Is it always April Fool’s at UCD?

| 121 Comments

At UcD, a poster named DLH, presents an ‘argument’ which is hard to distinguish from an April Fool’s joke (especially given its publication date).

Having apparently browsed the abstract of a paper, DLH concludes that:

DLH Wrote:

Researchers have discovered two proteins essential for reproductive cells to latch onto each other and then to fuse. Changing at least one of these proteins appears to prevent species from interbreeding. This appears to open up a way to stop malaria. A new species would appear to require at least two changed genes, one for the protein change and the other for the matching protein docking change. What is the probability of these simultaneous changes occurring by random mutation & natural selection - versus - this being a key/lock design with complex specified information? Such simultaneous changes appear to be pushing Behe’s limits of Darwinism.

Let’s explore the obvious answer as well as the findings of the paper in more detail. Although I refuse by principle to link to UcD postings, this one has earned the highly coveted link from PandasThumb.

In a commentary Gene blocking could help quash malaria the paper is described as follows:

In a study to be published in the April 14 issue of the journal Genes and Development, and available now, researchers from UT Southwestern have found that sexual reproduction begins with two genetically different steps: First, two reproductive cells must latch onto each other with one protein, and secondly, they must fuse their membranes to form a single cell using a different protein.

So far so good. However, the same article explains:

Although the study involved only single-celled organisms, Dr. Snell said that the use of two different proteins in the two-step fertilization process may be the case in all species. The gene controlling whether egg and sperm can bind would be unique to each species, while the gene for the second step—fusing into a single cell—could be more universal. For example, the researchers found that HAP2, the gene that controlled whether cells fused, is also present in agriculturally important crops such as corn and wheat.

For the parasite that causes malaria, fusion is controlled by a gene not found in mammals, so blocking this step might prove effective in stanching the spread of the disease without harming humans, Snell said.

So what did the researchers do? Wonder about whether the system could have evolved or was ‘irreducibly complex’? No, they took a far more applied approach

The British researchers found that blocking HAP2 in Plasmodium cells stops the fusing step. When mutant Plasmodium organisms lacking HAP2 were injected into mice, mosquitoes that bit the mice did not become infected with Plasmodium and therefore could not spread the infection to other mice. This indicates that without HAP2, Plasmodium could not reproduce in a mosquito’s gut, a vital step in the cycle of infection.

From the abstract our friend at UcD proposes:

DLH Wrote:

From Janjie’s et al. abstract:

Fact 1:

“HAP2 is essential for membrane merger”

Fact 2

“yet Chlamydomonas minus and Plasmodium hap2 male gametes retain the ability, using other, species-limited proteins, to form tight prefusion membrane attachments with their respective gamete partners.”

From these facts and the ID paradigm, following are two proposed ID hypothesis to pursue (as posited by a design engineer):

ID hypothesis 1: The membrane merger including HAP2 essential for such “male”-”female” cell merger are irreducibly complex.

ID hypothesis 2: This “male”-”female”protein & docking site are part of a species specific reproduction - barrier system that is a species specific irreducibly complex system.

Submitted for further evidence to support and/or refine these hypotheses.

Let’s look at the abstract in question:

Abstract

The cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie species-specific membrane fusion between male and female gametes remain largely unknown. Here, by use of gene discovery methods in the green alga Chlamydomonas, gene disruption in the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei, and distinctive features of fertilization in both organisms, we report discovery of a mechanism that accounts for a conserved protein required for gamete fusion. A screen for fusion mutants in Chlamydomonas identified a homolog of HAP2, an Arabidopsis sterility gene. Moreover, HAP2 disruption in Plasmodium blocked fertilization and thereby mosquito transmission of malaria. HAP2 localizes at the fusion site of Chlamydomonas minus gametes, yet Chlamydomonas minus and Plasmodium hap2 male gametes retain the ability, using other, species-limited proteins, to form tight prefusion membrane attachments with their respective gamete partners. Membrane dye experiments show that HAP2 is essential for membrane merger. Thus, in two distantly related eukaryotes, species-limited proteins govern access to a conserved protein essential for membrane fusion

The overview article explains the relevance:

If the first step in reproduction, binding of egg and sperm, is controlled by a single gene per species, then the binding step would serve as a gatekeeper to prevent incompatible cells from getting close, Dr. Snell said. Evolutionarily, this scheme makes sense, he said, because it would take only a mutation in the single gene that controls egg-sperm binding to create a new species.

