A few recent papers…

| 64 Comments

The issue of Nature Reviews Genetics from which I pulled the Homeobox genesis article actually contains a whole series of articles focusing on evolution of the body plan. Here's a brief taste of the good stuff found in the journal:


Garcia-Fernàndez J (2005) The genesis and evolution of homeobox gene clusters. Nature Reviews Genetics 6:881-892.

The crucial function of homeobox genes in patterning the body has been appreciated for decades. This article pulls together existing data to explain how the current clustered organization of Hox genes, and that of the related ParaHox and NK clusters, came about, the forces that preserve gene clustering and the contribution of Hox, ParaHox and NK genes to the major evolutionary transitions in animal body plan.


Pearson JC, Lemons D, McGinnis W (2005) Modulating Hox gene functions during animal body patterning. Nature Reviews Genetics 6:893-904.

The function of Hox proteins in axial patterning and morphological evolution ultimately depends on the effects of these proteins on downstream targets. This article reviews four important lines of research into Hox function - including work to identify the nature of Hox targets and define the structure of target enhancers, and the recent realization that Hox gene expression might be modulated by conserved microRNAs.


Peel AD, Chipman AD, Akam M (2005) Arthropod segmentation: beyond the Drosophila paradigm. Nature Reviews Genetics 6:905-916.

Genetic studies of Drosophila melanogaster have laid the foundations of our understanding of axial development. But just how universal is this fly model? The growing number of experimental methods that have become available for other arthropods is revealing a surprising diversity of pattering mechanisms, and allows us to formulate a model of how segmentation mechanisms might have evolved.


Martindale MQ (2005) The evolution of metazoan axial properties. Nature Reviews Genetics 6:917-927.

Multicellular animals come in many shapes and forms but they owe their body organization to the emergence of three design features - the anterior-posterior and dorso-ventral axes, and the three germ layers. Morphological and, more recently, molecular analyses on four basal metazoan taxa have begun to reveal how such features emerged and evolved, although a consensus model will depend on a stronger phylogenetic framework and a broader sampling of informative taxa.


Keep that all in mind next time a creationist tries to tell you that evolution is superfluous, or that Intelligent Design has a research plan.

64 Comments

Cool, PZ. It would almost be worth the $30 a pop to download some of these, particularly the arthropod segmentation and basal metazoan ones.

Sigh, I guess I’ll just have to wait for [insert your favorite seasonal excuse for benevolence].

Thanks for at least unwrapping the pretty Hos clusters package for us!

Oh, but PZ, the Discovery Institute does have a research plan, according to Jonathan Wells!

I am ashamed to say that this past Wednesday, he presented a poster at the latest meeting of my society (the ASCB), and it’s a doozy of crank science. Pretty much a word salad of buzzwords and nonsense, trying to link the DI’s latest hobbyhorse – “centrioles = turbines! also the cytoskeleton = highways, and like, the Golgi is a dumptruck or some damn thing, VROOM VROOM REEOOOOWWWW” – with cancer.

I am doubly ashamed to say that I lacked a camera, though a friend got some high-quality pictures and I am pressing him to get them posted so the content can be transcribed online for posterity. In the meantime you can at least view the abstract for yourself and judge its merits. The poster, needless to say, said little more than that, only using more words.

At any rate, Wells assured my friend that an experiment to test this hypothesis was, indeed, forthcoming, so I’m sure we can all look forward to that!

Of course, Wells’ poster also claimed that it had put forward an “experimental strategy” (even though, as far as I can recall, no experimental detail was ever supplied, and his response to my friend was pretty much “we got it covered, awright?”) and that this so-called “model” could somehow, in some mysterious, undetailed way, be used as a diagnostic for cancer (how, are you going to test whether someone’s cells can propel a jet airplane or what?).

Exciting, cutting edge research is coming from the DI! Any day now! Any… day… I’m sure of it…

minimalist wrote:

Exciting, cutting edge research is coming from the DI! Any day now! Any… day… I’m sure of it…

That’s nice.

Now, in the meantime, could someone explain to me what ID is? I used to think that I knew – but then I read something here on Dembski’s blog that made me see that I was wrong to think I knew:

http://www.uncommondescent.com/inde[…]archives/587

After looking at a supposed “straw man” definition of ID someone on Dembski’s site wrote:

…this book is a joke. It says ID is the idea that life is too complex to have arisen naturally. Of course, that’s a joke- ID doesn’t say that life could have not have arisen naturally. Try to paint your theory as supernatural, then attack that bogus definition.

So, ID is NOT the idea that life is too complex to have arisen naturally? And it doesn’t depend on a supernatural intelligence?

I’ve been wrong all this time?

Okay, what is ID? I’m lost now.

I can’t ask this fellow what ID is because Dembski booted me off his site.

Norman

Remember this is Josh Bozeman posting. His inability to see the projection, inconsistency and irony in his own comments is breathtaking. It never ceases to amaze me that Dembski allows such drivel on his blogsite. However, as someone else pointed out recently, it all contributes to the undermining of Dembski as having any remaining credibility.

Norman

I’ll give it a go for you. What is the French word for “Fox”?

Alan,

Try “Renard”.

Jim, follow Norman’s link and scroll to comment #8. All should be revealed.

Alan,

Kool!

hehehehehe Renard Tres Bien Ecoutez voir Tautology AND navel gazing AT THE SAME TIME. That can lead to dangerous consequences Like ID being sucked up its own fundament

It says ID is the idea that life is too complex to have arisen naturally. Of course, that’s a joke- ID doesn’t say that life could have not have arisen naturally. Try to paint your theory as supernatural, then attack that bogus definition.

Somewhere, a cock is crowing thrice before morning.

I wonder if all the fundies know that ID is atheistic, naturalistic and materialistic, and denies the existence of God.

Or, at least, does so when it becomes legally convenient.

Like Donald does.

Somewhere, a cock is crowing thrice before morning.

If you were not wound so tightly into the notion that Darwinism supports philosophic naturalism the you would see that natural vs. “unnatural” is not the main issue.

If a biotech company succeeded in designing a self-replicating automata, a sort of organism based on nanotechnology would you call that “natural” or “unnatural”? Whatever you might call it, it would still be designed…and we’d probably all be dead, depending on the rate of self-replication and what they made it run on. For all the typical Darwinian pretentions as per the “panda’s thumb” argument about how they could design things “better” than the organisms we observe humans cannot even manage this ecosystem well, let along actually design organisms that would live “better” or fit into ecological systems well.

Exciting, cutting edge research is coming from the DI! Any day now! Any… day… I’m sure of it…

I suppose if Darwinian proto-Nazis hadn’t wormed their way into a closer and closer alliance with the State and worked to censor any opposition as they typically do, then the DI would recieve millions in State funding to do the research that you demand… and supposedly desire.

Somewhere A Parody projected

If you I were not wound so tightly into the notion that DarwinismCreationism supports philosophic naturalism the(sic) you I would see that natural vs. “unnatural” is not the main issue.

If a biotech company succeeded in designing a self-replicating automata Bacteria?, [If a nano-tech company succeeded in designing a self-replicating automata] a sort of organism machine based on nanotechnology would you call that “natural” or “unnatural”? [Parody.….… if you don’t know the difference find a cat and ask it]

Whatever you might call it, it would still be designed…and we’d probably all be dead [yeah, yeah, yeah post modern nihilism], depending on the rate of self-replication and what they made it run on [NOT DI progoganda thats for sure].

For all the typical DarwinianCreationist pretentions as per the “panda’s thumb” DI argument about how they could design things GOD(s) “better” than the organisms I.E. humans we observe, humans[Conservatives] cannot even manage this ecosystem well, let along(sic) actually designPROGRAM/PREACH TO organisms machines/robots/2 legged sheep/christian soldiers that would live “better” or fit into ecological systems well.

Do you notice that once their arguments are revealed as bad sleight of hand (er, mouth), the IDiots resort to cheap insults. Hey, If you can’t win the argument, call your opponent a Nazi! That’ll show ‘em.

Somewhere A Parody projected.…..the real DI agenda

I suppose if Darwinian Creationist proto-Nazis hadn’t wormed their way into a closer and closer alliance with the State and worked to censor any opposition as they typically do, then the DI would recieve millions in State funding to do the research that you demand… and supposedly desire.

And just to remind everyone the Nazis justified everything they did in the name of GOD. All the while claiming to be Christian with perfectly projected hatred for the truth.

Question for you mynym .… who said this ?

