Horizontal Gene Transfer + no survival of the fittest. Sorry Darwin and Dawkins.

Today’s Darwin Day for some reason. I don’t get the hero worship myself by some but whatever. A common myth that still seems to circulate far and wide is that of natural selection and survival of the fittest, both of life and memes (see Dawkins).

Horizontal gene transfer seems to be more the proper explanation for both.

In short, the whole mess of life and memes alike is a darned complicated thing. Just like your IQ can be affected by the pollen count the day of testing if you have allergies, the “bush of life” (it’s not a tree), is complicated, interconnected, with many hidden networks that aren’t the least bit simple to decode.

I was taught that genes mutated via stray gamma rays from the sun going through the atmosphere.

I believed it too, mostly because it sounded really really cool.

But even as a kid, I didn’t like the “survival of the fittest” and tree of life stuff, people obsessing over missing links and stuff. It all just seemed too cut and dry and, once they spliced the genes better and realized that things like the bacteria ingested by an organism helped shape things (heck, perhaps even MOSQUITOES biting transferring things horizontally rather than vertically) – THAT made much more sense.

So, I’m sure Darwin was fine for his time but I don’t understand the hero worship.


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