A visit from the architects of the fly hourglass paper

| 146 Comments

So, shortly after the first post on the hourglass model went up here on the Panda’s Thumb, the senior author of one of the two featured papers (the article using fruit flies, titled "Gene expression divergence recapitulates the developmental hourglass model") contacted me, clearly enthused about our interest in the story. He’s Pavel Tomancak, and together with the co-first author on the study, Alex Kalinka, he offered some useful feedback as well as some cool images. Here are some of their further thoughts, posted with their permission and edited slightly by me. Let’s think of them as honored guest bloggers.

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I am indeed excited about the insightful blogging that has followed the publication of our work. It is great to see that people like you are genuinely trying to come to grips with the sometimes complex analysis we have put forward (a 55 page monograph accompanies the paper) and share their understanding with scientifically-inclined readers on the blogosphere.

The major challenge we had to overcome was to convince people that the evolutionary divergence of the Drosophila species we used is sufficient to make arguments about phylum-level morphological patterns. Many people thought that we could not possibly say something about the phylotypic stage by looking at closely related species. We made a number of arguments like: the species facilitate unambiguous comparisons, gene orthology is clear, timing of development is not so different (although we compensated for that) and so on. What really drives it home is the comparison of the Drosophila phylogeny to the vertebrate one. D. virilis is roughly as distant from D. melanogaster as lizards are from humans in terms of the molecular clock (see figure below, from Stark et al. 2007 Fig. 1). I take it that flies are more similar to each other morphologically than say human or mouse or elephant, but they also are rather different, living in very different environments that influence their embryonic strategies (Markow & O’Grady 2008).

dros_comparisons_vs_mammals_Pavel.jpg

However, in addition to these arguments, we believe that approaching evo-devo questions using a mixture of closely related species, such as D. persimilis and D. pseudoobscura, together with more distantly related species such as D. virilis, allows us to see both large accumulated differences between species that have accrued over tens of millions of years, together with the first steps that occur as two species diverge from one another. One of the advantages of such an approach is that it will enable us to infer whether most differences are the result of a large number of small changes, or whether they are the result of a small number of large changes. Moreover, this approach is essential if we are to integrate population genetics theory with comparative embryology, a synthesis that will greatly advance our understanding of how development evolves (Simpson 2002).

The dataset was actually massive even by today’s standards; we had replicates which allowed us to do all the statistics. All together 200 array experiments on self-designed arrays.

Our ability to recapitulate the known phylogeny from the divergence data is in my opinion remarkable. As far as we know, the reconstruction of a phylogeny using expression data has not been attempted before. Karolina Varga, co-first author on the paper, with her impeccable sense of humor, wanted to coin the term ‘expressogram’ as a variation of ‘phylogram’, which follows the fine tradition of ‘eisengrams’ and such. Despite exhibiting the same topology as the molecular clock phylogram there are differences (See supplementary Figure 3 of our paper, included below) and these pointed us to the evolutionary modeling that suggests that the hourglass waist is maintained by stabilizing selection.

PavelSupplFig3.gif

Supplementary Figure 3. A comparison of the phylogenetic relationships between the six Drosophila species used in our study when drawn up using our gene expression data (based on normalised values from a linear model (see Methods)) - boxed in blue - and based on median dS values for ~ 10,000 orthologous genes - boxed in green. Red branches indicate terminal branches between sister species that are longer in the gene expression data.

The genes that conform to the hourglass pattern are enriched for genes involved in building up the body plan and could be in general referred to as ‘developmental toolkit genes’. It will be interesting to compare these genes to the ones that drive the hourglass pattern in the other study by Domazet-Loso and Tautz. While there may be commonalities in the studies, it may also be the case that the evolution of new genes (through a process of duplication and divergence, for example) may be under a different set of constraints than the evolution of gene expression. Exploring such differences promises to be an exciting avenue for future research.

Finally, I think that both papers really open up new horizons for studying the developmental hourglass experimentally using the awesome power of Drosophila and fish genetics. That’s what we worked towards from the beginning. We are developing fancy transgenic, imaging and image-analysis techniques to be able to compare gene expression in the different species quantitatively on the spatio-temporal level. It’s well-funded (among others by HFSP and ERC) and these papers will be a huge boost to not only us but the entire field, which until recently was living on the fringes.

References:

Markow, T., & O’Grady, P. (2008). Reproductive ecology of Drosophila. Functional Ecology 22, 747-759.

Simpson, P. (2002). Evolution of development in closely related species of flies and worms. Nat Rev Genet 3:907-917.

