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Biochemist

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  1. Like
    Biochemist got a reaction from CraigD in Welfare And Violence   
    Thanks for the hello!!
     
    I really didn't mean to misdirect; I just disagree. I think the primary issues were federalism and defense. The fact that some southern states had other priorities is relevant, but I don't think it was primary to the documents. The impression I got from your link is that the author was saying it was the primary driver. I just don't think that is the case.
     
    Agreed. But I think this supports my point that federalism was pretty key to the Constitution.
     
    I think the fraction of people that were racist was higher then, and it reflected itself in the document, yes.
     
    Absorutery....
     
    Oh, your just trying to turn my head with complements. :)
     
    This is news to me. I have done a lot of work with TANF in the last 3 years, and I never heard anyone refer to it as AFDC. That is indeed new information. But my actual point was (probably) a little more extreme than yours. I thought those actually were AFDC numbers. That was about the retention of recipients in AFDC (if memory serves) and it is even shorter after the transition to TANF. Not only are there very few multi-generation welfare recipients now, there were very few even in the 1990s. I think we are in violent agreement here.
     
    I really don't think that was Bill Bennett's intent.
     
    I think I would count as both. I am personally a provider (a doctor of pharmacy), and my last 30 years have been roughly evenly divided between payer a provider activities. It is probably slightly weighted toward provider. I have also worked in almost all provider clinical settings (e.g., all parts of hospitals, ambulatory primary care, ambulatory specialty care, home health, in and out-patient pharmacy, and in most ancillaries as well). I happen to also have some experience in population cost and quality analytics (both in terms so depth in tools and depth in the data). I do know something about this.
     
    Hey I was making a legitimate argument. The point was that a drastic reduction in ICU utilization via an arbitrary rule (no admissions for folks over 70) would probably not show in outcome statistics. This is not only because people over 70 have poor prognoses. It is also because ICU is often unnecessary, and we use it for security. However, it is fair to say that your even-more-extreme eradication of septuagenarians would show in outcomes statistics, so that is not really a fair counterargument in absurdum.
     
    Renew! Renew! Peter Ustinov had a great role in that one. But it still was not as good as the book.
     
    Au contraire. The IPAB (patient advisory board) was explicitly modeled on NICE in the UK. This board identifies procedures that are not cost effective. It does not identify procedures that just ineffective. NICE actually has a dollar number for the value of a life year. (I think it is 20k pounds). Ergo, if someone happens to think their life years are worth more than that, tough luck. NHS won't pay for it. And historically, the UK generally has restricted private practice so if NICE says no, you can't get it. This is not just information provision. It is an explicit step toward rationing through federal diktat. Palin was a little more colorful that I would have preferred, but not particularly far off of the mark. Don Berwick (previous CMS head) loved NICE. He was an explicit advocate for that approach.
     
    I am just not willing to ascribe intent on this.
     
    This is just a less severe variant of calling conservatives Nazis. I don't think it is justified as a comparison.
     
    My pleasure. Glad to see you are still hanging around here kicking up dust!
     
    Bio
  2. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Evolution Pros and Cons   
    I think the data better supports that DNA pre-codes for DNA changes. I suggest that speciation is not because mutations alter DNA serially, and then express, and then are selected. It is because the parent species has a propensity to alter itself into the daughter species. This essentially puts all of the code for the common ancestry into the first life form. A little tough to accept, but I think this is the most consistent with the extant data. It does (certainly) make the abiogenesis process that nuch more difficult, but it is what it is. 
    I ran a whole thread on this topic a couple years. The title was something like "statistical/probabilisitic issues with speciation".
  3. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Darwin re-visited   
    This is a really interesting development, MA. Your point is valid, but since the retrotransposon activity is embryonic, it also suggests that genetic changes that would result in death of a fertilized ovum now will only result in death of an early embryo cell. Essentially, it raises the probability of embryonic survival, and increases the probability off a functional cell mosaic (whether good or bad).  
    Really interesting. Also, I never saw the numbers (noted in the summary) that L1 retrotransposons are 17% of the human genome. This is roughly six times the portion that transcribes proteins.
     
