Maybe the issues are: How separate (causally separate) and how stable are genes, gene products, etc? Weismann made his point (with tailess mice, etc.), but clearly he did not explore all possible avenues of direct, or indirect (and context dependent) connectivity. Even the most manic cannot do that. So we extrapolate.
First point is well taken. It could be that mutation rate changes are not at issue, but simply selective dying off. My question is whether this has been explored. Maybe no one wants to do it (and for good reason!).
Margulis: I am ignorant of her work other than through secondary sources. An editor might want her to join the conversation.
Switches: Question 3 is a good one. Wonder what the answer is. Has it been examined critically, and if so, how?
Baldwin: I forget Simpson's critique. I am not certain that folks like Goodwin or Kauffman would buy his critique. Again I plead ignorance.
To my mind all of this raises one nifty question. Under what circumstances, and with what justification, can we say that X (e.g. gene) is ALWAYS causally disconnected from Y (e.g. "experience", broadly defined)? I don't see how our tools of investigation allow us to say this. After a while we just say its too much bother, with too low a probability of interesting outcome, to pursue the matter more fully. The pursuit would, I believe, involve "contextual manipulations", where X & Y may be independent in one context, and not in another. As soon as possible indirect as well as direct links are brought into the equation, the task of investigation takes on potentially infinite parameters...not a great strategy, and certainly not one that works well in grant writing.....which is what I am supposed to be doing, right now! Its refreshing to step outside the obvious from time to time, however...even when one is almost certainly (ALMOST certainly) wrong.
Thanks for joining the conversation.