Stark, A., et al. (2007). Discovery of functional elements in 12 Drosophila genomes using evolutionary signatures. Nature 450, 219-232.

146 Comments

A similar study, including checkerspot butterflies, and especially the ones in the genus Euphydryas (like E. editha, E. colon, E. chalcedona, etc.) would also be very interesting.

“The major challenge we had to overcome was to convince people that the evolutionary divergence of the Drosophila species we used is sufficient to make arguments about phylum-level morphological patterns.”

But it appears that you have indeed accomplished that task. Now that you have developed the methods and types of analysis required, and demonstrated the molecular basis of the hour glass phenomena, there is nothing stopping anyone from applying this same technique to larger divergence times. Many whole genome sequences are already available. You may have founded the new field of evo devo temporal/spatial gene expression pattern analysis. OK, maybe that name could use a little work.

The next step might be to examine the evolution of the regulatory mechanisms responsible for producing this pattern. I am sure that when confronted with the scientific evidence for evolution at this level that every honest creationist will be convinced of the reality of evolution.

DS said: I am sure that when confronted with the scientific evidence for evolution at this level that every honest creationist will be convinced of the reality of evolution.

“Honest creationist” - wherever do you suppose something like that might be found? It’s been pretty obvious the last few decades that there is no such thing.

It’s been pretty obvious the last few decades that there is no such thing.

That’s because to find one of those, you have to look among people who haven’t been confronted with the evidence yet. The ones who have been so confronted, are now either (1) what’s expected of Creationists, or (2) no longer one of them.

To my knowledge there are exactly two Creationists who genuinely do understand evolution, Kurt Wise and Todd Wood. Both of these guys are very upfront about how evolution is scientifically valid… and Wise, at least, is equally upfront about rejecting evolution because it conflicts with his religious beliefs. Apart from that pair, however, it’s honest; informed; Creationist – pick two.

Cubist said:

To my knowledge there are exactly two Creationists who genuinely do understand evolution, Kurt Wise and Todd Wood. Both of these guys are very upfront about how evolution is scientifically valid… and Wise, at least, is equally upfront about rejecting evolution because it conflicts with his religious beliefs. Apart from that pair, however, it’s honest; informed; Creationist – pick two.

And they are both sell-outs and frauds I have no regard for.

And they are both sell-outs and frauds I have no regard for.

Yay Dale!

you’re absolutely right. to hold those two up as “honest” is to horribly malign the term “intellectual honesty”.

I’ve looked at what they have written. Honesty in name only.

simply claiming you can deny evidence because your religion dictates it does NOT make for an intellectually honest argument.

Paul Burnett said:

DS said: I am sure that when confronted with the scientific evidence for evolution at this level that every honest creationist will be convinced of the reality of evolution.

“Honest creationist” - wherever do you suppose something like that might be found? It’s been pretty obvious the last few decades that there is no such thing.

True enough. But the statement still stands.

Ichthyic said:

And they are both sell-outs and frauds I have no regard for.

Yay Dale!

you’re absolutely right. to hold those two up as “honest” is to horribly malign the term “intellectual honesty”.

I’ve looked at what they have written. Honesty in name only.

simply claiming you can deny evidence because your religion dictates it does NOT make for an intellectually honest argument.

Religious honesty trumps intellectual honesty?

I would like to thank, and welcome Pavel Tomancak. There have been years of attacks on evolution, and science teaching in general based on the perceived “fraud” of Haeckel’s embryo drawing.

What I now hope we will see is a new, and independently derived set of science results from embryology giving further confirmation of evolution.

At the risk of being repetitive and boring, I resubmit an earlier post from June, that seems even more poignant here:

If AIG or CMI is one’s authority you might think that “Ontogeny recapitulates Phylogeny” (and the similarities of developmental forms in general) is a false concept long abandoned and dis-proven (now providing evidence against evolution), and therefore cannot be included in any biology textbook or classroom today.

But such is not the case. Stephen Jay Gould wrote a 500 page tome, Ontogeny and Phylogeny* where he says in his opening sentence on page 1, ‘I am aware that I treat a subject currently unpopular.’

He continues, “I tell a colleague that I am writing a book about parallels between ontogeny and phylogeny. He takes me aside, makes sure that no one is looking, checks for bugging devices, and admits in markedly lowered voice: ‘You know, just between you, me, and that wall, I think there really is something to it after all.’ “

Because there is indeed something to it. It’s not a false concept. It just needs modification in light of what we know today about biology. And that’s what Gould did.