    Bio
  4. Like
    Biochemist got a reaction from Michaelangelica in Darwin re-visited   
    All true, and a good point. I still am surprised (and it seems somewhat counterintuitive) that after "carving into stone" so much of the standardized cell infrastructure, that we could generate such a remarkable diversity in body plans without significant alteration to the standardized machinery. 
    My opinion on this (completely unsubstantiated, of course) is that the tendency toward life (in fact toward the tree of life that we see) is intrinsic in the fundamental molecular structure of the basic molecules. That is, development of life is similar to the order created when solids crystallize. The difference is (of course) that crystallization happens rapidly, so we can test reproducibility.
     
    I would hypothesize that if similar conditions arose again, we would get a very similar tree of life again, and arrive at a very similar "end point" again.
     
    Bio
  5. Like
    Biochemist got a reaction from Glenn Lyvers in Is there a God? What do YOU think???   
    Great example. 
    Well, the traditional national media (New York Times, LA Times, network news, PBS) do lean left. Cable and radio mostly lean right, with the notable exception of CNN.  
    I think overall, we have pretty good balance now, but not on any single outlet.
     
    This might be worth its own thread.
  6. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Darwin re-visited   
    I started this in post 463 of this thread. Re-read the post. The data in that post stands. I don't think anything in that post is contested.  
    Please stop the unrelated ID attacks, and stick to the data.
  7. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Talk about God from a biology forum thread   
    Moon- This is categorically untrue. There is no evidence that can be demonstrated by the scientific method (that I know of), but that certainly does not mean there is no evidence. You must have meant "no need for God in the scientific method". That is a long way from "no need for God".For one, you would stop ruling out viable possibilities, as discussed above.
  8. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Darwin re-visited   
    Maybe. But there is something distinctly anti-theist about debunking ID when no one brought it up. No one except you. 
    Incidentally, creationist proponents are no more homogeneous that evolutionary biologists. Any treatise that starts with "ID proponents think..." or "creationists think..." is a little like saying "scientists think...". It is a non statement.
     
    Bio
  9. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Darwin re-visited   
    How can something that is factually not true be obvious?
  10. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Darwin re-visited   
    Well, I have to admit I am tickled that you could decipher my post.
     
    The only (potential) disagreement we have is around the character of the illusion. My suggestion is that the environment that ended up creating life was not only possible, it is likely. We look at this massive amount of biochemical complexity and think (credibly) that most of the actions are not random because earlier states minimize or bound many of the options. Ergo, given these constraints, we surmise that life developed because of an aggregation of increasingly complex states that minimized the options for sequential developments.
     
    We still have a bit of divergence (I think) around the probability of the overall evolutionary scheme.
     
    I am suggesting that not only was the probability of life initially high (actually near 100%) given the initial planet conditions, but that the probability of specific tree that we see was also high.
     
    Further, given that we had a quasi end-point about 500 million years ago (where, apparently, phyla stopped being added), it looks like the tendency toward life (and increasing complexity) had a natural end point, and we are essentially there.
     
    Hence, if we duplicated the initial conditions again, we would not only get "life", but we would get a very similar (or identical) tree, contingent only on the macroenvironmental events (asteroids, ice ages and such) that cataclysmically altered niches. With the same cataclysms, we would get the same tree.
     
    Simplifying, if we put a bunch of chemicals into a glass of water and waited an hour and a frog, a bird and a man hopped out, we would be surprised. If we duplicated the experiment and it happened again, we would run experiments to determine causality (as we are doing).
     
