“Stop Saying That!”: Qantas Flight Attendant Demands Passenger Change T-Shirt With Princess Bride Quote

15744_187310782365_1464670_s180px-Qantas_Airways_Limited_logo.svgWe have been following the increasing crackdown on passengers wearing T-Shirts on airlines deemed offensive or threatening. These cases often raise free speech questions, but also raise serious questions of the increasing irrationality of airline staff and some passengers. The t-shirt of Wynand Mullins is a good example. Mullins wore a t-shirt on a Qantas flight from Sydney with the well-known quote from Princess Bride by character Montoya (played in the film by Mandy Patinkin): “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.” Some passengers became alarmed by the t-shirt, presumably convinced that a terrorist would not only advertise his intent but choose a fictional character from a children’s book to represent his deep homicidal beliefs. Flight staff insisted that he change his shirt. Presumably, there was a passenger with five fingers that felt personally threatened by the quotation.

After he boarded his flight home to Auckland, New Zealand, a flight attendant took on the role of Count Rugen who insisted he did not like the line and told Montoya “Stop saying that!”

In this case, however, the flight attendant told him that the t-shirt was unacceptable for travel. He was only allowed to continue after he established that he did not have a change in shirts. You can see Mullins and his t-shirt at this site. I simply do not get how some passengers are so fearful that a joke t-shirt triggers such alarm. These are the same people presumably favoring greater and greater limitations on passengers and citizens under anti-terror laws. Fear has been wiped up to such a frenzy that passengers believe Al Qaeda is going into suicide missions wearing quotes from Rob Reiner films.

I only wish that when he was asked to change his shirt, Mullins pulled out a shirt quoting the character Vizzini: “you are friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless!”

The alternative lines may not be much an improvement for general acceptance of the passengers:

Westley to Buttercup: “Death cannot stop true love. All it can do is delay it for a while.”

Westley: “DEATH FIRST!”

Westley: “We are men of action, lies do not become us.”

Vizzini: “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha… “

Of course, Montoya was warned that his “over-developed sense of vengeance is going to get you into trouble some day.”


Source: Daily Mail

146 thoughts on ““Stop Saying That!”: Qantas Flight Attendant Demands Passenger Change T-Shirt With Princess Bride Quote

  1. There are some t-shirts out there w/ quotes from the great philosopher, Walter Sobchak, that would probably get you thrown off a plane. “You want a toe? I can get you a toe, believe me.” Or, “This is what happens when you f@ck a stranger in the ass!!”

  2. People are deeply afraid, and it’s profoundly irrational.

    To my mind, an important thing to keep sight of here is that most Americans traumatized on 9-11 were traumatized by the media. This is in virtue of the fact that most Americans don’t live in New York. On 9-11 most people were watching TV in their kitchens, or in classrooms. The media are more dangrous than terrorists.

    It’s a little ironic that residents of New York consider their City the intellectual capitol of the US, yet they are least equipped to rationally discuss the ramifications of 9-11. Most Americans are astronomically more likely to be killed by a drunk driver than a terrorist, but we don’t question our foundational values to protect people from weekends.

    It seems to me that a lot of New Yorkers can be quite provincial urban bumpkins at times. You know the line, “Why would you want to leave Manhattan?” It’s a problem because a lot of bigwigs in the media are New Yorkers.

    Midwesterner Kurt Vonnegut said it better than I ever could: “Unsettling business for an artist, where everything that happens in New York has universality, and everything that happens outside is ethnography.”

  3. As previously mentioned, “Stupid is as stupid does…”, The trouble is that stupid affects us all. Because we fear that someone will come onto our airplane with explosives in his show we all take our shoes off and get radiated so they can see our naked body.

    Here is what you can to do put an end to it, refuse to be scanned. Have them pat you down and do it in public so everyone can see.

    Our government is treating us all like we are potential terrorists. You buy a ticket and make a contract with an airline, a government agent jumps between you and the company you contracted with and tells you that unless you get scanned or patted you can’t proceed. What have we come to?

  4. Well AY, I would encourage you to watch one of the funniest movies of all time, The Big Lebowski. But, to answer your question. Walter Sobchak screamed that question to young, Larry Sellers, a middle school student who was flunking social studies. Walter thought Larry Sellers had stolen the Dude’s car which contained a briefcase of money. So, as Walter screamed he was beating on a new Corvette w/ a tire iron in front of the Sellers house that he ASSUMED was purchased by Sellers w/ the stolen money. It turns out the vette belonged to Seller’s next door neighbor. There are seldom easy answers to a question involving a Coen Bros. movie. But I think I gave a fairly succint answer.

  5. “My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father, prepare to die.” Some passengers became alarmed by ……. ”

    It is quite worrying that on a random flight, there are some people who have killed a man who they suspect might be Inigo Montoya’s father.

    Who else have they killed?

    Killers On A Plane !!

  6. (After looking at the Photo itself)

    If I never had seen the movie & considering how many Nut cases there can be, this guy is a little Creepy. I wouldn’t tell him to change his shirt, but I would definitely keep a personal eye on the Boy.

    Yet, I doubt “Terrorists” would advertise their intentions and Freedom to Express Yourself is just part of being in a Free Society.

    I sometimes wonder if the “Fear of Terrorists on an Airplane” is the accepted excuse for what really ails the Fearful — the embarrassing “Fear of Flying” (or claustrophobia, or acrophobia) itself.

  7. If there is a silver lining to this story, it’s that it’s an Australian airline flying to New Zealand and presumably Australian and New Zealander passengers and air crew. I find some comfort that us Americans, while stupid when it comes to terrorism and fearfulness, are at least not uniquely stupid.

  8. bestest movie ever….

    Indigo Jones
    1, January 25, 2013 at 9:46 am
    People are deeply afraid, and it’s profoundly irrational.
    —————————–
    People are deeply afraid, and it’s profoundly reasonable, given the behaviour of the courts , banks and politicians post 9/11.

  9. The fear mongering certeinly causes effects in the public. It is not just to crime or terrorism.

    A big joke in Washington is how wimpy Seattleites are when it comes to snow or inclement weather (other than the permadrizzle that it experiences regularly)

    If Seattle gets a half inch of snow, it literally goes into crisis mode. The news media then spend 90% of their broadcast time devoted to snow. People continue to panic until it melts away. Everywhere else in the state it is not even noticed that much.

    During the snowless times several of the news stations make a big deal about their weather deparments. They whip it up to show images of cars crashing during the snow, linemen repairing downed power lines during high winds, flooding; then juxtapose it with “First ALERT Weather” with reporters covering it and war room like backdrops showing meteorologists mulling over weather patterns and doppler radar sweeps.

    This type of reporting and the unreasonable reactions of worry in the public seems to get into a feedback loop which the news station management knows drums up viewer ratings. It’s all a waste of time to me. The weather is what it is.

  10. The government has been quite successful in convincing many of us that the Fire Swamp is where we live surrounded by R.O.U.S. (Rodents of Unusual Size), fire spouts, and lightning sand.

  11. “Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert

  12. Gene,
    I have no idea how many times I have used that line or something like it. I use it when I am doing hypnotherapy for phobias, especially PTSD related stuff.

  13. Well you guys know more than I do, but myself I do know well and getting better at it.

    Frank Herbert never stood at ocean’s edge with a spoon.
    If one wishes, there is an infinite source for worries in your past and in your future. Only you can never reach and effect them. That’s as far as I will go today. It is counteractible, with simple measures, but the ocean is vast.

    Replacing fears with life might be a way out.

  14. What Shano said, and others. NickS thanks for the reminder. I wikied him.
    It left me confused but perhaps can now understand some of the American message. On Netflix?

  15. Having spent a lot of time with Aussie backpackers in my younger days, i would think that the flight attendant had seen far more menacing people on flights. You could always pick the Aussies out of a crowd in a backpacker ghettos–they were the ones that looked like thugs and biker chicks. And that look is still pretty popular with them. They’re usually great fun to hang out with for drinks.

  16. “If one wishes, there is an infinite source for worries in your past and in your future.”

    The key part of that statement is “if one wishes”.

    Fear is a response. As such, it is something you can control or it can control you. However, the battle is over before it starts “if one wishes” to look for things to fear. Not looking for fearful things is the first step of not fearing. Accepting that fearful things will find you without you seeking them is the second. A will to calm is the third step in not fearing.

    Everyone stands at the edge of the ocean with a spoon. Some succumb to the ocean and fear consumes them. Some run away and spend their lives with the tide lapping at their heels. Some realize that their is no spoon, they abandon the non-existent tool and walk along the shores. While the ebb and flow of the tide may shape their path, it does not determine it as they enjoy the walk along the beach. And in their moments of ultimate freedom, they go swimming.

    The water is fine when you have no shackles of your own reactions to pull you down.

  17. I am actually following your steps now.

    A fourth step would be to rely on your resources being adequate for most tasks other than heart treatments.

    Before I tried to analyze the sources. Not now. Don’t go into the thought.
    Just decide and reaffirm that it is not relevant now. Let your tension flow away, help it wherever it signals in your body to simply relax, let go, breathe.

    Plus some additions, like don’t analyze, don’t optimize. don’t decide what is the best way. Just rely on your innate abilities, and DO IT.
    No procrastination.

    I don’t go looking, they find me anyway. But that can be dealt with. Turn your mind resolutely away.

    Thanks for your words.

  18. id707,

    If you want to know a source for a large part of what I said, read Miyamoto Musashi’s seminal work on the art of kendo “The Book of Five Rings” (“Go Rin No Sho”). He says quite a bit about fear. Notably, he’s famous for saying, “No fear, no hesitation, no surprise, no doubt” which is a much subtler saying than it appears on the surface. “Do nothing which is of no use.” This includes allowing fear to control you for ““[i]f you wish to control others you must first control yourself”. “Study strategy over the years and achieve the spirit of the warrior. Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.” “In fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm.”

    One learns a lot about fear as a ronin with over 60 duels won (a conservative estimate and not including the men he killed in battle).

    Just so, one can learn a lot from the master’s words.

  19. “Stop Saying That!”

    Reminds me of Mike S when I talk about microbes. ;)

    WARNING: viruses for the most part are also beneficial to the human species, and without them we would simply not exist:

    Today, we are at the edge of a main turning point in understanding biological processes. The prevailing central dogma of molecular biology of the last 50 years is no more than a subordinate clause, relevant only to a small fraction of reality.

    Now, the new renaissance of viruses is taking centre stage. Research data from the last decade indicate the important roles of viruses, both in the evolution of all life and as symbionts or co-evolutionary partners of host organisms. There is increasing evidence that all cellular life is colonized by exogenous and/or endogenous viruses in a non-lytic but persistent lifestyle. Viruses and viral parts form the most numerous genetic matter on this planet.

    (Weekend Rebel Science Excursion – 13). So where can I buy a T-Shirt?

    Mike S … where are you? ;)

  20. “Why are we afraid of our friends the viruses and the bacteria?”

    Um, because they can and do mutate in ways that can kill us? “Someone doesn’t have to weaponize the bird flu.The birds are doing that.” That and they aren’t a secret intelligence guiding our destiny, just a component of the forces that make up evolutionary processes like environmental pressures and genetics.

  21. I started making cultured vegetables this year. Delicious. Make you feel good! Yummy power food. Helps your system stay alkaline.

    You can use the same bacteria culture for creme fraiche or cultured butter.

  22. Gene H. 1, January 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    “Why are we afraid of our friends the viruses and the bacteria?”

    Um, because they can and do mutate in ways that can kill us? “Someone doesn’t have to weaponize the bird flu.The birds are doing that.” That and they aren’t a secret intelligence guiding our destiny, just a component of the forces that make up evolutionary processes like environmental pressures and genetics.
    =================================
    Say it ain’t so Gene H … you a virus hater?

    That must be a result of propaganda, like I had, like Mike S has big time.

    We were all wrong.

    The source of my rebellion is a book, a compilation of lots of white papers, of 41 microbiologists.

    The review is on an American Society For Microbiology blog (Mike S thinks they are conspiracy theorists ;) ) …

    Viruses are a cell’s best friend as it turns out.

    Microbes are feeling a bit left out.

    Call ID707 for more information.

    He made me do it.

  23. Not a virus or microbe hater, Dredd. I’m just not in the extremist end of the pool when it comes to understanding their part in evolutionary processes. They are no more or no less important in shaping evolution than environment and genetics. That’s because I understand the inputs and outputs of evolutionary process in the light of good scientific practice, not because of propaganda from either your side or it’s opposite camp, the genetic determinism camp. Evolutionary biology is a bit more subtle than the inter-disciplinary war (and the war for funding research) over which input is “dominant”. That’s a ridiculous argument. All the inputs (environment, complimentary organisms, genes) effect evolution and to varying degrees depending upon the specific organism and its environmental situation in question, but no one process is dominant over all of evolutionary processes. Anyone who thinks so doesn’t understand evolution or the role and operation of natural selection. You chose a side. I didn’t. I think both sides are ridiculous and the fight isn’t about understanding evolution better, but about funding.

  24. Gene H. 1, January 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Not a virus or microbe hater, Dredd. I’m just not in the extremist end of the pool when it comes to understanding their part in evolutionary processes. They are no more or no less important in shaping evolution than environment and genetics. That’s because I understand the inputs and outputs of evolutionary process in the light of good scientific practice, not because of propaganda from either your side or it’s opposite camp, the genetic determinism camp. Evolutionary biology is a bit more subtle than the inter-disciplinary war (and the war for funding research) over which input is “dominant”. That’s a ridiculous argument. All the inputs (environment, complimentary organisms, genes) effect evolution and to varying degrees depending upon the specific organism and its environmental situation in question, but no one process is dominant over all of evolutionary processes. Anyone who thinks so doesn’t understand evolution or the role and operation of natural selection. You chose a side. I didn’t. I think both sides are ridiculous and the fight isn’t about understanding evolution better, but about fun.
    =======================================
    You seem to be an authority, in the sense that you have no need to cite to authority.

    And your microbiology degree is from where? ;)

  25. Gene H,

    No competent scientist I am aware of disputes that 98-99% of “human” genetic code is microbial.

    So is that straw man you set up (my camp / the opposite camp) a David (1-2% human genetic material) vs Goliath (98-99% microbial genetic material) little movie or what?

    I wish you would cite to some authorities as lawyers do such as David Genes vs. Goliath Genes, 123 Da Bears 345 (1901) in the subprime court or something.

    Or at least to a T-Shirt.

  26. The proper quote is “I think both sides are ridiculous and the fight isn’t about understanding evolution better, but about funding.”

    You seem to be under the impression that what I’ve said doesn’t comport with common knowledge amongst people with a proper education about biology, the evolutionary process, and a knowledge of how academic/scientific funding works, Dredd. There is no dominant input for evolution. It’s a confluence of factors that yield a net result. That’s simply how natural selection works. That is if you’re not a blind follower of “midichlorian overlords” madness or “your genes are everything” madness.

    You’re a biological partisan, Dredd. And like a political partisan, it blinds you to the reality of some processes, in your case, evolution and how it actually works (as opposed to how you want it to work). If you want to believe microbial life is more important to evolution than it is? Be my guest. Just don’t expect me to buy yours or any other partisan’s bullshit.

    Where’s my degree in microbiology from? Where’s yours from, Dredd? That’s right. You don’t have one either. You’re a code monkey. So if you want to start playing that game? I’ll just start laughing now to save time.

  27. Again, as Tony and I have both pointed out previously, you demonstrate that you don’t understand the term “microbial DNA” in a proper context. Just because parts of the human microbiome share DNA with humans does not mean that microbes control our biology, only that the genes show how these microbes interact with our biology. It’s essentially another form of environmental influence simply on a smaller scale. It’s not microbial overlords. That’s merely the fiction you’ve bought in to because it gives you a way to explain away parts of human behavior you don’t like and can’t explain otherwise. You’ve replaced religion with a bad misunderstanding of science that you garnered from reading but not fully understanding what you read.