On page 213 he writes, “The embryonic features that we share with all vertebrates represent no previous adult state, only the unaltered identity of early development. Thought they do not allow us to trace the actual course of our descent in any way, they are full of evolutionary significance nonetheless; for, as Darwin argued, community of embryonic structure reveals community of descent.”

All you have to do is look at those photographs and you know he’s right.

*-Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1977

(PS-No one at AIG or CMI has the record of field work of Gould. No one at AIG or CMI has the scholarship to write an Ontogeny and Phylogeny like Gould. Yet they expect us to bow to their pronouncements.)

“Our ability to recapitulate the known phylogeny from the divergence data is in my opinion remarkable..” “We are developing fancy transgenic..” “It’s well-funded..”

you know, if you keep doing that, you’re going to go blind.

John Vanko -

Well, Gould was obviously correct, and even if embryoes were more divergent morphologically, what we now know about the conservation of basic major genes families in development across diverse lineages would prove that point.

However, to some degree, although Haeckel is probably excessively maligned, as Gould said in the quote you presented - “The embryonic features that we share with all vertebrates represent no previous adult state, only the unaltered identity of early development”.

I haven’t read Haeckel in the original and probably never will, but relying on summaries, I thought this was kind of the point. He thought that they did represent or recapitulate previous adult states.

They certainly do seem to resemble adult states of some members of the vertebrate lineage, and they certainly do often seem to resemble more ancient lineages closer to the beginning of development (I’m not sure if there are counter-examples), but at a vastly smaller physical scale. Without meaning to be unfair to someone whose work I have not read in the original, didn’t Haeckel perhaps, unlike Gould, take this resemblance to literally?

harold said:

… didn’t Haeckel perhaps, unlike Gould, take this resemblance too literally?

Yes, I think that’s what happened. Haeckel was so struck by the resemblance of mammalian embryos that he carried it too far - formulating his biogenetic law of Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny - and used drawings of embryos rescaled and ‘touched-up’ to prove his point.

Apparently his ‘law’ stated that embryonic development recapitulated the adult ancestry of the phylum. That was going too far.

Science, being self-correcting, discovered his over-enthusiasm and his ‘law’ fell into disrepute. Creationists didn’t ‘discover’ the problems, legitimate scientists did.

Now, creationists can’t stop using Haeckel’s touched-up drawings as ‘proof’ that Ontogeny Recapitulates Phylogeny is a fraud that invalidates all of evolutionary biology.

Gould refused to toss Ontogeny into the dustbin of history and wrote his tome that more correctly restates, “The embryonic features that we share with all vertebrates represent no previous adult state, only the unaltered identity of early development. Though they do not allow us to trace the actual course of our descent in any way, they are full of evolutionary significance nonetheless; for, as Darwin argued, community of embryonic structure reveals community of descent.”

That is the biogenetic law as it was meant to be.

Pavel Tomancak may well be disappointed in some of the people here right now. He and his associates probably did the study so as to learn something, and not so that the results would be used solely (or partly) as a weapon in the war on ID/creationism, unless he and his associates intended it to be solely (or partly) that weapon of course.

Since science “ignores religious beliefs” (yeah right) that of course couldn’t be the case. But, that surely hasn’t stopped some of you from instantly adding the study to your arsenal of weapons against ID/creationism.

So, whatever you do, don’t just find the study interesting and informative for its own sake (which I hope is what the authors intended). Think of it only as another scientific weapon against ID/creationism, while you keep saying that “science ignores religious beliefs”.

Yep, that pretty much summarizes it.

Haeckel was working at a very early but very, very active time in the history of biology. I guess every period in biology since Linnaeus has been something of an explosive period of new knowledge, but the late nineteenth century still probably stands out in many ways.

Because the science was early, it was a time of brilliant minds forming rather extreme ideas, some of which turned out to be prescient, some of which were brilliant but wrong.

Golgi and Cajal supposedly came close to a fist fight at the Nobel Prize ceremonies (technically that was in the early twentieth century). Cajal realized that the central nervous system was made up of individual cells, Golgi thought it was some kind of syncitium. (Cajal was also an early weight training enthusiast; I have no idea what kind of shape Golgi would have been in for his age at the time - they were probably both about 60.)

In fact, I recently discovered to my amazement that some science-denying anti-medicine cranks are accurate advocates of once very important ideas from that time.