    Unfortunately, we don't have the luxury of being able to run the whole experiment again.
  11. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Darwin re-visited   
    Well, not really. I have worked on this post for over 2 hours, and I don't think it is particularly clear. But let me give it a shot.... 
    Merging together data from two of your recent posts, the mutation rate attachment above demonstrated that E Coli generated resistance to the T1 phage at a rate of about 10^-10. Given that the E Coli genome is about 5 million base pairs, this means that roughly every 200th replication has a genomic alteration. Hence 199 little beggars get through unscathed for every genomic change. More intriguing, however, is that (apparently) a single nucleotide mutation results in T1 phage immunity. Small change, large effect. And this is in an E Coli for goodness sake.
     
    In humans, given the larger genome (and a slightly higher mutation rate), we end up with something like 175 genomic alterations in each generation (Ref: Estimate of the Mutation Rate per Nucleotide in Humans -- Nachman and Crowell 156 (1): 297 -- Genetics). The genomic changes are heavily weighted toward CpG dinucleotides (roughly an order of magnitude more common that other loci) and the most common genomic changes are substitutions of a nucleotide (90% ish) versus an addition or deletion which would cause a frame shift. (same reference as above)
     
    Overall, genomic changes are not really rare (unless you look at the 10^-9 view), they are quite common. And the genomic changes are significantly weighted toward specific loci (e.g., CpG dinucleotides), and toward changes that do not cause a frame shift (by an order of magnitude- same reference).
     
    It is easy to default to a view that the polymerases have, over time, "selected" toward mutation rates that are neither too fast nor too slow, and not too damaging but just damaging enough. Too fast and you eradicate the species; too slow and nothing evolves. But this is self fulfilling prophecy. This is indeed the state of nature.
     
    But entities that have found stable niches would have (rationally) selected for very low mutation rate polymerases. I don't think we have found this to be the case, although RNA virus polymerases are noteworthy for the reverse: their high polymerase infidelity (since they must adapt very rapidly to survive the immune responses of vectors). But this sort of mutation had to express itself (in the evolutionary tree) after the vectors had patent immune systems. That is, we needed a very sophisticated solution (just the right tweek on a very malleable polymerase) to a very sophisticated problem (a sophisticated immune system). Behold, there was one.
     
    That is, entities that spend lots of time in the UV getting their gametes blasted are not the long term survivors. They are the road kill. Those that have tuned their polymerases are the survivors.
     
    The notion that these massively complex systems survive because they (sort of accidentally) generate transcription error at just the right rate is attractive. But at the molecular level of the polymerases, we are suggesting that single-substitution nucleotide changes in the coding for polymerases will modulate polymerase activity (up or down) such that individual species "thread the needle" for the right mutation rate to survive their particular ecological niche.
     
    But even the notion that transcription error rate can be modulated (versus just on or off) means that the polymerase itself had to be selected for "modulatability" not just for successful transcription.
     
    Overall, the house of cards here is large and tenuous:
     
    1) RNA and DNA have to be stable enough to survive in the initial pre-biologic environment to begin to auto polymerize
    2) early on we standardized on our 4 bases (5 if you count Thymine in DNA) and 20 amino acids
    3) Catalytic activity of RNA (the presumed early catalyst group) has to be effective, but not perfectly effective
    4) Catalytic activity must rapidly focus on replication of nucleotides
    5) Once nucleotide replication is generally effective, we transition to construction on proteins which, in turn build almost everything else
    6) The source machinery that build the nucleotide sequences works just well enough to allow for regular errors, translating into, occasionally, very significant changes in the end morphology of the entity
    7) In the end, all genetic machinery is oriented toward transcription error that is "just broken enough" to allow for improvement, including improvement in the source machinery.
     
    The number of inflection points in this schema where a small change would eradicate the all further progress is large.
     
    My inference is that the probabilistic sequence here is troublesome, unless you assume that this is not a rare occurrence at all. That is, it would happen again, in roughly the same fashion given similar circumstances and another 4 billion years. And my guess is that we would end up with a VERY similar evolutionary tree. This might be as reproducible as water boiling, given similar starting conditions.
     
