Cricket infected with gordian worm committing suicide
And a more in-depth video:
As I’ve previously hypothesized:
When mental processes—particularly those concerning the genetics of kin identification and reproduction—are up for grabs, the GOD hypothesis predicts genetic omni-dominance will override the mental processes of individuals of lesser GOD producing behavior that seems bizarre if one does not consider the externality of the genes being served by said behavior.
For example, arguing in good faith about genetics with those subject to the “logical fallacies” of “political correctness” is frequently akin to arguing with the bee in the following passage from “The Extended Phenotype” by Richard Dawkins chapter titled “Host Phenotypes of Parasite Genes”:
“Many fascinating examples of parasites manipulating the behavior of their hosts can be given. For nematomorph larvae, who need to break out of their insect hosts and get into water where they live as adults, ‘...a major difficulty in the parasite’s life is the return to water. It is, therefore, of particular interest that the parasite appears to affect the behavior of its host, and “encourages” it to return to water. The mechanism by which this is achieved is obscure, but there are sufficient isolated reports to certify that the parasite does influence its host, and often suicidally for the host… One of the more dramatic reports describes an infected bee flying over a pool and, when about six feet over it, diving straight into the water. Immediately on impact the gordian worm burst out and swam into the water, the maimed bee being left to die’ (Croll 1966).”
We can rest assured the bee was not thinking “I must atone for the abuses to which my species’ immune system has put the poor little nematomorph larvae throughout our history of coevolution together. Therefore, with full knowledge and forethought, I now die for my little friend inside, and it I feel _so good about myself_!” despite how impressive our little parable of “the politically correct bee” is. However, when the mental processes are as complex as those supported by human nervous systems, the GOD influences of parasite genes may be masked in entire academic and theological disciplines with libraries filled with the scholarly works of the generations.
The fact that such genetically suicidal behavior is almost entirely on behalf of more GOD gene pools—with the most extremes of “political correctness” exhibited by the most recessive gene pools ecologically furthest from human origin, in places like Stockholm, Sweden (one of the last benefactors of Zimbabwe’s Mugabe regime to withhold its enormous monetary gifts during Zimbabwe’s extended low level war against white farmers) or Seattle, Washington (the Gates Foundation gives more to benefit sub-Saharan African populations than any other) expressing altruism toward places closest to human origin—is something directly predicted by the GOD hypothesis. Likewise it is unsurprising when populations not so far from human origins are less charitable toward those populations even nearer to human origins. Take, for example, this quote:
“Ours is one continued struggle against degradation sought to be inflicted upon us by the European, who desire to degrade us to the level of the raw Kaffir, whose occupation is hunting and whose sole ambition is to collect a certain number of cattle to buy a wife with, and then pass his life in indolence and nakedness.”
—Mahatma Ghandi Collected Works II p. 74
Lest the dramatic example of the _internal_ parasite leave some wondering how genes _external_ to a body might lead to the control of that body’s nervous system, I’ll further transcribe from the introduction of the chapter “Host Phenotypes of Parasite Genes”:
“This chapter will develop two further ideas. One is that phenotypes that extend outside the body do not have to be inanimate artefacts: they can themselves be built of living tissue. The other idea is that whenever there are ‘shared’ genetic influences on an extended phenotype, the shared influences may be in conflict with each other rather than cooperative. The relationships we shall be concerned with are those of parasites and their hosts. I shall show that it is logically sensible to regard parasite genes as having phenotypic expression in host bodies and behavior.”
And now the closing of that chapter:
“But we have not yet reached the end of our continuum of proximity. Not all parasites live physically inside their hosts. They may even seldom come into contact with their hosts. A cuckoo is a parasite in very much the same way as a fluke. Both are whole-organism parasites rather than tissue parasites or cell parasites. If fluke genes can be said to have phenotypic expression in a snail’s body, there is no sensible reason why cuckoo genes should not be said to have phenotypic expression in a reed warbler’s body. The difference is a practical one, and a rather smaller one than the difference between, say, a cellular parasite and a tissue parasite. The practical difference is that the cuckoo does not live inside the reed warbler’s body, so has less opportunity for manipulating the host’s internal biochemistry. It has to rely on other media for its manipulation, for instance sound waves and light waves.
As discussed in Chapter 4, it uses a supernormally bright gape to inject its control into the reed warbler’s nervous system via the eyes. It uses an especially loud begging cry to control the reed warbler’s nervous system via the ears. Cuckoo genes, in exerting their developmental power over host phenotypes, have to rely on action at a distance.”
And finally, scholars of revolutions may find the following passage from chapter 4, “Arms Races and Manipulation” particularly interesting:
“Several species of ant have no workers of their own. The queens invade nests of other species, dispose of the host queen, and use the host workers to bring up their own reproductive young. The method of disposing of the queen varies. In some species, such as the descriptively named Bothriomyrmex regicidus and B. decapitans, the parasite queen rides about on the back of the host queen and then, in Wilson’s (1971) delightful description, ‘begins the one act for which she is uniquely specialized: slowly cutting off the head of her victim’ (p. 363).”
“Monomorium santschii achieves the same result by more subtle means. The host workers have weapons wielded by strong muscles, and nerves attached to the muscles; why should the parasite queen exert her own jaws if she can subvert the nervous systems controlling the numerous jaws of the host workers? It does not seem to be known how she achieves it, but she does: the host workers
kill their own mother and adopt the usurper. A chemical secreted by the parasite queen seems the likely weapon, in which case it might be labeled a pheromone, but it is probably more illuminating to think of it as a formidably powerful drug. In line with this interpretation, Wilson (1971, p 413) writes of symphylic substances as being ‘more than just elementary nutritive substances or even
analogues of the natural host pheromones. Several authors have spoken of a narcotizing effect of symphylic substances.’ Wilson also uses the word ‘intoxicant’ and quotes a case in which worker ants under the influence of such a substance become temporarily disoriented and less sure of their footing.”
“Those who have never been brainwashed or addicted to a drug find it hard to understand their fellow men who are driven by such compulsions. In the same naive way we cannot understand a host bird’s being compelled to feed an absurdly oversized cuckoo, or worker ants wantonly murdering the only being in the whole world that is vital to their genetic success. But such subjective feelings are misleading, even where the relatively crude achievements of human pharmacology are concerned. With natural selection working on the problem, who would be so presumptuous as to guess what feats of mind control might not be achieved?”
When we see words such as “prejudice” and “discrimination” used in morally perjorative and even medically diagnostic ways that are otherwise indistinguishable from “knowledge”, “wisdom” and “discernment”—particularly in the areas of thought about “genes”—who would be so presumptuous as to assert no genetic interests are at work generating emotional confusion of clear headedness?
Finally, Dawkins completes this paragraph on mind control with a warning:
“Do not expect to see animals always behaving in such a way as to maximize their own inclusive fitness. Losers in an arms race [genetic omni-recessives—jab] may behave in some very odd ways indeed. If they appear disoriented and unsure of their footing, this may be only the beginning.”
Posted by James Bowery on Friday, December 15, 2006 at 06:31 PM in
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