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Neobiology & Ethetics:
A Novel Approach Toward A Comprehensive
Theory of Genetics And Memetics.
v1.3r0
Authorship by: Tyler Jordan

What is neobiology and ethetics? The neobiological model is an analysis of existing biological and memetic theory and presents a new way of looking at living systems and even consciousness itself. It indicates that all living systems, genetic and memetic belong to the realm of biology. The neobiologic model streamlines and simplifies many research and educational models by allowing the social sciences (psychology, sociology, politics, etc.) to be folded into biology and the redundancies and communication barriers between fields can be eliminated as this neo-biological model is further developed and fleshed out. Those that study this new model will advantage themselves by learning many other fields concurrently due to neobiology's ability to unify scientific fields, thus enabling them to comprehend the nature of the entire forest as opposed to a single patch of trees at a time, as allowed by the contemporary 'tower of babel' approach.
When one can see the rows between the trees, one can more easily navigate their way through the forest.

This work has been evolving for two years now. I've long been interested in relating insights I've had regarding Human behavioural systems to others, but I've always found the language to be lacking. My background is in genetics, and when I seek to explain the field of genetics to someone, I've a difficult time, even with the my vocabulary of genetic terms at hand. So, when I asked what memetics is, I found that it was nearly impossible to describe it using only the word 'meme' and a handful of genetic analogies. Consider trying to explain the field of genetics using only the word 'gene'! It has become clear to me, that only those who grasp the basic concepts of genetics are understanding memetics. What's memetics about anyway, what's it's importance, what does it do or allow, why do we need it at all? The answer is complex and the 'meme' is only the beginning. The genetic model is a near perfect mirror for memetics as they are both living solutions to the same problem - namely, the storage, use, testing, and transmission of 'algorithms'.



The Field of Ethetics

What is ethetics?
Ethetics is a descriptive field that outlines the universal organizational system (the foundational structure) of all living systems (Life). I define ethetics to mean 'of or pertaining to genetic and/or memetic algorithms (ethes)'. This work is meant to demonstrate that ethetics encompasses both genetics and memetics and any other field of algorithmics that serves Life, delineating these sub-fields into carefully defined, discrete components. Thus, ethetics is also a means of extending biology, demonstrating the connection of many fields of study.

Foundation - The Basis of Life
To explain Ethetics, I will carefully step through the basic necessities that define living systems, laying the foundation for the universal system of ethetics.

  1. algorithm - a set of instructions or conditional statements detailing the when, where, and how much of a particular reaction or reactions between tools and substrates/products.

  2. reaction - the production/synthesis or destruction/analysis that occurs via the mixture/combination of catalyst and substrate.

  3. substrate - the acted upon prerequisite input of all reactions; a substrate is the raw material that, once coupled with the appropriate catalyst, is transformed into a different material.

  4. catalyst - A tool/processor/function, e.g. an enzyme. This is the acting prerequisite of all reactions. Biological theory indicates that Life began through trillions of chaotic synthetic-reactive events which ultimately produced/output the first 'living catalyst' i.e. a self-catalysing catalyst - the first life-form. All Life is a catalyst that creates catalysts*; Any and all catalysts, be they enzymes, organs, pocket knives, compasses, humans, or computer chips, fall within the domain of genetics and memetics. Hence, every last catalyst employed in all living systems including the replication machinary is included in the field of ethetics. (*All Life is catalytic, but not all catalysts are living.)