So what is the excitement all about?

It starts with the plant Arabidopsis and a gene called HAP2 which is a sterility gene. Remember that plants reproduce sexually and ‘sperm cells’ develop which are transported to the ‘egg’ where it fertilizes. HAP2 is a gene found in eukaryotes, including mammals, although as I understand it, the gene has evolved its function.

Based on the finding that a mutation in the HAP2 gene in a plant could induce infertility, the researchers set out to find a similar gene in Chlamydomonas, a unicellular green alga. To the surprise of the researchers, the gene identified showed it to encode a homolog of HAP2. The researchers decided to do additional searches for HAP2 and found them in a large variety of genomes

Our results showing that Chlamydomonas HAP2 mutants were fully motile and fully capable of flagellar adhesion demonstrated that the protein functions directly in the interactions between minus and plus gametes at a step in fertilization after initial gamete recognition. Moreover, we found that in addition to being present in the human malaria parasite P. falciparum (Mori et al. 2006), HAP2 was also present in the rodent malaria parasite P. berghei (Fig. 1G), in which sexual development is most amenable to experimentation. We therefore chose this species to ask if HAP2 functioned directly in gamete interactions in an organism that is only very distantly related to plants and green algae.

From an evolutionary perspective this is a very valid question. Since the malaria parasite reproduces both asexually and sexually, it provides for an interesting testing ground. The researchers replaced all the protein coding sequences of HAP2 and found that

Consistent with this sexual stage-specific transcription, examination of mice infected with hap2 clones showed that the parasites underwent normal asexual develop- ment in erythrocytes. Neither the rate of gametocyte formation nor the sex ratio was affected, and gametocytes were able to emerge from their host cells and differentiate into gametes when exposed to activating conditions (data not shown). To test for a role of HAP2 in fertilization, we first allowed female Anopheles mosquitoes to feed on mice infected with hap2 parasites and 10d later used phase contrast microscopy to examine the walls of midguts from the mosquitoes for the presence of oocysts. As shown in Figure 2E, whereas oocysts were plentiful in midguts of control mosquitoes allowed to feed on mice infected with wild-type P. berghei (Fig. 2E, left panel of photomicrograph and bar graph), we failed to detect oocysts in the mosquitoes that were fed on mice infected with hap2 parasites (Fig. 2E, right panel of photomicrograph and bar graph). Thus, HAP2 is required for transmission of P. berghei to mosquitoes.

Based on the conserved similarities between the plant, the alga and the plasmodium, the researchers proposed that

Divergence of the prefusion attachment genes could contribute to establishment of barriers to fertilization that might lead to speciation. The functional separation of membrane adhesion and subsequent events resulting in fusion between two different membranes may thus be the way in which many eukaryotes reconcile two opposite evolutionary needs, on the one hand, to ensure reproductive isolation through rapidly changing gamete recognition mechanisms, and, on the other hand, to preserve the machinery for the biophysically complex process of membrane fusion.

Two steps, one involving a well conserved HAP2 gene and the process of membrane fusion and one involving gamete recognition mechanisms which can evolve rapidly.

The work supported the ‘working model’ for gamete fusion, and provided the much needed genetic evidence.

Although the working model for gamete fusion has been that prefusion attachment and membrane fusion per se depend on separate sets of gene products, the model was not supported by genetic evidence because no mutants were available that allowed adhesion and blocked fusion in any organism. Our results assigning HAP2 function to a step in the gamete membrane fusion reaction after close (10-nm) prefusion attachment is the first gene disruption-based evidence that the gamete membrane fusion reaction depends on at least two separate sets of proteins that function at discrete steps in the reaction.

In other words, evolutionary theory provided for much of the foundations for the research and exciting new findings, showing that evolutionary science is scientifically fruitful as opposed to for instance Intelligent Design which remains scientifically vacuous. Science has expanded its understanding of the role of HAP2, provided a new approach to deliver a solution to the Malaria problem, provided genetic evidence for the hypothesis of gamete fusion and finally provided us with a much needed source of entertainment when the results were evaluated by ID proponents.

What is so fascinating is how amateurs at UcD base a ID hypothesis on their reading of an abstract. As an amateur myself, reading the articles referencing the research as well as the abstract caused me significant concern as to the accuracy of the comments by DLH and with the help of the actual article, it was relatively straightforward to determine that my causes for concern were well founded.