    And if I am right, it probably did occur more than once. The tree may well have started at multiple locations in nearly identical fashion, but we would not be able to tell.
     
    Ergo, I think the end solution was likely at the beginning.
  12. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from freeztar in Darwin re-visited   
    Silly me. And I was under the impression that to "parrot" something, I would actually have to have seen it. 
    I must be really good.
  13. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Darwin re-visited   
    I appreciate you confirming my main point. In fact, if I were going to preload code for a couple of kingdoms, I would probably explode the initial genome as quickly as possible, then winnow it down as phylogenation occurred. But then, I wasn't there when it happened. 
    Your picture does a better job of supporting my position that my earlier brief statement.
     
    Bio
  14. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in Darwin re-visited   
    Not really. This is the abiogenesis discussion. Abiogenesis has always been pretty poorly described, other than through thoughtful conjecture. The old Oparin experiments where he ran electricity through a methane/carbon atmosphere and got some trace nucleic acids (or precursors-I forgot) led many to sort of assume that the first life architecture arose out of this sort of hostile environment. 
    There are a lot of difficulties with this argument. Notably, that even the 'simplest' life forms (bacteria?) are reasonably sophisticated little machines. If fthe first life form arose 3.5 billion years ago, and we allow for some time to let the earth cool (500 million years?- help me on this), this allows for 500 million years to create, in a truly random fashion, the single successful life architecture (DNA, RNA, 20 amino acids, and replication therein). Seems like a tall order.
     
    My hypothesis puts even more complexity onto the first life form, but it is probably only a several orders of magnitude greater than it was already.
     
    I suspect the folks that are interventionists (i.e. "aliens did it") would like my hypothesis.
  15. Like
    Biochemist got a reaction from GAHD in Darwin re-visited   
    It could be. We could not (yet) tell if it is. We would have to know how DNA "codes" for DNA changes. We only know an infinitessimal fraction of this now.  
    Do recall that the existing standard biochem dogma assumes that DNA builds mRNA, rRNA and tRNA which work together to build proteins which in turn build other structure or manage other processes. DNA also replicates DNA. This means that we assume that little machines (DNA) build little machines (replicated DNA) which build more little machines (the three kinds of RNA) which build yet more machines (proteins) which construct the cell (the last machine- unless you consider the end multicellular organism another "construction" generation).
     
    Summarizing: Machine 1 replicates machine 1 (i.e. becomes machine 2), build machines 3,4,and 5, which build machines 6 and possibly 7.
     
    Is it really a great stretch to suggest that DNA could code to modify DNA? This would occur before machine 1 above. If this happens, the historical DNA could be right there in front of us, and we could not read it.
     
    It would be easier to use weather data to predict weather.
  16. Like
    Biochemist got a reaction from GAHD in Darwin re-visited   
    DNA certainly is high in potential. This alone is one of the dilemmas. The VERY first life form uses the very same DNA and the VERY same 20 amino acids as all current life forms (with very rare exceptions on some amino acids that are modified after DNA coding). 
    We also know something about "external forces", in that the fossil record suggests that we get increases in speciation whenever an environmental cataclysm sequesters a large population into small groups. This is the outcome we would expect when recessive alleles are extant in a population. They are more likely to be expressed when the population is small. It does NOT explain how the recessive alleles got there, if they were never previously expressed.
     
    Bio
  17. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from GAHD in Darwin re-visited   
    I don't think you picked up my point. The genes of higher species are certainly not in lower genomes. But my suggestion is that the genomes have predispositions for DNA alterations. 
    Your assertion that E Coli does not have a program (other than for protein coding) in its DNA "because we have not found it" is as speculative as my assertion that it does have one.
     
    Bio
  18. Downvote
    Biochemist got a reaction from Galapagos in My belief in Global Warming is getting shaky   
    Gentlemen-
     
    This is a 20 minute video from 2007 that nicely encapsulates the opposing view. This video is not proprietary.

