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Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology

To: <doug@xxxxxxxxxx>, "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 18 Jan 2012 11:30:36 -0800
Message-id: <9553E062705F4E018858CB2EB918D794@Gateway>

Dear Self Interested Ontologists,


Here is a relevant quote from an experiment on fusing individual yeast cells into multicellular organisms through controlling the environment and applying artificial selection methods:


“Multicellularity is the ultimate in cooperation,” said Travisano, who wants to understand how cooperation emerges in selfishly competing organisms. “Multiple cells make up an individual that cooperates for the benefit of the whole. Sometimes cells give up their ability to reproduce for the benefit of close kin.”


Since the late 1990s, experimental evolution studies have attempted to induce multicellularity in laboratory settings. While some fascinating entities have evolved — Richard Lenski’s kaleidoscopically adapting E. coli, Paul Rainey’s visible-to-the-naked-eye bacterial biofilms — true multicellularity remained elusive.


According to Travisano, too much emphasis was placed on identifying some genetic essence of complexity. The new study suggests that environmental conditions are paramount: Give single-celled organisms reason to go multicellular, and they will.


Here is the URL for the whole article:







Rich Cooper


Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com

9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2

-----Original Message-----
From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of doug foxvog
Sent: Tuesday, January 10, 2012 7:33 AM
To: [ontolog-forum]
Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] Self Interest Ontology


> Dear Doug,


> Recently, you asked if emotions might be expressed

> by invertebrates.  Intrigued with the question, I

> have found an explanation of how the fruit fly

> (Drosophila) can be used to experiment with

> emotional behaviors.  The article's title is: "The

> Genetic Basis of Emotional Behavior: Has the Time

> Come for a Drosophila Model?".

> ...

> "... the only question that

> remains unresolved is whether flies exhibit some

> physiological changes caused by an

> emotion-provoking stimulus."


Presumably, they mean a stimulus that in vertebrates provokes emotion.

A sexual stimulus provokes emotion in vertebrates.  A sexual stimulus

causes physiological changes in Drosophila that leads to mating behavior.

Does this mean that an emotion must exist in order for the physiological

changes to take place?


The logic of the above argument is certainly non-standard:

    STIM1 => EMOT1        (in mammals)

    STIM1 => PHYS_CH1   (in mammals)

    STIM2 => PHYS_CH1   (in Drosophila)


    STIM2 => EMOT1        (in Drosophila)



> The classification of the emotions is another

> question still under debate. Many researchers

> define some emotions as basic or primary, whereas

> others are complex. According to the Ekman ...

> six basic emotions that

> appear to be innate: happiness, sadness, disgust,

> fear, anger, and surprise. Panksepp

> distinguishes four basic emotional response

> patterns: panic, rage, expectancy, and fear, .... Plutchik

> ... suggests there are eight basic adaptive reactions

> (incorporation, rejection, protection,

> destruction, reproduction, reintegration,

> orientation, and exploration) that are prototypes,

> single or in combination, of all emotions.

> ...

> present in flies. However, emotions such as fear

> and anger, which underlie anxiety and depression,

> may, indeed, be there.


On what basis do they make this claim of possibility?


> ... the potential

> for fruit flies to be used to study anxiety and

> depression has been stated several times


> ... To date, Drosophila has been successfully used

> as a model system to elucidate molecular,

> physiological, and behavioral mechanisms of

> several human neurodegenerative diseases,

> including Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and

> Huntington's ...


How does this relate to emotion?  Neurodegeneration causes

malfunctions in a brain.


> Remarkably, Drosophila shares with rodents and

> humans essential neurochemical substrates (e.g.,

> specific receptors, enzymes signaling proteins,

> and neurotransmitter systems), which are involved

> in the control and regulation of emotional

> behavior ...


Evolution normally adapts existing chemical pathways for new

purposes.  I would be surprised if emotions required enzymes,

receptors, and neurotransmitter systems that existed in no other

animal and that had no other biological function than emotion.


> All these findings suggest that our

> understanding of the genetic and cellular

> mechanisms underlying emotional behavior can be

> vastly improved by using the fruit fly as a

> genetically tractable model system.


If you wish to understand genetic and cellular mechanisms, it is

useful to study a simpler system that has the same mechanisms.


My understanding of the properties of the foundation underlying

my house can be vastly improved by studying a foundation constructed

in the same way with loads of rocks where the walls are and pipes with

the appropriate properties passing through at comparable positions.  I

need not construct a new house above it.  Such a model can help me

understand the foundational system, allowing me to determine limits

to what it can support.  But that does not mean that the model explains

the structure which the foundation of my house supports, nor does it

suggest that the load borne by the model has many features of the

load borne by my foundation.


i did not read all of the attached articles, but the part that you


provided no suggestion that Drosophila has emotions.


For an argument that insects might have emotion, i expected a discussion

of wasps or bees being "angered" by a disruption of their hive, ants

similarly protecting their hills, or maybe frightened cockroaches fleeing

human predators.  In each case, the activity is instinctual and ingrained,

and need have nothing to do with emotion.  Such instinctual activity would

have to be neurochemically mediated.  In animals whose brains are more

advanced, such "fight or flight" chemical pathways, would be developed

further, at some point becoming associated with emotions -- when brain

activity can finally be labeled emotional.


Imho, the supporting structures (e.g., chemical pathways) come first and

the features built upon them (e.g., emotions) come later.  The existence

of the features in some animal may imply the existence of the support

structures, but existence of the support structures does not necessarily

imply the existence of the features.


-- doug


> The complete article is located at:

> http://informahealthcare.com/doi/full/10.1080/01677060802471650


> -Rich




> Sincerely,


> Rich Cooper


> EnglishLogicKernel.com


> Rich AT EnglishLogicKernel DOT com


> 9 4 9 \ 5 2 5 - 5 7 1 2


>   ...





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