By J. Scott Turner
Most humans, once they ponder the dwelling global, finish that it's a designed position. So it's jarring while biologists come alongside and say this can be all fallacious. What most folk see as layout, they say--purposeful, directed, even intelligent--is purely an phantasm, anything cooked up in a brain that's wanting to see goal the place none exists. today of more and more assertive demanding situations to Darwinism, the query turns into acute: is our belief of layout easily a psychological figment, or is there anything deeper at paintings?
Physiologist Scott Turner argues eloquently and convincingly that the obvious layout we see within the residing global basically is sensible after we upload to Darwin's towering success the measurement that a lot smooth molecular biology has left at the gene-splicing flooring: the dynamic interplay among residing organisms and their surroundings. merely once we upload environmental body structure to typical choice do we start to comprehend the gorgeous healthy among the shape existence takes and the way existence works.
In The Tinkerer's Accomplice, Scott Turner takes up the query of layout as a really actual challenge in biology; his resolution poses demanding situations to either side during this serious debate.
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Extra info for The Tinkerer's Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself
Whereas chimney builders supposedly relied on wind to ventilate the nest, mound builders had purportedly concocted a clever scheme of self-powered ventilation. The nests of fungus-growing termites are literal hotbeds: they generate sufﬁcient heat to warm the nest 19 20 Bernard Machines air by a few degrees and buoy it up into the mound. This self-generated buoyancy was thought to be powerful enough to drive a circulation of air in the mound: up to the top, then round to the mound’s porous surface, where it would be refreshed and then returned to the nest for another spin.
Even if the winds had been rock-steady, it was difﬁcult to see how they could have produced a spire that tilted so reliably northward rather than to some other point on the compass. So on a couple of idle days, my volunteers and I set about measuring the angle of the tilt on several mounds. We found, oddly enough, that the mounds pointed to the average zenith angle of the sun—the angle between the sun’s position at noon and a point directly overhead. This couldn’t be coincidence. Thinking about it further led me to see that the mound had a tilt largely because it is a dynamic structure: not a thing, nor an action, but something in between.
Depopulated collagen ﬁbers, however, will remain slack. Fibroblasts are, in short, agents of tension homeostasis. They are also capable of restructuring their environment if it is necessary to regulate tension. Collagen meshworks, like termite mounds, are dynamic structures. New ﬁbers are continually being laid down (ﬁbrogenesis), while old ﬁbers are continually being dismantled (ﬁbrolysis). The meshwork’s architecture depends upon where and by how much these processes play off each other. Suppose, for example, a single collagen ﬁber is stretched more forcefully than the ﬁbroblasts can adjust to.