    Discovery Institute
     
     
    To my knowledge, there is no contest that CO2 rose over the last century. There is also certainly no contest about whether C02 can act as a greenhouse gas. The issue is whether the increase in CO2 is causal for global warming.
     
    In this video, the argument is that warming is better correlated with solar activity over the long term (300 to 1000 years) and that the increase in temperature over the last 100 years is more likely from solar activity than from CO2 increases. It also argues that CO2 increases are generally a result of warming, not a cause (since warm oceans undeniably store less CO2 than cold ones). The recent drop of global temperatures (2008) back to about the 100 year mean supports this position.
     
    In this discussion it is nice to avoid references to the "consensus" of scientists. Nothing in science is decided by consensus. Science is not a democracy.
     
    Most folks see this sort of presentation and proceed to attempt to discredit the source or the sponsor (as has been done in previous posts). I think this forum deserves to focus on the underlying science, not the perceived biases of the contributors.
  19. Like
    Biochemist got a reaction from Kayra in Evolution Must Be Taught in Public Schools   
    I don't agree with this at all. I must have been really unclear in my previous posts. Let me give this another shot. 
    Gravity is measurable directly. We measure gravity with scales. We can vary the measure by changing mass of the item on the scale, moving the scale to a different "large field" (e.g., to the moon) or by showing the offset of gravtiy with inertia (e.g., an orbit). These are direct measurements.
     
    The theory of gravity would include a set of "why" questions, and that discussion deserves to be called a "theory".
     
    In the case of evolution, we don't measure anything directly. We measure a large number of items indirectly, use them as indicators, and some number of those indicators point in different directions. (As opposed to the gravity measurement example above, where the gravity scalars are universally consistent).
     
    There are numerous open issues in evolutionary theory. If we use the English usage of evolution to mean the "things have changed," then I would agree that "evolution" is a fact.
     
    But if we include the four legs of Darwinianism, I think we have unresolved fact issues. I remain a profound skeptic of mutation-mediated gradualism, ergo I think Darwinian Evolution (as classicly defined) is NOT a fact. It is a well supported theory that has some significant and interesting open issues.
  20. Like
    Biochemist got a reaction from modest in Arguing Against Intelligent Design   
    That is fair.This seems backwards again. I am not suggesting a "theistic solution." I just don't rule out solutions that might appear theistic, if the evidence points that direction. TO do otherwise is not scientific.Heavens, no. But both groups of scientists are extremely heterogeneous. And many scientists default to a solution that is atheistic.I am a little confused. Please identify my bias. I think it is biased to exclude a solution in the absence of evidence. To allow for all possibilities is the essence of non-bias.So what? If I propose a hypothesis that is supported by evidence, and the hypothesis is falsifiable, it would qualify as "science." That is really my only point.
  21. Like
    Biochemist reacted to Eclogite in Arguing Against Intelligent Design   
    Newton and every other scientist of his time worked with a paradigm that saw the Earth as a creation of God. That changed over time towards a naturalistic paradigm, in which supernatural intervention played no role. 
    However, a point that is often overlooked by those who work as scientists (but not by philosophers and historians of science) is that this naturalistic paradigm is a methodological one rather than an intrinsic one. In different words, science does not deal with God or the supernatural because it declares itself unable to do so. Science does not deny the existence of God, but declares that God (absent or present) is incidental to the pursuit of scientifc enquiry.
     
    There is nothing within science that prohibits the investigation of God, or of intelligent design other than the decision that such investigation is unecessary. Biochemist is saying that many scientists - including some very smart scientists - have taken the decision to adopt a particular paradigm (methodological naturalism) to be based upon an absolute truth, rather than on a practical convenience. That, under another name, is dogma.
     