So in that context, Haeckel’s admitted over-interpretation of his basically valid observations, and his mildly over-emphatic (but not grotesquely wrong) drawings, are really not that shocking. It’s worth noting that before photomicrographs, artistic ability was an important scientific skill.

The real message is that the study of development, beside having applications to medical research, provides a lot of strong evidence for evolution and common descent.

So, whatever you do, don’t just find the study interesting and informative for its own sake (which I hope is what the authors intended). Think of it only as another scientific weapon against ID/creationism, while you keep saying that “science ignores religious beliefs”.

You are wallowing in a false dichotomy. ALL science, properly performed, is ipso facto a refutation of creationism. Science by its very nature cannot avoid being the inadvertent enemy of dishonesty, distortions, and general idiocy. This is certainly not the purpose of science, it’s simply an unavoidable side-effect.

He and his associates probably did the study so as to learn something

But of course, the very act of learning is antithetical to creationism, which treats all claims as either absolutely true, or absolutely wrong, and judges all new claims by theological standards rather than against reality itself.

You are having semantic issues. Science does indeed ignore religious beliefs, but this does not mean scientific understandings do not or can not refute religious beliefs - much in the sense that when you drive a car, you ignore the ants on the road even though you are killing them steadily. And while it may certainly SEEM to the ants that you are deliberately out to get them, in fact your purposes are entirely unrelated.

Kris -

Pavel Tomancak may well be disappointed in some of the people here right now.

Indeed. I wonder who?

He and his associates probably did the study so as to learn something, and not so that the results would be used solely (or partly) as a weapon in the war on ID/creationism,

All science is always done to learn something, and no science is ever directly related to ID/creationism, which is irrelevant.

unless he and his associates intended it to be solely (or partly) that weapon of course.

Obviously they didn’t.

Since science “ignores religious beliefs” (yeah right) that of course couldn’t be the case.

Science does ignore religious beliefs. However, religious beliefs that coincidentally happen to deny science are wrong.

Therefore, your religious beliefs are wrong. I can’t comment on the religious beliefs of the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury, or the Dalai Llama, because those guys have religious beliefs that don’t deny science, but your religious beliefs are wrong. Therefore if people with wrong religious beliefs go to hell, which is not what I believe, but let’s say that happens, well, global warming will be a useful practice session for you.

But, that surely hasn’t stopped some of you from instantly adding the study to your arsenal of weapons against ID/creationism.

Right. The study wasn’t done to deny creationism, but it provides evidence against creationism. We don’t use antibiotics to deny that demons cause disease instead of microbes, but when they work, they provide evidence that microbes, not demons, cause some diseases.

So, whatever you do, don’t just find the study interesting and informative for its own sake (which I hope is what the authors intended).

Why not?

Think of it only as another scientific weapon against ID/creationism, while you keep saying that “science ignores religious beliefs”.

But actually, it’s both.

I’m sorry that your science-denying religion is proven wrong by science.

If it was spiritual enlightenment you were after, you’d probably adapt, but since science-denying religion tends to just be a superficial proxy for creepy authoritarian fantasies, you may find yourself frustrated.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Because Natural Selection can destroy, it can therefore build.

This is the central fallacy of Darwinism. Just because something can destroy does not mean it can build.

This is the central fallacy of Darwinism

you mean your own personal fallacious strawman.

sounds catchy, but it makes no sense, and has nothing to do with evolution.

fail.

Michael Behe said:

Because Natural Selection can destroy, it can therefore build.

This is the central fallacy of Darwinism. Just because something can destroy does not mean it can build.

Wrong. That is YOUR fallacy. Natural selection neither builds nor destroys. It CHANGES!

here’s a hint for you:

what’s the most basic definition of the word: evolution?

change.

heh.

jinx!

see, sometimes we DO think alike, Dale.

:)

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Michael Behe said:

Because Natural Selection can destroy, it can therefore build.

This is the central fallacy of Darwinism. Just because something can destroy does not mean it can build.

Actually this is THE Fundamental Misconception of ID/creationism brought to you by Henry Morris back in the 1970s, and further asserted in response to being told by the physics community that he was wrong.

These misconceptions permeate ALL ID/creationist writings, including those of the one you impersonate.

Here is Thomas Kindell repeating Morris’s arguments almost verbatim.

This is your intellectual heritage; but we know it better than you do. And we also know why it is wrong.