I hope to discuss the paper, which outlines how real science is done, in a future posting. For now I sign off

121 Comments

PvM,

Thank you for all you efforts.

My pleasure, it’s remarkable how much I enjoy learning about topics of which I have little background knowledge. This paper however outlines a beautiful case of how science proceeds to unravel many small hypotheses to support a larger hypotheses.

Whenever I look at biology, I see how evolution has found ways no intelligent designer would have believed possible…

PvM wrote:

My pleasure, it’s remarkable how much I enjoy learning about topics of which I have little background knowledge.

PvM,

You seem to be a “Christian” who may not believe that Jesus is God, and insists that science is not studying God’s creation.

What is your background otherwise? Computer science? Engineering? Social Studies?

Thanks.

William Wallace

A new species would appear to require at least two changed genes, one for the protein change and the other for the matching protein docking change. What is the probability of these simultaneous changes occurring by random mutation & natural selection - versus - this being a key/lock design with complex specified information? Such simultaneous changes appear to be pushing Behe’s limits of Darwinism.

Leaving aside the possibility that the changes in both proteins would not have to be ‘all or nothing’ and could occur sequentially, even the simultaneous change in two genes is feasible, if not highly likely. Assume a mutation rate of 10^-8 for each site and 10^-16 for the double mutation. There are almost certainly 10^16 Plasmodium cells in the world at this minute, so the probability of one of them having the requisite double mutation is pretty good. In fact, it is much, much more probable than none of the cells carrying the double mutation.

William Wallace: PvM,

You seem to be a “Christian” who may not believe that Jesus is God, and insists that science is not studying God’s creation.

What is your background otherwise? Computer science? Engineering? Social Studies?

Maybe her background is just boring old intellectual honesty.

You seem to be a “Christian” who may not believe that Jesus is God, and insists that science is not studying God’s creation.

What is your background otherwise? Computer science? Engineering? Social Studies?

You seem to be misunderstanding my position. In fact, science is studying God’s creation, and as such it is unfortunate that some like young earth creationists want to force science into something it cannot possibly be, and similarly unfortunate how Intelligent Design is hiding God in gaps of our ignorance.

What is my background? MS in Physics, PhD in Physical Oceanography, part time hobby: anything related to evolution and creationism.

As to Jesus not being God, I am somewhat torn by the committee decision that Jesus is part of a trinity when no such trinity is ever described in such terms in the Bible. Perhaps unfortunately.

What is your excuse?

Oh William, are you willing to defend ID’s ‘hypothesis’ as proposed by DLH?

Or are you willing to defend the following?

Many of these bloggers and their contributors claimed the video was “pro-science” (evolander-speak for “pro-Theory of Evolution,” a metaphysical research program).

Such ignorance, my dear Confused Christian Friend

PvM:

Or are you willing to defend the following?

Many of these bloggers and their contributors claimed the video was “pro-science” (evolander-speak for “pro-Theory of Evolution,” a metaphysical research program).

Wow. If I’d known they got to use methaphysics in their research, I would have majored in biology.

Can I get a tour of the metaphysics lab?

Mr Wallace: if you agree that DLH got it wrong over at Uncommon Descent will you please post a comment to that effect on the pertinent thread? Show me you have that much of a backbone. I assume you followed PvM’s discussion.

“Mr Wallace: if you agree that DLH got it wrong over at Uncommon Descent will you please post a comment to that effect on the pertinent thread?”

If he does that, he risks bannination. :)

William Wallace:

PvM,

You seem to be a “Christian” who may not believe that Jesus is God, and insists that science is not studying God’s creation.

What is your background otherwise? Computer science? Engineering? Social Studies?

Thanks.

William Wallace

It’s people like the Braveheart wannabe that drive so many honest souls away from Christianity. Sad, really.

No need for the quotes around sperm and egg when you are talking about plants. Sperm are either present in the pollen grain (a three-celled organism in this case) or develop when the two-celled pollen germinates on the stigmatic surface. The egg cell is present in the ovule which is normally deep in the ovary. The pollen tube dumps two sperm cells near the egg cell and central cell and the double fertilization occurs.

ID hypothesis 1: The membrane merger including HAP2 essential for such “male”-”female” cell merger are irreducibly complex.

Okay.

ID hypothesis 2: This “male”-”female”protein & docking site are part of a species specific reproduction - barrier system that is a species specific irreducibly complex system.