    I wonder, with biochemist, whether we may not be ignoring or misinterpreting certain data purely because they do not agree with the current paradigm. Some of these data are suggestive of a missing factor. You - and others - have rightly noted that in any scientific theory there are always areas of dispute and uncertainty. These are typically resolved eventually. However, to declare - as an absolute - that the conveniently chosen methodological naturalism is also an absolute naturalism is, as I said before, dogma and as such should be eliminated from any scientific investigation.
     
    Personally, I am uncomfortable* with only one thing within evolution sensuo stricto and that is the Cambrian explosion. I am also uncomfortable with the time span available for abiogenesis. I think fully naturalistic explanations for these may well be found. The Cambrian explosion may turn out to be an inevitable emergence of complexity out of systems on the verge of chaos, in a manner similar to Thunderbird's suggestions. (Though I think he is wide of the mark, since his mechanisms seem to require full blown Lamarkianism.) The answer to abiogenesis in such a short time span may be accounted for either in the same manner, or by pan spermia.
     
    But I do not rule out the plausibility of intelligent design acting through predefined emergent properties being the cause of either, or both. If we reject the possibility from the outset we shall find it very difficult to see it if it is true. In this regard I view the efforts of Creationists diguised as Intelligent Design advocates as a serious obstacle to proper research, since it almost guaruntees a kneejerk reaction from scientists to any discussion of intelligent design, even when it is written without capitals.
     
    *I have previously been accused of Argument from Incredulity when stating I am uncomfortable with something. I use it as code for 'I have looked at the evidence and data in this matter. Not only do I find the discrepancies and irregularities that are generally recognised, but in addition I conclude there is not sufficient evidence to warrant calling the proposed explanations anything other than speculations.'
  22. Like
    Biochemist reacted to modest in Arguing Against Intelligent Design   
    I see where you're coming from. I separated 3 from 1 and 4 consciously for this situation: The life form of common descent could be claimed to have very limited genetic material - yet also have a mechanism capable of designing material for future species. If the unlikelihood of probabilities is the thing to be overcome it seems claims could be made that either: The first life form had a large gene pool, or a mechanism capable of overcoming the odds by intelligently creating a large gene pool exists in the cell. Both fall outside the idea of an outside intelligence herding-the-sheep as life moved along.
     
    On this subject: looking at your theory; I'm wondering why you would claim there is anything intelligent going on in a cell at all. If the first life form had the basic segments we find today (give or take) then no intelligent process since then would be needed. Maybe that's not what you have claimed and I misunderstand.
     
     
    I, again, see where you're coming from. However, can we agree that a process like hypermutation can create dna coding that has never been seen in nature before? The process would at least allow for that - yes?
     
     
    My bad 1.7 - not 3. Nevertheless, life forms today act differently than three billion years ago. Claiming they both have the same genetic makeup or potential would seem to have that hurdle. Why, for instance, would a cell have the ability to process oxygen before we had an oxygen atmosphere? Why would photosynthesis be in the genetic repertoire and not be used? This seems illogical to me.
     
     
    I would just stress that even if we did prove something amiss with the cambrian era, that is not a theory. I agree that ID needs some predictions. I feel, however, any attempt to give it that quality will be stifled by those who don't want ID to be proven wrong. There are, for better or worse, many who like their intelligent design an undeniable expression of faith. That said, you are clearly not in that category and it's unfair to use that attack which some have done.
     
    -modest
  23. Like
    Biochemist reacted to TheFaithfulStone in Arguing Against Intelligent Design   
    It seems like you're trying to rewind the tape, and then when you can't do it, saying that there must be some OTHER factor that keeps you from doing it.
     
    Look at the Conways Life thing. You can literally draw random crap on a 2D board and wind up with complicated global structures.
     
    Emergent complexity IS the emergence of complex (and unpredictable) organization out of simple rules. It's NOT chaotic.
     
    The aardvark thing has already been addressed multiple times - it's a variant of the blind-watchmaker argument, and it just doesn't hold up. If you selected ice crystals for "could be part of an aardvark statue" - you'd end up with an aardvark statue in short order.
     