Of course every real scientist knows that the scientific method is “standardized” as much as it possible already. Now matter what the study question or the methods, the same important issues are always addressed in any good study:

1) Testable hypothesis

2) Good experimental design

3) Appropriate methods

4) Ability to be reproduced

5) Sufficient sample size

6) Appropriate analysis and statistical significance

7) Peer review

If “someone” has a problem with any particular scientific study. then”someone” can publish a rebuttal paper. Whining and moaning about things you don’t understand isn’t really going to help now is it?

Now if “someone” has any suggestions for improvement, then “someone” might take that other “someone” seriously. Until then, “someone” can piss off.

Kris said:

I’m not condemning all of science. Why are you guys so defensive? You act like a gung-ho, angry, religious zealot who just had someone tell him/her there’s no such thing as God and that absolutely everything he/she ever believed in is false.

I’ll tell you why I’ve become so defensive when it comes to your posts:

1) With but infinitesimal exceptions, your posts have nothing to do with the subject thread. Go post on the bathroom wall.

2) Your posts are almost all vague, generalized complaints without any examples pertaining specifically to the complaints when you make them.

3) You equivocate rather regularly, making your claims fallacious and irrelevant. Your complaint about the inconsistency of scientific methodology (vs the Scientific Method) comes to mind here.

4) You make a number of complaints that are irrelevant or “no duh”. Your complaint that science and scientists make mistakes or are sometimes greedy or selfish comes to mind here. Why should this be surprising to anyone or relevant to any discussion?

5) You make a number of complaints against strawmen or claims nobody has ever made. Your complaint about science claiming or implying that it will “neatly categorize all of life” comes to mind. When has anyone in science implied such?

6) You refuse to explain a point or elaborate with detail when asked. The rather consistent questions regarding your insistence that the Mono Lake research and the Ivory-billed Woodpecker investigations were somehow a black mark on the science (contrary to actual evidence in science) come to mind here.

7) Your insistence on deflating scientific analyses while inflating ID claims and actually comparing them at all when they are but apples and oranges. Your numerous claims comparing scientific output with creationist output comes to mind. To be more specific, here’s a great example:

Kris: Actually, I haven’t and don’t ignore the thousands of points of agreement that exist in science. I agree with many of those points but not just because others agree with them. The amount of people agreeing or disagreeing about something doesn’t necessarily have an effect on me. If it did, I’d probably be religious.

What if a creationist were to say that you ignore the points of agreement (whether thousands or otherwise) that exist between creationists? Would that change your mind about the veracity, reputation, and/or trustworthiness of the concept or practice of ID/creationism, either in whole or in part?

Creationists don’t have “a thousand points of agreement” that science does, so there’s no comparison. In fact, creationists have done nothing scientific at all, so the point is actually moot - it’s comparing apples and oranges. You harp on scientific disagreements while ignore the literally thousands of agreements on a given subject and then imply the science is doing the same thing to creationism, but clearly that is impossible since creationism doesn’t have any points of agreement since they’ve done no research specific to creationism/ID at all.

That’s why I’m defensive.

Robin -

You are not being “defensive”.

The term “defensive” implies unreasonable objection to valid criticism.

Kris is defensive.

I can note objectively that every post Kris puts up consists of some combination of the following - worthlessly vague claims that “science” is somehow horribly flawed, worthlessly vague claims that he could tell “scientists” what to do, an uproariously evasive lack of specifics, and an implied worthless post-modern argument that creationism is “just as good” as science because science is so bad.

I will stick to that objective observation.

Kris said:

So then, you’re saying that scientists are or should be motivated by a desire for fame?

Actually, I don’t believe used the word “motivated” anywhere in my comments. That’s your reading, once again, a conclusion unsupported by any evidence.

I did point out that, in science, the accolades tend to come to those who discover something new and innovative.

After all, 400 years later, the names “Copernicus” and “Galileo” are still household words. Those of their contemporaries who defended geocentrism.… not so much.

Although, to answer your question bluntly, would most scientists be pleased to become famous for advancing their field? Sure. Why not? Most people would be happy with a touch of professional recognition, and scientists are certainly no different.

I would say that some scientists are motivated by that but some just want to stay employed (or keep the grant money coming in). Either can cause a scientist to accept or rebuke any criticisms of, or proposed changes to, the status quo. Their status quo.

In my experience with scientists (largely electronics and semiconductors, with a smattering of geology) most of the many scientists I know don’t work in academia. Instead, they get their paycheck from actually producing results.

If, for example, flood geology were actually a useful method for finding oil, I have no doubt that the geologists I know, being practical people who know what a large strike is worth, and desiring to explore questions like “just how many sports cars is too many?”, would quickly embrace the Noahchian model as the preferred tool.

