For me evolutionary biology is one of many chemical results of energy and information redistributions on particle level since the Big Bang. Evolutionary biology is the study of one specific line of causality on a specific planet and the chemistry and replicator in this case is DNA.
If you think of physics as particles bouncing around, as they have to do because of causality, biology emerged when particles first clustered together and became molecules, and then those molecules clustered into a specific molecule variations called RNA and DNA. Those in turn clustered and became the Cell.
It’s still sub-atomic particles following the threads of cause and effect since the Big Bang, what we see is just a complex chemical building block, a result of a ”micro universe” of zillions of causalities beneath the replicators visible expression. It’s the original particle causalities still playing out, but have been collected in larger building blocks, and a lower speed redistribution of energy and information emerges. If physics is the bricks and cement in high speed, biology is the houses and cities in slow-motion.
The energy and information redistribution in biology is chemistry, but the information redistribution can also be transmitted without direct physical contact, e.g. from brain to brain. So, chemical reactions in one Homo Sapiens brain can be altered without direct contact to other brains. We are predisposed for this, because some of our senses are receiving and processing information from the environment without direct physical contact.
So, our brains are in constant neuro-chemically change caused partly by information from surroundings, things far and close to our body. Some of our being is changed just because of information via audio and visual input. If a tree or the sight of an animal can change our perception and behavior, of course another brains delivery of information can change us too.
Among humans this ”wireless” information transmission can be very organised and complex and we call that – all together – Culture. I regard this as an extension of direct chemical or ”mechanical” DNA manipulation. Some information packages – memes – can pass through generations, centuries and even millenniums. They can change individual and collective behavior, and by that change the environment, locally and globally. They can – like everything else – be either destructive or beneficial for our species to survive and prosper. Many memes work only locally and for a specific time, some memes were once the truth but are today just a joke or totally forgotten. The memes themself can mutate and change shape and form and some memes may look different, but have the same result in human behavior (human behavior variations are limited).
I suppose memes can have an epigenetic impact. This is a fascinating thought; wireless information transfers from individuals – audio, symbols, signs, facial expressions, etc – can trigger changes in DNA (activate or deactivate predispositions), and that change can then be hereditary, pass on to next generation via ordinary DNA replication (sperms and eggs).
So, imagine a brain – via e.g. speech – transferring information to another brain, and that information alter something in the receivers DNA. Maybe the receivers interpretation is wrong or distorted, but a change is made.
Well, it’s a long shot and I’m just an amateur thinker on this subject (like most subjects), but this wireless information transfer at least can change behaviour in other subjects (that’s obvious), and if e.g. a virus or radiation can result in epigenetic triggering, why could not chemical change in a brain – regardless how it arose – do that?
Or indirect: maybe the wireless information triggered a change that resulted in some other change that triggered an epigenetic effect? In second, third, forth link?
If the memes are widespread and accepted in a group for hundreds, maybe thousand, of years, it may be a part of that groups DNA evolution. Can mythology (e.g. religion) change DNA? Music? Art? Mathematic research? Anyway; humans live and act in “stories” and I regard stories as hyper-memes. Some stories are beneficial for the group, others are destructive. Some survive a long time, others are just a flash in the pan.
This is my first formalized thoughts on evolutionary biology, more will come. Maybe.