    That said - there may BE an answer to "How does speciation occur?" Or there may be more than one right answer to that question.
     
    So to break it down:
     
    The fact:
    It's not readily apparent how current cell formations arose out of whatever prior state they held (if any.)
     
    1) You claim:
    A) Given the current state of cells, it's looks unlikely that the current state could have arisen out of a prior state.
    B) Therefore we must be missing some vital piece of information that would enable us to deduce the prior state. Fundamentally, that there is some "secret fact" that will give us the keys to the kingdom.
     
    2) I claim:
    A) Given the notion of emergent complexity, it's often impossible to determine what the prior state is.
    :) Therefore, the fact that we cannot determine it is not absolutely indicative of a missing piece of information. Fundamentally, that gaps in our understanding are not necessarily gaps of fact.
     
    Your proscription for a solution:
    We should look for whatever vital piece(s) of information would enable us to deduce the prior state.
     
    My proscription for a solution:
    No amount of information would necessarily enable us to deduce the prior state, so we should concentrate on finding prior states and rule sets that COULD lead to the current state.
     
    We may never find the "correct" answer, but our understanding of the processes will increase.
     
    TFS
  24. Like
    Biochemist got a reaction from Michaelangelica in Depression (Clinical)   
    Hey, this is really GOOD news. If we can just find a way to give lawyers the means to "act on" their depressed state, we could decrease the number of lawyers!!!!!
  25. Like
    Biochemist got a reaction from Turtle in Arguing Against Intelligent Design   
    I love the way your frame your arguments, Buff. This mixes two issues. The first is the definition of "mutation." My understanding is that most folks generally accept serial mutation as the primary mechanism of gradualism. (Let's disregard genetic drift as a significant mechanism for the moment). Even those folks who see "mutation" as the core mechanism do not generally accept that "mutation" is fully random, in that some types of mutations are far more likely to occur, survive, transcribe or recur (etc.) than others. This is the beginning of what I regard as a slippery slope toward "propensity". If a given genetic alteration event be is thought to be a "mutation," but the propensity for the "mutation" is a long probability from random, we have to question whether the "mutation" idea is applicable. From a pure probabilistic standpoint, a typical protein is 200-400 residues. This would mean it required 600-1200 nucleotides to specify the 200-400 codons in the DNA sequence. Most genes code for multiple proteins in a single transcription. Most proteins are fully dysfunctional of we alter more than 1-2% of their amino acid residues. Ergo, for a truly random change in a protein to result in another functional protein, the probability is miniscule. The probability is much less for multiple proteins in a single gene to be co-transcribed in the same transcription as part of the same end structure. Ergo, my understanding is that most folks who study this stuff readily accept a list of influences that substantially improve the probability of otherwise highly unlikely scenarios. My question is this: If preexisting intracellular conditions can convert a random event with probability of less than 1 in 10^50th to a probability of 1 in 10^6, is it fair to call it a "mutation"? Yep, true. But I would emphasize that if a somewhat trivial change to a complex gene set can produce a significant change in body plan (e.g., during the Cambrian explosion), this argues against a "mutative" phenomenon, and more in favor of a "coded" phenomenon. Even more so if the complex change was never previously expressed, and hence had not had an opportunity to be "selected". That is, the genetic propensity for the daughter species was already in the parent species. I think all the folks that made money on Junk Bonds will testify to the misuse of the term "junk."So, if we could just get these folks to quit describing the events as "mutations," they would be essentially in agreement with the core elements of Intelligent Design. (I would have added "God forbid" in her somewhere, but that could be soooo miscontrued).Nobody is perfect. But this is really now a discussion of nomenclature, not theory. "Natural Selection" isn't a particularly good name either, but we know what it means. If we rename "Intelligent Design" to "Precoded Speciation" would you be happier? You know that I live to make you happy.Well, in your case Buff, I am willing to concede the "glorious" part, but so far I am reserving acceptance of the "accident" portion.
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