Okey dokey. Good work!

Do the ID people have any other hypothesis besides the “irreducibly complex” hypothesis? Everything’s always irreducibly complex all the time, but that’s about the only thing that ID ever gets used for as far as I know.

Okay, everything is all irreducibly complex all over the place. Good work! You can all go home now. Bye!!

ID hypothesis 1: The membrane merger including HAP2 essential for such “male”-”female” cell merger are irreducibly complex.

“Lookee here what I’m a pointin at, I think it’s irreducibly complex!! Go check it out will you?”

“Okay I’ll go do that. Thanks for the tip on that!!”

1) I think it is not always April Fools’ day at UcD. It is sometimes January Fools’ day, sometimes February Fools’ Day, etc.

2) Re 386sx “all irreducible complexity, all the time”: I think that most of the time (approaching 100%) it is irreducible perplexity.

CDK007 ran a simulation of coevolution of receptor/ligand-complex:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=Nnu-O5x_pRU

Hello, PvM, I’m derailing your profound, scholarly discussion again. I suppose you had to cut out the big half of my paltry few comments on your previous page because they actually introduced some facts. I notice you left plenty of room for your own comments. You people presumably have to tow the party line. You avoided the temptation of censoring quite everything that was inconvenient. (That’s been done before, here.) Of course, there’ll be a record of the cuttings, somewhere.

Dashed inconvenient when you can’t answer questions and you quote sources that are upstaged by new findings. Been there, done that. And one has to keep the Sponsor happy. There is an element of free speech at PANDA’S THUMB. Still, that comment about backbone a little above is pertinent. I wish I had more, myself.

Since you and all the heavies couldn’t get a grip on that previous page - other than with scissors and 50yr old rhetoric- I expect nothing different here. You have species wandering into existence in some all but mystical fashion on that previous page and when someone starts to point out a testable mechanism and quote the latest research to back it up, you pull the scissors. You then go on saying that there is nothing in real research other than Common Descent, natural selection and so on - call it Darwinism, if you wish - and start again at the beginning of the dogma. I’ll try again to break into the PANDA’S THUMB tub thumper’s te de um. No, it wasn’t common descent in the sense of a “blood” relationship. Yes, species acted as conduits in the automatic revelation of newly appearing, but pre-existing(as information) species. Like I said on that page - can’t some people recognize what they are looking at, and add one plus one? Ever heard of quantum information technology? To what sort of information technology might DNA, RNA, autoimmune systems, and so on, appertain? In envisioning how the information system functions, it is possible to deduce that certain categories of information must be in the species’ information banks, before the species that display the modifications outwardly, are actuated - hence the HOX genes-paddlefish discovery. (This is the discovery that you seem to imply is better for the masses not to know about. My sincere apologies if that isn’t the case.) On another tack, one minor point that necessarily follows from a rational consideration of the biosphere, is that there is a species lock. Many species have all but identical DNA, they live in each others’ back pockets, they hybridize, their hybrid offspring show some appearance of success (such hybrds may indicate very close affinity, a “ghost” of a return towards the common conduit species that was involved in their actuation?) - yet we have, observable, distinct species. If this lock exists, of course, then something must trip the lock when species are transformed. This has been published at www.creationtheory.com for years. This lock tripping is a very minor component of an extremely sophisticated series of events, implicating, guess what? - an extremely sophisticated information capability of which DNA, autoimmune systems, sex cells .. you know the list .. are part. Exit the faeries. Bring in the conventional, mainstream science. People forged ‘scientific’ precedures to ‘prove’ that electricity equals life and life equals nothing more than electricity. Faraday & co. finished that one: Darwin stepped conveniently into the gap. Perhaps he would prefer to be remembered as inspiring something a little better? But cheer up; there’s always the next big topic of Nature we don’t know enough about so as to be able to keep the political/religious tub thumpers out of it! I don’t suppose you would be interested in researching what actually does happen at species transformation, now that it is no longer mystical?

Heywood,

Are you the customer care representative reported in Car Talk, one Mr Heywood U Buzzoff?

Anyway, I think you should put whatever you are smoking in small plastic pockets and sell it at the street corner. Looks like it is great stuff. Will displace heroin in no time.