Was Darwin’s work really about the “origins of man”?

Well, his work was about common descent, so ultimately, yes, it was, though he was careful to avoid the subject if he could.

I don’t really know if anybody really stood on the issue. On the one hand, the logical conclusion tha tman was just another animal and subject to the same rules as a fruit fly was (and is) inescapable. On the other hand, Darwin was, paradoxically, a deeply religious man, and seemed hesitant to make that final leap, and disolve the idea of human exceptionalism.

His contemporaries, however, had no such qualms, quickly painting him as the despoiler of man, even in the early days.

harold said: … that creationism is “just as good” as science because science is so bad.

“Science is worthless, and we’re just as good as it is.” Which is the bottom line of all “argument from authority” objections.

ben said:

SWT said:

Kris, you keep writing that science has “messes” and needs to “clean up its act.”

What specific changes do you advocate?

Kris isn’t here to advocate specific changes, Kris is here to cast as much aspersion as possible on science while pretending to value it.

Note that although Kris has claimed to be a scientist, “science” and “scientists” are always referred to in 3rd person, and not a single example of anything has been offered from his/her own work or experience.

Dishonest concern troll. Nothing to see here, move along.

I don’t have much time right now so I’ll respond to some comments and questions from others later, but I simply have to respond to you right now.

You’re not the first one who has said or implied that I’m not a scientist, or has asked me where I work or what kind of science I work at.

Does it matter who I am, or what I do, or where I work, or what my credentials are?

Why would it matter? Is it so that you or someone else can compare me to themselves and see if they can beat my credentials, degrees, GPA, or some other irrelevant ‘qualification’ and then try to use it against me in a debate? Would you also ask who my teachers, associates, or mentors are or were, or which books or papers I have read, for the same reason?

If I said I graduated from Harvard, or Princeton, or MIT, or some obscure community college, would it make any relevant difference? If I told you the size of my dick would you compare it to yours and hope to beat me there too?

Unlike many (most?) people I don’t rely on my credentials, including GPA, places of employment, mentors, teachers, degrees, schools, cited articles/papers/books, etc., just to impress others, or to use in a blustering attempt to bolster what I say.

If I bring up any of that stuff it will be because it’s relevant at the time and to the points I’m making.

I know and have met people with tons of fancy credentials who are dumber than a post and I also know and have met people with no fancy credentials who are very sharp and knowledgeable.

I pay attention to what people say, not how many diplomas they have on their walls. I don’t worship anyone and I’m not intimidated by anyone. I know some things and there are lots of things I don’t know. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge about nature and I try very hard to keep as open a mind as possible.

I don’t care which or how many degrees you or anyone has or which schools you or they attended or graduated from. I don’t care how many times someone’s writings have been cited. I don’t care where you or anyone else has worked or what your title is. I care about substance, not braggadocios fluff.

Kris said:

Does it matter who I am, or what I do, or where I work, or what my credentials are?

Only in so far as supporting vs contradicting your claim. You made the claim that you are a scientist, without any prompting from anyone here. If it doesn’t matter (and it is certainly irrelevant to most folks here) why did you bring it up?

And the fact is, your posts demonstrate you are unfamiliar with basic concepts and structures in science. That leads to the impression that your claim is dubious and speaks to your credibility as a whole. But…perhaps there’s an honest reason for the inconsistency. Revealing your actual scientific association might explain the inconsistency and restore your credibility.

Of course, that’s up you.

I pay attention to what people say, not how many diplomas they have on their walls.

Me too. The issue to consider, however, is that what you’ve said in your posts indicates that you don’t really know much about what you are posting on.

Kris said:

ben said:

SWT said:

Kris, you keep writing that science has “messes” and needs to “clean up its act.”

What specific changes do you advocate?

Kris isn’t here to advocate specific changes, Kris is here to cast as much aspersion as possible on science while pretending to value it.

Note that although Kris has claimed to be a scientist, “science” and “scientists” are always referred to in 3rd person, and not a single example of anything has been offered from his/her own work or experience.

Dishonest concern troll. Nothing to see here, move along.

I don’t have much time right now so I’ll respond to some comments and questions from others later, but I simply have to respond to you right now.

You’re not the first one who has said or implied that I’m not a scientist, or has asked me where I work or what kind of science I work at.

Does it matter who I am, or what I do, or where I work, or what my credentials are?

