Friday, 9 November 2012

Positional inheritance

In universal Darwinism, copying is found ubiquitously in nature, from spreading ripples to propagating cracks, from growing crystals to scattering radiation. Of course, copying, variation and selection are the basis of Darwinian evolutionary theory. The copying takes a variety of forms, but the most basic is positional inheritance - the topic of this post.

It is common knowledge that people inherit the environment of their parents - along with their parents genes. They inherit the local climate, the local language, government and religion - along with traits coded in DNA. These are examples of positional inheritance.

Many other organisms lack good dispersal strategies and exhibit the same kind of effect. Rabbits tend to inherit the warren of their parents. Corals inherit their parent's reef - and so on. Much the same is true of many inorganic natural forms. For example:

  • Splitting raindrops - produce offspring that inherit their parent's position.
  • Propagating cracks - when a crack tip divides the offspring crack tips start their lives nearby.
  • Nuclear decay - when atoms split, the offspring particles originate near the parent atom.
Because of multiverse locality, any form of inheritance is also accompanied by positional inheritance. That makes positional inheritance the most widespread form of inheritance in existence.

Since positional inheritance is so fundamental, how come you have never heard of it before? How come searching for the term just turns up this page? Well, there are some "nearby" terms, which have received more attention historically. Ecological inheritance, environmental inheritance and niche inheritance. These terms are fine - but they simply don't mean the same thing as positional inheritance. Positional inheritance is the inheritance of spatial position. That often comes with a bunch of other things as well - but not necessarily.

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1 comment:

  1. Dear Tim Tyler

    I wrote the following in a post, which though not quite correlated with positional inheritance can benefit from the distinctions this concept may enable. Can you please let me know if there are any major flaws in this thought exercise or conjecture which I have indulged in
    http://novelvig.blogspot.fi/2012/11/on-local-enhancement-and-its-cost.html

    Best regards

    ReplyDelete