You know, I’ve been wandering around blogs like this for a while now and every time a troll like Heywood pops up I see a flurry of responses from blog regulars and newbies alike. Everytime, I would look at that and think to myself “self, why do people respond to such drivel when they know its just an attempt to garner attention?” Then, this latest post appears and Mr. Heywood launches into weird assertions about HOX genes and paddlefish (a lovely study looking at the evolution of tetrapods from early fishes)as well as crazy stories about science trying to prove electricity is life. Suddenly, I had an urge to respond; an almost burning desire in my typing hands. Luckily, I went and got a cup of coffee and it subsided, but finally I understand those folk who always ‘feed the trolls.’ I’m still going to abstain, I think, but if you feel the need I will forever be a sympathetic supporter for other troll feeders from this point forward.

Scott Reese: You know, I’ve been wandering around blogs like this for a while now and every time a troll like Heywood pops up I see a flurry of responses from blog regulars and newbies alike. Everytime, I would look at that and think to myself “self, why do people respond to such drivel when they know its just an attempt to garner attention?” Then, this latest post appears and Mr. Heywood launches into weird assertions about HOX genes and paddlefish (a lovely study looking at the evolution of tetrapods from early fishes)as well as crazy stories about science trying to prove electricity is life. Suddenly, I had an urge to respond; an almost burning desire in my typing hands. Luckily, I went and got a cup of coffee and it subsided, but finally I understand those folk who always ‘feed the trolls.’ I’m still going to abstain, I think, but if you feel the need I will forever be a sympathetic supporter for other troll feeders from this point forward.

I seem to recall (though it was quite before my time) that in the 50s and 60s (and maybe through the 70s) there was a propoganda-esque warning that used to get tossed up at drive-ins and other “hang-outs” about not feeding the “urge”, so to speak. I can’t remember what the solution was supposed to be though. Cold shower was one, but there were others that were clearly made up (start knitting maybe and even smoke a cigarette I think) or what have you. Maybe that’s what we need to do when we find the urge to respond to a troll overwhelming - quick…break out the knitting needles!

Philip Bruce Heywood:

Hello, PvM, I’m derailing your profound, scholarly discussion again. I suppose you had to cut out the big half of my paltry few comments on your previous page because they actually introduced some facts. I notice you left plenty of room for your own comments. You people presumably have to tow the party line.

Why would a scientist want to tow any party’s line? Are you under the impression that famous scientists get famous by being careful not to challenge conventional wisdom?

PoxyHowzes Wrote:

2) Re 386sx “all irreducible complexity, all the time”: I think that most of the time (approaching 100%) it is irreducible perplexity.

LOL!

Philip Bruce Heywood Wrote:

Hello, PvM, I’m derailing your profound, scholarly discussion again. I suppose you had to cut out the big half of my paltry few comments on your previous page because they actually introduced some facts. I notice you left plenty of room for your own comments. You people presumably have to tow the party line. You avoided the temptation of censoring quite everything that was inconvenient. (That’s been done before, here.) Of course, there’ll be a record of the cuttings, somewhere.

Well, Philip, where would you like us to tow the party line to?

Or did you mean “toe the party line”?

All comments that are removed to the bathroom wall can still be viewed (follow the link to “After the bar closes”). However, bear in mind that comments are moved to the bathroom wall for good reasons (unlike UcD, where comments are deleted and posters are banned for nothing worse than disagreeing with Dembski and DaveScot), so be prepared for some ripe language and irrelevant postings. What was your complaint, exactly?

P.B. Heywood (#149578): “You people presumably have to tow the party line.”

Spell checkers can also serve as ignorance detectors. I’m conjuring up an image of someone heaving on a telephone wire connected to several subscribers.

Nigel D: Well, Philip […] What was your complaint, exactly?

Reality’s liberal bias.

Well, now, I shall attempt to dissect PBH’s drivel, but please bear with me, folks, as it is hard to tell what he’s trying to say…

Philip Bruce Heywood Wrote:

You have species wandering into existence in some all but mystical fashion on that previous page and when someone starts to point out a testable mechanism and quote the latest research to back it up, you pull the scissors.

Erm … surely the “mystical fashion” of speciation is a part of the creationist worldview. God poofs species into existence. Things don’t get much more mystical than that. OTOH, speciation by mechanisms that are described by MET (modern evolutionary theory) are far from mystical.

Erm … were you trying to make a point here or just whining about having a comment removed from the thread?