    The precursor catalyst of the first life-form, let's call it a 'precat', was probably similar to a ribozyme (RNA enzyme). It was able to 'catch' certain types of organic molecules, perhaps of a type similar to adenosine, guanine, cytosine, and uracil (the four bases of RNA - ribonucleic acid). These were the simple organic molecules floating around in our primordial lake. This precat would then attach the captured molecule to a string of similar molecules. This early precat probably wasn't 'replicating' or 'copying' itself, it may have been merely chaining molecules together at random. As there weren't any RNases (RNA destroying enzymes), or any other complex catalysts at the time of this precat, after only a short time, it would've made a very dilute broth of thousands of randomly construed RNA-like molecules. One of the side effects of this reaction is the random production of a few other precursor catalysts. Some of them are as primitive as the first precat, some of them are able to do what the first precat does only many fold faster. These early precats turn the dilute broth into a soup that is teaming with millions of RNA-like molecules and an even greater array of new life-forms. One of them is able to do something very unique, via the way it has come together, it could sort. Sorting however implies that this catalyst was also an algorithm -the first algorithm and catalyst combination. This was the first life-form. This RNA-like life-form, the first living catalyst, was in all probability, not very good at what it did, but supplied with a template, which may have been an 'anti-sense' (non-functional mirror image) copy of itself which was attached to its 'sense' (functional) self, this first life-form could perhaps make one good copy for every thousand inaccurate ones. Yet even this low rate of success was enough to get the boulder rolling, this marked the beginning of competetive selection. Out of these inaccuracies, let's call them mutations, came millions more new life-forms all of them competing for substrate. Soon a life-form was produced that had the ability to cannibalize other life-forms to make copies of itself, it was the first predator. The story unfolds, and after millions of years of evolution (mutation, natural selection, and competitive selection), here we are -sans any other complex precursor e.g. aliens, god / supreme being, or a molecular biology lab.

    Algorithmic complexity is the result of serendipity, yet any complex system will only remain (continue to exist) if it serves the need of the core algorithm in meeting the demands of nature, which is the ultimate purpose for all Life. Just as the first life-form did, this core catalyst details the reactions for self-replication, which itself was the result of serendipity -catalysts that build catalysts that build catalysts.

  5. Life - any or all self-catalysing catalysts.

  6. idea - an idea is the description of a reaction or catalyst, not to be confused with an ethe, (a gene or a meme), which is a set of instructions detailing the utilization or production or destruction of ethetic (genetic or memetic) catalyst(s). E.g. describing a house by saying it has two doors, twenty windows, and is white with black trim is the 'idea' of a particular house, but such a description does not tell you how it's built, nor does it tell you what catalysts (the particular tools) you would need in order to build and maintain one, nor is the description of a hammer, a drill, or sandpaper an explanation of how to utilize them. Similarly, the description of an enzyme does not inform one how to produce, destroy, or use one. Thus an idea is not an ethe (a gene or a meme), it's a description of the product of an ethetic (genetic or memetic) system.


