Endogenous Adaptive Mutagenesis
Endogenous Adaptive Mutagenesis refers to an approach to evolutionary theory which finds its mechanism, (that is, the causal explanation for biological evolution), within the organism itself, not in any external agent. Both Nature, as the agent for Darwin's "Natural Selection", and God, as the agent for "Special Creation", are not necessary to an understanding of origins, according to "EAM", but neither of these hypothetical mechanisms is necessarily antithetical to EAM, either. They are simply not seen as directly pertinent, ordinarily, to the issue of regularity in the generation of novel variations and increased complexity in organisms; that is, evolution, as EAM defines it.
EAM asserts that vital, (as opposed to trivial), novelty in organisms, begins exactly where and when environmental pressure forces it to happen, provided that that environmental pressure is both destructive and chronic, (without being entirely lethal), or, that it offers a highly advantageous opportunity to the organism. Adaptation is either the organism restructuring itself, and/or its offspring, so as to cope with a novel negative environmental pressure, or, so as to thrive by taking better advantage of a novel environmental opportunity.
EAM holds that adaptation is reactive-that is, that it does not begin until the after the environment induces an adaptive reaction in the organism. Also, it begins precisely at that organic point where the environmental pressure is applied, not necessarily at that part of the organism known as the genome, unless that is where the pressure is being applied. EAM is, therefore, an 'adaptive' mechanism, not a 'selective' mechanism, (such as is the famous, Random Genetic Mutation plus Natural Selection). More importantly, adaptation and adaptive evolution are seen as intentional dynamic processes, rather than as accidental and coincidental, passively experienced, anomalous events.
EAM is a process that involves non-mechanical, non-physical, phenomena, such as self-awareness, cellular intelligence, memory, intention, and other aspects of 'mind'. These aspects exist to some extent in all life forms, but one aspect of human minds, i.e., conscious analytical thought, is seemingly reserved to homo sapiens. These non-physical aspects guide and direct the behaviour of the organs, the cells, and the physical components within the cells. This requires a soma to germ cell line of communication, which is now acceptable thanks to recent evidence of the dissolution of 'Weismann's barrier', and the instability of Crick's 'Central Dogma'.
EAM requires that organisms use these mental phenomena to actively attempt to 'learn' to adapt, by means of a trial and error heuristic experience in which a 'best available solution' is sought to a specific 'problem'. Some solutions are sufficient, some aren't. This 'learning' can be inferred from observed effects, particularly in developmental biology. Comparisons with the immune system's network of cellular communications look promising. Biosemiotics offers insights into biological information systems. Meanwhile, 'Quorum Sensing' in bacteria and 'Collective Intelligence' in eusocial insects provide empirical support for 'organismic learning'.
EAM is the 'multiple designers' version of Intelligent Design. It holds that every organism possesses intelligence to some degree, and that it uses that intelligence in an unconscious, instinctive way, to redesign itself and/or its behaviour, and that of its offspring, in the face of novel, crucial environmental demands. Ecological adaptedness , that is, balance between environmental pressure and an organism's capacities, replaces the 'competitive' Darwinian notion of differential 'fitness' between organisms, in the teleology of EAM.
Web Resources On Endogenous Adaptive Mutagenesis
Organism as a self-reading text: anticipation and semiosis
Outlines for a post-Darwinian biology
A New Factor in Evolution
Book Resources On Endogenous Adaptive Mutagenesis
The Rainbow and the Worm: The Physics of Organisms by Mae-Wan Ho
Epigenetic Inheritance and Evolution -- The Lamarckian Dimension by Jablonka and Lamb
Symbiosis in Cell Evolution by Lynn Margulis
Editor(s): Mike Turner