Re: god makes hubey

Phil Nicholls (
Wed, 22 Nov 1995 23:24:51 GMT (H. M. Hubey) raged:

> (Benjamin H. Diebold) writes:

>>Excuse me, but it was Hubey who asked someone to "Explain neoteny."

>Yes, that's what I said.

>>Someone did, and accurately, too. Then Hubey criticizes the respondent,
>>accusing him of cicularity.

>Someone who thinks that giving names to things is explanation might
>find things odd; scientists don't.

The question you asked was simply "Explain neoteny." I explained
neoteny in that I answered the question "What is neoteny," which is
the one I thought you had asked. Therefore I didn't give it a name.
You did.

>If you went to a doctor and complained of rapid heart beat and he
>wrote down tachycardia, would you be impressed? I wouldn't. He gave
>it a latin name and still doesn't know what caused and still hasn't
>explained it to me. He might have impressed me if I hadn't checked
>the definition of it, and perhaps the idea behind it is to use
>the spirit lifting psychological effects of fancy sounding latin names
>as a part of the cure when they can do nothing else, but to use
>these tricks in science is tantamount to quackery.

Again, you provided the term, I explained what it was because I
assumed that that was what you wanted. If you had wanted an
explantion as to why neoteny occurs you should have been a bit more

There is actually a very good book on this subject by Stephen Jay
Gould. It is called _Ontogeny and Phylogeny."

There are genes in our DNA whose purpose it is to regulate the
expression of other genes. These care called regulator genes. When
there is a regulator gene mutation the process being regulated will be
affected in some way.

Some genes control the timing of developmental events. When one of
these undergoes mutation, developmental events may not occur or they
may occur at a different time in the developmental process. The
earlier in the developmental process a change occurs the more likely
it is that the organisms with this mutation will die before birth.

Sometimes the timing of development leads to a change in the
morphology of an organisms that is not lethal. In some environments
this change may be favored by natural selection. In the case of
early human evolution I can speculate that the shortening of the
pelvis was the result of such a mutation and that this change in
morphology provided a more stable form of bipedal locomotion.

Now, are you going to advance your argument or are you just going to
play games?


> Regards, Mark

Phil Nicholls
"To ask a question you must first know most of the answer"
-Robert Sheckley