No worries! I’m responding to your response much later than you responded to mine xD

And I completely agree that it is an open question about how the two phenomena are coordinated. But you’re making a false dichotomy about the cause of an action potential. I think we can both agree that there is no Aristotelian “ultimate cause” of any biological phenomenon — all activity in a living being is a result of myriad interacting factors, none of which can be said to “cause” life.

Having said that, you’re right that the soliton theory does have quite a bit of work to do in explaining how mechanical and/or thermal changes in membrane property interact with the proteins embedded in said membrane. There’s no need to throw away the mounds of evidence about the role that voltage-gated channels play in membrane potential. But it’s pretty insane to argue that thermodynamic properties of lipid bilayers have a negligible effect on protein function.

But the part of the theory that I find most fascinating is the idea that bilipid membranes have all the necessary properties to propagate action potentials completely in the absence of ion channels. Even if proteins play a massively important role in the current iterations of life, the soliton theory implies some fascinating and reasonable steps that ancient organisms could have taken to evolve from simple lipid-based micelles to the protein and nucleic-acid laden monstrosities we’ve become.

And the same is true of neurotransmitter release. No one is claiming that Ca2+ and voltage-gated ion channels are any less important for action potential propagation and cell-signaling. Again, you’re just validating the core thesis of my article — not that the ionic theory has misled us, but that neuroscientists like yourself have pushed a narrative that completely discounts the role that mechanical processes play in our biology. It’s like clinging on to Newtonian mechanics because you feel threatened by the quantum. These theories don’t have to conflict with each other, because they can explain distinct elements of the same properties. As you say, the precise way in which the two theories interface is an open question. But that’s no reason to be resistant to the entire idea.

There is a rapidly growing body of literature on the soliton theory and it doesn’t seem like its going away anytime soon. I suggest you read more about it from people who are actively publishing peer-reviewed papers on the topic if you actually want to know some of the details — you’re clearly capable of understanding the finer points of the concept.

I appreciate the conversation!

Author of Organumics: An Epigenetic Re-Framing of Consciousness, Life, and Evolution.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store