You then go on saying that there is nothing in real research other than Common Descent, natural selection and so on - call it Darwinism, if you wish -

No, I don’t wish. Darwinism is out dated. MET contains far more than Darwin’s original theory. Having said that, some of the components of MET can legitimately be described as “Darwinian” because they are the core aspects of Darwin’s original theory and they have stood the test of time.

When you say “and so on”, to what exactly do you refer?

and start again at the beginning of the dogma.

What dogma would that be then?

If you refer to PvM’s pointing out that the research that was referenced in the comment at UcD actually applied the principles of MET to investigate and understand a mechanism of speciation, this is far from dogmatic. The research is confirming a previously-hypothetical mechanism of speciation. It is now no longer hypothetical because the new research confirms it. In what way is responding to new data “dogmatic”?

I’ll try again to break into the PANDA’S THUMB tub thumper’s te de um. No, it wasn’t common descent in the sense of a “blood” relationship.

What the hell does this mean?

Anyone?

Extra credit on offer…?

Yes, species acted as conduits in the automatic revelation of newly appearing, but pre-existing(as information) species.

Oh, you mean the universal common ancestor somehow contained the requisite “information” to become any and all of its descendants, right? Behe’s “front-loading” hypothesis.

Well, I suggest you come up with some evidence to support your assertion, because AFAICT, there is none. Information is fed from the environment into a population by the process of selection. Note that the ancestral HAP2 gene product would have contained only its own sequence information, not that of any of its descendants.

So, if the species “pre-existed” as “information”, in what form was that information stored, how was it transmitted from generation to generation, and why and how was it not expressed?

Like I said on that page - can’t some people recognize what they are looking at, and add one plus one?

Well, most of us can. You, it appears, cannot.

Why can you not see that descent with modification coupled to selection is all that is required for a new species to emerge? Although the real world is rather more complex than this, this simple mechanism is a core component of MET, and it is an important one.

Ever heard of quantum information technology?

Yes. What is the relevance?

To what sort of information technology might DNA, RNA, autoimmune systems, and so on, appertain?

Erm, well, none actually, since they have nothing to do with technology. Except in the trivial sense that human DNA encodes humans that have invented technology.

In envisioning how the information system functions, it is possible

Possible how?

to deduce

Deduce or make up?

that certain categories of information

What categories of information? How do you categorise information? By what criteria, and with what relevance to living systems?

must be

Must be? Really? I think you need to demonstrate this.

in the species’ information banks,

Living organisms don’t have “information banks”. You are applying technological analogies where they are not applicable. Perhaps you need to get your head out of the computer and learn some biology…?

before the species that display the modifications outwardly,

What, you mean “express”? What do you mean by modifications? I thought you claimed earlier that our common ancestor already contained all the information for everything? This appears to be contradictory.

are actuated - hence the HOX genes-paddlefish discovery. (This is the discovery that you seem to imply is better for the masses not to know about. My sincere apologies if that isn’t the case.)

OK, share with the rest of us the reference to the HOX-genes-paddlefish “discovery”. That way, I can at least judge for myself.

BTW, I’m not asking for a link to a website full of creationist garbage. I’m asking for a reference to the primary literature.

On another tack, one minor point that necessarily follows from a rational consideration of the biosphere, is that there is a species lock.

No it doesn’t.

This is a huge, sweeping claim, that I think you need to justify. If, by “species lock” you mean that species are immutable, this is patently absurd. First off, what possible mechanism could there be to prevent a species from changing over time? Second, speciation events have been observed, so your point is disproved. Third, go look at the fossil record, then find me an Ordovician parrot or a Tertiary trilobite.

Many species have all but identical DNA,

Well, (a) this is what one would expect of common descent, (b) DNA similarity occurs in patterns that form nested hierarchies, which is what you would predict from common descent, (c) small differences in DNA can engender large changes in morphology, so this by itself does not mean all that much unless you put it into a wider context alongside other data, (d) if species were immutable, why the hell are there so many similarities in DNA? and (e) if species were designed, why the hell are there so many differences?

they live in each others’ back pockets, they hybridize, their hybrid offspring show some appearance of success (such hybrids may indicate very close affinity, a “ghost” of a return towards the common conduit species that was involved in their actuation?)

Actually, hybrids show widely variable and unpredictable fertility and hence success. Darwin made quite a detailed study of hybridism. Or have you not read TOOS?

- yet we have, observable, distinct species.

No, we don’t.

The concept of species, genera and so on is a human imposition on a continuum. There is nothing in nature to indicate the implied discontinuity of “distinct species”.