“ Christ’s goal was clear and simple: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” He gathered his followers behind that straightforward statement. Because this teaching was simple, crisp, clear, and understandable, enabling the broad masses to stand behind it, it in the end conquered the world.”

Not sure ?

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/goeb54.htm

Another exile from Dembski’s blog writes

I suppose if Darwinian proto-Nazis hadn’t wormed their way into a closer and closer alliance with the State and worked to censor any opposition as they typically do, then the DI would recieve(sic) millions in State funding to do the research that you demand… and supposedly desire.

(A word to the wise; Nazi references are best avoided unless you wish to claim martyrdom from this site too.)

Can you elaborate on any suggested scientific research or experiment that is proposed by any proponent of ID? And why the millions Howard Ahmanson has handed over to the DI haven’t been enough to fund any such research at all, yet, Mynym?

If you were not wound so tightly into the notion that Darwinism supports philosophic naturalism the you would see that natural vs. “unnatural” is not the main issue.

Don’t BS me.

Syntax Error: not well-formed (invalid token) at line 8, column 137, byte 728 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

I suppose if Darwinian proto-Nazis hadn’t wormed their way into a closer and closer alliance with the State and worked to censor any opposition as they typically do, then the DI would recieve millions in State funding to do the research that you demand… and supposedly desire.

Um, two questions for you, my fundie friend …

(1) Why did DI use the millions of dollars that Howie Ahmanson gave them to do political efforts to force their views into science classrooms, instead of using it for scientific research to demonstrate ID?

(2) Why is it that when the Templeton Foundation (who, I’m pretty sure, aren’t “darwinian proto-nazis”, whatever the hell *that* is supposed to mean) offered to fund scientific research into design, uh, theory, by DI, DI refused to *submit* any proposals for scientific research to *be* funded?

mynym Wrote:

If you were not wound so tightly into the notion that Darwinism supports philosophic naturalism the you would see that natural vs. “unnatural” is not the main issue.

Too true. The main issue is “evidence vs. no evidence.”

As in, evolution has tons, ID has none.

‘Rev Dr’ Lenny Flank wrote:

Don’t BS me.

It’s far too late for that. ID has now morphed into panspermia:

ID is not committed to the claim that the designer of life on THIS planet is “supernatural” (whatever that means). ID is also not committed to the claim that life could not have evolved anywhere: just that the probability of it developing on THIS planet (given the time and material resources available) is too low to make it reasonable. There could, for all we know based on ID theory, be other material constituents that give rise to conscious life as easily and naturally as water molecules give rise to snowflakes. However, this is clearly not true of the materials WE are made of.

- Logan — December 17, 2005 (comment 21 on Dembski’s blog)

I’m willing to give panspermia a legit hypothetical position. We have found microbes that survive in space. We may find microbial life on Mars. It seems very possible to me that microbial life is far older than life on Earth and got delivered to our planet by asteriods and/or comets.

I’m not willing to call ID panspermia. That’s not what Dembski and Behe are arguing for.

It’s far too late for that. ID has now morphed into panspermia:

I heard this same BS from Behe long ago. From an email list I used to be on:

drvr2hrdwr wrote:

Mr. Behe, may I get your comment or opinion on the theistic verses atheistic nature of intelligent design theory?

It seems to me that ID proposes that all life requires an intelligence to design it. So, if God did not design life on Earth, then some other intelligent creatures (space aliens presumably) must have. These creatures would then require an intelligence to their design, and so on for as many level of regression as one my choose to suggest.

Since life could not have existed at the first instant of the Big Bang, there must be a terminal point to this regression, requiring that the original intelligent designer must have been God. Thus, ID theory is inherently theistic.

Or would you and other ID proponents suggest that only life on Earth would require an intelligent designer, but life elsewhere would not require an intelligent designer? Would you suggest that a Godless abiogenesis could occur elsewhere giving rise to extraterrestrial intelligence, which in turn designed life on Earth, thus making ID theory potentially atheistic?

Neil Habermehl

From: Michael Behe To: drvr2hrdwr Sent: Wednesday, October 27, 2004 7:56 AM Subject: Re: Atheistic ID?

Hi, Mr. Habermehl. Yes, perhaps life elsewhere doesn’t require irreducibly complex structures. So maybe it arose naturally by chance and then designed us, as I speculated in Darwin’s Black Box (“Aliens and Time Travelers”, pp. 248-250). I don’t think that’s the case, but it isn’t logically impossible. Best wishes.