Structure atop Foundation: An Outline of Ethetics Terminology

Now let's build on our basic understanding of Life and see what order presents itself. (Notes: The term 'express' and 'expression', as used herein, are meant to imply active, in the moment, use. They are not meant to imply conditional usage. The term 'organ' is meant to imply a distinct 'tissue', 'tool', or 'machine' of any particular ethome. The terms in red are terms I've coined to explain this hypothesis, if they exist elsewhere in previous works it is by coincidence only. If anyone can conceive a more apt nomenclature or knows of pre-existing nomenclature please send your comments to: tyler@earthsociety.org)
Ethetics - Any algorithmic field such as genetics and memetics. Genetics - Subfields include: phylum biology (phylo-genetics), species population biology (gene-pool genetics), cell/molecular biology (basic genetics/ structures and behavioral functions) Memetics - Subfields include: anthropology (phylo-ethetics), tribal population biology (socio/tribe-pool ethetics), psycho biology (basic ethetics/ structures and behavioral functions)
Ethedex - A Codex of Life. DNA - (The genetic Ethedex.) The genetic code (deoxyribonucleic acid) is an evolutionarily derived method of encoding genes. The four bases (Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine) compose the underlying physical structure of DNA that comprise codons (sets of three bases each) which describe the parameters (amino acid composition) of production. Language - (The memetic Ethedex.) The memetic code. Each language is a separate memetic Ethedex and traditionally has been the boundary for the particular civilization.
Ethe or expressed ethe (ex-ethe) - An algorithmic function; a genetic or memetic function. Gene or expressed gene (ex-gene) - A Genetic ethe.
Properties:
1. Mode of transmission: Biological reproduction (sexual, asexual, or clonal)
2. Utilizes chemical structures (bases) to encode instructions (codons) on the construction of potential products (proteins).
Meme or expressed meme (ex-meme) - A Memetic ethe.
Properties:
1. Mode of transmission: Lingual, Visual, or Tactile.
2. Utilizes a system(s) of neuronal encoding which is/are not yet fully understood.
Ethor - (An ethe organ) A set of ethes that when expressed (ex-ethor) encode a subsystem of the ethotype. Genor - (A gene organ) A set of genes that when expressed (ex-genor) encode a subsystem of the genotype e.g. a multi-gene ability, Kidney, Heart, Immune system, Liver, Skin, Lungs. genor are defined at the cellular level, i.e. the 'cell type'. Memor - (A meme organ) A set of memes that when expressed (ex-memor) encode a sub-system of the memotype e.g. a multi-meme ability, eating with utensils, using a flush toilet, contructing a tool/machine.
Ethotype - A particular ethetic variant. Genotype - A genetic variant of a particular genome that, when expressed, produces a particular cell. Memotype - A memetic variant of a particular memome that, when expressed, produces a particular citizen.
The products of a genotypes and memotypes can be more than just cells and citizens. The cells of an particular organism for example, produce many products and perform many services that assist the greater organism. Likewise, the citizens of a civilization produce many products and perform many services that assist the greater civilization.
Ethome - An ethetic system (an ethe-pool circumscribed by transmission barriers) that define a genetic species and a memetic civilization. Genome - A genetic system (a gene-pool circumscribed by transmission barriers) that, when expressed, produces a particular species. The main product of a genome is a species. It can be either a:
1. single cell which exists in a mostly unspecialized and unorganized community of single cells.
2. multi-cellular organism - differentiated/specialized/organized (organ based).
Memome - A memetic system (a meme-pool circumscribed by transmission barriers) that, when expressed, produces a particular civilization. The main product of a memome is a civilization. It can be either a:
1. single citizen, which exists in a mostly unspecialized and unorganized community of single citizens.
2. multi-citizen civilization - differentiated/specialized/organized (organ based).
Meta-Ethor - (A meta ethe organ.) A set of ethor spread over multiple phenotypes or extended phenotypes that potentially encode a subsystem of the ethome. Meta-Genor - (A meta gene organ.) A set of genor spread over multiple phenotypes that potentially encode a subsystem of the genome. e.g. the sexual reproductive organ (non-plural), is the combination of both male and female components. Meta-Memor - (A meta meme organ.) A set of memor spread over multiple phenotypes that potentially encode a subsystem of the memome e.g. any specialized teamwork.

Why is ethetics useful?
The most basic axiom of neobiology is summed as this: Any organized living system, is a biological system, hence, all descriptions of organized living systems, should be biological descriptions and should fit working biological theory. Also, the field of biology has greater objectivity than many other fields due to it's past focus on non-human biology, not merely those of one species. Thus, it has developed with far less potentially flawed subjectivity and is the best field with which to attack these problems.

Neobiology encompasses all Life and all living systems, thus all Human systems (political, social, economic, etc.) must be included as having biological significance and being biological in their nature. (See A Neo-Biological Analysis of Civilization for further analysis)

Ethetics demonstrates that all Life is based on algorithms, and that there is a 'skeletal' structure for all algorithmic systems of organization that transcends genetics and is the common structure in all forms and potential forms of Life.





Thoughts & Discussion

Please note that everything below this point is very 'iffy'. My thoughts about what lies below as well as the words themselves are very muddled, as much of what is above this point has been changing and thus requiring revision to what is below. . .too much for me to deal with for the moment. I'm leaving it in here for further discussion, but take it with a two grains of salt and some aspirin. -Tyler

Those species with central nervous systems (the products of particular ex-genor), have instincts, which are the product of expressed genes (ex-genes). These instinctual nervous-system organs are genetically encoded and thus have predetermined connections and pre-determined bias that cause the phenotype/organism to perform certain behaviors on cue. It seems that nervous systems are instincts that provide the phenotype with the ability to perform some behavior.

Those species with more complex neuronal ex-genor utilize emotions, which like instincts, are also genetically encoded, but function to bias an instinct(s), either inhibiting or increasing the activation threshold needed to perform a particular behavior, i.e. more or less of a particular cue is needed to initiate the instinct. The flexibility of the organism within it's particular environment is thus increased. As emotions are genetically encoded, they too are expressed gen(or?).

Neuronal ex-genor process cues from the external environment or from other ex-genor. When appropriately biased, ex-genor transmit cues to other ex-genor, some of them neuronal, some of them not, e.g. another part of the nervous system or brain, or an arm or a leg. Thus, cues drive the manifestation of certain behaviors.

Most species have evolved complex ex-genor that allow the transmission of cues to the ex-genor of other related phenotypes. i.e. ex-genor external to the phenotype expressing the cue.

We might call these signaling ex-genor.

Some species with highly complex neuronal ex-genor evolved lingual ex-genor, i.e. the ability to hear and generate sounds as a means of sending and responding to cues external to the phenotype. These type of cues are external audible signals that are translated by sensory ex-genor and in turn bias lingual ex-genor. These cues must functionally describe self or objects and the relationship between self and objects or objects and other objects.

We might call this particular ex-genor, lingual signaling.

We can imagine that these lingual signals are conveyed to ex-genor within range of hearing. Including the ex-genor and ex-memor of certain phenotypes, which, if appropriately biased, may then exhibit some behavior and possibly convey the signals even further, biasing other ex-memor and ex-genor and so on and so on.

Consciousness
In a species such as ours, that employs advanced and abstract lingual abilities and employs an appropriately developed language, we see the emergence (the evolutionary production) of consciousness. What is consciousness? Consider, do you consciously think without using internal language/internal dialogue? No, all non-lingual thought is sub-conscious thought, and sub-conscious thought may interact with conscious thought, but all conscious thought is a logical process and thus a linguistic process. So, consciousness is an awareness of linguistically transmitted memes. What occurs during conscious thought is the active development, testing, or compiling of memetic instructions, for use, storage, or transmission. Those who have written computer source code, compiled, and executed it, might envision consciousness as the active analysis, debugging, testing, and, potentially, the compilation of source code into compiled machine code. Following this analogy further, we could say that consciousness is like a memetic 'coding studio' with a built in interpreter to test out the meme code on the fly and a built in compiler which hard-wires the memes into the non or sub conscious mind. Of course, we have other words for these processes, we call the development and testing of meme code (the logical parsing of the code), 'thinking out or thinking through' via the use of a 'code interpreter' which is the use of imagination; the process of compiling meme code is practising; and the storage of meme code is memorisation. Any future true A.I. will have to incorporate these abilities for the system to acheive consciousness.

Imagination
Imagination is a process of modelling and is available in different flavors each derived from our five senses, which are the forms of meme reception/transmission. One such form is lingual modelling the ability to internally speak and, in so doing, hear a potential meme. Linguistics, Logical Positivism, and Symbolic Logic have shown us that each specific language has, underneath it, a common logical framework. As we learn our particular language we gain insight into this framework, the more experience we have, the more insight we have, and thus the greater our logical ability within each particular flavor of imagination. When we use our internal/virtual voice to 'hear' memes or partial memes, we gain access to this insight and are able to judge the validity of these memes. A second form of imagination is visual modelling. This form allows us to use an internal/virtual contruction to visualize/see memes or partial memes. Once again, our lifelong experience tells us the validity of the modeled meme or partial meme. A third form is tactile modelling and the fourth and fifth are taste and odor.

Questions: ( submit your own questions to: tyler@earthsociety.org )

Q.This stuff seems so complicated, do you really need all this terminology?

A. As neobiology is meant to replace sociology and psychology, the complexity is actually vastly reduced. Certainly it will become more complex over time, however, since it consolidates theory across the sciences, it will remain a simpler, more communicable, and more effective theory.

Q. Will a host/phenotype stop using an ex-memor if it conflicts with other ex-memor being processed?

A. Maybe, but conflicts between ex-memor and between ex-memor and ex-genor may likely be the source of many psychological and sociological conflicts.

