'. There is nothing special about phenotypes unless we look beyond them to the genes that specify them. The genes have interpretive potential, but the phenotypes do not.


I think you misunderstand the concept of phenotype here, and especially the extended phenotype as a sort of Necker Cube, a way of looking at reality with two equal parallel structures. The phenotype is the long reach of the gene into the environment. It includes both how the organism changes itself and how it changes its surrounds. It is the influence of the gene on the world. So we can hardly claim to understand a phenotype when ecosystems have such mysterious embedded inter-relationships between the phenotypes they contain.



Fri Oct 23, 2009 12:54 am
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I think you misunderstand the concept of phenotype here, and especially the extended phenotype as a sort of Necker Cube, a way of looking at reality with two equal parallel structures.


I understand what a phenotype is. What was the problem you saw in my paragraph? This post slipped by me for some reason. I just started the Extended Phenotype, and was wondering before I started if a Necker Cube was a sex toy. I think Dawkins drew the parallel to a Necker Cube to show that this book isn't necessarily to submit an understanding that will be tested, but to give a different way of looking at things.

What was currently being tested at that time would then not run against the grain of this book, since both are valid perspectives on the influence of the gene. I'm not sure what you mean by 'looking at reality with two equal parallel structures.'



Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:45 am
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I'm really looking forward to what the Buffalo does with the Necker Cube!!! :mrgreen:



Sat Oct 24, 2009 9:46 am
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Interbane wrote:
I'm really looking forward to what the Buffalo does with the Necker Cube!!! :mrgreen:
Here are some diagrams I made of the Necker cube/sphere. I posted these at http://www.bautforum.com/against-mainst ... ost1139642

Trip Warning.


Image
Image
Image



Sun Oct 25, 2009 7:04 pm
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???

Haven't started Extended Phenotype yet, but I will within the week. Looking forward to it.


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Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:01 pm
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geo wrote:
???

Haven't started Extended Phenotype yet, but I will within the week. Looking forward to it.


Looking first at the second drawing, the two arrows indicate possible directions for a cart made of cube and two wheels. However, the two arrows use different perspectival frameworks for the direction of the motion of the cart which are dimensionally incompatible. There are two different sets of XYZ axes in the drawing. The third drawing expands this by providing three sets of cartwheels which are dimensionally incompatible. Drawing one expands this to a sphere with multiple parallel wheels.

Dawkins uses the Necker Cube as his analogy for the new paradigm of the extended phenotype. It is a logical extension of the theory of the selfish gene. The extended phenotype is not 'dimensionally' compatible with the model of the individual organism as the unit of evolution. Hence the Necker Cube, which I illustrate above is inter-dimensional, just as genetics and conventional thought approach reality from different directions.



Sun Oct 25, 2009 8:29 pm
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Interbane wrote:
I'm not sure what you mean by 'looking at reality with two equal parallel structures.'


regarding 'equal parallel structures', see my pictures and explanation of the Necker Cube above.

Wiki on Necker Cube is here



Sun Oct 25, 2009 9:03 pm
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I understand what necker cubes are, I just didn't understand what you meant by two equal parallel structures.

Basically, what Dawkins is saying is that he's advocating a different way of looking at the same thing. His thesis is that adaptations should be 'for the benefit of' something. Where the necker cube analogy fits in is that he's advocating that adaptations are for the benefit of the gene, as opposed to the orthodox view of the selfish organism. The theory doesn't change, but our perspective on the process is altered. He notes that by offering a different and hopefully improved perspective, we will be better able to understand and thus be able to improve theories. An example is drawn to a pygmy who went up on a hill overlooking the plains for the first time. Without the familiarization to the proper perspective, he mistakenly thought buffalo were insects. This emphasizes how we can be looking at the same things, but draw different conclusions about what they mean.



Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:53 pm
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Interbane wrote:
Basically, what Dawkins is saying is that he's advocating a different way of looking at the same thing. His thesis is that adaptations should be 'for the benefit of' something. Where the necker cube analogy fits in is that he's advocating that adaptations are for the benefit of the gene, as opposed to the orthodox view of the selfish organism.


Finally got started on this book. I get the necker cube now. Dawkins does have a marvelous way of explaining complicated ideas. Here he uses the analogy of the Necker Cube to flip between the two visions of evolution: the selfish organism and the selfish gene. There's an almost cinematic quality to this passage:

"We look at life and begin by seeing a collection of interacting individual organisms. We know that they contain smaller units, and we know that they are, in turn, parts of larger composite units, but we fix our gaze on the whole organisms. The suddenly the image flips. The individual bodies are still there; they have not moved. But they seem to have gone transparent. We see them to the replicating fragments of DNA within, and we see the wider world as an arena in which these genetic fragments play out their tournaments of manipulative skill." (pg. 4-5)

I'm reminded of that William Blake poem Robert posted when we started discussing The Selfish Gene. It really is amazing to see both the micro and macro views and to be able to flip between them.


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Last edited by geo on Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:17 pm
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On pg. 7, Dawkins writes: "I am pretty confident that to look at life in terms of genetic replicators preserving themselves by means of their extended phenotypes is at least as satisfactory as to look at it in terms of selfish organisms maximizing their inclusive fitness."

I'm not familiar with the term, "inclusive fitness." I could google it, of course, but I thought I would just ask here.


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Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:20 pm
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