Or have you never heard of the concepts of subspecies, variety and breed?

If this lock exists, of course, then something must trip the lock when species are transformed.

Well, you have yet to indicate any reason to suppose that a lock exists, so how about you focus on that before galloping away with the implications?

This has been published at www.creationtheory.com for years.

And it is still unsupported by any evidence or even a hypothetical lock mechanism. Did you have a point?

This lock tripping is a very minor component of an extremely sophisticated series of events,

If it is a minor component of a series of events, what are the other events?

implicating, guess what? - an extremely sophisticated information capability

Well, (a) you have not demonstrated that there is any kind of species lock; (b) you have not elucidated or even proposed a mechanism for such a lock; (c) you use the term “sophisticated” as a rhetorical tool to make your point. It has no real meaning in a technical sense, so your inference of a “sophisticated information capability” is no more than wishful thinking. Sophistication in execution can arise from simple rules. Look at the MAPkinase activation cascade, for instance. You have yet to demonstrate that your proposed “series of events” is sophisticated in any sense of the word, never mind in a technical way.

of which DNA, autoimmune systems, sex cells .. you know the list .. are part.

Except that you have not demonstrated how any of this is part of an “information capability”.

Exit the faeries. Bring in the conventional, mainstream science.

Yes, please. Your terminology is nonsensical, your argument has huge logical gaps in it, and you make leaps of faith from stating a proposition to assuming it to be proven.

People forged ‘scientific’ precedures to ‘prove’ that electricity equals life and life equals nothing more than electricity.

This is rubbish.

What are you on? Cos it might be fun to try some.

Alternatively, if you are not taking any medication, perhaps you should be?

Faraday & co. finished that one: Darwin stepped conveniently into the gap.

Erm, except that most of Faraday’s experiments were carried out at the same time that Darwin was working on his theory, having returned from his trip around the world in 1836. Faraday’s first publication of real significance was in 1839.

Perhaps you should check your facts before leaping to conclusions…?

Perhaps he would prefer to be remembered as inspiring something a little better?

Better? Well if Faraday did inspire Darwin, what better memorial than the most persuasive, convincing and successful theory in all of science?

But cheer up; there’s always the next big topic of Nature we don’t know enough about so as to be able to keep the political/religious tub thumpers out of it! I don’t suppose you would be interested in researching what actually does happen at species transformation, now that it is no longer mystical?

Erm … active research programmes are indeed investigating speciation, and have been for several decades. Your mystical “species transformation” idea smacks of a combination of wishful thinking and LSD. You have no mechanism for it, you appear to have no knowledge of what biologists have known for years, and you appear to have no concept of what would actually constitute a rigorous and scientific explanation of the phenomenon of speciation.

Scott Reese Wrote:

Suddenly, I had an urge to respond; an almost burning desire in my typing hands. Luckily, I went and got a cup of coffee and it subsided, but finally I understand those folk who always ‘feed the trolls.’ I’m still going to abstain, I think, but if you feel the need I will forever be a sympathetic supporter for other troll feeders from this point forward.

LOL!

Thanks, Scott. :-)

I could expound at length about how the trolls should be quashed in case any lurkers think that what they claim has some kind of legitimacy. I could go on about the dignity of pure research and the pursuit of truth. I could go on about providing people with tools and facts with which to challenge loudmouthed creationists that they might meet (for example, if a science teacher has a creationist student who won’t accept the science). However, if I am brutally honest with myself, it is simply that I cannot resist correcting the wrong, flexing my mental faculties and giving them a well-deserved metaphorical kicking.

Who knows, maybe one day a troll will just say “Oh. I see your point now,”?

It is so hard to tell a serious pseudoscience post from a parody. I wondered whether the latest e-mail about Expelled was serious, since last I heard they were paying people to see it, but the e-mail invited people to rent a theater for a showing!

Nigel D: However, if I am brutally honest with myself, it is simply that I cannot resist correcting the wrong, flexing my mental faculties and giving them a well-deserved metaphorical kicking.

Most…apropos…cartoon…ever…!

And, stars within 0.9 AU are even rarer than that… ;)

(I almost said 0.99 AU but caught myself in time.)

Henry

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on April 2, 2008 7:54 PM.

Peabody Award for PBS NOVA “Judgment Day” was the previous entry in this blog.

Tangled Bank #102 is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter