The Evolutionary Gorilla In The Room

-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger

One common tactic in the creationist’s war against evolution is to falsify evolution by demonstrating a counterexample. If such a counterexample existed, it would indeed spell the demise of evolution. The Precambrian Rabbit would be such a counterexample. After failing to find even one counterexample, some creationists have given up trying to falsify evolution and now seek to disabuse evolution by claiming it is not falsifiable. Other creationists, unable to falsify evolution, get all metaphysical and point out that the principle of falsifiability is not falsifiable.A recent paper in the journal Nature, Insights into hominid evolution from the gorilla genome sequence, after sequencing the western lowland gorilla genome, it was found that “in 30% of the genome, gorilla is closer to human or chimpanzee than the latter are to each other.”

Creationists pounced, noting that depending on which DNA fragment is used for analysis, humans are more closely related to gorillas than to chimpanzees. Although this was termed “Bad News” for evolution, it would have been worse news for probability theory. While the genomes of humans and chimpanzees show a mean genetic difference of 1.37%, and a 1.75% difference between humans and gorillas, the key word is “mean.” These probabilities do not imply that there is a uniform genetic difference across all genes. Of the tens of thousands of genes, some are more similar and some are less similar. On average, humans are more closely related to chimpanzees than to gorillas.

On the genetic path from our Most Common Recent Ancestor (MCRA) to humans and gorillas, different genes mutated at different times. Although cladograms, like the one below for Humans, Chimpanzees, Gorillas, and Orangutans, show a single branch to each species, this does not imply that all the genetics differences occurred simultaneously. One would have to be a creationist to believe that all the mutations occurred simultaneously.

One would also expect to find that certain DNA fragments would more similar between humans and orangutans. This is exactly what was found in this report, based on a complete orangutan genome, published in Genome Research, in which the authors said that “in about 0.5% of our genome, we are closer related to orangutans than we are to chimpanzees.”

Even the well-funded BioLogos, a group dedicated to trying to accommodate Christianity and science, sees the errancy of these arguments:

This is exactly what one expects from the species tree: humans and chimps are much more likely to have gene trees in common, since they more recently shared a common ancestral population (around 4-5 million years ago). Humans and orangutans, on the other hand, haven’t shared a common ancestral population in about 10 million years or more, meaning that it is much less likely for any given human allele to more closely match an orangutan allele.

Creationists are engaged in a desperate, but lucrative, attempt to pull a Precambrian Rabbit out of their hat. This attempt is particularly pathetic.

H/T: Pharyngula, John Wakeley (pdf), Pharyngula.

 

238 thoughts on “The Evolutionary Gorilla In The Room

  1. A few counter examples of creationism would be pedophile priests, tea party republicans, George Wallace, George Bush, George III, Ann Rand, Koch Brothers……

  2. So the question remains…. Are we descendants of the chimp, monkey, orangutan or alien life form planted in this vast oasis of oblivion…….

    We are what we are and we ain’t what we ain’t…… Signed…. Just looking…..John Prime….

  3. The biological case is not where the difficulty lies.

    The real difficulty is the chemical abiotic phase long before the evolution of any organics.

    The question “what is life” focuses on that area:

    Dr Clarke said: “There are a lot of fundamental questions about the origins of life and many people think they are questions about biology. But for life to have evolved, you have to have a moment when non-living things become living – everything up to that point is chemistry.”

    (Putting a Face On Machine Mutation). Machines mutating into organic life is more challenging evolution than biological evolution:

    “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.

    (… Machines or Organisms?). It is very interesting science.

  4. Great article on the arrogance of ignorance that some of these folks like to hold up like a banner. Too lazy to learn the science or even attempt to apply logic to the observations, they resort to fallacies of so-called common sense propped up with a Christian world-view to demagogue for their all-to-willing audience. Critical thinking is not very important to this crowd;group-think works so much better for the suckers.

  5. Another difficulty is the evolution of messaging, a key development.

    In Microbial Hermeneutics the issue of microbial communication is discussed:

    Imagine a graduate student with two thesis advisors. One suggests focusing on the experiments. The other suggests some mathematical modeling. What should the student do? The first strategy might involve doing a little of each, effectively ‘‘averaging’’ their advice. Prioritizing one mentor over the other could be a second option. Finally, when the best choice is unclear, it may be best to flip a coin. Bacteria, which live in complex environments, face similar problems and must respond optimally to multiple conflicting signals.

    Note that bad communication can be fatal to living things at the cellular level, and can likewise be destructive to machines that would have had to develop communication well before organics evolved from those machines.

  6. Thanks Nal,

    Being extremely experienced and knowledgeable (one evening course for laymen) let me opine over:
    “One would have to be a creationist to believe that all the mutations occurred simultaneously.!

    And one would also be stupid. Correct me, etc.

    Mutations, as opposed to meiotic crossings, occur relatively seldom.
    They are essentlally “noise” effecting the replicatory process in the meiotic process. They occur randomly, and are seldom positive in a fitness (=survival) poiint of view. Since eyes are not created in one big mutation (or selection process) a macro fitness genotype is even less likely.

    Of course creationists say, why this inlikeliness “proves” the hand of the maker,. While this expression only “proves” they don’t understand science, or anything else except simple legends.

  7. Great job David. I get tired of those who think that the Bible is a scientific document, instead of a story book as the good Benedictine nuns taught us in grade school.

  8. HAPPY APRIL FOOLS’ DAY: Sorry Nal, this was the only post today I could slip in today’s greeting and in honor of our host ( 50% Irish/50% Italian/Sicilian):

    In Italy children (and adults, when appropriate) traditionally tack paper fish on each other’s back as a trick and shout “april fish!” in their local language ( “pesce d’aprile!” in Italian).

    I enjoyed your post, Frank

  9. idealist707 1, April 1, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    Being extremely experienced and knowledgeable (one evening course for laymen) let me opine over …
    ====================================
    Which makes you like the rest of us. A subject studied by the science of Epistemology.

    A basic tenet is that what we say we “know” is in reality belief in what someone else says they know.

    None of us study all of these things, instead, we rely on others who study these things, and we choose someone to believe, then we say we “know” thus and such.

    We really have faith and trust in other people, but we call it knowledge.

  10. rafflaw 1, April 1, 2012 at 12:26 pm

    Great job David. I get tired of those who think that the Bible is a scientific document, instead of a story book as the good Benedictine nuns taught us in grade school.
    ===================================
    We ought not be too cocky, of course.

    Those who know the history of science know that it has done great oppressions in the past, equaling religionists in bigotry at times.

    Quite recently in fact.

    The Big Bang Theory is spouted often by such bigots posing as scientists, not realizing that a Belgian Priest first set forth the Big Bang Theory, not a “scientist.”

  11. Dredd,

    “Those who know the history of science know that it has done great oppressions in the past, equaling religionists in bigotry at times.”

    Seriously, man. Even though technically true? The magnitude of the inverse relationship (religion oppressing science) is simply greater on a scale that defies fair comparison. You are also discounting that in addition to being a priest, Georges Lemaître was an engineer, mathematician and cosmologist. Many scientists work have and do work in and under the supervision of religious bodies, including the father of genetics Gregor Johann Mendel (an Augustinian monk).

  12. Gene H. 1, April 1, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Dredd,

    “Those who know the history of science know that it has done great oppressions in the past, equaling religionists in bigotry at times.”

    Seriously, man. Even though technically true?
    ====================================
    Example. Dr. Semmelweis.

    Medical science is done by scientists.

    In general, scientists all too often tend to be jingoist servants of the state.

    Do I need to go further than WMD developed by scientists for the state, or eugenics practiced on immigrants by scientists?

    Agent Orange, Roundup, …

    Anyway, lets get back to the Gorilla …

  13. Dredd, (a little late today)

    Epistem—wha’?. Always hated that word and the intros to the ideas.
    But you make it sound interesting.

    One cliché, ie once a good saying, is:
    “Standing on the shoulders of giants”. Which is kinda related, huh?

    But standing on Einstein’s shoulders is still to big a climb for me.

    Although it is fun trying to understand 5 dimensions with only 4 available to us. And his (brag brag) reference free solutions, which Smolin points out, is even more fun. Of course, beyond 2+2 is beyond my horizon.

    Shall we discuss neutron stars instead. Shall we guess the mass of a cubic centimeter?.

    In conclusion, if you say shit, then I am obliged to repeat it as proof of …..?

    Do I get a PhD for that?

  14. Dredd,

    Medical scientists? An oxymoron.

    If it were not for real scientists, doctors would still be running around dishing out opium derivatives, alcohol, and the third one they had in their big black bag.
    Something for hysterical women. Talk about sexism.

    Did you know that the pacemaker was developed by two Swedes?
    A cardioulogist and a techie. In those olden times, they could still converse.

  15. Dredd,

    I’ll see your only tangentially related blog article (yours) and link that does not work (the other) and raise you a . . .

    Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin, stem cell research, prophylactics and other methods of birth control, the germ theory of disease and genetics.

  16. Gene H. 1, April 1, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Dredd,

    I’ll see your only tangentially related blog article (yours) and link that does not work (the other) and raise you a . . .

    Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin, stem cell research, prophylactics and other methods of birth control, the germ theory of disease and genetics.
    ======================================================
    Link One, Link Two

    Google Blogger is slow today … click retry …

    The germ theory was developed by Dr. Semmelweis, rejected by the science of the day, which believed that germs appeared out of thin air. Dr. Semmelweis was committed to a mental institution by them for his crazy ideas, where he died of a germ infection. It was decades later that scientists figured out he was correct.

    Now I raise you a few names: hydrogen bomb, atomic bomb, germ weapons, weapons grade anthrax, weapons grade other germs, every weapon of mass destruction, and the capacity to destroy all life on the planet 50 times over.

    Science provided these to the state, not religion.

  17. idealist707 1, April 1, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Dredd,

    Medical scientists? An oxymoron.
    ============================

    You must be thinking of military science, but here is food for thought:

    The Division of Medical Sciences was established at Harvard University in 1908. The Division was designed to provide students wishing to pursue careers in research and teaching with a broad education in basic biomedical science fields and specialization in one of them.

    (Harvard Division of Medical Science).

  18. idealist707 1, April 1, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Dredd, (a little late today)

    Epistem—wha’?. Always hated that word and the intros to the ideas.
    But you make it sound interesting.

    One cliché, ie once a good saying, is:
    “Standing on the shoulders of giants”. Which is kinda related, huh?
    =====================================================
    Standing on shoulders is what Chinese acrobats do.

    Lets not go acrobatshit, lets be intellectually honest.

    If knowledge is really faith and/or trust, then Epistemology can be ignored.

    So ask yourself about what scientists say about the Sun … it will destroy all life on the Earth in the future …

  19. Dredd,

    So what? The issues was repression of science by religion or conversely religion by science. That comparison is not even remotely fair as religion has a far longer and more robust history of repressing science than science does of repressing religion. If you want to move the goal posts to argue which has been more repressive on society as a whole, science or religion? I’m going to have to call that one a tie, but only because of the truly horrific things done and rationalized under the name of eugenics in the 20th Century and the scale which those atrocities were committed. Religion, over time, would otherwise win simply because of opportunity and the function of the time scales involved. We know for a fact religion has been messing with society since society began. Science, as we know it, is a fairly recent development.

  20. Gene H. 1, April 1, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Dredd,

    So what? The issues was repression of science by religion or conversely religion by science. That comparison is not even remotely fair as religion has a far longer and more robust history of repressing science than science does of repressing religion. If you want to move the goal posts to argue which has been more repressive on society as a whole, science or religion? I’m going to have to call that one a tie, but only because of the truly horrific things done and rationalized under the name of eugenics in the 20th Century and the scale which those atrocities were committed. Religion, over time, would otherwise win simply because of opportunity and the function of the time scales involved. We know for a fact religion has been messing with society since society began. Science, as we know it, is a fairly recent development.
    ==================================
    Religion as we know it is a fairly recent development too.

    So is the religion of science, which is more prevalent that science itself.

    That is my focus, the phony religion of science, and the phony science of religion.

    Scientists persecute and oppress other scientists.

    One example is Dr. Lynn Margulis, harrassed for years for criticizing segments of the theory of evolution:

    She did however, hold a negative view of certain interpretations of Neo-Darwinism, excessively focused on inter-organismic competition, as she believed that history will ultimately judge them as comprising “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon Biology.” She also believed that proponents of the standard theory “wallow in their zoological, capitalistic, competitive, cost-benefit interpretation of Darwin – having mistaken him … Neo-Darwinism, which insists on [the slow accrual of mutations by gene-level natural selection], is in a complete funk

    She opposed such competition-oriented views of evolution, stressing the importance of symbiotic or cooperative relationships between species..”

    (Wiki).

    I feature a video of her explaining that there is much nonsense passing as “science”, especially in evolutionary circles, in a video at the end of one of the earlier links I posted up-thread.

  21. Wow, Dredd. I never pictured you as a Luddite. However, your entire premise here:

    “Religion as we know it is a fairly recent development too.

    So is the religion of science, which is more prevalent that science itself.

    That is my focus, the phony religion of science, and the phony science of religion.”

    Is simply wrong.

    Religion is one of the oldest inventions. It predates agriculture. It predates writing. It probably predates neolithic construction too. In fact, recent archaeological discoveries in Turkey at Göbekli Tepe indicate that a fundamental change in religion is in part responsible for the shift from nomadic neolithic culture to agrarian neolithic societies. This change appears in that the religion practiced at Göbekli Tepe was transitional and the first known religion to differentiate man from nature by putting man in a superior position to animals. There are several iterations of the temple there and over time the animals depicted change from the frightening and intimidating to food animals and domesticated species. If you’re not familiar with Göbekli Tepe, a neolithic structure that predates Stonehenge by 6,000 years, here is an interesting article from Smithsonian (it’s a little light on the religions aspects of the megaliths as they changed over time, but it’s a good overview article). Religion has been around since before writing. More time passed from the building of Göbekli Tepe and the creation of Sumerian cuneiform than between the age of Sumer and now . . . just to put things in perspective.

    Also, religion is not science by definition nor is science a religion. One is a set of superstitious beliefs and the others is a methodology of systematically testing the nature of reality. Religion is what to believe, but science is a way of thinking. Science arguably has its roots in ancient Greece and China, but really the first two modern scientists were Alhazen (965-1040 CE), widely considered the father of the scientific method, and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), the first European scientist to apply the scientific method to observation and experimentation. Anyone who thinks science is a religion is nuts. This isn’t to say some people don’t think of science as a religion. They’re simply wrong about the nature of science and the scientific method in action. In that respect, you are right, some follow the “phony religion of science”. The inverse is true with those who mistake belief for scientific knowledge. Equally nuts, equally wrong.

    However, your statement about the origins in time of religion versus science are simply wrong, Dredd. Even if you include the Greeks and Chinese, religion is still thousands of years (maybe many thousands of years) older than science.

  22. haha, got to show my daughter that one. she still hasn’t gotten over seeing leonard nemoy singing about bilbo baggins.

  23. I am late to this thread, which has really veered from the article, but I have a comment. Evolutionary theory has two main components, at least as I understand it. The first, common descent (to which the article pertains) is not seriously questioned by any thinking scientist or intellectual. The second, natural selection by random mutation, is far less established and not universally accepted. Why? Because the evidence demonstrates the first component quite well, and the second not so much. Lots of non-creationists (e.g., David Berlinski) have raised questions about natural selection that have not been (rationally) answered.

  24. lovingfamilyman,

    There is no disagreement in the biological sciences about mutation. Transcription errors in DNA/RNA transactions are quite well documented as are environmentally induced forms of mutation. Genetic drift is a well documented phenomena and the evidence for punctuated equilibrium grows by the day – no one really disagrees that it happens but rather to what extent it happens and whether or not mass migration or mass extinction can explain some of what appears to be punctured equilibrium in the fossil record.

    David Berlinski is a mathematician, not an evolutionary biologist or a molecular biologist. He’s an unqualified quack who works for an (not so) Intelligent Design pimping think tank (the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture). He’s a scientific hack and putting faith in anything he says is simply that: an exercise in faith, not science.

  25. This is the 21st Century even if the Roman Catholic Church and the evangelical “sexual” counterrevolution fundamentalists deny it! Why do the religious right think anything unknown or a mystery is somehow a mythical god phenomenon? If not for science, then everything is a divine act of a god, a divine miracle or a mystery! The level of ignorance of the American public is well expressed in that 44% of Americans in 2008 believed that a mythical deity created all life as present within the last 10,000 years and 42% believing that all life on earth has always existed in its present form! Evolution is fact, mythical Christianity is fiction! The Republican parade of clowns are proud to express their ignorance by denying evolution or manmade global warming! Oh well!

  26. Thanks for your reply, Gene, but I wasn’t focused on mutation (which even I, as a “hack” non-scientist, accepts). Nor am I focused on genetic drift or punctuated equilibrium. Rather, I commented about natural selection, which strikes me as sort of a post-hoc explanation for observed phenomena, rather than a testable hypothesis for future mutations.

    Incidentally, your tone — “quack” and “pimping think tank” — is, sadly, the kind of quasi-Dawkinsesque venom that so routinely spews from those who mock and dismiss even well-intentioned questions (and questioners), instead of offering an intelligent, thoughtful, or respectful answer. I am no creationist, as you seem to have assumed. I merely assert that genuine questions — even from those you pre-reject as “hacks” — deserve genuine answers. If a weakness or gap exists in any theory, that weakness or gap should be honestly acknowledged. Conversely, if an inquirer is incorrect in some way, the error should be demonstrated with real evidence and through scientific means, instead of attacked with polemic.

  27. Anti-bacterial resistant bacteria (superbugs) are an example of natural selection at work and entirely predictable by the theory of natural selection.

    Insecticide resistant insects are another example.

  28. lovingfamilyman,

    “Rather, I commented about natural selection, which strikes me as sort of a post-hoc explanation for observed phenomena, rather than a testable hypothesis for future mutations.”

    Actually, you don’t know what you commented on. Natural selection is intimately tied to mutation. If you agree to the process of mutation, then you agree with natural selection whether you believe you do or not. Natural selection isn’t a post hoc fallacy. It describes a process by which beneficial mutations result in a generation surviving to breed and pass on those beneficial mutations because they are, duh, beneficial and thus result in some survival advantage. The logic is sound. Major premise: advantageous mutations allow for a greater chance to survive long enough to breed. Minor premise: successfully breeding means nature has selected your species for survival into subsequent generations. Conclusion: because advantageous mutations lead to greater chances of survival to breeding age and successful breeding means your species gets to survive into the next generation, beneficial mutations drive the process of natural selection. It’s a basic syllogism. A logical and rational process.

    The weakness in ID is that it relies on mystical causation, not rational causation. It is fundamentally unscientific because it is a faith based assertion and not a logical or evidentiary based assertion. The scientific method properly applied requires both logic and evidence and that the theories they present be verifiable or falsifiable by repeatable testing. Because ID relies on an unprovable assertion – the intervention of a divine being which can neither be proved nor disproved – it is inherently not science.

    The only post hoc fallacy being exhibited here is by you, the ID crowd, in assigning a mystical causation where none exists.

    It is not an error to call a hack a hack. It is accurate.

    As to the rest of it, you’re lucky I didn’t refer to those who believe in the pseudo-science of Intelligent design by what they are rightfully called: scientifically illiterate morons.

  29. Thanks, Nal. I still wonder: Does natural selection make it “entirely predictable” which bacteria will, and will NOT, become superbugs? If one has previously made such predictions, where can I find testing data to gauge the accuracy of those predictions? Another thought: How does one determine, beforehand, if a mutation is a good adaptation that will last and lead to a change in species? This has always confused me, hence, my earlier “post hoc” comment.

    Same with your insects example. Not all will become resistant to insecticide, correct? So how does natural selection enable us to predict, now, which insects will, and won’t, become resistant? And how do we determine, now, whether the resistance is a permanent, adaptive mutation, that eventually will lead to a change of species, or instead something less like natural selection?

    Thanks for indulging me. My intentions, and questions, are honest.

  30. LFM, it is not possible to predict ahead of time which individual bacterium or insect will become resistant. It is those who survive, that carry the resistant gene, whose offspring become resistant. That is how natural selection works. We can identify them IF they survive.

  31. Gene:

    Thanks for such a courteous, professional response to a minion who is far less evolved than you. As an idiot, hack, and know-nothing — and as one who, despite his protestation to the contrary, must obviously be an ID-er, because you, oh Gene, have pronounced it — I am utterly honored that you have stepped down from your throne to pay me some slight attention. you have forever changed my life, and I thank you deeply, even though I doubt that my punk thanks can ever reach your majestic ears.

  32. Thanks, Otteray. So it is entirely post-hoc, then? How the heck can it be a useful scientific theory, if one can’t make predictions with it? It’s like “We have to pass the bill, before we can know what’s in it.” This does not sound like science to me — but then, as Gene so magnificently demonstrated, I am but a peon among giants here.

  33. Save your sarcasm for someone who doesn’t believe in the manifest and well documented validity of the scientific method as properly applied and the value of logic and evidence, lovingfamilyman.

    Also, you should learn the difference between post hoc analysis (a proper way to formulate theories and experiments based on prior observation) and the logical fallacy of post hoc ergo propter hoc wherein correlation is assumed to be causation without any evidence other than temporal relation. There is plenty of evidence that the process described by the term “natural selection” both works as Darwin described it and it a real phenomena that can be demonstrated by repeatable testing (for example in breeding fruit flies or bacteria).

  34. LFM, it is based on statistical probability. Probability is more than a theory, it is a science unto itself. We can predict with a high degree of probability that in a sample of a certain size, that X% will survive exposure to an insecticide or antibiotic. To increase the likelihood of a survival rate of some of the exposed bacteria, for example, we have the behavior of people who do not take the full ten day course of medication. That means that the hardiest specimens will survive. And why are they hardy? Because they carry a gene that makes them that way. Same with an insecticide. Some insects will get a low or partial dose, and some of those will survive. And carry the survival gene.

  35. Gene — I am chastened, ashamed, humbled, and, obviously, more stupid than I ever realized. I shall exit now, for I am obviously beyond the point of help, and can do nothing but frustrate you if I proceed here. Again, my thanks.

  36. Frustrate?

    On the contrary. The presentation of ignorant and wrong theories provides the chance to teach. Unfortunately, you chose to present theories that are both ignorant and wrong and appealed to non-authority authority to do so. Also, one is only stupid when one refuses to learn. Learning is a perpetual process.

  37. Gene H. 1, April 1, 2012 at 8:13 pm

    Wow, Dredd. I never pictured you as a Luddite. However, your entire premise here:

    “Religion as we know it is a fairly recent development too.

    So is the religion of science, which is more prevalent that science itself.

    That is my focus, the phony religion of science, and the phony science of religion.”

    Is simply wrong.
    ===================================================
    I have never before pictured you as a Luddite either.

    There are, without doubt Luddites who see no more than the tree, losing the vision of the forest.

    My whole premise, which you mentioned but did not get, is based on that reality.

    Biological evolution in terms of Gorilla, Orangutan, and human is of very recent origin in evolutionary, cosmological terms.

    This post is about recent biological events in that sense, therefore “religion of science” and “science of religion” are inventions among those said recent events.

    Cock sure evolutionary nuts, of the sort Dr. Lynn Margulis severely criticized for making a religion out of biological evolution, do not know the difference between religion and science.

    They hounded her with names and dishonorable dogma for years. Then she won the big science awards, her theories became what is taught is schools now, and they slithered away sucking on their shame.

    She stated about them:

    “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon Biology”

    (links up-thread).

  38. None of which changes that religion is not a newer invention than science or that religion has had a far longer time span to work misdeeds upon society than science, Dredd. You don’t understand that your statement “[r]eligion as we know it is a fairly recent development too” is simply factually wrong as a matter of the archaeological record. I understood perfectly your point about the science of religion and the religion of science. I don’t disagree with it either. However, religion being conflated with science (and vice versa) could not have happened until recently because there was for the predominance of human history no science with which to be conflated as a matter of evidentiary fact. You admit this yourself. What you fail to appreciate is the timescales involved where religion was left to its own devices in oppressing society compared to the timescale where any form of science – be it legitimate science or the religion of science – has been able to oppress society are so disproportionate as to make the comparison a little ridiculous. Your predicate as stated is factually incorrect even though your observations about modern conflation are correct.

  39. Nal,

    Are you a science bully? ;) Don’t freak out yet.

    You said:

    On the genetic path from our Most Common Recent Ancestor (MCRA) to humans and gorillas, different genes mutated at different times.

    That is very recent evolution, a tiny portion of the issue, thus you are picking on weak creationist arguments.

    Wouldn’t it be more heroic to explain the difficulties in cosmological and evolutionary biology instead? That is what scientists do.

    If so, recent discoveries require us to look at microbiology, not genetics alone, because:

    … some 90 percent of the protein-encoding cells in our body are microbes … 99 percent of the functional genes in the body are microbial … exchanging messages with genes inside human cells … microbes cohabitating our body outnumber human cells by a factor of 10, making us actually “superorganisms” that use our own genetic repertoire as well as those of our microbial symbionts … We just happen to look human because our human cells are much larger than bacterial cells … no matter how you look at it, it’s high time we acknowledge that part of being human is being microbial …

    Microbes may indeed be subtly changing our brain early on — and for what purposes we cannot yet say … the mere fact that microorganisms can shape our minds brings up many more questions about how humans develop their identity … these findings call for a complete re-examination of human physiology and immunology. Attributes that were assumed to be human traits have been shown to result from human–microbe interactions.

    (The Human Microbiome Congress). We need to shake the sleep out of the tired eyes, and get modern in our hypotheses and develop some theory that includes machine evolution into prelife entities like prions, then take it on into microbes, which predate mammals on this planet for billions of years.

  40. Gene H. 1, April 2, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    None of which changes that religion is not a newer invention than science or that religion has had a far longer time span to work misdeeds upon society than science, Dredd. You don’t understand that your statement “[r]eligion as we know it is a fairly recent development too” is simply factually wrong as a matter of the archaeological record.
    ============================================
    There is no archaeological record for machines morphing / evolving into organics, which happened before microbes.

    Nor is there any genetic record of microbes that inhabited the earth billions of years before mammals.

    The first science I will bring up is messaging / signaling hermeneutics, Microbial Hermeneutics, which had to be developed first.

    You can’t seem to address the greatest portion of evolution, limiting yourself to the 1% and letting the 99% ignored.

  41. Dredd,

    Oh come on! Argument by non-sequitur? Moving the goal posts? Really? I expected better from you. If you don’t want to admit that religion is a far older social phenomena than science despite the overwhelming archaeological evidence to the contrary, that’s fine by me.

  42. Awkward construction, clarification:

    If you don’t want to admit that religion is a far older social phenomena than science despite the overwhelming archaeological evidence indicating that religion is neolithic or older, then that’s fine by me.

  43. BTW, this month is the 59th anniversary of James Watson and Francis Crick publishing their findings about DNA in the magazine Nature. The link takes you to a .pdf of the original article.

  44. Gene H. 1, April 2, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Dredd,

    Oh come on! Argument by non-sequitur? Moving the goal posts? Really? I expected better from you. If you don’t want to admit that religion is a far older social phenomena than science despite the overwhelming archaeological evidence to the contrary, that’s fine by me.
    ==================================================
    C’mon Gene, don’t get chicken shit on me, OK?

    If you have no clue, admit it, otherwise keep up the good work, like I am.

    The top evolutionary scientists are focusing on messaging between microbes, and between microbe / human cells in what has recently been discovered as a symbiotic relationship. Symbiont.

    We exist with symbiont life forms that predate “archaeological evidence”, and mammals, by billions of years.

    Beginning is not where stuff ends Gene, it is way earlier than that, and in the beginning there had to be successful hermeneutics:

    In this milieu, signal integration abilities are critical to survival.

    See Microbial Hermeneutics linked to up-thread, quoting inter alia, Molecular Cell, Volume 42, Issue 4, p. 405.

    Stop using buzz words of formal logic, I have programmed formal logic interpreters in various programming languages, including the tautologies, so don’t run that song and dance on me, please.

    Nal has brought up some things that used to be, and still are, but as Dylan’s song lyrics indicate, the ultra recent science I cite to, and watch closely, indicates that “Things Have Changed“, no pun intended.

    Signal evolution is very important, like legal hermeneutics, a recent development.

    To be coherent in evolutionary science one must be on edge. ;)

  45. Gene H. 1, April 2, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    BTW, this month is the 59th anniversary of James Watson and Francis Crick publishing their findings about DNA in the magazine Nature. The link takes you to a .pdf of the original article.
    =======================================
    Outdated material is published all the time.

    It is a queue thingy. Human DNA is the 1%, microbial DNA is the 99% …

    You have not addressed what I quoted, nor has Nal, as I stand on the edge of science:

    … some 90 percent of the protein-encoding cells in our body are microbes … 99 percent of the functional genes in the body are microbial … exchanging messages with genes inside human cells … microbes cohabitating our body outnumber human cells by a factor of 10, making us actually “superorganisms” that use our own genetic repertoire as well as those of our microbial symbionts … We just happen to look human because our human cells are much larger than bacterial cells … no matter how you look at it, it’s high time we acknowledge that part of being human is being microbial …

    (link up-thread). C’mon Gene, come on over here near the edge where I am and take a look inside the deeper cosmos, beyond the confines of an aggressive office, beyond the edge of town, beyond western bullshit borders, and way out there.

    Where the most recent discoveries are.

    Don’t get angry because you are afraid.

  46. Dredd,

    Now now. I have much bigger fangs than you if you want to start playing nasty. I also have way more than a clue and I think you do too – notwithstanding your currently and inexplicable intractable and evasive behavior.

    It’s not using buzz words to point out that you are indeed attempting to argue by non-sequitur and that you were moving the goal posts. Being accurate in description isn’t using buzz words. Those are the tactics you were trying to deploy when it was pointed out that your statement about religion was factually wrong. I don’t care what you’ve programmed. That doesn’t make your statements/tactics logically formally correct and I’ll call your fallacies by their proper names.

    I even pointed to evidence in the form of Göbekli Tepe to illustrate that your predicate was factually wrong, yet you persist in your meandering refusal to admit you were wrong. Religion is older than science. Admit it or not. It’s no skin off my back, but refusing the address the point only continues to make you look evasive in the face of contrary evidence.

    Whether you wish to appear that way or not is entirely up to you.

  47. Dredd,

    Noting an important scientific anniversary is nothing more than noting an important scientific anniversary. Nothing more, nothing less.

  48. Gene H. 1, April 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Dredd,

    Now now. I have much bigger fangs than you if you want to start playing nasty.
    ===================================
    I would ask for a second opinion.

  49. Gene H. 1, April 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Dredd,

    … it was pointed out that your statement about religion was factually wrong.
    =================================
    Pointing it out by opinion is ineffective and self serving.

    I am dead on correct in this matter.

    You must first define each term, religion and science. You have done neither is terms of lady logic which you don’t want me to dance with.

    Then you must look to the first emergence of each, the first emergence of science, and the first emergence of religion.

    Religiously.

    I have been talking about the machines that existed prior to organics, which real scientists talk about in real scientific papers, and I have been talking about the microbes that existed billions of years before archeology, your stone of scone.

    I have patiently pointed out that your concept of beginning is much closer to the concept of ending than it is to the concept of beginning.

    Get those two concepts straight, and you might “get out of the office.”

    Otherwise, I am going to pull rank and call your grandmother dude. ;)

  50. Gene H. 1, April 2, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    Dredd,

    Noting an important scientific anniversary is nothing more than noting an important scientific anniversary. Nothing more, nothing less.
    =================================================
    Same with important religious anniversaries.

    Nolo contendere.

    As the little people would say.

    They started that saying way before anniversaries came into existence BTW.

  51. I don’t need a second opinion. That was a factual statement. If you want to play that way, I win every time. Feel free to test that assertion if you like. I don’t mind. Really.

    I have also defined science and religion before but will gladly do so again since you seem to have some kind of made up definition you’re working from.

    Science is a systematic endeavor that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the nature of the universe by applying the scientific method to define the system this endeavor utilizes. The goal of science is to build a base of reliable knowledge which can be logically and rationally explained and, when not of a strictly theoretical value, put into practical applications.

    Religion is a collection of cultural systems and belief systems that socially and psychologically relate humanity to spirituality and often moral values. Most religions have narratives in the forms of sacred texts, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning and/or origin of life.

    “I have been talking about the machines that existed prior to organics, which real scientists talk about in real scientific papers, and I have been talking about the microbes that existed billions of years before archeology, your stone of scone.”

    Really. Sounds more like you should lay off the bong. Microbes don’t build machines, pursue science or practice religion and pre-organic self-organizing chemistry is nothing more than pre-organic self-organizing chemistry – a trick of energy and chemistry inherent in the structure and interrelation between baryonic matter. If that drivel you spout above is what you are talking about, then you aren’t talking about human history or religion and certainly not science as human endeavor. Science and religion are human cultural phenomena and remain only human phenomena until and if we confirm the existence of complex, cultural and technological alien life.

    It’s also not an opinion when it’s backed by archaeological fact, Dredd.

    You are flat out totally and completely wrong according to the temples at Göbekli Tepe, the history of religion and the history of science. Or does the existence of Göbekli Tepe, the history of religion and the history of science not apply to your logic because it is simply your logic and ergo infallible? A wrong fact is a wrong fact and your assertion that religion is a recent development in human society is plainly and completely wrong.

    Feel free to be wrong all you like.

    Like I said, it’s no skin off my back.

  52. Gene H. 1, April 2, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I don’t need a second opinion …

    Microbes don’t build machines …
    ===================================
    I am convinced, now, that you are bdaman under a different handle.

    I asked for a second opinion, not your second opinion, on the size of your fangs dipshit.

    As to microbes and machines, again, you flout your ignorance.

    As the very notable scientists I quote (and read their papers), clearly point out, machines came before microbes.

    And by the way, microbes do in fact build machines, and more that that, the do quantum mechanics, and have done so for billions of years.

    You are very backwards Gene H … perhaps you are the fabled “denial gene”.

    At any rate, I have lost respect for you for throwing trash in the faces of Turley blog bloggers.

    It is quite shameful.

    Waiting for Nal.

  53. bdaman under a different handle? Dipshit?

    Awwww. You can do better than that. Or maybe you can’t, you amateur sub-par talent.

    “As the very notable scientists I quote (and read their papers), clearly point out, machines came before microbes.”

    Machines came before microbes, eh? Then get to quoting. And when I say quote, I mean sourced cited and quoted evidence, not flogging your own blog. Although you do seem quite adept at flogging yourself. So far you haven’t offered a shred of evidence to support your ridiculous assertions. Do you even know what a machine is? I’m starting to doubt it, so let me help you with that: a machine is a tool consisting of one or more parts that is constructed to achieve a particular goal and/or perform specific work by converting mechanical, chemical, thermal or electrical energy from one form into another. There is no way machines came before complex life. Tools are not self-assembling. Although abiogenic life is a result of self-organizing pre-organic molecules, the life is not a tool. Tools are built by complex life. Machines are complex/compound tools.

    I provided evidence that neolithic civilization had religion before agriculture and certainly before science. I provided evidence that modern science is about 1,000 years old and science and the protoscience of ancient civilizations such as the Greeks, Chinese and Sumerians is no older than 6,000 years old whereas religion is at least 12,000 years old as evidenced by the temple structures at Göbekli Tepe. Here’s some more general information since you seem to be lacking in a fundamental understanding of history:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G%C3%B6bekli_Tepe
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_science

    Religion is older than science. It’s a fact.

    Your respect? Well that’s a loss I am increasingly willing to live with given that you’ve gone in one thread from someone who I thought made occasionally astute observations to someone who is clearly making shit up and/or simply out of their mind (such as it is).

    The only trash being thrown in the face of anyone is the tripe you’re trying to pimp out as what? Science? Sociology? Religion? So far all I can see is a bunch of mental masturbation and fallacious logic on your part.

    Then again, it is becoming apparent that masturbation is your strong suit.

  54. Just a couple of brief observations. Religion is old. Very old. Ancient burial sites dating back tens of thousands of years show ritualistic burials. It may not have been religion in the same sense that modern people think of it, but it was reflective of some sort of belief in spirits. Same for ancient cave drawings. Stonehenge was the culmination of ancient rituals that dated a hell of a long time before the beliefs were strong enough to make them cart multi-ton rocks for miles over hilly terrain. As for science, it probably began when some cave man or woman figured out how to get a hard nut open with a rock. Then gave thanks to some sort of diety for providing food.

  55. OS,

    So you think science began with tool use? I think it has to start with written language. Data analysis and preservation is incredibly difficult (if not impossible on complex data sets) without the written word. I think through tool use you can crudely interrogate the nature of reality, but you cannot codify it well (oral tradition is extremely error prone) or synthesize the information required to gain complex understanding without writing.

  56. Gene, two Sergeants were talking about their Second Lieutenant, fresh from OCS. Someone walking past heard one of them refer to him as, “a wedge.” Curious, the person asked what was meant by that. The Sergeant replied, “The wedge is the simplest tool.”

  57. Gene, we have no way to prove anything one way or the other, but I am convinced science began the way all things scientific happen, by observation, trial and error. Probably language developed concurrently, since it would be necessary for Ogg to explain to Ugg, just how to get that nut open with a rock. My guess also is that some of the first implements were probably weapons. Human beings being what they are of course. We do know that some primates have created tools, the forerunners of science.

  58. OS,

    I will stipulate that tools are the forerunners of science in the same way counting is the forerunner to mathematics, however, I do think writing is what made science a formalized (and more efficacious) endeavor.

  59. Gentlemen,

    Before they could do any of that, they could hum/sing. We musicians were way ahead of you scientists and linguist and tool makers.

  60. Blouise,

    I’m pretty sure the development of language, the development of music and in third tangent, mathematics, were conjoined. Although they may have developed at different rates, their interrelationship is undeniable.

  61. Gene,

    I was going to bring mathematics into the musician mix but I was afraid you’d give me a math problem and I’d have to skulk away in shame carrying my “we musicians came first” theory in an animal skin rug.

  62. i’d say medicine was one of the firsts. it’s hard to draw on walls and sing around the campfire when your head hurts.

    i recall in the movie “quest for fire” rae dawn chong had a soothing remedy for burns.

  63. pete,

    A good call. A lot of the protoscience that led to modern science is rooted in what would eventually become medicine, especially in the Chinese tradition. But using something because you know it has value and understanding why it has value in a systematic, codifiable, verifiable rationale way are not the same thing. Rae’s ointment (that’s a great movie, one of me and my dad’s favorites) would have likely been found (as OS alluded to earlier) by accident or trial and error. Any causation attributed to its usefulness by primitive societies lacking formal science would have likely been mystical or simply accepted as being part of nature. Modern science is in many ways a systematic search for rational causation in complex systems. The systematics of that approach, the scientific method, is what differentiates modern science from its predecessors. The method is one of the most useful tools ever created in that it is both a tool for organized interrogation/investigation and verification/falsification. One need only compare the value of the knowledge gained through alchemy versus the value of the knowledge gained through modern chemistry to see the value of the scientific method and the difference between protoscience and science. Also, shamanic practices and early religions were likely contributors to primitive medicines too. The guys testing all those mushrooms to see which ones made you see the gods were likely a lot of the same guys who found other useful naturally occurring products as well. Or ended up dead or horribly ill – the error part of trial and error in those days. :D

  64. Some evolution based research points out that scientific capabilities are two billion years older than humans:

    A team of University of Toronto chemists have made a major contribution to the emerging field of quantum biology, observing quantum mechanics at work in photosynthesis in marine algae.

    “There’s been a lot of excitement and speculation that nature may be using quantum mechanical practices,” says chemistry professor Greg Scholes, lead author of a new study published in Nature. “Our latest experiments show that normally functioning biological systems have the capacity to use quantum mechanics in order to optimize a process as essential to their survival as photosynthesis.” … It also raises some other potentially fascinating questions, such as, have these organisms developed quantum-mechanical strategies for light-harvesting to gain an evolutionary advantage? It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two billion years before humans,” says Scholes.

    (The Tiniest Scientists Are Very Old, emphasis added). The microbes that chose humans as a symbiont species had been around billions of years prior to mammals, so one wonders how they took part in genetic events across species.

    Nal’s focus on human DNA captures some “finger prints” and “foot prints” that could be part of that trail.

    Up-thread I show that microbes communicate with each other, and with “purely human” cells as symbiont members of the human species, as they perform various “human functions”, including brain development.

    Microbial science is very ancient, yet very up to date as well.

  65. Why DNA of mammals must be reconsidered:

    How do species originate?

    Lynn Margulis presents an answer to the one enduring mystery of evolution that Charles Darwin could never solve: the source of the inherited variation that gives rise to new species.

    These researchers argue that random mutation, long believed (but never demonstrated) to be the main source of genetic variation, is of only marginal importance. Much more significant is the acquisition of new genomes by symbiotic merger.

    The result of thirty years of delving into a vast, mostly arcane literature, this is the first attempt to go beyond – and reveal the severe limitations of – the dogmatic thinking that has dominated evolutionary biology for almost three generations. Lynn Margulis, whom E.O. Wilson called “one of the most successful synthetic thinkers in modern biology,” presents a comprehensive and scientifically supported theory that directly challenges the assumptions we hold about the diversity of the living world.

    ….

    Lynn Margulis, Distinguished University Professor in the Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Russian Academy of Natural Science. She received a National Medal of Science from President Clinton in 2000.

    Her books include What is Life?, What is Sex?, Slanted Truths (all co-authored with Dorian Sagan) and Symbiotic Planet.

    (Dr. Lynn Margulis).

  66. The old dogma of random DNA mutation as the “driving force” of evolution is disfavored.

    The more up-to-date research calls for consideration of microbial genetics as the underlying substantial consideration:

    SYMBIOGENESIS

    Symbiogenesis is a theory of evolution. It argues that symbiosis is a primary force of evolution, because acquisition and accumulation of random mutations or genetic drift are not sufficient to explain how new inherited variations occur. According to this theory, new cell organelles, new bodies, new organs and new species arise from symbiosis, in which independent organisms merge to form composites. This challenges some standard textbook ideas of how evolutionary change occurs. To some degree, Darwin emphasized competition as the primary driving process of evolution, symbiogenesis emphasizes that co-operation can also be important to the process of evolution.

    In the late 20th century, Lynn Margulis claimed that microorganisms are one of the major evolutionary forces in the origin of species, endosymbiosis of bacteria being responsible for the creation of complex forms of life.

    Margulis’ theory of symbiogenesis

    Margulis emphasizes that bacteria and other microorganisms actively participated in shaping the Earth, and helped create conditions suitable for life (e.g., almost all eukaryotes require oxygen, and only developed after cyanobacteria have produced enough atmospheric oxygen). She also argues that these microorganisms still maintain current conditions and that they constitute a major component in Earth biomass.

    She showed that free-living bacteria and other microorganisms tend to merge with larger life forms, seasonally and occasionally, or permanently, perhaps under stress conditions. In the now generally accepted endosymbiotic theory, Margulis demonstrated that current plant cells resulted from the merging of separate ancestors, the chloroplast evolving from endosymbiotic cyanobacteria (autotrophic prokaryotes). A more recent additional hypothesis for the origin of some algal and plant cells is the fusion of Thermoplasma (sulfur reduction, fermentation), Spirochaeta (motility), alpha-proteobacteria (oxygen respiration) and Synechococcus cyanobacteria (photosynthesis).

    Margulis claims that most of the DNA found in the cytoplasm of animal, plant, fungal and protist cells originated as genes of bacteria that became organelles, rather than from genetic drift or mutation.

    Along these lines Margulis has argued that bacteria have the ability to exchange genes very easily and quickly, even between different species, by conjugation or through plasmids. For these reasons, the genetic material of bacteria is much more versatile than that of the eukaryote (see Primary nutritional groups for more on the extent of bacterial ability in terms of nutrition). Margulis claims that versatility is the process which enabled life to evolve so quickly, as bacteria were able to adapt to initial conditions of environment and to new changes by other bacteria.

    (emphasis added, see Dr. Lynn Margulis link up-thread).

  67. The Evolutionary Gorilla in the room has no chance of continuing to exist, nor do humans for that matter, unless a non-living machine like entity, collectively called a virus, had not injected genetic material into our ancestors long ago:

    Various non-life machines like prions, phages, and viruses can also be symbiont to humans and other species to help them survive:

    If not for a virus, none of us would ever be born.

    In 2000, a team of Boston scientists discovered a peculiar gene in the human genome. It encoded a protein made only by cells in the placenta. They called it syncytin.

    What made syncytin peculiar was that it was not a human gene. It bore all the hallmarks of a gene from a virus.

    Viruses have insinuated themselves into the genome of our ancestors for hundreds of millions of years.

    It turned out that syncytin was not unique to humans. Chimpanzees had the same virus gene at the same spot in their genome. So did gorillas. So did monkeys. What’s more, the gene was strikingly similar from one species to the next.

    (Discover). While that may complicate things, in the sense that it is more controversial to contemplate non-live machines doing things critical for living things, nevertheless, it emphasizes the importance of microbes and even smaller entities in terms of what we need for survival on this planet.

    (… Machines or Organisms?). Primates like the gorilla, or humans, can not continue as a species without the help of a tiny microscopic entity that intervened millions of years ago.

  68. 1) “It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two billion years before humans,” says Scholes.”

    Algae didn’t and doesn’t know jack shit, Dredd. It’s not conscious. Algae utilized quantum mechanics. So what? Quantum mechanics is a natural process. A simple plant utilizing a natural process. Who’d have thunk it? However, you reading that and deriving that algae literally knew about quantum mechanics and was using QM in some deliberate conscious manner? That’s as stupid as believing the Bible is the literal word of God or that the moon is made of cheese. Just because you read something, Dredd, it doesn’t mean you understand it. Speaking of which . . .

    2) Microbial symbiosis does not change DNAs role in evolution. It modifies the inputs. DNA still tells cells what to be.

    3) “Various non-life machines like prions, phages, and viruses can also be symbiont to humans and other species to help them survive”

    You need to learn what a metaphor is, Dredd. Prions, phages, and viruses are not literally machines. Again, if you use the term machine in this context literally, you are again demonstrating your ignorance about biology and what role prions, phages, and viruses play in biology. They are an intermediate step between non-organic interactive compounds and prokaryotic life and they remain interactive with prokaryotic life because they share common chemistry, but they are not really machines. No one built them. They arose from the process of abiogenesis. If you think they are really machines? You are arguing for Intelligent Design because for them to be purposefully designed and built would require conscious intelligent intervention. There was no conscious intervention in abiogenesis.

    Tools are built by conscious beings. Machines are complex/compound tools. The only conscious beings we know of are complex prokaryotic life. Prions, phages, and viruses are not complex prokaryotic life, but rather the intermediate stage between inorganic chemistry and life. Bacteria is simple prokaryotic life. Humans and other animals are complex prokaryotic life. Simple prokaryotic life is the intermediate step to complex prokaryotic life. Therefore, machines do not come before either simple or complex prokaryotic life. Your statement that machines came before microbes fails as a matter of logic and proof. Q.E.D.

    Reading, comprehension and proper integration of knowledge into a wider knowledge base are not the same thing. You’ve demonstrated that you can read. You have not demonstrated that you comprehend properly or integrate well.

    Now that your alleged “proof” is disposed of (largely because you didn’t understand it in proper context), how about you stop moving the goal posts and answer the following question:

    Which is older in human history as a sociological phenomena, religion or science?

    Let’s see if you can go wrong in such a dazzling way again. You know what W.C. Fields used to say? “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” I’ll have to say one doesn’t get to see dazzling bullshit such as your above argument in favor of your ridiculous statements every day, but it certainly wasn’t baffling as to how you reached your erroneous conclusions. You’re reading but not understanding what you read.

    Try harder.

  69. Dredd, natural processes at work at the molecular or cellular level are not “science” any more than a quartz crystal sticking out of a dirt bank refracting light rays are science. Speaking as a terminal degree scientist, I posit that science is the systematic observation, quantification and use of these natural phenomena.

  70. Otteray Scribe 1, April 3, 2012 at 11:39 am

    Dredd, natural processes at work at the molecular or cellular level are not “science” any more than a quartz crystal sticking out of a dirt bank refracting light rays are science. Speaking as a terminal degree scientist, I posit that science is the systematic observation, quantification and use of these natural phenomena.
    ====================================
    You are, then, a scientist disagreeing with a team of University of Toronto scientists who publish papers in scientific journals, whom I quoted up-thread.

    What we “know” is a belief or a trust in whether or not you or they are correct, since we are not the team of scientists developing the data.

    In this case I defer to their definition, and you defer to yours.

  71. Gene H. 1, April 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

    1) “It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two billion years before humans,” says Scholes.”

    Algae didn’t and doesn’t know jack shit, Dredd. It’s not conscious. Algae utilized quantum mechanics. So what?
    ============================================
    You are disagreeing with a team of University of Toronto scientists who publish papers in scientific journals, whom I quoted up-thread.

    What we “know” is a belief or a trust in whether or not you or they are correct, since we are not the team of scientists developing the data.

    In this case I defer to their definition, and you defer to yours.

  72. Gene H. 1, April 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

    You need to learn what a metaphor is, Dredd. Prions, phages, and viruses are not literally machines. Again, if you use the term machine in this context literally, you are again demonstrating your ignorance about biology and what role prions, phages, and viruses play in biology …
    ===============================================
    You are disagreeing with Dr. Clark, a scientist who publishes papers in scientific journals, whom I quoted up-thread:

    Dr Clarke said: “There are a lot of fundamental questions about the origins of life and many people think they are questions about biology. But for life to have evolved, you have to have a moment when non-living things become living – everything up to that point is chemistry.”

    You are also disagreeing with Professor Lithgow, who publishes papers in scientific journals, whom I quoted up-thread:

    “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.

    What we “know” is a belief or a trust in whether or not you or they are correct, since we are not the team of scientists developing the data.

    In this case I defer to their definition, and you defer to yours.

  73. Dredd, the definition I gave upthread was the standard definition of science. If some folks at one university department decide to get a wild hair and redefine a broad field, let them try. It will not change the minds of many thousands of scientists who practice, you know, real science.

    From the Oxford Dictioonary:

    noun
    [mass noun]

    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment: the world of science and technology
    a particular area of science: veterinary science [count noun]: the agricultural sciences
    a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject: the science of criminology
    archaic knowledge of any kind: his rare science and his practical skill

    Origin:

    Middle English (denoting knowledge): from Old French, from Latin scientia, from scire ‘know’

    Note the term “intellectual.” That means thinking; cortical activity, observation and collating data.

    Source: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/science

  74. Gene H. 1, April 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Which is older in human history as a sociological phenomena, religion or science?
    =============================================

    Your inclusion of the phrase “older in human history” is a diversion, because the post and the comment stream includes events billions of years prior to humans.

    Thus you take a narrow view of a subject that is far greater in size than that tiny, tiny slice of time.

    I assert that religion developed prior to humanity. A look at the word origin:

    Origin:
    1150–1200; Middle English religioun (< Old French religion ) < Latin religiōn- (stem of religiō ) conscientiousness, piety, equivalent to relig ( āre ) to tie, fasten ( re- re- + ligāre to bind, tie; compare ligament) + -iōn- -ion; compare rely

    (Online Dictiorary). The ligāre portion of the word origin, “to bind”, applies quite well to Dr. Lynn Margulis’ theory of evolution, discussed again infra.

    The definition of human religion must include all religions, not just Bible thumpers:

    Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values.

    (Wikipedia – Religion). A new book Religion for Atheists, from Alain de Botton, shows that religion is not limited to theology, but includes godless sociology as well.

    There are scientists who think that religion, since it is based on cooperation and altruism, developed billions of years prior to humanity, in the oldest and most abundant Earth life, microbial entities.

    A hypothesis that evolution is based on binding cooperation and altruism was advanced by Dr. Lynn Margulis for decades, rejected polemically by establishment evolution, and she was shunned by dogmatic scientists until they finally got it. Then she was given the greatest scientific awards. Yada yada.

    As I showed in comments up-thread:

    Lynn Margulis presents an answer to the one enduring mystery of evolution that Charles Darwin could never solve: the source of the inherited variation that gives rise to new species.

    These researchers argue that random mutation, long believed (but never demonstrated) to be the main source of genetic variation, is of only marginal importance. Much more significant is the acquisition of new genomes by symbiotic merger.

    The result of thirty years of delving into a vast, mostly arcane literature, this is the first attempt to go beyond – and reveal the severe limitations of – the dogmatic thinking that has dominated evolutionary biology for almost three generations. Lynn Margulis, whom E.O. Wilson called “one of the most successful synthetic thinkers in modern biology,” presents a comprehensive and scientifically supported theory that directly challenges the assumptions we hold about the diversity of the living world.

    In the late 20th century, Lynn Margulis claimed that microorganisms are one of the major evolutionary forces in the origin of species, endosymbiosis of bacteria being responsible for the creation of complex forms of life … She also argues that these microorganisms still maintain current conditions and that they constitute a major component in Earth biomass.

    The phrases “being responsible for the creation of complex forms of life” and “these microorganisms still maintain current conditions” rise to the level of the first inklings of religion, even including the notion of “creation” and the living purpose of thereafter maintaining that creation.

    There is a plethora of scientific papers and books dealing with how microorganism practice altruism, a tenet of religion:

    For the first time, scientists say they have traced the origin of an “altruism gene,” possibly shedding light on the nagging mystery of how generosity and cooperation evolved.

    The findings, they add, suggest that at least some altruism genes evolved from genes that originally served to suppress some biological activities in lean times.

    The scientists traced an “altruism gene” in Volvox carterii, a primitive multi-cellular creature, to its one-celled ancestor.

    (Researchers trace origin of an “altruism gene”). The Social Darwinism mythology that pervaded for a hundred years has now given way to a better theory.

    A theory that accounts for the earliest origins of self-sacrifice, dying for the good of others, sharing, communicating, and mutual recognition and service – symbiosis. The origin is in the oldest microbial life.

    Religion developed way before The Anthropocene Era, as did science.

    Human science and human religion of course came along with humans quite recently in terms of the big picture of evolutionary time

  75. Otteray Scribe 1, April 4, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Dredd, the definition I gave upthread was the standard definition of science. If some folks at one university department decide to get a wild hair and redefine a broad field, let them try. It will not change the minds of many thousands of scientists who practice, you know, real science.
    =====================================================
    Argumentum ad populum with a little ad hominem thrown in.

    And factually wrong.

    I quoted two university science teams. I could quote others but your mind is made up.

    Enjoy your opinion, you have every right to it.

  76. Otteray Scribe 1, April 4, 2012 at 9:02 am

    Dredd, the definition I gave upthread was the standard definition of science Origin .. from scire ‘know’
    ========================================
    So, evidently science is based on “knowing” what is going on in a particular context.

    In my post up-thread, I pointed out that microbes practice the science of hermeneutics, i.e., knowing which signal is the best one out of many.

    Knowing which signal is the right one out of many is a daunting problem for any branch of science:

    Imagine a graduate student with two thesis advisors. One suggests focusing on the experiments. The other suggests some mathematical modeling. What should the student do? The first strategy might involve doing a little of each, effectively ‘‘averaging’’ their advice. Prioritizing one mentor over the other could be a second option. Finally, when the best choice is unclear, it may be best to flip a coin. Bacteria, which live in complex environments, face similar problems and must respond optimally to multiple conflicting signals.

    Regulatory conflicts occur when two signals that individually trigger opposite cellular responses are present simultaneously. Here, we investigate regulatory conflicts in the bacterial response to antibiotic combinations.

    An alternative view is that cells use simpler ‘‘rules’’ to determine
    appropriate gene expression levels in response to conflicting signals. But what do these ‘‘rules’’ look like, how complex are they, and to what extent can they be used to predict the response of cells to novel signal combinations?

    These issues are increasingly critical throughout biomedical science. Single-cell organisms such as bacteria can live in extraordinarily diverse environments, in and out of hosts, and surrounded by other microbial species and the antibiotics that many of them produce. In this milieu, signal integration abilities are critical to survival. Similarly, in metazoan development, individual signaling pathways rarely work in isolation; rather, cellular responses depend on combinations of inputs from multiple pathways …

    (Microbial Hermeneutics, link up-thread). The scientists who did the paper in Molecular Cell, Volume 42, Issue 4, are saying that microbes “know” not only how to communicate, but they also have the scientific ability to know how to tell a good signal from a bad one.

    If they did not have their science of communication down, they would go down themselves.

    They are good scientists, having been around a couple of billions of years prior to Verizon.

  77. “You are disagreeing with a team of University of Toronto scientists who publish papers in scientific journals, whom I quoted up-thread.”

    “You are disagreeing with Dr. Clark, a scientist who publishes papers in scientific journals, whom I quoted up-thread:”

    No. I’m disagreeing with your ability to comprehend what you read and your ignorance manifested in literalism. A “molecular machine” isn’t really a machine by definition unless someone built it, dingus. It’s a bit of self-organizing chemistry that is part of the abiogenic process. You feel free to ignore the proper definitions of tools and machines all you like though. You’re free to be as wrong as you like.

    “Your inclusion of the phrase “older in human history” is a diversion, because the post and the comment stream includes events billions of years prior to humans.”

    No. It’s a direct question related to the predicate of one of your earlier claims that you refuse to address because you were proven factually wrong in your assertion.

  78. The science and religion of microbes seem more advanced than the science and religion of humans.

    That is, if the full impact of human science and religion, self-destruction, is realized.

    Human science gives us the means to destroy life on Earth ~50 times over via a nuclear holocaust, germ warfare holocaust, or other WMD holocaust. Human religion gives us the division and conflict necessary to trigger the madness that leads to such a holocaust.

    Meanwhile, the practical end of human science, big business technology, gives us another method of holocaust, the ecocidal holocaust.

    Any one of several of these products of human science and religion will end The Anthropocene Epoch.

    All that will be left after that, depending on how much product of human science and religion goes into that holocaust, will be microbes.

    Perhaps they will then forgo becoming factors in future developments of “advanced species” like humans.

    Concerning human science:

    Sociobiology has come a long way. We now have a solid base of evolutionary theory supported by a myriad of empirical tests. It is perhaps less appreciated, however, that first discussions of social behaviour and evolution in Darwin‟s day drew upon single-celled organisms. Since then, microbes have received short shrift and their full spectrum of sociality has only recently come to light.

    “…we must be prepared to learn some day, from the students of microscopical pond-life, facts of unconscious mutual support, even from the life of micro-organisms.” Kropotkin (1902).

    The idea of sociality in the mere microbe can be met with a raised eyebrow and a smirk. Nevertheless, for as long as there has been evolutionary biology, and indeed sociology, microbes have featured in descriptions of social life. Prominent among these are the writings of Herbert Spencer the social philosopher … Spencer was widely responsible for popularizing the notion of altruism in Victorian Britain (Auguste Comte probably first coined the term), and importantly used both humans and single-celled life to define altruism‟s nature (Dixon 2008). And it was not long before a near-modern perspective emerged at the hands of the eccentric Russian explorer and anarchist Peter Kropotkin. In what was arguably the first sociobiology text, Kropotkin ran the gamut of examples of biological cooperation. Many were inspired by his wanderings through frozen Siberia, but his imagination wandered further to include speculations on microbial life.

    The concepts of altruism and cooperation in biology, therefore, were developed with the appreciation that they might be applied to even the smallest of organisms. From there, more familiar organisms took centre stage in the developing field of ethology (Tinbergen 1963), which later became sociobiology (Hamilton 1964; Wilson 1975).

    … with the close of the last century, the study of social behaviour in microorganisms bloomed and most recently has come to include sociobiologists, such as myself, who cut their teeth on studies of more classic social organisms (for me, it was the social wasps, Foster and Ratnieks 2001). And the microbes bring a valuable new perspective because, for the first time, we can hope to find the genes that underlie social behaviours and watch the emergent dynamics of social evolution (Foster et al. 2007).

    (Social Behaviour, Kevin R. Foster, Cambrige Press). The gorilla in the room that is being ignored, the largest factor, goes back before gorillas and their descendants.

    Where would the microbes begin and end next time? With the evolutionary gorilla in the room?

  79. Dredd, Knowing comes after observation and testing, not before. Often the laws are in place before the mechanism is clearly understood. Newton did not know what gravity actually was, in the modern sense, but he was able to observe its effects and measure them, coming up with his laws still used in physical measurement.

  80. Otteray Scribe 1, April 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    Dredd, Knowing comes after observation and testing, not before.
    =================================================
    Unless it doesn’t.

    Like with Gene H’s and your polemic masking as intellectual debate.

    You don’t seek to understand the fundamental evolution of either science or religion.

    Rather, you seek to bitch with weak sophistry.

    You are two verbal bullies clinging to sophism.

    What a waste of talent.

  81. Again with a concept you’ve misunderstood. Sociobiology is all nature and no nurture; it is biological determinism (and therefore social Darwinism). The kissing cousin to eugenics that discounts the role environment plays in the development of organisms and preaches the primacy of the gene. Wilson was a mediocre scientist who despite his claims to the contrary had a real problem in distinguishing “is” from “ought to be” in his theoretical constructs. The truth of what is requires recognizing that environment plays just as much a role in evolution as genetics does. Environment is the sculptor and genes the clay, but the statue of complex evolving life cannot exist without them both. However, if you wish to subscribe to the ethically bankrupt and scientifically limited schools of thought behind Intelligent Design and social Darwinism, that is your choice. Just don’t expect people capable of critical thought to buy into your bullshit simply because you argue by verbosity.

    It’s pretty funny that you can’t overcome “weak sophistry” since you seem to think you’re on to some deep understanding. I posit that one who clearly makes up relationships and uses metaphor as evidence for concepts they’ve clearly failed to understand and integrate into a larger understanding of science and history such as yourself isn’t qualified to judge what does or does not constitute seeking understanding.

  82. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

    A “molecular machine” isn’t really a machine by definition unless someone built it, dingus.
    ======================================
    You ought not call Professors of science dingus.

    Professor Lithgow, on the other hand says:

    “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.

    (my quote of the professor up-thread).

  83. I didn’t call a professor a dingus, but I would if he was. I called you a dingus because you’re clearly too stupid to understand the definition of a machine and the use of metaphor. Mechanistic behavior in chemical compounds does not make them a machine. A machine is built by conscious design. If you want to say you’re for ID, just say so and remove all doubt that you’re a fool.

  84. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    Again with a concept you’ve misunderstood.
    ==================================
    A polemic does not overcome a hypothesis. Everything I have posted here are quotes from published scientists, professors, and come from the best scientific periodicals.

    You are confusing me with them.

    I have not given an opinion on any of these papers, only quoted them.

    If you can cite me to some of your published scientific papers on these matters, hopefully from the distinguished journals I cite to, I would be very happy to quote your works in this thread.

    So far though, all you have presented are your own opinions via unfounded, overly egotistical, and somewhat ad hominem polemics.

    Your beating on your chest and displaying your fangs that you declare are bigger than mine is not the kind of science or religion that will help us move forward as a species.

    The microbes do much better than that.

  85. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    I didn’t call a professor a dingus, but I would if he was. I called you a dingus because you’re clearly too stupid to understand the definition of a machine and the use of metaphor. Mechanistic behavior in chemical compounds does not make them a machine. A machine is built by conscious design. If you want to say you’re for ID, just say so and remove all doubt that you’re a fool.
    =========================================
    Again, Professor Lithgow used the term molecular machines. I quoted him. He evidently does not agree with what he would call your limited concept of machine.

    I don’t know what your concept is, but if you think machines are made by humans only, say so.

    I will then respond.

  86. “A polemic does not overcome a hypothesis. Everything I have posted here are quotes from published scientists, professors, and come from the best scientific periodicals.”

    Fallacy of appeal to authority. Cites to authority when you don’t understand what that authority is saying is a fallacious appeal to authority.

    “You are confusing me with them.

    I have not given an opinion on any of these papers, only quoted them.”

    No. You’ve offered a de facto opinion by misrepresenting what they say because you don’t really understand what you’ve read. Apes read philosophy science, Otto Dredd. They just don’t understand it.

    You feel free to keep showing pictures of oranges and trying to tell us they are apples though.

    It’s really funny in a sad and pathetic kind of way.

  87. Dredd,

    “Again, Professor Lithgow used the term molecular machines. I quoted him. He evidently does not agree with what he would call your limited concept of machine.”

    No. He understands the use of metaphor, something which apparently escapes your grasp. Mechanistic behavior in chemical compounds doesn’t make them literally machines. The term “molecular machine” is shorthand. The only time a “molecular machine” is a literal machine is when it is designed and deployed by a nanotechnologist, otherwise it is a mechanistic compound that arose from abiogenesis; self-organization.

    I’ve already defined machine and it is the standard definition of machine in the English language. Complex life build machines, which includes other creatures than humans. Go back and re-read. Not that that would improve your ability to understand what you read based on your performance to date.

  88. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Dredd,

    “Again, Professor Lithgow used the term molecular machines. I quoted him. He evidently does not agree with what he would call your limited concept of machine.”

    No. He understands the use of metaphor, something which apparently escapes your grasp. Mechanistic behavior in chemical compounds doesn’t make them literally machines.
    ===================================================
    Professor Ltthgow’s words:

    “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.

    (quote up-thread). The “cells of all organisms” are composed of molecular machines, according to Professor Lithgow.

    To avoid semantic blow-back consider the Molecular Assembler of scientist Drexler.

    He envisioned a “machine” that would build “machines” out of atoms and/or molecules, in what is called nanotechnology. A few atoms or molecules put together by this entity is called a nanomachine.

    I know of no microbiologist who would dispute the statement that microbes have been building molecules out of atoms or quanta for two billion years, prior to the existence of humans. Not only that, they can build many other entities using molecules instead of atoms.

    Thus, microbes are examples of the oldest “Molecular Assembler” on the planet.

    Talk about “back to the future.”

    Note that the scientist, Drexler, calls what his Molecular Assembler would build a “machine.” A machine that builds machines made out of atoms or molecules.

    Thus, a machine is an amalgam of atoms and/or molecules in this context.

    Our cells are an amalgam of atoms which compose molecules, but semantically they are not “machines.”

    Thus, we need a distinction, a focus on abiotic, hence, cells are an amalgam of machines, but are not called “machines” because they are not abiotic, they are biotic. If something is biotic it is not abiotic, not machine.

    Word definitions in standard dictionaries are always behind science, sometimes for way, way too long. That is because the diction police tend to want to wait until the fog of controversy has passed.

    Thus, we can have an amalgam of atoms / molecules that compose either a machine or a cell, depending on the nature of that amalgam.

    I would argue that we must add another concept, the notion that the lowest order of machines are abiotic amalgams of atoms, but when the complexity of the machine reaches a certain apex, very complex molecular arrangements, “biotic entities” are the result.

    It is a matter of definition, semantics, and a matter of new science that we can’t resolve by blowing the dust off of old dictionaries, beating our chest, then displaying our “mine are bigger than yours” fangs.

    I would assert that atoms are the most “simple” machines, molecules are the next order of “simple” machines, but that cells are an order of magnitude above machine somehow, and are complex machine based organizations that must be termed “biotic.”

    Thus, abiotic electrons, protons, neutrons become atom machines, and when configured a certain way become molecule machines, which can become cells if configured in “a biotic way.”

  89. Dredd:

    Nothing runs (its mouth) like a Howington.

    You need to put some definitions up so he can understand what you are saying.

  90. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm


    It’s really funny in a sad and pathetic kind of way.
    =========================================
    Professor Ltthgow’s words:

    “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.

    (quote up-thread). What is pathetic is that your concept of machine is something did not evolve, it is made only by sophisticated beings that evolved.

    And what is more pathetic is that you can’t read a quote about machines then understand that it has nothing to do with what you say it means.

    Do you want me not to laugh when you say Professor Lithgow is talking about Black & Decker saws when he says “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines”?

    You are hilarious to think he means “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of [Black & Decker] machines”.

    I have to laugh. Sorry.

  91. Bron 1, April 4, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Dredd:

    Gene is only into John Deere.
    Bron 1, April 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

    Dredd:

    Nothing runs (its mouth) like a Howington.

    You need to put some definitions up so he can understand what you are saying.
    ============================================
    You decide what you want me to define, then consider it done (soon as I read your request).

  92. metaphor \ˈme-tə-ˌfȯr also -fər\, n.,

    1: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative language — compare simile

    2: an object, activity, or idea treated as a metaphor

    Again, if you want to say you believe in ID, just say so Dredd.

  93. Also, what I expect is that you’d read ‘[h]ow such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial’ as a statement that applies only if you don’t understand abiogenesis and how spontaneous generation plays into that process (which you clearly don’t). A mechanistic spontaneously generated chemical compound is not a machine even though it is like a machine in operation because unlike a literal machine (again, a fabricated compound/complex tool) it was not created by complex intelligent life. If you think Lithgow is describing an intelligently driven process, I think you’re misreading him. If you (or he) thinks that naturally occurring molecular “machines” are a result of an intelligently driven process, then you are both simply fools. I don’t think Lithgow is a fool. I think he understands metaphor. You on the other hand . . . clearly don’t.

  94. Gene H:

    “And nothing displays their ignorance like an anonymous literalist.”

    Good try but I am not buying.

  95. Anti-Evolution ‘Monkey Bill’ Poised To Become Law In Tennessee
    By Ian Millhiser on Apr 4, 2012
    http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/04/04/457312/anti-evolution-monkey-bill-poised-to-become-law-in-tennessee/

    Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) announced yesterday that he will “probably” sign a bill that attacks the teaching of “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning” by giving broad new legal immunities to teachers who question evolution and other widely accepted scientific theories. Under the bill, which passed the state legislature last month:

    “Neither the state board of education, nor any public elementary or secondary school governing authority, director of schools, school system administrator, or any public elementary or secondary school principal or administrator shall prohibit any teacher in a public school system of this state from helping students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”

    Although the bill is written to seem benign, as it neither specifically authorizes the teaching of creationism nor permits teachers to do more than criticize scientific theories “in an objective matter,” the practical impact of this bill will be to intimidate all but the heartiest of school administrators against disciplining teachers who preach the most outlandish junk science in their classrooms. Because the bill provides little guidance as to what constitutes an “objective” criticism of a scientific theory, any principal who reigns in teachers who force creationism or Pastafarianism upon their students risks finding themselves on the wrong side of the law.

    In reality, of course, there are few, if any, “objectively” valid objections to the theory of evolution (or, for that matter, to global warming). Rather, as Travis Waldron explained when this bill passed a legislative committee nearly a year ago, “Scientists have reached a consensus that evolution is ‘one of the most robust and widely accepted principles of modern science,’ and as such, it is ‘a core element in science education.’”

  96. Bron,

    You’d disagree with me if I said sugar is sweet or water is wet, so pardon me if I don’t get too upset that you don’t accept abiogenesis isn’t an intelligently driven process like tool making.

  97. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    And nothing displays their ignorance like an anonymous literalist.
    ============================================
    I hear that “gene h” was the ancestor of Black & Decker “gene i”, often misunderestimated as “genie.”

  98. Elaine M. 1, April 4, 2012 at 3:39 pm

    “Creation Science 101″
    =======================================
    Creation religion and creation science are two different ideologies:

    In the late 20th century, Lynn Margulis claimed that microorganisms are one of the major evolutionary forces in the origin of species, endosymbiosis of bacteria being responsible for the creation of complex forms of life.

    (link up-thread). Her theories are generally accepted science now.

    Some religionists are of creation science, but not of creation religion.

    If one does not understand the samenesses and the differences, one waxes.

  99. Again, you are mis-characterizing intelligence into a process where none exists. Bacterial symbiosis adds another input into the mutations that drive evolution, but it doesn’t mean that bacteria are intelligent. The commonality between creation religion and creation science is that neither are science as they rely upon a mystical supervening intelligence.

  100. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm

    If you think Lithgow is describing an intelligently driven process, I think you’re misreading him. If you (or he) thinks that naturally occurring molecular “machines” are a result of an intelligently driven process, then you are both simply fools.
    ==============================================
    What you think is quite clear.

    That is not the issue.

    The issue is how wrong are you going to get?

    You bring up these canards and straw men like “intelligently driven process”, which only appears in your comment.

    It does not appear in any comment I made or any quote of Professor Lithgow.

    It must have been your genie what did it pilgrim.

    It is like you are getting all scared inside again gene h, and your amygdala is talking through genie again, instead of your gene h.

    I wanna talk with gene h please, so sit down genie, we don’t need no stinkin random mutatin round heah.

    The word abiotic simply means “not organic.”

    Machines are not organic, they are abiotic.

    No doubt, in intelligent circles like electron orbits, that organic things are composed of atoms and molecules (abiotic things).

    Organic things are composed of molecular machines … that is abiotic atoms and molecules … but there is more on top of that … that something that bridges non-life (abiotic) with life (biotic cell).

    You know, not the stuff Black & Decker made dude.

    I bet a lot of Black & Decker “sophisticated machine” making is not an “intelligently driven process”, at least in some states.

    What we are doing is Putting A Face On Machine Mutation.

  101. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Again, you are mis-characterizing intelligence into a process where none exists. Bacterial symbiosis adds another input into the mutations that drive evolution, but it doesn’t mean that bacteria are intelligent. The commonality between creation religion and creation science is that neither are science as they rely upon a mystical supervening intelligence.
    ===================================================
    That is exactly what Dr. Margulis proved was hokum religion, not science:

    She did however, hold a negative view of certain interpretations of Neo-Darwinism, excessively focused on inter-organismic competition, as she believed that history will ultimately judge them as comprising “a minor twentieth-century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon Biology.” She also believed that proponents of the standard theory “wallow in their zoological, capitalistic, competitive, cost-benefit interpretation of Darwin – having mistaken him … Neo-Darwinism, which insists on [the slow accrual of mutations by gene-level natural selection], is in a complete funk

    She opposed such competition-oriented views of evolution, stressing the importance of symbiotic or cooperative relationships between species..”

    (link up-thread).

  102. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 6:58 pm

    Again, you are mis-characterizing intelligence into a process where none exists
    ===================================================
    Your absence of being able to point to any use of your phrase “intelligently driven process” anywhere in this thread, except in your comments to yourself, explains a lot.

    But not in this thread.

  103. Your ability to not understand metaphor and the definition of machine is entirely your failing, Dredd. Machines are complex/compound tools built by intelligences. End of story. Every other mechanistic process arises from spontaneous generation in abiogenesis and isn’t a machine because it isn’t designed – it’s built through chemical trial and error and based on proclivity in bonding due to innate chemistry but it not directed by an intelligence. Your entire (mis)understanding is in thinking that molecular machinery are literally machines when they are machine like compounds.

    What you are doing is spouting misinformed pseudo-intellectualisms just like you were when you said science came before religion.

    Dude.

    Get back to me when bacteria design a real machine, like a space shuttle.

  104. Dredd,

    By insisting the pre-organic molecules are literal machines, you are either insisting they have been intelligently designed, not understanding machine as metaphor or you are making up your own definition for what machines are. Either way, you’re as full of crap now as you were about the history of science and the history of religion.

  105. The problem with analogies Elaine is the same problem with metaphors. They are used when an accurate description of a thing or process is difficult to present and they are not exact. Even though there are some interesting components to the weak Gaia theory that are correct observation and interesting modeling of feedback mechanisms between life and the environment and it provides some interesting ideas on planetary management, but it does not change that molecular machines are not literally machines. That kind of conscious integration (which would be required for molecular machines to be actual rather than metaphorical machines) is a tenet of the strong Gaia theory which is as much wishful thinking as Creation Science.

  106. Gene,

    I didn’t say anything about the Gaia Theory or analogies. I was just responding to the comment Dredd addressed to me. It reminded me of what I had read about Margulis and the theory many years ago.

  107. Elaine,

    And I was just commenting on your comment which referenced the Gaia theory which analogizes the biosphere of the Earth to a single organism.

  108. Nal,

    You posted:

    On the genetic path from our Most Common Recent Ancestor (MCRA) to humans and gorillas, different genes mutated at different times. Although cladograms, like the one below for Humans, Chimpanzees, Gorillas, and Orangutans, show a single branch to each species, this does not imply that all the genetics differences occurred simultaneously.

    I made a comment up-thread which shows symbiosis to be more of a factor at some points of evolution than random genetic mutation. We can thank Dr. Margulis for that science which is generally accepted now.

    Another comment I made up-thread, points out that a virus became a symbiont to mammals sometime in the past, and that the impacted species could not, and still cannot, reproduce without that eventuality:

    What made syncytin peculiar was that it was not a human gene. It bore all the hallmarks of a gene from a virus.

    Viruses have insinuated themselves into the genome of our ancestors for hundreds of millions of years.

    It turned out that syncytin was not unique to humans. Chimpanzees had the same virus gene at the same spot in their genome. So did gorillas. So did monkeys. What’s more, the gene was strikingly similar from one species to the next.

    The research that has discovered that most of the genetic material within us is microbial (prion, phage, virus, and single celled species) is of recent vintage.

    Also interesting, is that not all mammals have the genetic material produced by that virus:

    In 2005, Heidmann and his colleagues realized that syncytins were not just for primates. While surveying the mouse genome, they discovered two syncytin genes (these known as A and B), which were also produced in the same part of the placenta. This discovery allowed the scientists to test once and for all how important syncytin was to mammals. They shut down the syncytin A gene in mouse embryos and discovered they died after about 11 days because they couldn’t form their syncytiotrophoblast. So clearly this virus mattered enormously to its permanent host.

    Despite their name, however, the primate and mouse syncytins didn’t have a common history. Syncytin 1 and 2 come from entirely different viruses than syncytin A and B. And the syncytin story got even more intricate in 2009, when Heidmann discovered yet another syncytin gene–from an entirely different virus–in rabbits. While they found this additional syncytin (known as syncytin-Ory1) in a couple different species of rabbits, they couldn’t find it in the close relative of rabbits, the pika. So their own placenta-helping virus must have infected the ancestors of rabbits less than 30 million years ago.

    The big picture that’s now emerging is quite amazing. Viruses have rained down on mammals, and on at least six occasions, they’ve gotten snagged in their hosts and started carrying out the same function: building placentas.

    The complete story will have to wait until scientists have searched every placental mammal for syncytins from viruses.

    The same can be said for microbial symbionts that make up most cells in humans (10-1 ratio) and most genetic material (99%), as I pointed out up-thread.

    Note that the genetic material, from viruses of that ilk, only have relevance to mothers in those species.

    Perhaps we can wonder if microbial genetic engineering is also the source of gender in the first instance?

  109. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    … Wilson was a mediocre scientist who despite his claims to the contrary had a real problem in distinguishing “is” from “ought to be” in his theoretical constructs.
    =====================================================
    Gene H,

    Wilson is quoted by Kevin Foster in his book Social Behaviour, as I pointed out link up-thread, and has won many awards:

    Notable awards

    Pulitzer Prize (1979)
    Crafoord Prize (1990)
    Pulitzer Prize (1991)
    Kistler Prize (2000)
    Nierenberg Prize (2001)

    (Wikipedia). He was an active professor at Harvard from 1956 until 1996 when he retired, but as of 2007, he is Pellegrino University Research Professor in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.

    He wrote a plethora of books and papers published in science journals.

    You should email him and offer him some mentoring on your theories. I am sure he would appreciate that.

  110. Gene H. 1, April 4, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    … Wilson was a mediocre scientist …
    ================================================
    Dr. Edward O. Wilson is one of the greatest thinkers of the 20th century. His groundbreaking research, original thinking, and scientific and popular writing have changed the way humans think of nature, and our place in it. Currently he is a research professor and museum curator at Harvard University. He has received many of the world’s leading prizes for his research in science, his environmental activism, and his writing. Wilson has been a leader in the fields of entomology (the study of insects), animal behavior and evolutionary psychology, island biogeography, biodiversity, environmental ethics, and the philosophy of knowledge. He has written groundbreaking books and articles on all of these subjects. Two of his non-fiction books, The Ants (1990, with Bert Hölldobler) and On Human Nature (1978), have won Pulitzer Prizes. The Diversity of Life (1992) and Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998), two of his more recent books, have been applauded for their graceful, creative and constructive approaches to challenging subjects. In The Diversity of Life and The Future of Life he conveys his deep concern for humanity’s bewildering degradation of our planet’s ecosystems. His commitment to protecting our natural heritage has brought him to the forefront of environmental activism.” (Save America’s Forests).

  111. When people use slander or character assassination, ad hominem, in place of valid criticism, it shows a failure of culture:

    One damaging aspect of this phenomenon, this failure to efficiently and effectively apply the principles of Epistemology, is that American society and culture have experienced a severe weakening of the ability to properly understand and process information, so as to convert it into knowledge.

    This has resulted, at best, in an overblown exaltation of the realm of opinion, combined with an intense diminution of the realm of knowledge; while at worst it has resulted in widespread social detachment from reality, in varying degrees (i.e. various degrees of social dementia; Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, in his book Strategic Vision, focusing on this failing aspect of American society, writes: “its populace is self-deluded and, frankly, ignorant about the rest of the world”).

    (The Failure of Applied American Epistemology). When christians and athiests do that over evolutionary biology, they are acting out “truthiness”:

    Truthiness is, ‘What I say is right, and [nothing] anyone else says could possibly be true.’ It’s not only that I feel it to be true, but that I feel it to be true. There’s not only an emotional quality, but there’s a selfish quality.

    (Chris Mooney, HuffPo). The subject matter is far more involved than the primitive feelings of “truthiness” which bring out the biggest fangs.

  112. Wilson was a mediocre scientist who despite his claims to the contrary had a real problem in distinguishing “is” from “ought to be” in his theoretical constructs.

    I could give a shit if you agree or not.

  113. Answer these two questions Dredd;

    Is science older than religion in human civilization?

    Are machines complex/compound tools designed to specific work?

    All the rest of your evasiion is just that.

  114. Nal,

    I will leave it to the know-it-alls to answer the rabbit question posed by you about any Precambrian Rabbits that are not in Kansas anymore.

    So, let’s consider rabbits at the time of the KT boundary extinction (65 m yrs ago), since rabbits seem to be a post KT species.

    Establishment science was as dogmatic as the gene H limb of a barroom cladogram, when it came to theory of the KT extinction event, up until just a couple of years ago that is:

    A day or so [March 2010] ago a distinguished group of scientists determined that the theory which says a piece of an asteroid became a meteorite which caused the extinction of the dinosaurs was more likely to be reality than the competing theory.

    [A] brave individual, about 50 years ago, noticed that the scientific community was kowtowed, afraid, and timid about even seriously considering the theory that a chunk of asteroid caused the extinction of the dinosaurs.

    Simply put, he noticed that there was tyranny of dogma within the scientific world, and that such tyranny would lead us to a bad place.

    Therefore, “de Grazia dedicated the whole September 1963 issue of American Behavioral Scientist to the issue” concerning the part that catastrophes, like the chunk of asteroid (meteorite) strike, have played in the evolution on this planet.

    (SCAD). How that ties into rabbits is two-fold: one way is that the oldest rabbit skeleton yet found originated about the time of the KT extinction, and two is that rabbits are not in the same viral lineage of the gorilla, monkey, orangutan, or humans, rather the viral symbiosis in them is likely only about 30 m yrs old, as mentioned up-thread.

    Also as mentioned up-thread, those viral incursions focused on mothers, i.e. on females, so I am wondering if the focus on females was an adventure or experiment by their microbial symbionts (or were perhaps microbial communication problems):

    All-female species reproduces via virgin birth, new study says.

    You could call it the surprise du jour: A popular food on Vietnamese menus has turned out to be a lizard previously unknown to science, scientists say.

    What’s more, the newfound Leiolepis ngovantrii is no run-of-the-mill reptile — the all-female species reproduces via cloning, without the need for male lizards.

    (The Virgin MOMCOM). One can surmise that the KT extinction was traumatic, since 90% of land species, including dinosaurs, bit the extinction dust, and that perhaps 50% of ocean species did the same.

    Since the utter destruction and catastrophe caused by the asteroid/meteorite impact was extreme, the microbes that survived would have been extremist types for the most part, able to exist in those extreme conditions, like those found in hot, boiling water deep in the ocean where volcanic venting takes place, or in northern extremes where 100 below zero F. temperatures can occur.

    The extremist events of taking over female placenta success or failure, establishing the virgin lizard species, or perhaps the adaptability of newts, may be reactions to the extreme trauma of the KT extinction event.

  115. Elaine M. 1, April 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Dredd,

    I think you’re talking about the Gaia Theory.

    Margulis was one of Carl Sagan’s wives.
    ======================================
    Are you saying Carl was a Mormon? ;)

    No, I am not talking about Gaia Theory, which is not generally accepted.

    I am talking about Dr. Margulis’ theories contra Darwinian evolution that are now generally accepted by science, but not laypersons, such as in this thread.

    Her theories which were slandered, castigated, maligned, and rejected by dogmatic establishment scientists for many, many years, became main stream science.

    Some folks think Sagan ditched Margulis because of her theories, while they were not accepted, so as to advance his own career.

    One wonders how Sagan felt when her theories became generally accepted, and he was only a pop-science star?

    After Carl she married a chemist.

  116. The Cretaceous–Tertiary biotic transition (pdf)

    … while others (diatoms, radiolaria, benthic foraminifera, brachiopods, gastropods, fish, amphibians, lepidosaurs, terrestrial plants) passed through the K–T event horizon with only minor taxonomic richness and/or diversity changes.

    Lepidosaurs are the common ancestors of snakes, lizards, and amphisbaenia.

    Mammalian clades passed through the boundary with few extinctions.

  117. While [Dr. Lynn Margulis’] organelle genesis ideas are widely accepted, symbiotic relationships as a current method of introducing genetic variation is something of a fringe idea.

  118. Can you answer these two questions Dredd? Or is it simply that you won’t?

    1) Is science older than religion in human civilization?

    2) Are machines complex/compound tools designed to specific work?

    As an aside, Margulis’ notion that competition is overplayed by some Darwinists I think is correct, however, that doesn’t mean that symbiosis isn’t overplayed by the strong Gaia contingent or those who persist in the idea that conscious integration (which would be required for molecular machines to be actual rather than metaphorical machines) is a real phenomena when there is absolutely no evidence for conscious integration.

  119. A visionary scientist with a blind spot

    The really controversial claim of Margulis & Sagan is that symbiosis is the main mechanism for creating new species in evolution. This is an unjustified extrapolation from a number of well-documented cases to all domains of life. Ernst Mayr mentions that there is no indication that any of the 10,000 species of birds or the 4,500 species of mammals (including humans) originated by symbiogenesis (1). In my view symbiosis is important in evolution; her new book brings new cases; textbooks must be updated in that respect, but the authors exaggerate the role of symbiosis in the creation of new species. The reason is that symbiosis does not create new genes. That is her blind spot.

    Tring it without the hyperlink.

  120. Lynn Margulis: “Definitely a Darwinist”

    In Endosymbiosis, cell evolution, and speciation Kutschera et al argue that:

    The currently popular book of Margulis and Sagan (2002), which is quoted by many anti-evolutionists around the world, delivers the basic message that genomic variation and natural selection are of subordinate importance in the process of speciation. This erroneous conclusion is not based on solid empirical evidence and it has provided cannon fodder to an anti-Darwinian ideology that has no place in modern science.

  121. Gene H:

    “Bron,

    You’d disagree with me if I said sugar is sweet or water is wet, so pardon me if I don’t get too upset that you don’t accept abiogenesis isn’t an intelligently driven process like tool making.”

    Actually I would agree with you on those facts or any other observations which are true.

    I thought you were making a jab at me with your litteralist comment.

    I think both you and Dredd have points, if you classify a machine as something which carries out a process, I think Dredd has a valid point about biological “machines”. And you are of course correct that they were not created by any intelligence and are not machines in the sense of a car or bulldozer.

    When you get down to it though, all life could be classified as self-replicating organic machines.

  122. Dredd 1, April 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm

    Elaine M. 1, April 4, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    Dredd,

    I think you’re talking about the Gaia Theory.
    ====================================
    If you want to hear her concepts of it, in contrast to dumb, dumber, and dumbest, concepts of Gaia, then it is in Part III of the videos of an interview of her by a Rutgers University Professor here, beginning at 3:50.

    Prior to that, on Part III, she describes the corporatist takeover of biological sciences from 0.00 to ~3:50.

    In videos Part I and Part II she shows what her concept of science is about: war with the status quo establishment, like Dr. Semmelweis, whom they murdered.

  123. Bron,

    No. If I’m going to take a jab at you it’s going to be for being an Objectivist and/or a binary thinker – which are both at the root of your most grievous and recurring errors. Being literalistic is a totally different kind of error and to your credit not one I’ve seen you make often (if at all).

    If you agree that machines are created by design, then a machine and a naturally occurring process are not the same thing even if that process is mechanistic. Pseudo-machines would be a more accurate term for these kind of mechanistic chemical compounds, but absent intelligent design, they are not actual machines. To insist that they are literal machines is to abuse the metaphor or be proposing some form of Intelligent Design. Any explanation that resorts to either mystical or unproven intelligent guidance in the process isn’t science. It’s wishful thinking.

  124. Bron 1, April 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    Gene H:

    When you get down to it though, all life could be classified as self-replicating organic machines.
    ===============================================
    I take your point.

    When we use dictionaries to sharpen our fangs and make them bigger than the next sophisticated debater, we run up against semantics.

    Not only that, we run afoul of new discoveries that change the meanings of words.

    Dictionaries become spaghetti in that sense, so we need to use our dictionaries, but we need to use them in real time.

    Our sciences that teach us The Big Bang theory.

    That teaches us that “The Big Pop” made a cosmos of energy that condensed into quanta, then into protons, neutrons, and electrons which formed atoms.

    Later those atoms combined somehow to become molecules. Even later those molecules somehow combined in a way to form organics.

    Life.

    All that is an area which is primarily full of bullshit, propaganda, ignorance, because of a dearth of experimental and data based science.

  125. Literal use of metaphor isn’t semantics. It’s language abuse.

    You should have no problem answering the questions presented, Dredd.

    1) Is science older than religion in human civilization?

    2) Are machines complex/compound tools designed to specific work?

  126. Nal 1, April 5, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    A visionary scientist with a blind spot
    ==============================
    The establishment scientists had a blind spot the size of the red spot on Jupiter compared to hers, the size of a spot on a lady bug:

    Lynn Margulis, a biologist whose work on the origin of cells helped transform the study of evolution, died on Tuesday at her home in Amherst, Mass. She was 73.

    She died five days after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke, said Dorion Sagan, a son she had with her first husband, the cosmologist Carl Sagan.

    Dr. Margulis had the title of distinguished university professor of geosciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, since 1988. She drew upon earlier, ridiculed ideas when she first promulgated her theory, in the late 1960s, that cells with nuclei, which are known as eukaryotes and include all the cells in the human body except mature red blood cells, evolved as a result of symbiotic relationships among bacteria.

    The hypothesis was a direct challenge to the prevailing neo-Darwinist belief that the primary evolutionary mechanism was random mutation.

    Rather, Dr. Margulis argued that a more important mechanism was symbiosis; that is, evolution is a function of organisms that are mutually beneficial growing together to become one and reproducing. The theory undermined significant precepts of the study of evolution, underscoring the idea that evolution began at the level of micro-organisms long before it would be visible at the level of species.

    (Lynn Margulis, Evolution Theorist). She was right and they were wrong, and still are.

  127. Gene H. 1, April 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm

    Literal use of metaphor isn’t semantics. It’s language abuse.

    You should have no problem answering the questions presented, Dredd.

    1) Is science older than religion in human civilization?

    2) Are machines complex/compound tools designed to specific work?
    ========================================================
    I already answered that it is off topic, off evolution, and will not determine where science began or where religion began, because they both developed prior to humans.

    Anwer it for yourself since it is a rhetorical question embedded in a polemic.

    All I can hope is that while they are embedded they both don’t get pregnant with glory.

  128. “I already answered that it is off topic, off evolution, and will not determine where science began or where religion began, because they both developed prior to humans.”

    Really. Science and religion cannot have developed prior to humans by definition. Both are human social constructs. You have presented no evidence to the contrary.

    All I can hope is that you realize you cannot or will not answer the questions without exposing that you were factually wrong in assertion of predicates, Dredd. The questions are neither embedded in polemic nor are they off topic. They are directly related to predicates of your arguments and founded in logic and evidence (for which I have plenty and you so far have none).

    Answer the questions.

  129. The scope, in terms of time, of Nal’s post is astonishing:

    The Precambrian Rabbit would be such a counterexample.

    (Nal). How fair is it to require a rabbit fossil from the Precambrian era to be shown before a person would change their beliefs? Not very:

    “Not much is known about the Precambrian, despite it making up roughly seven-eighths of the Earth’s history, and what little is known has largely been discovered in the past 50 years.”

    (Wikipedia). Not much is known about 7/8 ths (~88%) of all Earth history.

    As I said up-thread, the oldest rabbit fossil dates back (~55 million years) to a time following the KT mass extinction boundary ~65 million years ago.

    It is also unfair to limit discussion of origins of species, science, and religion to The Anthropocene, as Gene H is want to do, because it is a small percentage of the already small 1/8 percentage (~13%) of all Earth’s history (meaning as little as 1% of the evolutionary time frame of the Earth’s history).

    Dogma based on reliance and reference to the unknown, or limiting one’s understanding to the era of human science and human religion can lead to the kind of myopia that can then lead to narrow mindedness.

  130. Awww. Calling you on incorrect predicates in your arguments is unfair. Boo hoo.

    Answer the questions, Dredd.

    Or perhaps you’d care explain how science and religion – which are by definition human social constructs – existed before humans.

    Keep digging that hole.

    My understanding of the history and nature of both science and religion are just fine despite your weak attempts to avoid the legitimate questioning of your predicates. However, there is someone here definitely and clearly limited by dogma and appealing to the unknown. It sure as Hell isn’t me.

    1) Is science older than religion in human civilization?

    2) Are machines complex/compound tools designed to specific work?

    They’re easy questions to answer if you know the answers. They aren’t so easy to answer if you don’t know what you’re talking about or are pushing an agenda that perhaps you don’t want to explicitly state. Say one that requires some sort of supervening intelligence to have played a role in evolution.

  131. Is self-medication an act constituting the practice of medicine, or of the practice of medical science?

    If so, it evolved long before The Anthropocene Epoch:

    The newt can reconstruct almost any body part, including the brain, spinal cord, heart and limbs. Planarians, a high-school laboratory favorite, can be sliced to bits and each piece will regenerate a new individual.

    (Maxi-Morphs & The Copy Katz). Humans are trying to guide stemcells to reproduce damaged organs, flesh, etc. in a similar pursuit.

    We are a bit late getting into medical science of this sort, as are a lot of other species.

    The newt has been doing it for who knows how long. Go Newt!

  132. Dredd:

    from Webster’s 1828 edition:

    MACHINE, n. [L. machina.] An artificial work, simple or complicated, that serves to apply or regulate moving power, or to produce motion, so as to save time or force. The simple machines are the six mechanical powers, viz.; the lever, the pulley, the axis and wheel,the wedge, the screw, and the inclined plane. Complicated machines are such as combine two or more of these powers for the production of motion or force.

    1. An engine; an instrument of force.

    With inward arms the dire machine they load.

    2. Supernatural agency in a poem, or a superhuman being introduced into a poem to perform some exploit.

    From the 1913 edition:

    Ma*chine” (?), n. [F., fr. L. machina machine, engine, device, trick, Gr. , from means, expedient. Cf. Mechanic.]

    1. In general, any combination of bodies so connected that their relative motions are constrained, and by means of which force and motion may be transmitted and modified, as a screw and its nut, or a lever arranged to turn about a fulcrum or a pulley about its pivot, etc.; especially, a construction, more or less complex, consisting of a combination of moving parts, or simple mechanical elements, as wheels, levers, cams, etc., with their supports and connecting framework, calculated to constitute a prime mover, or to receive force and motion from a prime mover or from another machine, and transmit, modify, and apply them to the production of some desired mechanical effect or work, as weaving by a loom, or the excitation of electricity by an electrical machine. &hand; The term machine is most commonly applied to such pieces of mechanism as are used in the industrial arts, for mechanically shaping, dressing, and combining materials for various purposes, as in the manufacture of cloth, etc. Where the effect is chemical, or other than mechanical, the contrivance is usually denominated an apparatus, not a machine; as, a bleaching apparatus. Many large, powerful, or specially important pieces of mechanism are called engines; as, a steam engine, fire engine, graduating engine, etc. Although there is no well-settled distinction between the terms engine and machine among practical men, there is a tendency to restrict the application of the former to contrivances in which the operating part is not distinct from the motor.

    2. Any mechanical contrivance, as the wooden horse with which the Greeks entered Troy; a coach; a bicycle. Dryden. Southey. Thackeray.

    3. A person who acts mechanically or at will of another.

    4. A combination of persons acting together for a common purpose, with the agencies which they use; as, the social machine.

    The whole machine of government ought not to bear upon the people with a weight so heavy and oppressive. Landor.
    5. A political organization arranged and controlled by one or more leaders for selfish, private or partisan ends. [Political Cant]

    6. Supernatural agency in a poem, or a superhuman being introduced to perform some exploit. Addison. Elementary machine, a name sometimes given to one of the simple mechanical powers. See under Mechanical. — Infernal machine. See under Infernal. — Machine gun.See under Gun. — Machine screw, a screw or bolt adapted for screwing into metal, in distinction from one which is designed especially to be screwed into wood. — Machine shop, a workshop where machines are made, or where metal is shaped by cutting, filing, turning, etc. — Machine tool, a machine for cutting or shaping wood, metal, etc., by means of a tool; especially, a machine, as a lathe, planer, drilling machine, etc., designed for a more or less general use in a machine shop, in distinction from a machine for producing a special article as in manufacturing. — Machine twist, silken thread especially adapted for use in a sewing machine. — Machine work, work done by a machine, in contradistinction to that done by hand labor.

    From the March 19, 2012 issue of Science Daily:

    The researchers, from Imperial College London, have demonstrated a way of creating a new type of biological “wire,” using proteins that interact with DNA and behave like wires in electronic circuitry. The scientists say the advantage of their new biological wire is that it can be re-engineered over and over again to create potentially billions of connections between DNA components. Previously, scientists have had a limited number of “wires” available with which to link DNA components in biological machines, restricting the complexity that could be achieved.

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120319194313.htm

    Rather interesting evolution of the word.

  133. Newts don’t practice science, Dredd. A natural process that can be described by science – a human endeavor – is not science. It is the object of study, delineation and eventual understanding of by humans applying the scientific method to interrogate the reality of the process.

    Only a crazy person thinks newts practice science, medical or otherwise. Newts lack the neural complexity to understand a concept like science much less practice it. Thinking a newt practices science is about as rational as thinking a brick practices masonry.

    Try again.

  134. Gene H:

    Yes I understand that. I am just saying the definition of the word has expanded over the last 200 years to include biological machines.

    A large rock balanced at the edge of a cliff has the potential to become a “machine”. If it falls it can do work by crushing rocks it lands on. There is no intelligence, it is quite all by chance but it is a “machine” as surely as a rock crusher used by Vulcan Materials to produce aggregate for the building industry.

    Not at all efficient but effective.

  135. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, Bron. Doing work is not the sole defining characteristics of a machine. You even stipulate intelligent design is part of the definition. The use of the term “molecular machine” is still metaphor unless that compound is made by human intelligence.

    “The team has also developed more of the fundamental DNA components, called “promoters,” which are needed for re-programming yeast to perform different tasks. Scientists currently have a very limited catalogue of components from which to engineer biological machines. By enlarging the components pool and making it freely available to the scientific community via rapid Open Access publication, the team in this new study aims to spur on development in the field of synthetic biology.”

    Key word: engineered – from engineer; to lay out, construct, or manage as an engineer, to contrive or plan out usually with more or less subtle skill and craft, to guide the course of or to modify or produce by genetic engineering.

    The kind of naturally occurring mechanistic chemical compounds Dredd refers to arising from abiogenesis are not actually machines. No one engineered them. They are pseudo-machines at best. Again, “molecular machine” is a metaphorical shorthand term.

  136. Gene H:

    I think Dredd has a point and I also think you have a point. I further think the definition of machine should be expanded to include natural processes such as photosynthesis.

    Engineers design chemical process plants that can mimic what happens in nature to produce a certain product. Fruit ferments on trees and creates alcohol, man makes single malt scotch. One is naturally occurring, the other is controlled.

  137. “Engineers design chemical process plants that can mimic what happens in nature to produce a certain product. Fruit ferments on trees and creates alcohol, man makes single malt scotch. One is naturally occurring, the other is controlled.”

    And only single malt scotch is made by a machine.

    By arguing for removing the design component of the definition of machine, you are destroying the meaning of the word. “Is” versus “ought”. Dredd’s predicate is based on “is” when the definition of machine has a design component to the definition. Metaphorical and literal meaning are not the same thing. One is “representative” and the other is “actual”. This is the same thing as making up a definition to suit an argument. Time is not actually a thief any more than a molecular machine is actually a machine.

    Even if the meaning of the word were to be changed to include abiogenic naturally occurring mechanistic compounds, that would not change the part of Dredd’s assertion that science came before humans (which is predicated in large part on the existence of “molecular machines”) is prime facie false just as his similar assertion about the history of religion is false.

  138. *Time is not actually a thief any more than a molecular machine is actually a machine absent a designer.*

    Pardon. It’s about time for a drug induced nap.

  139. Gene H:

    science and religion are mans way of understanding the world/universe. Without man there is no science nor is their religion. As you rightly state those are constructs from the mind of man.

    Is Dredd really saying they existed prior to man or is he saying the universe existed prior to man with all of the unknowns which science would eventually make known? Which is of course true, matter exists outside of consciousness.

  140. Bron,

    “I already answered that it is off topic, off evolution, and will not determine where science began or where religion began, because they both developed prior to humans.”

    That’s what he said, emphasis added.

    The phrase “developed prior to humans” is clear and unambiguous. Of course, matter exists outside of consciousness (unless Susskind’s holographic universe postulate is true and matter is an illusion), but that is not what Dredd said. Science and religion both developed after humans, by humans, by definition or CPT symmetry, entropy and the arrow of time are meaningless. We may not fully understand time yet, but we do know it only moves one direction.

  141. Gene H. 1, April 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Bron,

    What do all of those definitions have in common?

    Deliberate intelligent design.
    ======================================
    You have quite an appetite for injecting diversion.

    What is intelligent?

    What is design?

    None of these things can be defined.

    They are all products of your genie fangs, and since your fangs are the biggest, by your measurements, you be da genie wid da say.

    Fine, go jerk off now and leave those of us who are not of the “truthiness” religion alone.

    Intellectual arrogance of the sort you spout is obvious, but it really is not helpful to solve these type inquiries.

  142. The Earth is the center of the universe, because human science said so?

    Science is a creation of humans because humans said so?

    Religion is a creation of humans because humans said so?

    That is only faith in human science and human religion.

    Human science cannot do what microbes do, in terms of science, to this very day.

    Universal science is finding out what is the proper interpretation of observations, i.e., what is the proper response.

    That requires signal / message interpretation, which microbes have done for billions of years prior to humans.

    Human science makes mistakes in this regard, and so does microbial science, that does not define what science is, it only means that neither science is intelligent in the sense of not making mistakes.

    If it isn’t human it doesn’t exist, is a bit dicky.

  143. Machines are a species:

    species

    1. a class of individuals having some common characteristics or qualities; distinct sort or kind.

    But the machine species are not a biological species:

    2. Biology. the major subdivision of a genus or subgenus, regarded as the basic category of biological classification, composed of related individuals that resemble one another, are able to breed among themselves, but are not able to breed with members of another species.

    (The Best Dictionary). Machines have some common characteristics and qualities, and are distinct:

    ma·chine

    1. an apparatus consisting of interrelated parts with separate functions, used in the performance of some kind of work
    =============================

    work

    1. exertion or effort directed to produce or accomplish something

    (The Best Dictionary, supra). Electrons orbiting the neucleus of an atom exert effort to accomplish something, which is rotating in a circle so as to do the work of keeping the atom an atom.

    If the electron did not do its work the atom would cease to exist.

    Electrons also absorb incoming photons by going to a higher orbit around the nucleus, thereby doing the work of storing energy.

  144. “What is intelligent?

    What is design?

    None of these things can be defined.”

    Words have meaning and resorting to the claim that “none of these things can be defined” is existential epistemological nonsense and the pinnacle of cowardly anti-intellectualism.

    “The kind of PTSD that flows in gene H may be traceable to a catastrophic event.”

    The kind of irrational gyration and inability to answer straight forward questions in Dredd is directly traceable to him being completely and utterly full of shit or pushing an agenda he doesn’t want to directly name for fear of rightful ridicule.

    “The Earth is the center of the universe, because human science said so?”

    No one has claimed this. Straw man and argument by non-sequitur.

    “Science is a creation of humans because humans said so?”

    Science is the creation of humans because it is as matter of fact. Science is a systematic endeavor that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the nature of the universe by applying the scientific method to define the system this endeavor utilizes. The goal of science is to build a base of reliable knowledge which can be logically and rationally explained and, when not of a strictly theoretical value, put into practical applications.

    “Religion is a creation of humans because humans said so?”

    Religion is the creation of humans because it is as matter of fact. Religion is a collection of cultural systems and belief systems that socially and psychologically relate humanity to spirituality and often moral values. Most religions have narratives in the forms of sacred texts, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning and/or explain the origin of life.

    “That is only faith in human science and human religion.”

    No. That’s a function of history and definition, that humans a tool building creature and that two of the tool humans have built to help us explain and/or interrogate the nature of the universe are religion and science.

    “Human science cannot do what microbes do, in terms of science, to this very day.”

    Irrelevant and begging the question that microbes “do science”. Microbes don’t and can’t “do science” by definition.

    “Universal science is finding out what is the proper interpretation of observations, i.e., what is the proper response.”

    Unless you are referring to the metaphysical term used by Plato, the term “universal science” is made up flim flam. If you are using the term in the sense Plato did, you are talking philosophy, not science. The scientific method – the basis for modern science – transformed the interrogation of reality from a philosophical inquiry into an empirical inquiry. Metaphysics, by definition non-empirical, are not science.

    “That requires signal / message interpretation, which microbes have done for billions of years prior to humans.”

    You mistake information transfer for intelligence. The whole of the universe is one giant information transfer. It isn’t alive or intelligent in any holistic sense of the words. Parts of the universe are alive and intelligent. To think the whole thing is alive and intelligent based upon information transfer is a fine example of both the Pathetic fallacy (when an inanimate object is declared to have characteristics of animate objects) and the fallacy of composition.

    “Human science makes mistakes in this regard, and so does microbial science, that does not define what science is, it only means that neither science is intelligent in the sense of not making mistakes.”

    So now you are the arbiter of all science? Well that sure explains the malformed ego you’re sportin’ there. Also, as a matter of fact, microbes don’t practice science. They aren’t sentient and they lack the neural complexity to be intelligent life. They are simple organisms. Speaking of simple, only a truly simple being wouldn’t be so ridiculous to think that intelligence is defined by not making mistakes.

    “If it isn’t human it doesn’t exist, is a bit dicky.”

    Straw man, but on the topic of being “dicky”, I’ll stipulate you are proving yourself to be an expert.

    “Machines are a species:”

    Reductio ad absurdum combined with an narrow, cherry picked definition to reach an irrelevant (and erroneous) conclusion.

    Machines are machines. The term “species” has a specific usage. Species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank – a scientific biological classification. For example, prions are not recognized as a species taxonomically. They are an infectious chemical compounds and like viruses straddle the boundary between life and non-life. They are interactive with biology because they share a common chemistry but they are not alive. Because they are not alive, they do not have a taxonomical species designation. They are not part of a genus or phylum or domain or kingdom because they are not alive. They are machine like in that they can do work but they are not designed by an intelligence ergo they are not actually machines.

    They have a word for people who make their own realities: delusional. The only thing you are proving so far Dredd is that you are delusional. Harmless, but delusional.

  145. Anonymously Yours 1, April 1, 2012 at 9:24 am

    So the question remains…. Are we descendants of the chimp, monkey, orangutan or alien life form planted in this vast oasis of oblivion…….

    We are what we are and we ain’t what we ain’t…… Signed…. Just looking…..John Prime….
    =========================================
    This thread was initiated from a cladist perspective, as indicated by the use of a cladogram to illustrate a point. Cladistics may or may not include alien life, depending on the cladist perpetuating this or that ideological clade.

  146. Dredd,

    All you needed to know about hyperbole and never needed to know was on npr this morning….. The Senator supporting the legislation in the state of Tennessee was about as receptive to another’s point of view as the pope is about homos in the priesthood….. Just talked about why the legislation was essential… I am learning that when one so vigorous about ones belief they usually only understand one side of an argument…..

    Could alien life be present today…… Are we descendants of an alien life form?

  147. Gene H. 1, April 6, 2012 at 8:30 pm

    As I pointed out to AY supra, Nal started a thread that uses a cladogram. The discussion needs to keep that cladistics context where clarity is relevant.

    Rune 1:

    “What is intelligent?

    What is design?

    None of these things can be defined.”

    Words have meaning and resorting to the claim that “none of these things can be defined” is existential epistemological nonsense and the pinnacle of cowardly anti-intellectualism.

    Words have wrong meaning and right meaning depending on the clade.

    Rune 2:

    “The kind of PTSD that flows in gene H may be traceable to a catastrophic event.”

    The kind of irrational gyration and inability to answer straight forward questions in Dredd is directly traceable to him being completely and utterly full of shit or pushing an agenda he doesn’t want to directly name for fear of rightful ridicule.

    In situations where someone throws a control fit, as you have in this thread, it is evidence of a need to control, which is evidence of an inner insecurity caused by extreme events where control vanished.

    The better self-medication is to realize that the control envisionsed in any such context is an illusion.

    Rune 3:

    “The Earth is the center of the universe, because human science said so?”

    No one has claimed this. Straw man and argument by non-sequitur.

    “Science is a creation of humans because humans said so?”

    Science is the creation of humans because it is as matter of fact.

    Science is a systematic endeavor that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the nature of the universe by applying the scientific method to define the system this endeavor utilizes. The goal of science is to build a base of reliable knowledge which can be logically and rationally explained and, when not of a strictly theoretical value, put into practical applications.

    See how you took control there and saved science from oblivion?

    “Religion is a creation of humans because humans said so?”

    Religion is the creation of humans because it is as matter of fact. Religion is a collection of cultural systems and belief systems that socially and psychologically relate humanity to spirituality and often moral values. Most religions have narratives in the forms of sacred texts, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning and/or explain the origin of life.Now you have saved religion from oblivion too!

    Rune 4:

    “That is only faith in human science and human religion.”

    No. That’s a function of history and definition, that humans a tool building creature and that two of the tool humans have built to help us explain and/or interrogate the nature of the universe are religion and science.

    And the icing on the cake … you saved faith from oblivion too. A threefer.

    Rune 5:

    “Human science cannot do what microbes do, in terms of science, to this very day.”

    Irrelevant and begging the question that microbes “do science”. Microbes don’t and can’t “do science” by definition.

    You are slipping Gene, using the quotation marks stirs up that little insecurity inside. Don’t use quotes like that, it waters down the absolute uncontrovertable congreteness of elegant truthiness.

    Rune 6:

    “Universal science is finding out what is the proper interpretation of observations, i.e., what is the proper response.”

    Unless you are referring to the metaphysical term used by Plato, the term “universal science” is made up flim flam. If you are using the term in the sense Plato did, you are talking philosophy, not science. The scientific method – the basis for modern science – transformed the interrogation of reality from a philosophical inquiry into an empirical inquiry. Metaphysics, by definition non-empirical, are not science.

    I was referring to cosmology, a universal science. Update your dictionary.

    Rune 7:

    “That requires signal / message interpretation, which microbes have done for billions of years prior to humans.”

    You mistake information transfer for intelligence. The whole of the universe is one giant information transfer. It isn’t alive or intelligent in any holistic sense of the words. Parts of the universe are alive and intelligent. To think the whole thing is alive and intelligent based upon information transfer is a fine example of both the Pathetic fallacy (when an inanimate object is declared to have characteristics of animate objects) and the fallacy of composition.

    In your case, which is not a dynamic of communication, but rather a dynamic of proving your fangs are better, by being bigger than other fangs. (“smile at me I will understand, that is something everyone everywhere does in the same language”, Crosby Stills & Nash) I can understand why you say signal like that.

    Rune 8:

    “Human science makes mistakes in this regard, and so does microbial science, that does not define what science is, it only means that neither science is intelligent in the sense of not making mistakes.”

    So now you are the arbiter of all science?

    Don’t feel insecure. I do not want to dislodge you from your throne. Your fangs abiter than my fangs arbiter.

    Rune 9:

    Well that sure explains the malformed ego you’re sportin’ there. Also, as a matter of fact, microbes don’t practice science. They aren’t sentient and they lack the neural complexity to be intelligent life. They are simple organisms. Speaking of simple, only a truly simple being wouldn’t be so ridiculous to think that intelligence is defined by not making mistakes.

    Sentient? Is that have the biggest senter … the biggest nose to go along with the biggest fangs? Why make folks think you have these bully proclivities because of inner insecurities? Stop picking on the little people (microbes) who fixed your mother’s placenta so you could be born … that is unless you belong to the rabbit clade. (This post of Nal’s is about clades you know.)

    Rune 10:

    “If it isn’t human it doesn’t exist, is a bit dicky.”

    Straw man, but on the topic of being “dicky”, I’ll stipulate you are proving yourself to be an expert.

    I will stipulate that you are an expert at interpreting your own signals, but do not know that that is not what reason is.

    Rune 11:

    “Machines are a species:”

    Reductio ad absurdum combined with an narrow, cherry picked definition to reach an irrelevant (and erroneous) conclusion.

    Machines are machines.

    The gene H dictionary is very simple. “[word] is [same word].

    Rune 12:

    The term “species” has a specific usage. Species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank – a scientific biological classification. For example, prions are not recognized as a species taxonomically. They are an infectious chemical compounds and like viruses straddle the boundary between life and non-life. They are interactive with biology because they share a common chemistry but they are not alive. Because they are not alive, they do not have a taxonomical species designation. They are not part of a genus or phylum or domain or kingdom because they are not alive. They are machine like in that they can do work but they are not designed by an intelligence ergo they are not actually machines.

    Species is not of the cladistic clan man, clade, is? Perhaps we should get back to clade? (I think clade was the name of the Orangutan in “Every Which Way But Loose”.)

    Rune 13:

    They have a word for people who make their own realities: delusional. The only thing you are proving so far Dredd is that you are delusional. Harmless, but delusional.

    Well, only if the reality they make up is unreal. BTW, delusion is not harmless.

  148. Rune 3.5:

    “Religion is a creation of humans because humans said so?”

    Religion is the creation of humans because it is as matter of fact. Religion is a collection of cultural systems and belief systems that socially and psychologically relate humanity to spirituality and often moral values. Most religions have narratives in the forms of sacred texts, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning and/or explain the origin of life.

    Now you have saved religion from oblivion too!

    (corrects the conflating and/or missing blockquote between Rune 3 and 4)

  149. Anonymously Yours 1, April 9, 2012 at 11:24 am

    Dredd,

    All you needed to know about hyperbole and never needed to know was on npr this morning….. The Senator supporting the legislation in the state of Tennessee was about as receptive to another’s point of view as the pope is about homos in the priesthood….. Just talked about why the legislation was essential… I am learning that when one so vigorous about ones belief they usually only understand one side of an argument…..

    Could alien life be present today…… Are we descendants of an alien life form?
    =================================
    You tell me.

    You haven’t said enough in this thread yet.

  150. Rune 1:

    You’re showing a marked propensity to make up your own definitions, so I’ll pass on your take of the subject. If Bron doesn’t get to make up his own definitions for his arguments without getting called on it, its only fair that you don’t either.

    Rune 2:

    In situations where someone is completely full of shit, I’m going to point it out. Control has nothing to do with it. Accuracy does. Control is an illusion.

    Rune 3 & 4:

    Again, control has nothing to do with not letting you get away with making up your own definitions. That you think it does says far more about you than anyone else.

    Rune 5:

    Insecurity? Project much? By all means, if you want to make the ridiculous assertion that microbe practice science, it’s no skin off my back. I’ll sit over here and laugh with the other rational people until you have evidence of actual intelligence (and not just information exchange).

    Rune 6:

    Cosmology, huh? Sure you were. Sure you were making up the meaning of words again that is. You were using what you considered spooky language the same way religionists use spooky language. Cosmology may be the study of everything in the broadest sense of the term, but it isn’t “universal science”. Science is a human activity and remains a human activity until complex intelligent alien life is discovered (whom may or may not have science).

    Rune 7:

    Ad hominem that totally ignores the fact you are mistaking information transfer for intelligence. As for the fangs? So far you aren’t proving any sort of real competition so my earlier statement stands. Your case for intelligence in microbial life is weak to non-existent. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. So far you have little and/or insufficient proof. You clearly believe microbial life is intelligent. Your belief is not proof any more than a Christians belief in the Resurrection is proof of Jesus’ divinity. You are making the same literalism error religious fundamentalists do: mistaking metaphor for literal meaning.

    Rune 8:

    I don’t know where you keep getting the idea about insecurity unless it is looking in a mirror.

    Rune 9:

    Little people? My. Your delusion is showing again. Why don’t you just admit you are for Intelligent Design and cut through the pretense what you are talking about is belief instead of science?

    Rune 10:

    You can do better than that for an insult. Or maybe not.

    Rune 11:

    The Rule of Identity is simple. Something is what it is. A=A. A≠B simply because you believe it does.

    Rune 12:

    Again, words have meaning and not just the meanings you make up for them. Machines are not a species. You use of the Pathetic fallacy and your composition fallacy stand unrefuted, your metaphysical whining notwithstanding.

    Rune 13:

    Delusions are harmless when they have no damaging or dangerous impact on those who hold them or those around them. Your delusion that microbes exhibit intelligence and utilize science is, to quote Douglas Adams, “Mostly harmless.” Your irrational belief is as harmless to you and others as if you believed in the Flat Earth.

    Rune 14:

    You need either a stronger argument/better evidence and/or better insults. So far your fangs fail to impress. Try again. So far you haven’t proven that there is intelligent life at your house much less intelligent microbial life.

  151. Gene H. 1, April 9, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Rune 1:

    You’re showing a marked propensity to make up your own definitions, so I’ll pass on your take of the subject. If Bron doesn’t get to make up his own definitions for his arguments without getting called on it, its only fair that you don’t either.

    Hilarious. Nal’s post (this thread) is of cladist ideology, using cladograms, and clade oriented arguments.

    Further, you have ignored that reality by mixing other types of classification methodology as if they are one and the same. They are not.

    Cladistics is not generally accepted (“Cladistics, either generally or in specific applications, has been criticized from its beginnings”).

    I am advocating word definitions used by scientists in their own published papers. You are demanding the right to use your grandfather’s dictionary.

    Rune 2:

    In situations where someone is completely full of shit, I’m going to point it out. Control has nothing to do with it. Accuracy does. Control is an illusion.

    Unless it is you who is completely full of shit, not having mentioned clade or cladogram even once in this thread. Your blather that your shit does not stink is self-authenticating rubbish.

    Rune 3 & 4:

    Again, control has nothing to do with not letting you get away with making up your own definitions. That you think it does says far more about you than anyone else.

    Letting me get away with “making up your own definitions” quoting scientists whom you have maligned up-thread, really is a control issue, but your lack of control of decent discourse is what stands out.

    Rune 5:

    Insecurity? Project much? By all means, if you want to make the ridiculous assertion that microbe practice science, it’s no skin off my back. I’ll sit over here and laugh with the other rational people until you have evidence of actual intelligence (and not just information exchange).

    Just because, in your eyes, your fangs are bigger than mine does not mean I am insecure in the face of your definitive assertion that intelligence is the beginning of scientific practices. That is nothing more than insecurity posing as intellect, fearful of new understanding, making unfounded dogmatic assertions.

    Rune 6:

    Cosmology, huh? Sure you were. Sure you were making up the meaning of words again that is. You were using what you considered spooky language the same way religionists use spooky language. Cosmology may be the study of everything in the broadest sense of the term, but it isn’t “universal science”. Science is a human activity and remains a human activity until complex intelligent alien life is discovered (whom may or may not have science).

    Yes, cosmology. Big Bang baby. I am the only one who has mentioned it originally in this thread / post. You have only mentioned it in your polemics. I know “science is science”, “machines are machines”, “spooky is spooky”, and “Gene H is always right”, no matter what competent scientists say.

    Rune 7:

    Ad hominem that totally ignores the fact you are mistaking information transfer for intelligence. As for the fangs? So far you aren’t proving any sort of real competition so my earlier statement stands. Your case for intelligence in microbial life is weak to non-existent. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof. So far you have little and/or insufficient proof. You clearly believe microbial life is intelligent. Your belief is not proof any more than a Christians belief in the Resurrection is proof of Jesus’ divinity. You are making the same literalism error religious fundamentalists do: mistaking metaphor for literal meaning.

    Wrong again. I never used the world intelligence, that is something you keep bring up in a matter that brings intelligence into question, because you do not point to where I made any such statement, except to point out that you were raising it late in the game when it had not been asserted before.

    It is a continuation of dishonesty to mischaracterize my comments to assert that I said microbes have intelligence.

    Some science is obviously not always intelligently done.

    Such as when you feign scientific discussion, making extraordinary claims purporting to refute recognized scientists (e.g. Wilson) in their fields, whom I have quoted. Such extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, especially when non-scientists like yourself assert those claims against decent scientists.

    You conflate real, new scientific meaning with metaphor.

    Rune 8:

    I don’t know where you keep getting the idea about insecurity unless it is looking in a mirror.

    Juvenile insecurity of the “I am rubber and you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”

    Rune 9:

    Little people? My. Your delusion is showing again. Why don’t you just admit you are for Intelligent Design and cut through the pretense what you are talking about is belief instead of science?

    That is a metaphor. Conflating metaphor with reality is a delusion you need to work on. I am for intelligent design, unintelligent design causes accidents and bad arguments of the sort you keep on blathering about.

    Rune 10:

    You can do better than that for an insult. Or maybe not.

    The insult will go away when you no longer do things that insult competent scientists by your need to control.

    Rune 11:

    The Rule of Identity is simple. Something is what it is. A=A. A≠B simply because you believe it does.

    There are many rules of identity. Some new ones will be discovered and you will resist them with walls of dictionaries you purchase at second hand textbook stores.

    Rune 12:

    Again, words have meaning and not just the meanings you make up for them. Machines are not a species. You use of the Pathetic fallacy and your composition fallacy stand unrefuted, your metaphysical whining notwithstanding.

    Species of machines are both a specie and a machine. Conflating words for the purpose of control is whining out of control. It is that gene H.

    Rune 13:

    Delusions are harmless when they have no damaging or dangerous impact on those who hold them or those around them. Your delusion that microbes exhibit intelligence and utilize science is, to quote Douglas Adams, “Mostly harmless.” Your irrational belief is as harmless to you and others as if you believed in the Flat Earth.

    “Harmless is harmless”, “delusion is delusion” … “yada is yada”. Your dictionary is really under control there as a result of the all powerful, all fangiful, gene H. It will be a scientific Encyclopedia before you know it.

    Rune 14:

    You need either a stronger argument/better evidence and/or better insults. So far your fangs fail to impress. Try again. So far you haven’t proven that there is intelligent life at your house much less intelligent microbial life.

     I have already taken control gene H, and you are mutating to another clade, which you will call a taxa when you awake.

    I will never be able to prove you that intelligent life wrote your microbial bullying dictionary, but I am satisfied here in second place along with the competent research scientists I quote and read daily.

  152. Rune 1:

    You’re ignoring that what your preaching is thinly veiled anti-evolutionary anti-Darwin clap trap.

    Rune 2:

    No. You’ re indeed the one who is full of shit if you think microbes are intelligent life. You have no evidence to back this assertion and, no, making up your own definition of intelligence won’t work either.

    Rune 3 & 4:

    Making up your own definitions based on science you don’t understand properly is still making up your own definitions.

    Rune 5:

    You’re the one who keeps bringing up insecurity when you don’t have an valid argument. Your insecurity “does not mean [you are] insecure in the face of [my] definitive assertion that intelligence is the beginning of scientific practices. That is nothing more than insecurity posing as intellect, fearful of new understanding, making unfounded dogmatic assertions.” I am glad you feel secure in your delusions about the nature of science, Dredd. It just proves how complete your break with reality is that you cannot recognize that science is a human activity. Natural processes described by science are not science. They are the objects of study. And who studies these natural processes? Intelligent beings.

    Rune 6:

    You wouldn’t know polemics from science if it bit you on the ass.

    Rune 7:

    Evade all you like. By claiming microbial life practices science you have indeed claimed microbial intelligence. Just because you’re too intellectually cowardly to come out say what you’re advocating is de facto Intelligent Design is your weakness.

    Rune 8:

    Again, you’re the one who keeps coming back to insecurity. I know for a fact you’re full of crap and haven’t made your case. I have no insecurity in stating you have not understood what you have read and conflated it into some kind of fantasy analogous to the “midi-chlorians” mythology of Star Wars where all of existence is determined by our microbial overlords. You are what is known in real proper scientific circles as utterly and completely full of shit. I say that with every confidence.

    Rune 9:

    Talk about tu quoque, Mr. Mechanistic Chemical Compounds Are Literally Machines. You don’t get to abuse a metaphor and then assert metaphor as a defense and get taken seriously. Especially when your metaphor implies microbial intelligence and you just spent a blathering paragraph about how you didn’t inject intelligence into the discussion.

    Rune 10:

    You’ve mistaken me for someone that can be actually insulted by the likes of you. So far the pinnacle of your skill has been to call me “dipshit” and compare to me to bdaman. Don Rickles you’re not.

    Rune 11:

    There is only one Rule of Identity, no matter how much you want to try to make up your own definitions again. If you are too cynical to accept that A=A or simply too stupid or delusional is your failing, no one else’s.

    Rune 12:

    Again, words have meaning and not just the meanings you make up for them. Machines are not a species. You use of the Pathetic fallacy and your composition fallacy stand unrefuted, your metaphysical whining notwithstanding. Just saying “they are too!” isn’t proof or even a cogent rebuttal. You are assigning attributes of living things to non-living things and you are mistaking that just because parts of the universe are sentient and intelligent that all of it is. Microbes don’t practice science or religion because they are not complex enough to understand let alone apply the concepts. Prions aren’t life nor are they machines. They are mechanistic chemical compounds. They don’t practice science or religion either. Hallucinate to the contrary all you like.

    Rune 13:

    I don’t care that you don’t recognize you’re delusional on this topic. Agnosia often runs hand in hand with delusional beliefs. Your assertions about science and religion are prime facie ridiculous and delusional.

    Rune 14:

    And alas the one with the true control issues is revealed by your comment. You fight this so hard because the reality of the situation would require you give up your carefully constructed fantasy.

    Blah blah blah, Dredd. You are getting tedious.

    You’ll never be able to prove to me that microbial life is intelligent because you have no evidence other that your propensity to abuse metaphor and make up definitions to rationalize some bizarre pseudo-religious/pseudo-scientific belief system about non-sentient life, or worse, non-life being able to practice science and/or religion when by definition both of those activities are the sole province of intelligent complex life with humans being the only known current practitioners of either.

  153. Also and again, just because you read and quote something daily, Otto, it doesn’t mean you understand it. I suggest staying away from biology. It’s not your strong suit.

  154. Gene H. 1, April 9, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Rune 1:

    You’re ignoring that what your preaching is thinly veiled anti-evolutionary anti-Darwin clap trap.

    I am not preaching, nor ignoring. I am like all the scientists I quote, anti-Darwinian where he was dead wrong.

    Saying and doing that is accepted in evolutionary science now. Your grandpa’s dictionary just does not cut it anymore in that regard.

    Rune 2:

    No. You’ re indeed the one who is full of shit if you think microbes are intelligent life. You have no evidence to back this assertion and, no, making up your own definition of intelligence won’t work either.

    “if you think microbes are intelligent life”. I have not used “microbes are intellignet life” nor any argument in that regard.

    But there are many living things that are not intelligent, in some definitions of that word. Words that are not in your grandpa’s dictionary.

    For example:

    in·tel·li·gent
     [in-tel-i-juhnt] Show IPA adjective

    1. having good understanding or a high mental capacity; quick to comprehend, as persons or animals: an intelligent student.

    2. displaying or characterized by quickness of understanding, sound thought, or good judgment: an intelligent reply.

    3. having the faculty of reasoning and understanding; possessing intelligence: intelligent beings in outer space.

    4. Computers . pertaining to the ability to do data processing locally; smart: An intelligent terminal can edit input before transmission to a host computer. Compare dumb ( def. 8 ).

     (Online Dictionary, emphasis added).

    I would say, based on my past use of computers, that some microbes are intelligent in that sense.

    But do not get all rogue and mavericky on me, of course I do not think they are as intelligent as you or your mother (who would not have been able to give you birth if it were not for microbes, as I explained up-thread).

    Rune 3 & 4:

    Making up your own definitions based on science you don’t understand properly is still making up your own definitions.

    Send me a copy of your grandpa’s dictionary, and that will solve that problem. hehe

    Rune 5:

    You’re the one who keeps bringing up insecurity when you don’t have an valid argument. Your insecurity “does not mean [you are] insecure in the face of [my] definitive assertion that intelligence is the beginning of scientific practices. That is nothing more than insecurity posing as intellect, fearful of new understanding, making unfounded dogmatic assertions.” I am glad you feel secure in your delusions about the nature of science, Dredd. It just proves how complete your break with reality is that you cannot recognize that science is a human activity. Natural processes described by science are not science. They are the objects of study. And who studies these natural processes? Intelligent beings.

    “Natural is natural”, “processes described is processes described”, “science is science”, ok grandpa’s old dictionary is sure cool. Processes that are scientific are science … like in computer above? (see Rune 2)

    Why don’t you just pencil that into your grandpa’s dictionary, unless of course it is a sacred document.

    Rune 6:

    You wouldn’t know polemics from science if it bit you on the ass.

    That must be a metaphor, unless you are giving your briefs weird names again.

    Rune 7:

    Evade all you like. By claiming microbial life practices science you have indeed claimed microbial intelligence. Just because you’re too intellectually cowardly to come out say what you’re advocating is de facto Intelligent Design is your weakness.

    Computers practice science because they are intelligent terminals (See Rune 2).

    Microbes do a hell of a lot more than that, including but not limited to, helping your momma’s placenta to form what would later be you (see Rune 2).

    Rune 8:

    Again, you’re the one who keeps coming back to insecurity. I know for a fact you’re full of crap and haven’t made your case. I have no insecurity in stating you have not understood what you have read and conflated it into some kind of fantasy analogous to the “midi-chlorians” mythology of Star Wars where all of existence is determined by our microbial overlords. You are what is known in real proper scientific circles as utterly and completely full of shit. I say that with every confidence.

    I really like that last control sentence (“every confidence”). You da confidence man.

    But your argument preceding it is phony. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying you are not in control, just sayin you are not in control of what you should be.

    Rune 9:

    Talk about tu quoque, Mr. Mechanistic Chemical Compounds Are Literally Machines. You don’t get to abuse a metaphor and then assert metaphor as a defense and get taken seriously. Especially when your metaphor implies microbial intelligence and you just spent a blathering paragraph about how you didn’t inject intelligence into the discussion.

    Ok, I will talk about tu quoque: “tu quoque is tu quoque”, “machines are machines”, “metaphor is metaphor”. “computer intelligence is computer intelligence”, “intelligent computer terminals are intelligent computer terminals”, “computers are computers”, “intelligent computers are intelligent computers”.

    Are computers machines? Pencil the answer into grandpa’s dictionary … unless of course it is sacred to you (use a pencil in case you get scared later and need erasure).

    Rune 10:

    You’ve mistaken me for someone that can be actually insulted by the likes of you. So far the pinnacle of your skill has been to call me “dipshit” and compare to me to bdaman. Don Rickles you’re not.

    “Likes is likes”, “not likes is not likes”, “dipshit is dipshit”. This control stuff is fun, I can see why you keep grandpa’s dictionary around too.

    But I can’t agree with your keeping it around … gene H needs to mutate, not stagnate.

    Rune 11:

    There is only one Rule of Identity, no matter how much you want to try to make up your own definitions again. If you are too cynical to accept that A=A or simply too stupid or delusional is your failing, no one else’s.

    “identity is identity”, “rule is rule”, “A is A”, “not A is not A”. I get it … some things never change … if you don’t let them.

    Grandpa said don’t let your gene H mutate, and so you don’t. The “only one rule of identity” clade.

    Rune 12:

    Again, words have meaning and not just the meanings you make up for them. Machines are not a species. You use of the Pathetic fallacy and your composition fallacy stand unrefuted, your metaphysical whining notwithstanding. Just saying “they are too!” isn’t proof or even a cogent rebuttal. You are assigning attributes of living things to non-living things and you are mistaking that just because parts of the universe are sentient and intelligent that all of it is. Microbes don’t practice science or religion because they are not complex enough to understand let alone apply the concepts. Prions aren’t life nor are they machines. They are mechanistic chemical compounds. They don’t practice science or religion either. Hallucinate to the contrary all you like.

    “A species of machine is a species of machine”, “a type of machine is a type of machine”. A computer is a machine, an intelligent terminal is a computer.

    “STOP them!” says grandpa’s dictionary.

    Rune 13:

    I don’t care that you don’t recognize you’re delusional on this topic. Agnosia often runs hand in hand with delusional beliefs. Your assertions about science and religion are prime facie ridiculous and delusional.

    Two of my quotes of scientists up-thread:

    Dr Clarke said: “There are a lot of fundamental questions about the origins of life and many people think they are questions about biology. But for life to have evolved, you have to have a moment when non-living things become living – everything up to that point is chemistry.

    “Our cells, and the cells of all organisms, are composed of molecular machines. These machines are built of component parts, each of which contributes a partial function or structural element to the machine. How such sophisticated, multi-component machines could evolve has been somewhat mysterious, and highly controversial.” Professor Lithgow said.

    Your grandpa’s dictionary says that these scientists, and anyone who quotes them, must be delusional. Your grandpa’s dictionary is controlling of course.

    Rune 14:

    And alas the one with the true control issues is revealed by your comment. You fight this so hard because the reality of the situation would require you give up your carefully constructed fantasy.

    I wish it was my “carefully constructed fantasy”, but alas the Phd scientist dudes did it. I fraud you not.

    Runing on empty:

    Blah blah blah, Dredd. You are getting tedious.

    You’ll never be able to prove to me that microbial life is intelligent because you have no evidence other that your propensity to abuse metaphor and make up definitions to rationalize some bizarre pseudo-religious/pseudo-scientific belief system about non-sentient life, or worse, non-life being able to practice science and/or religion when by definition both of those activities are the sole province of intelligent complex life with humans being the only known current practitioners of either.

    A gene H mutated against his grandpa’s dictionary’s will is a gene H still.

    Cool, but not all genes are so inactive.

  155. “There is only one Rule of Identity, no matter how much you want to try to make up your own definitions again. If you are too cynical to accept that A=A or simply too stupid or delusional is your failing, no one else’s.”

    And everyone gives me shit for that, and I dont think I ever used it in a sentence.

    But I will drink to the law of identity.

    ” The nature of an action is caused and determined by the nature of the entities that act; a thing cannot act in contradiction to its nature.”

    “A thing is—what it is; its characteristics constitute its identity. An existent apart from its characteristics, would be an existent apart from its identity, which means: a nothing, a non-existent.”

  156. A comment I made on a blog dealing with ideological evolutionary battles:

    The old adage, or whatever it is besides old, is “pick your battles.”

    The import of that adage is that there is only so much energy to be used in battles, and it is all needed to do science anyway.

    Some of the largest battles have been among Darwinist and non-Darwinist evolutionary scientists.

    There were some very low points in those battles, and I fear that a battle between dogmatic scientists and dogmatic religionists will reach new lows.

    So will evolutionary science, which is at the edge of some very great discoveries at this time.

    Don’t waste energy.

    (A response to Jerry Coyne).

  157. Your grandpa’s dictionary? Well that sure explains a lot. Now that you’ve made up new meanings for all words, why don’t you just take a swing at making your own grammar while you’re at it. I don’t have grandpa’s dictionary, but let’s see what Webster’s and the OED has to say about what is science and religion.

    science \ˈsī-ən(t)s\, n.,

    1: the state of knowing : knowledge as distinguished from ignorance or misunderstanding
    2a : a department of systematized knowledge as an object of study b : something (as a sport or technique) that may be studied or learned like systematized knowledge
    3a : knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method b : such knowledge or such a system of knowledge concerned with the physical world and its phenomena : natural science
    4: a system or method reconciling practical ends with scientific laws (Webster’s)

    science /ˈsīəns/, n.,

    the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment: the world of science and technology
    a particular area of this: veterinary science the agricultural sciences
    a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject: the science of criminology
    archaic knowledge of any kind. (OED)

    religion \ri-ˈli-jən\, n.,

    1a : the state of a religious b (1) : the service and worship of God or the supernatural (2) : commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance
    2: a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices
    3archaic : scrupulous conformity : conscientiousness
    4: a cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith (Webster’s)

    religion /riˈlijən/, n.,

    the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods: ideas about the relationship between science and religion
    a particular system of faith and worship: the world’s great religions
    a pursuit or interest to which someone ascribes supreme importance: consumerism is the new religion (OED)

    By definition, religion and science and their practice both require the use of formalized systems, ability to apply and understand abstract thought and reason, (specifically in the case of science) the ability to systematically observe the world and conduct experiments, and (specifically in the case of religion) the ability to hold beliefs. Bacteria do not build systems of knowledge or know anything – they are not intelligent, they don’t think in abstractions, they lack the ability to learn or understand (and no, instinctual response is not understanding) or to deal with new or trying situations, they lack both memory reason and the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria nor do they have emotions or beliefs.

    Bacteria are instinctual.

    Algae utilizing a feature of quantum mechanics in their photosynthetic processes doesn’t mean that algae understands quantum chromodynamics or practice science. They didn’t formulate the Uncertainty Principle nor do they possess the abstract thought required to understand it.

    Yeah, you’re ignoring alright. That much is evident, Dredd. And ignoring is the root of all ignorance.

    The fact that you think computers as they exist today are intelligent in any way betrays your ignorance. An expert system is not intelligent. It’s the imitation of intelligence. Watson is no more actually intelligent than a rock is alive. Your “work on computers” has prepared you to be delusional about the nature of biology and intelligence. Computers don’t practice science either. Computer as they exist today are still nothing more than really fancy calculators. A non-living machine. Or as Dr. Chorost puts it:

    “It doesn’t matter how impressive they look on the outside. It doesn’t matter if they can beat a world chess champion or Jeopardy player. Once you open them up and look at the code, you can see that they are just machines following preset rules.

    The clearest evidence of this is that Watson, for all its Jeopardy prowess, couldn’t play Wheel of Fortune. Even more to the point, it couldn’t want to play Wheel of Fortune.”

    Machines aren’t alive. Machines aren’t intelligent. Machine intelligence might happen some day, but not today. You might wish computers were so you could have an android girlfriend, but they aren’t. Your wishful thinking shows that you are far more comfortable with machines than living things. You should see a professional about that. In the mean time, you keep on abusing the language and making up definitions to suit your fantasy. However, your fantasy and, as I said, you have grown tedious.

    Your case is non-existent; built on conflations and blatant misunderstandings and designed to give you some sense of orderly comfort in a naturally disorderly world.

    Delusional is delusional.

    Enjoy your delusion.

  158. Bron,

    No one ever said the Rule of Identity wasn’t real. Only that your Godess misused it. It is, after all, a tool. It is ethically neutral in itself, but perfectly capable of abuse as is any tool.

  159. Bron,

    If you don’t recognize that Objectivism is an exercise in outcome determinism and poor rationalization by now, I’m not sure how I can help. Rand took a valid (and scientific) principle, combined it with totally erroneous biology, psychology and sociology and used the whole lot to justify/rationalize her own greed and selfishness (which have nothing to do with valid measurable scientific biology, psychology and sociology – one data point is not a trend). Her own greed and selfishness that are a direct result of 1) her proclivity (she was demonstrably a a diagnosable socipath by both DSM and WHO criteria) and 2) her deprived environment – both materially and ethically – growing up (which excerbated her proclivity). Science points to the fact that evolution is driven by competition and cooperation and that both are (probably equally) important mechanisms in determining the survival of a gene line. Her theories are pure competition. All black and white and no gray. The reality is gray. She was operating from flawed and incomplete premises to reach a conclusion she wanted because she determined that selfishness and greed were good to start with simply because she was already greedy and selfish. A=A works if you properly understand A to begin with. This is why Marcus Aureilius was so forceful in admonishing that importance of asking “of each and every thing what is it in itself.” Rand didn’t do this. Her assertions about human nature are wrong because they are based on her as the sole sample space and she was a broken person psychologically and ethically speaking. Her psuedo-philosophy for that very reason appeals to other broken people or those prone to binary thinking to begin with (which as we are discovering is a physiological difference). Rand was really operating off of A=x but I’m going to say x means what I want it to in order to feel good about myself instead of what the evidence indicates.

  160. Up-thread, I supplied a definition of an intelligent computer terminal from a dictionary that struggled to shed some light on the subject.

    An “intelligent computer terminal” … “knows” how to do many things, including scientific endeavors. Science methodology.

    Those software / hardware thing-a-ma-jigs (computers) can also be “taught”, etc., to do religion if you want to teach them to.

    Robo-pastor. I can assure you that “Turing machines” can be set up such that most folks would not know whether they were talking to a “flesh and blood” entity or a computer.

    I worked on a software project for Motorola once upon a time.

    They hired me as the exclusive developer for software to be the brain of a computer that would monitor, instruct, program (or whatever your old dictionaries would call it) two prime computers. It was a trinity of hardware and software fused into one 24/7 entity.

    One of those two prime computers communicated directly with satellites, the other prime was a backup to prime one, but was kept live and a mirror of the first, so it could take over without a hiccup should the need arise for any reason.

    The computer I programmed monitored both of the other two, but I had no knowledge of the internals of the other two, except via the manual that specified the “language” for communication with the other two.

    Of course the language was the same for both, however, the interaction with the live prime-1 varied in subject matter compared with the backup prime-2.

    These three computers were all placed in “a sandwich” of electronics that was put inside a hardened box, then distributed in various locations around the city’s surrounding freeway system (there were about 20 of the boxes).

    The communications system on-board, for that day and age, was quite up to date. There were 8 very fast asynchronous serial ports and one network port (802.2) for each prime, and one dial-up telephone communication port for the monitor.

    The async ports attached to “probes” into the prime’s internals, so as to monitor their internals.

    The network port shared communication among the computers.

    The dial-up was modem based, so that office communication (human to machine) could be facilitated over telephone lines.

    I could use a modem, as could those using the system afterwards, to contact the non-prime, the monitor, to find out what was going on with the prime computers, program them, upload new software to them, etc.

    Of course the operating system of the computer I programmed to monitor and control the primes was a multi-threaded multitasking operating system of good sophistication.

    There was no word in any dictionary at the time that would define much of any of that operation in any way that would give a real clue of what was going on to others.

    I had to do it all, for security and other reasons, in other words, I was the only software engineer who was the architect and developer (engineer) for the monitoring computer software system (I did not work on the prime computer OS or applications).

    A “smart terminal” or “intelligent terminal” is one way of explaining what the monitor was doing. It was certainly doing what no single individual human could even hope to do.

    Intelligence, knowledge, science, and religion have always been very elastic words that stretch to embrace new things that arise.

    Microbes are orders of magnitude more able than such computer / software configurations, and when they network together, which they certainly do, the capacity grows by orders of magnitude beyond those computer systems.

    In general, the weakness in any computer system is the intelligent, sentient, humans who program them, not the software or hardware (although there are exceptions to that generalization.)

  161. You’ve mistaken me for someone interested in further enabling your fantasy, Dredd. As I said, enjoy your delusions. I sure do. I think they’re hilarious.

  162. Gene H:

    I understand why you dont like her. But she most certainly did try and make sure she knew what the nature of a thing was and what aspects of a thing were part of its nature and what were results from that nature.

    You can talk about binary thinking all you like but most of life is black and white. The shades of grey come in when people try to nuance something in opposition to the principles. Are there mitigating circumstances? I would say yes but that isnt the same thing. If you kill someone they are dead, black or white, zero or one. Figuring out the motivation is then left to a court of law.

    The mitigating circumstance is still a zero or a one, self defense or not self defense, not self defense then manslaughter, and so forth until a just sentence is found based on the facts of the case.

    Value judgements are based on an individuals morality. By saying there is grey means you can ignore having to make a value judgement. In my mind grey is the lack of morality; “it could be this but it could also be that, who knows what is right or wrong”.

  163. Bron,

    “You can talk about binary thinking all you like but most of life is black and white. The shades of grey come in when people try to nuance something in opposition to the principles.”

    No. Grey comes in because the nature of reality is analog, not digital. Very few principles are absolute and the ones that are are all scientific principles. Social principles like the definition of good and evil are based in socially defined values and they are relative. You simply think most of life is black and white because you’re incapable of dealing with the reality that it isn’t. Black and thinking is a a form of absolutism combined with denial. You don’t deal well with complexity or with conflict – your primary response to conflict is aggression. It’s not your fault. It’s like color blindness. Just because you can’t see the color red doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. The same goes for the grey in discussing ethics . . . and justice for that matter.

    You also display a remarkable lack of understanding of how mitigation works at law. It’s not a binary decision at all. Not all mitigation is equal. Not all circumstances are equal. If it was and if mitigation was a binary choice, there would be no need for argument beyond presentation of evidence. Pure black is as rare as pure white. They exist, surely, but they are the extreme ends of a bell curve. You pay lip service to mitigating circumstance, but it is apparent you don’t really understand them. If ethics were all absolutes, there would be no mitigation.

    “Value judgements are based on an individuals morality. By saying there is grey means you can ignore having to make a value judgement. In my mind grey is the lack of morality; ‘it could be this but it could also be that, who knows what is right or wrong’.”

    Your mind is wrong. Grey isn’t the lack of morality. It’s the recognition that morality or ethics is relative to a situation and therefor more complex than absolutes allow for. “[I]t could be this but it could also be that, who knows what is right or wrong” is an oversimplification and a retreat to epistomological nonsense. It answers nothing, but offers the ethical equivalent of throwing up your hands. Just because something is not plainly good or evil does not mean you cannot figure out where along the spectrum that thing lies. “It could be this but it could be that so we have to take the facts and figure out if this action is right or wrong in relation to the circumstances” is a far more complex question to answer, but a question that stands to yeild a far more just outcome than black and white thinking. Your way of thinking is lazy. Recent studies show that low-effort thought promotes political conservatism. Combined with a brain not well equipped to deal with complexity or confronation and you get a recipe for retreating to absolutism.

    Like someone with color blindness, you are sensory and sense processing impaired. Unlike someone with color blindness, you haven’t learned to live with or compensate for your limitation. My father is actually quite a bit like you, Bron. He’s short on empathy and his proclivity is to be an ethical absolutist. The real difference is that he knows he’s (as he calls it) “empathy impaired” and he tries to work around it. You, on the other hand, think it’s the rest of the world that is out of whack so you want to force it into your absolute boxes when absolutes are the exception not the norm.. The rest of the world is analog in which data is represented by continuously variable physical quantities and qualities. It’s not 1 or 0, but somewhere in between. To insist that it conform to your socially defined little boxes perfectly is also a recipe for disappointment. Whether you can overcome this disadvantage is part choice and part physiologically delimited ability. You constantly put forth ideas and get (insert reaction here) whenever someone finds fault with it or criticizes your lack of empathy and/or humanity, yet you keep on keepin’ on, when instead you should be questioning your underlying operational principles in the light of constant and consistent opposition. But you can’t do that. Change is a threat and brings conflict and you don’t handle threats or conflict well.

    It’s okay though. We, the non-disabled in this regard, understand. There is an upside though. All men are created equal, but not all men are equally created. While such thinking is a disability in something like law or sociology, it probably serves you well in engineering.

  164. Gene H:

    “It could be this but it could be that so we have to take the facts and figure out if this action is right or wrong in relation to the circumstances”.

    Something like this statement is what you are saying?

    “There are, of course, complex issues in which both sides are right in some respects and wrong in others — and it is here that the “package deal” of pronouncing both sides “gray” is least permissible. It is in such issues that the most rigorous precision of moral judgment is required to identify and evaluate the various aspects involved — which can be done only by unscrambling the mixed elements of “black” and “white.””

    You are just so precious when you agree with Ayn Rand. I have been reading what you have been saying lately and when I just keep quiet and dont argue with you, it is amazing how closely your thinking resembles Rand’s. The only difference is that you arent a total capitalist and think the government can do more than it should. The other stuff you are pretty close.

    Your denunciation of Dredd is almost pure Randian in nature. I would not have been so hard on Dredd, he is entitled to his opinion wrong or right. Dredd is not going to overturn the concept of Darwinian evolution on this blog with his ideas of intelligent “machines”.

    You really should read Rand, you and she have a lot more in common than you might think.

  165. Gene H:

    one more thing, when it comes to individual rights I am pretty closely aligned to your way of thinking. Are you a binary thinker too?

    I do admire your intelligence, yes I do. That is sincere and not mockery.

    As far as your dad goes, he raised you didnt he? So how bad can he be?

    No matter how hard we try to shake, there is always some of our parents dust under our shoes.

  166. Bron,

    You seem to think I haven’t read Rand, but unfortunately I have. That’s where the criticisms of both her premises and her conclusions come from. You also mistake the nature of the above criticism. The primary criticism of Rand is her faulty premises that lead to faulty conclusions. Rand herself wasn’t a binary thinker, but she was an absolutist. Her absolutism is in part rooted in her outcome determinism which was in turn rooted in her mental illness and the conditions under which she grew up. Her work appeals to binary thinkers because her ultimate conclusions are absolutist. Binary thinking and absolutism are two different things. You are a binary thinker. That is how you think. What you think is in absolutes. Her conclusions – no matter that she recognizes the reality of complexity – are absolutist. This is why her work appeals to you. It grants certainty and in absolute terms. It’s the same reason most religions (but not all) appeal to people.

    I know you understand Newtonian physics. If you understood quantum mechanics better, you’d know that absolute certainty is an illusion. Everything (and I do mean everything) exists in matrix of probablilites.

    Also, my attack on Dredd wasn’t Randian at all and any similarity was because of the derivative nature of parts of her work. My attack on Dredd was Aristotlian.

    “The only difference is that you arent a total capitalist and think the government can do more than it should.” Not correct. I think the government can do more than it does, should by the terms of the Constitution, and doesn’t because it has been coopted by oligarchs/plutocrats instead of looking out for the best interests of all citizens. And of course I’m not a “total capitalist”. I’m not an absolutist. I’m a utilitarian pragmatist. You use different tools for different jobs because not all jobs or tools are created equal.

    “As far as your dad goes, he raised you didnt he? So how bad can he be?”

    Actually, no, he didn’t. I was raised by my mother and grandparents. When I was a child, my dad was largely absent.

  167. Oh, I am sorry. My father died when I was young so I sort of understand. I imagine having an absent father was harder than having a dead one.

  168. “I’m a utilitarian pragmatist. You use different tools for different jobs because not all jobs or tools are created equal.”

    I am not sure how that makes you a utilitarian pragmatist? If you need to drive a nail you can use a hammer, a rock, a piece of steel, a nail gun, any hard object which you can grasp. The most effective is a nail gun under certain conditions, then a hammer. But a rock will do in a pinch.

    From what I can gather about Utilitarian Pragmatism, the rock is what you would use to drive the nail. It works and is available to the largest number of people. A Rational Capitalist would use a nail gun or a hammer.

    Thus the house would get built and the greater good would be served even though your focus is not on the greater good but maximizing your profit in the construction of the house.

    I have a friend, a great man, who is a builder and is retired and now builds homes to sell for charity, he takes the profits from the homes he builds. The more money he makes, the more he can give to charity. The market will only bear so much so if he wants to make more money he has to improve his construction methods. He cant be a Utilitarian Pragmatist even though he is donating all of the profits to charity, he has to be focused on continuous improvement and pinch every penny he can from the process. Which means doing the work faster which reduces the wages earned by labor. Not very utilitarian.

    I know one thing, I wouldnt admit I was a Utilitarian Pragmatist. That is like saying “I dont know shit from shinola and want everyone else to be in the same boat.”

    “To give you an example: if a building were threatened with collapse and you declared that the crumbling foundation has to be rebuilt, a pragmatist would answer that your solution is too abstract, extreme, unprovable, and that immediate priority must be given to the need of putting ornaments on the balcony railings, because it would make the tenants feel better.

    There was a time when a man would not utter arguments of this sort, for fear of being rightly considered a fool. Today, Pragmatism has not merely given him permission to do it and liberated him from the necessity of thought, but has elevated his mental default into an intellectual virtue, has given him the right to dismiss thinkers (or construction engineers) as naive, and has endowed him with that typically modern quality: the arrogance of the concrete-bound, who takes pride in not seeing the forest fire, or the forest, or the trees, while he is studying one inch of bark on a rotted tree stump.”

    Are you sure you are a “Utilitarian Pragmatist”?

  169. Additions to grandpa’s dictionary:

    “Many cellular processes are carried out by molecular ‘machines’ — assemblies of multiple differentiated proteins that physically interact to execute biological functions … Our experiments show that increased complexity in an essential molecular machine evolved because of simple, high-probability evolutionary processes, without the apparent evolution of novel functions. They point to a plausible mechanism for the evolution of complexity in other multi-paralogue protein complexes.” (Evolution of increased complexity in a molecular machine, Nature, 2012).

    “The most complex molecular machines are found within cells.” (Molecular Machine).

  170. The Toxins of Power blog has a series focusing more closely on parts of molecular machines:

    Writing in the journal PLoS Pathogens, the team from Queen Mary’s School of Biological and Chemical Sciences show how they studied the molecular machine known as the ‘type II bacterial secretion system’, which is responsible for delivering potent toxins from bacteria such as enterotoxigenic E. coli and Vibrio cholerae into an infected individual.

    Professor Richard Pickersgill, who led the research, said: “Bacterial secretion systems deliver disease causing toxins into host tissue. If we can understand how these machines work, then we can work out how it they might be stopped.”

    (Do Molecular Machines Deliver Toxins of Power?).

  171. Bron,

    You’ve already demonstrated copiously elsewhere you don’t know what I mean when I say utilitarian pragmatist. Firstly, in specific, I’m a weak rule utilitarian. Strong rule utilitarianism is an absolutist system and suffers from the same crippling defects any absolutist system does. “From what I can gather about Utilitarian Pragmatism, the rock is what you would use to drive the nail. It works and is available to the largest number of people.” The number of people has less to do with weak rule utilitarian pragmatism than you think. WRUP (it’s easier to type) is less value system than a problem solving methodology. Weak rule utilitarianism states that rules should be framed and formulated on previous examples that benefit society, although allows that it is possible under specific circumstances to do what produces the greatest happiness and/or promotes the greater good by breaking the rule (which, by the way, is much how jurisprudence works in practice). In that sense, greater value to all does concern others as a judgement, but it’s not always a value judgement – often it is quantifiable. Especially when you apply pragmatist tradition of evaluating truth in the light of logic, experimentation, and skeptical rational inquiry (much like the scientific method). For example, not that you’ve ever noticed, but my argument for universal health care insurance is not just nested on egalitariansim or humanism, rather it has at its core a pragmatic and logical business case for adopting such a system based upon systemic efficiencies gained through maximizing the size of the risk pool, eliminating paperwork and the associated costs, etc. To the contrary, “[y]ou use different tools for different jobs because not all jobs or tools are created equal” is the very essence of utilitarian pragmatism. Factoring others into the equation comes from also being an egalitarian and a humanist, more so than the utilitarian pragmatism. Just as I am not an absolutist, philosophically I am more than one thing. Philosophy is, after all, just another tool. Different tools for different jobs.

  172. Gene H. 1, April 10, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    ….

    You’ve already demonstrated copiously elsewhere you don’t know what I mean when I say utilitarian pragmatist
    =================================
    The thingy “utilitarian pragmatist” is someone who thinks “sandwich” means the food from grandpa’s dictionary kitchen, McTell News, made by the god of all machines, Black & Decker.

    Your are so clade baby, do McTell.

  173. Maybe I think a sandwich is food because a sandwich is food, Dredd.

    sandwich \ˈsan(d)-ˌwich, ˈsam-; dialect ˈsaŋ-\, n.,

    1a : two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between b : one slice of bread covered with food

    It’s not my fault you have to make up defintions to words to complete your fantasy, have problems integrating the Law of Identity or that you like to dryhump the Pathetic and composition fallacies to rationalize your pet theory you use to give you a sense of order in a world where order is the exception. What’s really impressive about your whole speil on this issue is that you don’t even realize that last bit is what you are doing: conflating improperly understood science into a substitute for religion. One of the very foibles of humanity you were so recently bitching about.

    Really, do please keep prattling on. I think it’s hysterically funny. The more you do it, the funnier it gets.

  174. Dredd:

    the world does have order to it or we would not be able to figure it out. Science depends on order for its existence, if there was no order it would be impossible to come to any conclusions. Everything would be up in the air, we couldnt write a simple equation like F = ma. The acceleration of gravity would be constantly changing and would render the product useless even though the equation itself would still be valid. But we wouldnt necessarily know the equation is valid. It would literally be chaos if there wasnt order.

    Sure there are uncertainties but those usually are made clear with additional knowledge.

  175. “It would literally be chaos if there wasnt order.”

    Unless what was percieved as order was actually matrices of probablilty. Predicitable with a high degree of certainly is not the same as order, Bron. It appears to be order. The nature of the universe is to fall into disarry. That’s what entropy is: the reduction of order within systems. To quote Homer SImpson speaking to Lisa upon her building a perpetual motion machine, “We obey the Laws of Thermodynamics is this house, young lady!”

  176. “Sure there are uncertainties but those usually are might be made clear with additional knowledge information.”

    Now your statement comports with the statistical mechanics definition of entropy.

  177. Gene H:

    knowledge and information are not quite the same. For example I get information that my daughter is at the store but I do not have knowledge until I know for certain. There are no uncertainties just incomplete knowledge. Statistics is nothing but a tool to try and gain knowledge about uncertainties. To bring order to the perceived chaos. To find the equation which describes the process. And yes I understand the uncertainty within that statement.

  178. Bron,

    “knowledge and information are not quite the same.” Hence noting the difference, however, there are actual uncertainties. Probablity is a slidling scale of certainty, but completely uncertain is a possibility. Compare: you think your daughter is at the store – that is information. Your certainty varies by degrees depending upon supplemental information you have, but unless you are actually in the store observing her (thus collapsing the wave function) your certainty is never reasonably 100%. What if your supplemental information is a call from her? Does that have the same value of certainty as a call from a third person reporting her? Does her call have the same value if you know she also has a boyfriend you don’t approve of? Knoweldge is information with a high certainty value attached to it, but uncertainy is built into the universe at the quantum level. It cannot be erased or moved to zero. The operation of virtual particles in quantum field theory guarantees that. The phenomena of Hawking radiation along a Schwarzchild radius or the Casimir effect both illustrate virtual particle pairing in action. Uncertainty and entropy are fundamental to the nature of things. Percieved order and certainty are the exceptions. This is not a bad thing. In fact, it indicates a beautiful symmetry in the universe at it exists today. It’s also what makes the success of civilization so important; it’s the collective struggle to provide order and a framework of certainty in a chaotic and uncertain world. But what goes up, must come down.

    The heat death of the universe is an event with a high degree of certainty attached to it. Everything is transitory. However, just because a fight is futile doesn’t mean it isn’t worth fighting. Hemingway once wrote, “The world is a fine place, and worth fighting for.” He may have personally given up the fight, but that doesn’t mean the old drunk wasn’t right in that regard.

  179. Dredd,

    It was certainly more cinematic when George explained it, but it was still science fiction. Maybe metaphysics on a good day. But it still wasn’t science. Nor was it particularly good science fiction.

  180. On “farming” by gorillas and other little people:

    So why, then, if we were looking for the most rudimentary essences of the evolution of religion, would we look for a pope, bishop, or a church in the fossil record, or in any other records, for fully a developed religion?

    It would seem more sensible to look for behaviors that could become full blown religious behavior (following billions or millions of years of evolutionary change, prior to full blown human religion ever developing).

    One scientists fully grasps this concept, articulating it quite clearly:

    “I would never have imagined that things as simple as slime molds could do a primitive version of farming.”

    (The Scientist). That scientist used the proper term, “a primitive version” of a practice that is not the same now as it was then (billions of years ago).

    Likewise, the teachings of evolution would instruct us that the religion of ancestors, who lived billions of years ago, would not resemble human religion, or be a human religion, so why look for a human religion as defined in the dictionary today?

    (Did “” Evolve in Microbes?). The Culture Ministry of France may not approve of this use of “farming” or “religion”. Stuff shirts.

  181. Dredd:

    farming is a human concept. Ants “grow” fungus for food. Doesnt mean they can create a combine, genetically engineer wheat and create the techniques of crop rotation and irrigation.

  182. Bron 1, April 12, 2012 at 9:50 am

    Dredd:

    farming is a human concept. Ants “grow” fungus for food. Doesnt mean they can create a combine, genetically engineer wheat and create the techniques of crop rotation and irrigation.
    ================================================
    Tell it to “Jacobus Boomsma, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Copenhagen who studies insect farming societies“.

    It was a quote from him.

    While at it you may want to read up on word recognition by Baboon’s who have a better go of it than one would think:

    This raises interesting questions about how the complex primate mind works without language or what we think of as language, Hopkins said. While we use language to solve problems in our heads, such as deciphering words, it seems that baboons use a “remarkably sophisticated” method to attack problems without language, he said.

    (Huffpo). They belong to the reading clade, because fossils have been found of them surrounded by old dictionaries, and we know only those who understand “words” have dictionaries, as shown in the old fossil record.

  183. Gene H. 1, April 12, 2012 at 9:33 am

    Oooo. Equivocation. It looks good on you, Dredd.
    =======================================
    I leave equivocation to you. Your rejection of scientists, by attacking those who quote them, is timid equivocation, but equivocation non-the-less:

    The oldest forms of organic life are microbes (see The Human Microbiome Congress), which have been on Earth for billions of years.

    Let’s take a look there:

    In the excellent book, “The Social Amoebae,” John Tyler Bonner, an emeritus professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, describes many social abilities of amoebas including communication, group activity, and individual and group decision making. Do these raise the question of cognition in amoeba?

    Some of their behavior is quite extraordinary. When food is scarce, individual cells join together and form a structure that functions as if it was a multicellular animal.  This slug-like creature, made of individual cells working together as one, crawls to a place with more food. There, the cells break apart, and form a new structure composed of a stalk and a fruiting body, with the appearance of a plant. The cells in the fruiting body live on by separating from the stalk and flying in the air, like a seed or spore, or attaching itself to a moving animal, to transport itself to a new place to start the colony over in a new location with the possibility of more food. The cells forming the stalk altruistically sacrificed themselves, by becoming a dying part of the structure. These amoebas, which had been living individually, came together to function as a multicellular creature to increase their access to food, then reverted back to behaving as individual organisms. The communication necessary for such actions is extraordinary.

    (Social Microbes, emphasis in original). We are only looking for the “seeds” of religion, not the full grown, ripe, and developed fruits of theology.

    So, since microbes exhibit altruism and community behavior for the good of all, are those “indicators, memes, or the inkling of religious behavior?”:

    Altruism /ˈæltruːɪzəm/ is a concern for the welfare of others. It is a traditional virtue in many cultures, and a core aspect of various religious traditions, though the concept of ‘others’ toward whom concern should be directed can vary among cultures and religions. Altruism is the opposite of selfishness.

    (Wikipedia, emphasis added).

    (Did Religion Evolve In Microbes?). If I were looking for the inklings of arrogant denial, I would look in clades that contain the H gene, a backward strain that resists honest progress.

  184. Gene H. 1, April 12, 2012 at 1:29 am

    Nor was it particularly good science fiction.
    ===================================
    He does movie reviews too!

    But calls one of the greatest box office hits of all time not good enough.

    Not surprising.

  185. Ants aren’t higher order primates and baboons still don’t have farming, science or religion. False equivalence. BZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ!

    See if you can work the Jedi Council or Jar Jar Binks into your next post instead of appealing repeatedly to your blog as if that was evidence of anything more substantive than what you’ve already offered here.

    You haven’t made your case here or there. You have not made it anywhere. Bacteria have no religion or science. No matter that is your preference. You have not made it with a goat. You have not made it with a symbiote. You have not made your case, McFly. No matter how hard you’ve tried. Metaphyiscs is not science no matter how you maul the parlance.

    Somebody stop me before I Suess again.

  186. Dredd,

    You must really quit using the false equivalences. Box office receipts only means it’s a popular film series. It doesn’t mean it’s good science fiction let alone good art.

  187. Dredd:

    OK, I think I get what you are saying now. For example the altruism in microbe communities, you are saying the gene for survival also instills a religious potential in humans. So religion started many millions of years ago in those communities of single celled organisms. Man then created religion to fill a need that was biologically installed during the very early stages of human evolution.

    So man didnt “create” “religion” he just created a system to express a biological manifestation.

    That is a rather interesting theory.

  188. Gene H. 1, April 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Dredd,

    You must really quit using the false equivalences. Box office receipts only means it’s a popular film series. It doesn’t mean it’s good science fiction let alone good art.
    =======================================
    It doesn’t mean it is bad science fiction let alone bad art either.

    Holy equivalence Batman? My equivalence is better than your equivalence? Mine is the true religion equivalence?

    Scientific jerkoffs who don’t get the principles, but do want the glamor are turning people off:

    Polls show that disturbingly large numbers of people refuse to believe in evolution. Only 40 per cent of Americans trust the scientific consensus that today’s organisms evolved from previous forms by natural selection. Britain fares slightly better, with 50 per cent signing on. Those figures might be bigger if biologists were better at explaining why nature is so beautiful, and at showing that science can enhance our sense of wonder rather than diminish it.

    (Statesman, Survival of the Prettiest). The arrogance of western establishment scientists knows no bounds.

    They are doing great damage with ignorant, stubborn desperation to maintain the status quo, even when it is quite wrong on lots of fronts, and has been for quite a while.

  189. Bron 1, April 12, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    Dredd:

    OK, I think I get what you are saying now. For example the altruism in microbe communities, you are saying the gene for survival also instills a religious potential in humans. So religion started many millions of years ago in those communities of single celled organisms. Man then created religion to fill a need that was biologically installed during the very early stages of human evolution.

    So man didnt “create” “religion” he just created a system to express a biological manifestation.

    That is a rather interesting theory.
    ==================================
    Any credit belongs to the scientists I quoted.

  190. Popular does not mean good, but you go ahead and try to make that argument if you like, Dredd. I’m sure it’ll be as good facile and full of wishful thinking as your bacteria practice science and religion argument.

  191. Science brats may be evolving out of the system:

    “Now is the time to rethink how we teach science,” said Schmidt, University Distinguished Professor of statistics and education. “What we are proposing through 8+1 Science is a new way of thinking about and teaching science, not a new set of science standards. It supports basic concepts included in most sets of state standards currently in use and compliments standards-based education reform efforts.”

    The renowned group of scientists has met with Schmidt in an effort to rethink how science should be taught since 2006, when it was originally part of the PROM/SE research project (Promoting Rigorous Outcomes in Mathematics and Science Education) funded by the National Science Foundation.

    The 8+1 concepts were derived from two basic questions: What are things made of and how do systems interact and change? The eight concepts are: atoms, cells, radiation, systems change, forces, energy, conservation of mass and energy, and variation.

    (US Students Need New Way of Learning Science, emphasis added). Hope we can experiment with.

    Stop memorizing and start thinking.

  192. The Keystone Kops would look for the beginning of religion a bit differently than competent scientists would:

    If we were looking for ancient ancestors of humans, would we look for something that looks exactly like humans do now, perhaps a fossil with a suit and tie on?

    If we looked for the first evolutionary beginnings of war, would we look for fossilized nuclear weapon carrying fighter jets?

    No, we would look for something not yet developed to the same extent as current species, something much more primitive, because the dynamic involved is supposed to be change via evolution, that is, being one thing then, but being another thing now.

    So why, then, if we were looking for the most rudimentary essences of the evolution of religion, would we look for a pope, bishop, minister, or a church in the “fossil” record, or in any other records (why look for a fully developed human religion)?

    It would seem more sensible to look for behaviors that could become full blown religious behavior (following billions or millions of years of evolutionary change, prior to full blown human religion ever developing) …

    (Did Religion Evolve In Microbes?). Which is why the Keystone Kops never “get their man.”

  193. Each gorilla to her own beliefs and facts:

    … But many philosophers in the second half of the 20th century really seemed to think that they were laying the foundations for science by laying down the conceptual (necessary) truths. I asked one: show me one example where 20th century conceptual analysis laid a foundational plank for any empirical science — any empirical science. No answer.

    If I want to know where values come from, I will go to evolutionary biology

    Theorizing is of course essential to make progress in understanding, but theorizing in the absence of knowing available relevant facts is not very productive.

    My current interest is in moral values, and to address where values come from … many sciences are relevant; evolutionary biology

    (Casual-Machines, 3 AM). Altruism in microbes is a value study of evolutionary biology:

    Altruism is a well understood topic in evolutionary biology; the theoretical ideas explained above have been extensively analysed, empirically confirmed, and are widely accepted. Nonetheless, there are a number of conceptual ambiguities surrounding altruism and related concepts in the literature; some of these are purely semantic, others are more substantive …

    (Biological Altruism, Stanford). If only these scientists knew H gene formal logic they would stop wasting their time trying to find the origin of values using evolutionary biology, because the H gene formal logic, fused and combined with grandpa’s dictionary, says so.

  194. Again, the fallacy of simple cause.

    Thinking evolutionary biology is solely responsible for values is a gross oversimplification. But then again, from simple minds come simple thoughts like trying to inject mysticism into science and making prime facie ridiculous assertions like microbes practice religion and science. You could sell your midi-chlorian fantasy to George, but I’m sure that he’s already got it copyrighted too.

  195. The expert whose genetic makeup renders him a “successful psychopath” and a sociopath, is a good example of the folly of eugenics type thinking:

    Epigenetics is just one of many disciplines supercharged by the Human Genome Project. Another is proteomics, which focuses on the structure and function of proteins within an organism. It shows us more clearly how our genes and proteins coexist and interact with the genes and proteins of the trillions of microbes each of us hosts. Indeed, our bodies contain ten times more microbial cells than human cells. Human microbiomics studies the approximately three million microbial genes in the human body, a genetic load so massive it is almost nonsensical to talk about “our” bodies at all. The food we eat, the drugs we consume, our emotional and social environments, or whether we get vaccinated (“vaccinomics,” of course) — all these factors affect how our genes are expressed. Each action sets in motion a Rubik’s cube of metabolic variables we have only begun to comprehend.

    As medical science struggles to apply these new discoveries to society’s benefit, human genome research, now unstoppable, continues to evolve. Ironically, though, this initiative to tailor health care to the individual genome — the touchstone of the Human Genome Project and personalized medicine — increasingly reveals that our genes, and we as individuals, do not function in isolation from other life forms and the environments we all inhabit. Whatever secrets genes contain, our book of life and that of a microbe remain written in the same language.

    (One Man’s Junk Gene Is Another Man’s Treasure Gene?). Listen cats, watch out for those junk yard dogs.

  196. Those scientists who do not know what to look for won’t find it, but those who do have already found it:

    Sociobiology has come a long way. We now have a solid base of evolutionary theory supported by a myriad of empirical tests. It is perhaps less appreciated, however, that first discussions of social behaviour and evolution in Darwin’s day drew upon single-celled organisms. Since then, microbes have received short shrift and their full spectrum of sociality has only recently come to light … Like any society, however, microbes face conflict, and most groups will involve instances of both cooperation and competition among their members. And like any society, microbial conflicts are mediated by three key processes: constraints on rebellion, coercion that enforces compliance, and kinship whereby cells direct altruistic aid toward clone-mates … The idea of sociality in the mere microbe can be met with a raised eyebrow and a smirk. Nevertheless, for as long as there has been evolutionary biology, and indeed sociology, microbes have featured in descriptions of social life … The social behaviours of microorganisms include sex … there can be no doubt that microbial communities are shaped by the individual struggles that face all organisms, but there is room for some romanticism too. For with any struggle comes the benefit of alliances, familial or otherwise, that invest in a shared common good. Some microbes will even die for the cause, rupturing to secrete a toxin can be simultaneously altruistic to those that are immune and spiteful to those that are not. In applying terms like altruism to microbes, though, we are met with something of a paradox. As Spencer realized long ago, the individual microorganism seems destined to be both selfish and altruistic because, in its eagerness to divide, it faces the ultimate metaphysical sacrifice: a loss of self.

    (Social behaviour in microorganisms; Social behaviour: genes, ecology and evolution. Editors: T. Szekely, A. J. Moore, J. Komdeur. Cambridge University Press, by Kevin R. Foster, Harvard University). People argue about who made the first automobile:

    “Exactly who invented the automobile is a matter of opinion.”

    (Who invented the automobile?). There is little wonder, then, that something billions of years older will generate opinions too.

    Determining which opinion is “the correct one” by alleging it is the one held by the person with the biggest fangs, is quite devolved.

  197. In my post up-thread, beginning with the statement “Those scientists who do not know what to look for won’t find it”, quotes a noted scientist had the gall to say:

    The social behaviours of microorganisms include sex …

    Sex is the only thing that is more complicated that science or religion, so I must sound the alarm the Brits are coming, the Brits are coming:

    What if Darwin’s theory of evolution – or, at least, Darwin’s theory of evolution as most of us learned it at school and believe we understand it – is, in crucial respects, not entirely accurate?

    Such talk, naturally, is liable to drive evolutionary biologists into a rage, or, in the case of Richard Dawkins, into even more of a rage than usual.

    (Why everything you’ve been told about evolution is wrong). Someone needs to send them a copy of The Holy Dictionary, a.k.a. “U No Whut I mean Verne”, straight away.

  198. “Sex is the only thing that is more complicated that science or religion,”

    Really.

    That’s almost as ridiculous as saying microbe practice science or religion. Sex is a fundamental drive in all non-asexually reproducing organisms. Sex may seem complicated in humans but that’s only because most humans are idiots when it comes to sex due to cultural (usually religious) influences. In the majority of the animal kingdom, it’s no more complicated than breathing or eating. You find an attractive viable mate, you rub against each other, you make offspring. Sex, unlike science and religion, isn’t a human created cultural institution.

    However, if you want to create straw men Dredd, you need to do better than pointing to epigenetics. I’ve already said that evolution is more complicated than simple natural selection and that both environment and symbiosis play a role. Mutation is the driver of evolution no matter what causes the mutations. Evolution is not natural selection. Natural selection is a mechanic of evolution, but I never said it was the only one and unlike you I haven’t tried to “mystify” the role of bacteria and viruses in the process into something mystical and pseudo-religious. If you’re now trying to imply my understanding of evolution is simplistic in defense of your pet idea, you’d be wrong.

    However, that has nothing to do with your fantasies about microbial life having cultural institutions simply because they exhibit primitive behaviors. Your original assertions are still ridiculous on their face.

  199. The snobbery of establishment science has hit the big time:

    Creativity enhances life. It enables the great thinkers, artists, and leaders of our world to continually push forward new concepts, new forms of expression and new ways to improve every facet of our existence. The creative impulse is of particular importance to scientific research. Without it, the same obstacles, ailments, and solutions would occur repeatedly because no one stepped back and reflected to gain a new perspective.

    Unfortunately, in the academic world—where much of today’s scientific innovation takes place—researchers are encouraged to maintain the status quo and not “rock the boat.” This mentality is pervasive, affecting all aspects of scientific research from idea generation to funding to the training of the next generation of scientists.

    (The Scientist). The dogma loving, status quo grasping, insecure types that fear losing grandpa’s dictionary, just can’t muster enough curiosity to go where no scientist has gone before.

    There will never be a cure for grandpa bushie’s dictionary usage that way.

    It ain’t “word” til grandpa’s dictionary says it is word by crackie.

  200. The oldest dictionary is a great conversation piece, but it does not define anything modern science is interested in, especially molecular machines:

    This means of evolving complex molecular machines—duplication followed by specialization—had been proposed previously, but it was difficult to generate this sort of direct, biological test of the model. The ability to resurrect ancient proteins has changed that, and I expect we’ll be hearing more about how evolution has assembled these machines.

    (How did molecular machines evolve?). The great machine age first happened ~14 billion years ago, ~10 billion years before the Earth happened along.

    That is also much earlier than organic microbes (composed of molecular machines) came on the scene.

    Old school Darwinists try to figure everything out by asking how this or that human part evolved, as if that was the origin of what is essential, forgetting to focus on the ~14 billion years that preceded humanity.

    That is like trying to figure a person’s entire life by examining the last two seconds.

    It is obviously not a very successful technique.

  201. Dredd:

    those same academicians extol the benefits and virtues of a controlled economy even though it doesnt work in reality.

    It is all tied together, old ideas never lose their luster to stupid people whether in biology or economics, they cannot afford the energy to think. Dont rock that boat.

  202. Bron 1, May 18, 2012 at 9:44 am

    Dredd:

    those same academicians extol the benefits and virtues of a controlled economy even though it doesnt work in reality.

    It is all tied together, old ideas never lose their luster to stupid people whether in biology or economics, they cannot afford the energy to think. Dont rock that boat.
    ==================================================
    I try to avoid the rocking of the boat by quoting authorities. My research leads me to conclude that I am, at least, on track:

    Quorum sensing is the regulation of gene expression in response to fluctuations in cell-population density. Quorum sensing bacteria produce and release chemical signal molecules called autoinducers that increase in concentration as a function of cell density. The detection of a minimal threshold stimulatory concentration of an autoinducer leads to an alteration in gene expression. Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria use quorum sensing communication circuits to regulate a diverse array of physiological activities. These processes include symbiosis, virulence, competence, conjugation, antibiotic production, motility, sporulation, and biofilm formation. In general, Gram-negative bacteria use acylated homoserine lactones as autoinducers, and Gram-positive bacteria use processed oligo-peptides to communicate. Recent advances in the field indicate that cell-cell communication via autoinducers occurs both within and between bacterial species. Furthermore, there is mounting data suggesting that bacterial autoinducers elicit specific responses from host organisms. Although the nature of the chemical signals, the signal relay mechanisms, and the target genes controlled by bacterial quorum sensing systems differ, in every case the ability to communicate with one another allows bacteria to coordinate the gene expression, and therefore the behavior, of the entire community. Presumably, this process bestows upon bacteria some of the qualities of higher organisms. The evolution of quorum sensing systems in bacteria could, therefore, have been one of the early steps in the development of multicellularity.

    (Microbial Hermeneutics). Those who dispute the authorities should come up with other authorities with differing research conclusions, otherwise their opinion is just that.

    Later Bron.

  203. Scientists are going bonkers if some commenters are to be believed, because they are using the terms machine, machinery, and the like, to describe things going on in living organisms:

    “A unique biochemical machinery (Fig. 1) is present in envelope membranes …” (p. 715)

    “In plastids cpDNA exists as large protein-DNA complexes called nucleoids, which are associated with the translation machinery.” (p. 715).

    “The characterization of putative constituents involved in the envelope-import machinery is presently the most active field in envelope research.” (p. 716)

    “Finally, the evolution of the envelope-import machinery during plastid development remains to be elucidated.” (p. 716)

    “As the only common membrane structure among plastids, envelope membranes contain the machinery for the assembly of plastid-specific glycerolipids, i.e. from the fatty acids, glycerol, and polar head groups (Gal for galactolipids, sulfoquinovose for SL, and glycerol for PG; Fig. 2).” (p. 717)

    “Therefore, enzymes involved in chlorophyll synthesis and degradation are present in the same membrane but at different stages of plastid differentiation, thus demonstrating the transformation of the envelope biochemical machinery during plastid interconversions.” (p. 720)

    “The purpose of this short overview is to present the complexity of the plastid envelope biochemical machinery and its importance in cell metabolism, especially as a major site in plant cells for membrane biogenesis.” (p. 720)

    “The complexity of the envelope biochemical machinery is further demonstrated by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis analyses of envelope proteins (Fig. 5).” (p. 720)

    “Furthermore, of the several cDNAs encoding envelope proteins that may have been obtained (for instance analysis of the envelope import machinery continuously generates such cDNAs), only a few of them correspond to proteins with known functions, and most of them do not have homologs in other organisms.” (p. 720)

    (The Biochemical Machinery of Plastid Envelope Membranes, emphasis added). Somebody better call home and make sure the venerable copy of the Uber Alles Dictionary is intact.

  204. Basic simple machines found in microbial dynamics:

    Lever: A lever is a simple machine. A lever is a board or bar that rests on a turning point. This turning point is called the fulcrum. An object that a lever moves is called the load. The closer the object is to the fulcrum, the easier it is to move. (a hammer can be used as a lever to pull out a nail.)

    Inclined Plane: An inclined plane is a simple machine. It is a flat surface that is higher on one end. You can use this machine to move an object to a lower or higher place. Inclined planes make the work of moving things easier. You would need less energy and force to move objects with an inclined plane.

    Wheel and Axle: The wheel and axle is another simple machine. The axle is a rod that goes through the wheel. This lets the wheel turn. It is easy to move things from place to place with wheels and axles.

    Screw: A screw is a simple machine that is made from another simple machine. It is actually an inclined plane that winds around itself. A screw has ridges and is not smooth like a nail. Some screws are used to lower and raise things. They are also used to hold objects together.

    Wedge: A wedge is a simple machine used to push two objects apart. A wedge is made up of two inclined planes. These planes meet and form a sharp edge. This edge can split things apart.

    Pulley: This simple machine is made up of a wheel and a rope. The rope fits on the groove of the wheel. One part of the rope is attached to the load. When you pull on one side of the pulley, the wheel turns and the load will move. Pulleys let you move loads up, down, or sideways. Pulleys are good for moving objects to hard to reach places. It also makes the work of moving heavy loads a lot easier.

    (Simple Machines). Machines do not have to have moving parts.

    Atoms and complex molecules, and combinations thereof, have complex moving parts (e.g. neutrons, electrons, and protons). They capture photons of many power ranges, from infrared up to ultraviolet and beyond.

    Microbes contain conglomerates that are made into simple machines, them beyond to pumps and motors.

    Some of them can do photosynthesis, which is absorbing a photon by having an electron move to a higher orbit. Kinda like a simple battery. Then the photon in some cases is emitted to cause glowing in the dark. Like in “red tides”.

    Pumps are made from molecules. One thing they do is to take material from inside a microbe then, after using a wedge type simple machine to cause a breach in a target, then pump material into the target, which could be another cell.

  205. Dr. Robert Sapolsky, a world renowned brain scientist, says this about certain microbes he is furiously studying in his laboratory:

    On a certain level, this is a [microbe] that knows more about the neurobiology of anxiety and fear than 25,000 neuroscientists standing on each other’s shoulders…

    (Hypothesis: Microbes Generate Toxins of Power). Wow … “knows”???

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