Why would it matter? Is it so that you or someone else can compare me to themselves and see if they can beat my credentials, degrees, GPA, or some other irrelevant ‘qualification’ and then try to use it against me in a debate? Would you also ask who my teachers, associates, or mentors are or were, or which books or papers I have read, for the same reason?

If I said I graduated from Harvard, or Princeton, or MIT, or some obscure community college, would it make any relevant difference? If I told you the size of my dick would you compare it to yours and hope to beat me there too?

Unlike many (most?) people I don’t rely on my credentials, including GPA, places of employment, mentors, teachers, degrees, schools, cited articles/papers/books, etc., just to impress others, or to use in a blustering attempt to bolster what I say.

If I bring up any of that stuff it will be because it’s relevant at the time and to the points I’m making.

I know and have met people with tons of fancy credentials who are dumber than a post and I also know and have met people with no fancy credentials who are very sharp and knowledgeable.

I pay attention to what people say, not how many diplomas they have on their walls. I don’t worship anyone and I’m not intimidated by anyone. I know some things and there are lots of things I don’t know. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge about nature and I try very hard to keep as open a mind as possible.

I don’t care which or how many degrees you or anyone has or which schools you or they attended or graduated from. I don’t care how many times someone’s writings have been cited. I don’t care where you or anyone else has worked or what your title is. I care about substance, not braggadocios fluff.

Kris, you found time to respond to ben’s response to my post … perhaps you can find a moment to respond to my actual question.

I can note objectively that every post Kris puts up consists of some combination of the following - worthlessly vague claims that “science” is somehow horribly flawed, worthlessly vague claims that he could tell “scientists” what to do, an uproariously evasive lack of specifics, and an implied worthless post-modern argument that creationism is “just as good” as science because science is so bad.

I don’t have much time right now so I’ll respond to some comments and questions from others later, but I simply have to respond to you right now.

You’re not the first one who has said or implied that I’m not a scientist, or has asked me where I work or what kind of science I work at.

Does it matter who I am, or what I do, or where I work, or what my credentials are?

Why would it matter? Is it so that you or someone else can compare me to themselves and see if they can beat my credentials, degrees, GPA, or some other irrelevant ‘qualification’ and then try to use it against me in a debate? Would you also ask who my teachers, associates, or mentors are or were, or which books or papers I have read, for the same reason?

If I said I graduated from Harvard, or Princeton, or MIT, or some obscure community college, would it make any relevant difference? If I told you the size of my dick would you compare it to yours and hope to beat me there too?

Unlike many (most?) people I don’t rely on my credentials, including GPA, places of employment, mentors, teachers, degrees, schools, cited articles/papers/books, etc., just to impress others, or to use in a blustering attempt to bolster what I say.

If I bring up any of that stuff it will be because it’s relevant at the time and to the points I’m making.

I know and have met people with tons of fancy credentials who are dumber than a post and I also know and have met people with no fancy credentials who are very sharp and knowledgeable.

I pay attention to what people say, not how many diplomas they have on their walls. I don’t worship anyone and I’m not intimidated by anyone. I know some things and there are lots of things I don’t know. I have an insatiable thirst for knowledge about nature and I try very hard to keep as open a mind as possible.

I don’t care which or how many degrees you or anyone has or which schools you or they attended or graduated from. I don’t care how many times someone’s writings have been cited. I don’t care where you or anyone else has worked or what your title is. I care about substance, not braggadocios fluff.

Yep.

Let me add one more - worthlessly vague and over-generalized declarations that other peoples’ degrees and achievements don’t mean anything.

I’m objectively noting the small number of repetitive elements that comprise Kris’s posts so that, if I have time, I can point them out in his future posts.

So the answer is no, Kris is not a real scientist as he claimed. ANd the answer is no, he has no intention of actually reading the paper that is the topic of this thread or actually discussing any of the science in it. Glad he cleared that up once and for all.

Now Kris, if you want to argue about the molecular clock, you really should understand what you are talking about. Here area few references to get you started. If you are a real scientist you will read them. If not, you will be admitting that you cannot. In that case, my original diagnosis about you just having a bad case of science envy will once again be confirmed.

Goodman (1987) Globins: A case study in molecular phylogeny. Cold Spring Harbor Symp Quant Biol 52:875-890.

Ayala et. al. (1998) Origin of the Metazoan phyla: Molecular clocks confirm paleontological estimates. PNAS 95(2):606-611.

Lynch (1993) A method for calibrating molecular clocks and its application to animal mitochondrial DNA. 135:1197-1208.

