Question Day / What do these assumptions say?

I’m compiling some questions as I go along reading about brain function, sensory functions and other key participants in human-animal life. We encounter ideas over and over, which we gloss over, as “reasonable” or which correlate to “how things work,” but sometimes an assertion suddenly seems very odd.

  1. Even though certain genes are implicated in depression, they do not seem to trigger this illness inevitably. Instead, they simply transmit a susceptibility to falling into depressive states more readily—a greater likelihood that given the individual’s particular personality traits, or a particular external event, he or she might develop clinical depression.

Just how does a gene do this? We read that genes predispose a person to X condition, but what does this mean? Do genes have an On / Off / AND a Maybe switch?

Does our personal DNA unfold like Schrodinger’s dead/alive duality? Our DNA is “generic” – that is, 99.9% like every other Homo sapiens – and we exist in a type of identity limbo until “something” within us (the ghost again) or event(s) in the environment (trauma, opportunity), “open the box” to create-reveal our genetic “state of expression” or as psychology sees it, individual human identity is pathological. 

catdepressed

I’m using “the cat” loosely to represent any particular human as “potential” rather than “preformed”.

Nature’s great generator (evolution) of non-identical creatures as opposed to clones, is denigrated: the power of sexual reproduction IS the churning and mixing of DNA –  of “mistakes” that mostly can’t be “judged” until tested by changes in environments. Adaptation requires that organisms change – psychology insists that the “edges” of humanity are not only useless, but dangerous, which is a very short-sighted stance against adaptation-evolution.

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2 thoughts on “Question Day / What do these assumptions say?

  1. From information I have been reading lately, there is a sort of key that turn on/off whatever. Something in the environment (behavior, food, poison, lack of stimuli, whatever) acts as the key. Sometimes what has been turned on can be turned off again by changing/reversing whatever environmental factor messed things up in the first place. But there must susceptibility first.

    I watched a documentary about these DNA tests that we can send in. A geneticist on that program was highly skeptical because of the immense number of genes our DNA contains. Identifying genes is incredibly difficult because usually a number of genes act together to create a problem/benefit.

    Any doctor/psychiatrist/researcher who gives a simplistic answer probably has little understanding of their subject or is terrible at passing their information on.

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    • There is much research going on with epigenetics – it has serious implications for how evolution works – long haul gradual steps or “instant response” by an organism to the environment? Likely determined by how fast an environment changes and how “sloppy” the controls are over an organism’s on/off switches. It’s very complicated and gives me a headache; probably because it requires meticulous work that is not intuitive, but logically formal.

      I’ve been thinking about the DNA tests, but they return minimal info, minimal accuracy. I have been lucky in tracking the exact history on my father’s side, so I doubt a test would be useful. I did the original NatGeo test years ago: it provided my mtDna group and “You’re European” Duh!

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