Q. When the host encounters new memor, what is the process of reconciliation with pre-adopted memor, i.e. how are memor retained or discarded?
A. This process is likely regulated by ex-memor that are specific to the memome. Some, if not many of the ex-memor taught to the younger generation of a specific memome will function as filters (ethics and morals) to the phenotype (ethetic host), thus the phenotype usually, will only be able to utilize ex-memor that fit the world view of its memome.

Q. Are ex-memor any less hardwired than instincts and emotions?
A. I think they are. As it seems that we can alter our ex-memor more easily than our ex-genor (instincts and emotions).

Q. Is the only line between ex-memor and ex-genor instincts/emotions, that instincts and emotions are inherited genetically, while ex-memor are inherited memetically?
A. Yes, that is the line I'm drawing. It is unclear to me what other issues may distinguish them.
Q. What are the implications for other pre-existing fields of study?
A. There is considerable overlap between memetics and other fields. This makes it very difficult for memetics to gain a foothold in mainstream universities as the professors of these overlapped fields e.g. sociology, political science, etc. aren't going to abandon their thrones, quite to the contrary, they will defend them vigorously. First by ignoring memetics, then, if necessary by attacking it. Ultimately however, the best system will emerge. Below is a proposed break-down for neo-biological study. It demonstrates the extreme degree of overlap between the neo-biological model and the mainstream model.

A Proposed Breakdown for Neo-Biological Study
    ETHETICS


Genetics Memetics
BioChemistry Brain ex-genor Biology
{Formerly: Neurology}
Genetic -
Virology
(Ex)Gene Biology
{Formerly: Molecular Biology}
(Ex)Meme Biology
{Formerly: Cognition & Linguistics}
- Memetic
Virology
Core ex-genor Biology
{Formerly: Cell Biology}
The shared ex-genor of all cells of a species
Core ex-memor Biology
{Formerly: Psychology}
The shared ex-memor of all members of a civilization
Genetic Immunity
human:immune-system
Non-core ex-genor Biology
{Formerly: Tissue Biology}
This area would encompass many subfields specializing in each specialized cell/tissue sub-type generated by ex-genor e.g. human:kidney, human:brain, human:heart, etc.
Non-core ex-memor Biology
{Formerly: Sociology}
This area would encompass many subfields specializing in each specialized human sub-type generated by ex-memor e.g. human:civilization:bricklayer, human:civilization:gardener, etc.
Memetic Immunity
{Formerly: Ethics & Morality}
human:civilization:
politicos, chieftain, priest
Phylo-genetics
{Formerly: Physical Anthropology}
Phylo-memetics
{Formerly: Cultural/Lingual Anthropology}




Implications

It seems that language (lingual intercourse) is to the memome what sex (sexual intercourse) is to the genome. One is the means of transmitting the memome within a particular civilization, the other is the means of transmitting the genome within a particular species. Further, this model could be expanded to model computer code and thus 'artificial intelligence' (A.I). There seems little point in doing so however, as such programs could be, and maybe already are, in use by human minds. The meme/memor of A.I. reminds me of the meme/memor of 'nanotechnology' as though it were some mysterious technology of the future, yet are not the machinery of our cells already of this scale? The truth is sometimes stranger than fiction and the truth is, that we're not only the products of nanotechnology, but we're also utilizing and evolving powerful ethetic code that will likely exceed the ability of A.I. code indefinitely. That is, of course, as long as we choose to allow our genetics and memetics to evolve and diversify rather than stagnate and consolidate.

Hopefully, this paper helps to break down and make comprehensible the nature of the relationships between memetics and genetics. A clear understanding allows us to more fully comprehend our species abilities and hence, our responsibilities in regard to Life. For instance, understanding that Life requires diversity to escape bottlenecks, we can understand why tribalism evolved as a core survival strategy. As isolation is vital for the preservation of genetic diversity, it seems isolation is likely to be even more vital for memetic diversity, as memetic transfer is much more rapid a process than genetic transfer. Ethetics shows us that we are not merely standing in a forest, we are standing in a supremely ordered forest, the greater pattern amongst the trees, revealed.