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Cancer is a Disease of Identity: Rethinking Evolutionary Biology with Perry Marshall: PYP 433

Perry Marshall is one of the organizers of Cancer & Evolution Symposium, and a “pantomath” of the highest order. An engineer, marketer, writer, and science enthusiast, he has devoted much of the past 10 years to cracking the evolutionary code.

Mainstream Darwinism simply can't answer some of our biggest questions, or account for much of the fossil record, according to Marshall. And given that creationists and intelligent design advocates are the main opponents of this understanding of evolution, scientific consensus has refused to admit other possibilities. As Marshall quips, “Evolutionary biology is the field most resistant to evolution.”

Marshall argues that natural selection is not the only, or even the main factor, in evolution. Instead, the organism itself exerts its will, and is an agent in its own evolution to further its own goals.

And that explains why we have such a poor track record when it comes to treating and preventing cancer. We act like cancer cells are stupid, and only engage in random mutation. But what if cancer is a disease of identity?: the cancerous cell gains immortality by killing off its kill switch (apoptosis), and fails to realize that it's part of a larger organism.

In our discussion, we covered

  • the connection between cancer and the Cambrian explosion
  • the insulting term “junk DNA”
  • how viruses are like “Hey Jude,” and why humanity will probably survive COVID-19 with some genetic upgrades
  • Barbara McClintock's Nobel-prize winning corn and radiation experiments
  • the artificial distinction between artificial and natural selection
  • “natural selection is as smart or dumb as your competitors”
  • “If the airplane crashes, your theory is wrong”
  • the significance of islands and flightless birds
  • cancer as the body's attempt to reboot in “safe mode”
  • epigenetic multigenerational transmission of asthma
  • the mammalian placenta was built from code stolen from retroviruses
  • viruses as an open source repository for evolutionary changes
  • evidence that cancer mutates volitionally
  • and much more…

Links

Cancer & Evolution Symposium – October 14-16, 2020
Evolution 2.0, by Perry Marshall
The Mind's I, by Daniel Dennett
Video: Denis Noble and the $10mm Origin of Life Prize announcement at the Royal Society

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Music

The Plant Yourself Podcast theme music, “Dance of Peace (Sabali Don),” is generously provided by Will Ridenour, a kora player from North Carolina who has trained with top Senegalese musicians.

It can be found on his first CD, titled Will Ridenour.

You can learn about Will, listen to more tracks, and buy music on his website, WillRidenour.com.

Gratitudes

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