Defending information-free genocentrism.
Genocentrism, the thesis that the genes play a special role in the causation of development is often rejected in favor of a 'causal democracy thesis' to the effect that all causally necessary conditions for development are equal. Genocentrists argue that genes play a distinct causal role owing to their informational content and that this content enables them to program the embryo. I show that the special causal role of the genome hinges not on its informational status--it has none, or at least no more than computer programs have independent of our interpretations of them--but on its power literally to program the embryo, a power nicely illustrated in the use of polynucleotide sequences to compute solutions to NP hard problems in mathematics.
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