Mike Behe

Odd, isn’t it, that IDers have now decided to fight “atheistic naturalistic materialistic darwinism” by, uh, denying god and adopting atheistic naturalistic materialism.

As I said before, I hear a cock crowing thrice before dawn. …

Norman asserts

We have found microbes that survive in space.

Really? Have you a link for that? Are they terrestrial microbe spores or real alien microbes?

Norman postulates

It seems very possible to me that microbial life is far older than life on Earth and got delivered to our planet by asteriods and/or comets.

Well, it’s a seductive hypothesis. But you still have to address abiogenesis at some point. There seem parallels with who designed the designer.

It’s offtopic, but is keiths on Dembski’s blog a poster here? I’m curious as to how he seems to be shredding the arguments of Dembski’s toadies but hasn’t yet been banned.

Me too, but let’s not blow his cover.

Lenny, you might be interested in the current “Mother Jones” issue. Big piece on Christian Reconstructionists. Those people are f*cking crazy.

I’m willing to give panspermia a legit hypothetical position.

So am I. Alas, though, it simply doesn’t answer the question “how did life form?” It simply moves it to another place.

We have found microbes that survive in space.

As I recall, there were live terrestrial microbes still living on the Surveyor probes on the moon when we re-examined them after several years of exposure to space … ?

We may find microbial life on Mars.

More likely, we will find that there USED TO BE microbial life on Mars. I think all signs are that Mars is currently a lifeless lump of rock.

It seems very possible to me that microbial life is far older than life on Earth and got delivered to our planet by asteriods and/or comets.

I think it unlikely, though possible. More likely, I think, is that a lot of prebiotic chemistry goes in in space, and it got carried here by asteroids and/or comets. Giving abiogenesis here a jump start, so to speak.

One thing gives me pause, though — if it’s so simple for life/life chemicals to get passed around over *interstellar* distances, then why is that life/life chemicals from earth haven’t gotten spread around to other bodies *within the solar system*, much less to other stars outside the solar system?

Lenny, you might be interested in the current “Mother Jones” issue. Big piece on Christian Reconstructionists. Those people are f*cking crazy.

Not only are they f-ing crazy, but they have lots of friends in lots of high places, and a lot more influence than one might think.

They are very very very dangerous.

Screw fighting religious fanatics in Iraq. We oughtta be fighting them HERE.

Alan Fox asked:

Have you a link for that?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-sr[…]acebugs4.htm

http://science.nasa.gov/newhome/hea[…]1sep98_1.htm

Those seem to be along the lines I remember.

Norman

Your links seem to suggest the possibility of terrestrial bacterial spores surviving embedded in nooks or crannies on spacecraft, and more controversially, in meteorites or similar space debris. I suppose it does increase the time and the available environmental diversity in which abiogenesis must have necessarily occurred. I’m with Robert Shapiro in thinking we haven’t begun to scratch the surface of this mystery, but it is hugely intriguing.

PS did you see comment #63230?

And of course DaveScot is still spouting his usual crap about ‘following the evidence’ (I can only assume that the evidence he’s following smells like Bullshit for the Gullible) to all and sundry.

I have little patience for stupidity and even less for dishonesty. That’s why.

Comment by DaveScot — December 19, 2005 @ 5:07 pm

That, coming from someone who posts everyday on Dembski’s blog, and has demonstrated a severe lack of cognitive function time and time again.

hilarious.

I think Dembski has granted DaveScot some editorial responsibility, for example, see this post. Bill and his psychopathic sidekick make a lovely couple. I’m saving the screen-shots, you never know when someone might want a repeat performance of “Street theatre”.

Re Chris Booth’s earlier post (sorry thought it was just a joke and didn’t check links before). Thank goodness for the cube/square law!

I think Dembski has granted DaveScot some editorial responsibility, for example, see this post. Bill and his psychopathic sidekick make a lovely couple. I’m saving the screen-shots, you never know when someone might want a repeat performance of “Street theatre”.

Looks like someone has been on a slash and burn through that thread. It’s now at 23 posts, and it was well over 100 last night.

And does Dembski’s apparent ‘ignore it and perhaps it’ll go away’ attitude to the Dover verdict count as ‘street theatre’? :-D

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This page contains a single entry by PZ Myers published on December 16, 2005 6:04 PM.

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