Re: Patriarchy: Re: What Matriarchy?

Len Piotrowski (
Fri, 16 Aug 1996 13:06:26 GMT

In article <4v08iv$> (Bryant) writes:


>In article <>,
>Joel and Lynn Gazis-Sax <> wrote:

>>[Joel said to Lenny:]
>>So you believe that you can expose any genotype to the world and precisely
>>predict what kind of phenotype it is going to end up as just by looking
>>at the genotype? I find /that/ hard to swallow.

>How precise a prediction do you need, Joel?
>(Note: that's not meant to be sarcastic or insulting.)

>I mean, he can predict the sex and species.

>That may sound flip at first, but think about it: where's the information
>during development? Initially, at least, it's in the genes. How well
>canalized the genotype is for a given trait will determine how precisely you
>can predict phenotypes.

Thus the received wisdom of Chaos Theory's Fuzz Factor. Uninteresting are
the definitive processes of change; paramount is the dubious "predictive"
value of a difference without explication of it's developmental factors.
Recognizing that changes in certain systems are due to well known processes
largely reduces Chaos Theory's utility for understanding those systems to a
form of "weird science."

>Environmental stress can corrupt the developmental integrity of an organism
>so that phenotype isn't exactly what genotype "had in mind."

>Alternatively, differences between imaginary clones exposed to different
>environments may represent facultative ("genetically determined")
>responses to different environmental parameters, if those variables were
>encountered with some regularity through evolutionary time and affected
>fitness in ancestral populations.

If we allow the identity constraints of the "clone" experiment to apply to all
aspects of the process, even with respect to minute details of the space and
time contexts, can the same "prediction" be possible? If we could "perceive"
a difference, Chaos Theory would require some "processual difference" in the
two clone's development. The immediate question then arises, why? Invoking
the principles of Chaos Theory only exorcises the mind from worrying further
about a deeper understanding behind what happened.

If we imagine several cultural systems, cloned from the same "germ culture,"
and let them "develop" in a myriad of different settings and then compare
them after different time periods, are we as social scientists to be satisfied
with the conclusions of Chaos Theory that, yea, they will be different?