Kris said:

ben said:

SWT said:

Kris, you keep writing that science has “messes” and needs to “clean up its act.”

What specific changes do you advocate?

Kris isn’t here to advocate specific changes, Kris is here to cast as much aspersion as possible on science while pretending to value it.

Note that although Kris has claimed to be a scientist, “science” and “scientists” are always referred to in 3rd person, and not a single example of anything has been offered from his/her own work or experience.

Dishonest concern troll. Nothing to see here, move along.

I don’t have much time right now so I’ll respond to some comments and questions from others later, but I simply have to respond to you right now.

You’re not the first one who has said or implied that I’m not a scientist…etc., etc.

I didn’t say that whether or not you were an actual scientist was relevant in evaluating any specific argument you may have made. I was just pointing out that you appear to be dishonest. I think you’re probably the only one who missed my point.

I care about substance

So show us some. You’ve got a lot of vague complaints about science and scientists (all of which are resolved neatly in your own alleged scientific practices, no doubt), but you strenuously resist ever suggesting any concrete improvements that might be made, while spewing pages and pages of general crap.

I don’t have much time right now so I’ll respond to some comments and questions from others later, but I simply have to respond to you right now.

Ever notice how the trolls so often preface their comments with pretense about how busy they are? Off doing science the right way, no doubt. Are you growing mushrooms on your houseboat, or researching whether ticks are more attracted to watermelon rinds than they are to orange peels?

Robin said, quoting Chris the Creationist Christmas troll:

“You made the claim that you are a scientist, without any prompting from anyone here. If it doesn’t matter (and it is certainly irrelevant to most folks here) why did you bring it up?”

I think Chris the Creationist Christmas troll collects butterflies. That’s his claim to being a scientist. But he ain’t no scientist, as we all know. Unless he’s one of those fake ‘scientists’ at AiG or ICR.

“Robin said, in response to…”

Anybody wanna bet he’s either an engineer or a “computer scientist”? Anyone?

fnxtr said:

Anybody wanna bet he’s either an engineer or a “computer scientist”? Anyone?

Now be nice to engineers … BTW, I minored in computer science.

John Vanko said:

“Robin said, in response to…”

??? Was this a misfire, John?

Robin said:

John Vanko said:

“Robin said, in response to…”

??? Was this a misfire, John?

Oops…nevermind. I see what you did there… ;)

fnxtr said:

Anybody wanna bet he’s either an engineer or a “computer scientist”? Anyone?

Hey!

Lay off the engineers!

I assure you, most of us realize that the earth really is a big ball of rock that’s been looping around the sun for billions of years while amoebas evolved the ability to blog.

while amoebas evolved the ability to blog.

And pseudo-pods evolved into pseudo-science?

stevaroni -

In defense of engineers -

1) Many creationist trolls who claim to be or imply that they are engineers or computer scientists are outright lying. They simply hope that biomedical people won’t know enough about engineering to know that they are lying. They are usually wrong.

2) Many are technically doing a task with an occupational description of “(something) engineer” but don’t have, and would not be able to obtain, an actually engineering degree.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some creationist engineers, but the numbers are exaggerated by the pretenders.

I have never seen an amoeba blogging, and I rotated through a clinical parasitology lab - although that was in the early days of the internet.

That should be “actual engineering degree” of course.

harold said:

1) Many creationist trolls who claim to be or imply that they are engineers or computer scientists are outright lying.

I would say some of them really are engineers, but as a person with an engineering background that gives them them about the same qualifications on evo science that I do, or for that matter a plumber or carpenter does.

mrg -

Yes, it is indeed true that even the self-proclaimed engineers who actually are engineers are not qualified.

However, self-declaration of “engineer” or “computer scientist” status in trolls should be viewed with great skepticism.

Robin said:

??? Was this a misfire, John?

(hoping you are a ma’am):

“My Dear, I never misfire.”

John Vanko said:

Robin said:

??? Was this a misfire, John?

(hoping you are a ma’am):

“My Dear, I never misfire.”

Heh! Well, though I’m a guy, that’s still funny. I teed that one up without thinking about it.

Robin said:

John Vanko said:

Robin said:

??? Was this a misfire, John?

(hoping you are a ma’am):

“My Dear, I never misfire.”

Heh! Well, though I’m a guy, that’s still funny. I teed that one up without thinking about it.

Aw Shit!

My comeback was going to be, “I only fire exactly when I mean to.”

Oh well. Back to the business of slamming these damn creationists!

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Matheson published on December 13, 2010 9:56 PM.

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