    Your religion is your business.

    But I didn’t buy L.Ron’s drivel and I’m not buying yours either.

  28. Gene H. 1, January 25, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    The proper quote is “I think both sides are ridiculous and the fight isn’t about understanding evolution better, but about funding.”

    I would say the better quote is “I think [Gene H think]” but I am not an authority.
    ——————————————————————-
    You seem to be under the impression that what I’ve said doesn’t comport with common knowledge amongst people with a proper education about biology, the evolutionary process, and a knowledge of how academic/scientific funding works, Dredd.

    More “I think [Gene H think]” but I am not an authority.

    Why do you think that your think is authoriative?

    It isn’t, it is more Grandfather’s Dictionary preservation society mumbo jumbo that missed the last science research train in 1901 when social darwinism raised its very pitiful pseudo-scientific head and headed into intellectual oblivion.
    —————————————————————-
    You’re a biological partisan, Dredd.

    Again, more “I think [Gene H think]” but I am not an authority.

    It is you who project your own imagination or worse.
    —————————————————————–
    Where’s my degree in microbiology from? Where’s yours from, Dredd?

    The difference is that you only quote Gene H, the selfish gene, and I quote noted authorites.

    Got degree?
    ——————————————————————–
    I’ll just start laughing now to save time.

    That would be some scary psychotic laughter in celebration of your self image.
    ——————————————————————–
    What part of the “No competent scientist I am aware of disputes that 98-99% of “human” genetic code is microbial” makes you not want to comment on that consensus of science?

    At least you could comment on that fundamental.

    Is it the incompetent scientific “side” you created with your exalted evolutionary understanding crayons?

  29. What does “Qantas” mean? I would be afraid to board an airline if the staff had that word on their shirts and certainly if they had it on their skirts.

  30. Gene H. 1, January 25, 2013 at 7:11 pm


    Just because parts of the human microbiome share DNA with humans does not mean that microbes control our biology

    98-99% part for microbes, 1-2% for humans

    That does not mean that microbes do not control either … whatever you mean by control … (bully?)
    ————————————————————

    only that the genes show how these microbes interact with our biology. It’s essentially another form of environmental influence simply on a smaller scale. It’s not microbial overlords.

    Oh, I see you are scared of overlord bugs.
    —————————————————————————-
    That’s merely the fiction you’ve bought in to because it gives you a way to explain away parts of human behavior you don’t like and can’t explain otherwise.

    Yep, I am always saying the bugs did it huh?
    ———————————————————————————
    You’ve replaced religion with a bad misunderstanding of science that you garnered from reading but not fully understanding what you read.

    Oh, I see the bug religion is it Gene H?

    Great diagnosis.

    Tony the authority will see that as GREAT like the cereal.
    —————————————————————————
    Your religion is your business.

    But I didn’t buy L.Ron’s drivel and I’m not buying yours either.

    L.Ron vs. Tony ….

    Grade B movie at best Gene H.

    Carry on.

  31. Dredd,

    You are only serving to prove that you don’t understand what you are talking about. What I’m talking about is common knowledge for those who understand evolution as a process. Cite all you like. It doesn’t mean you understand what you are citing in any kind of rational or scientifically valid context.

    But please, foam at the mouth some more. It’s funny, code monkey.

  32. Gene H. 1, January 25, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Dredd,

    You are only serving to prove that you don’t understand what you are talking about. What I’m talking about is common knowledge for those who understand evolution as a process. Cite all you like. It doesn’t mean you understand what you are citing in any kind of rational or scientifically valid context.

    But please, foam at the mouth some more. It’s funny, code monkey.
    ==================================================
    I understand what you are talking about, Gene H and Tony C obliviate the scientists who Dredd quotes from the most respected halls of science.

    Your impishness is ok for those who have no scientific reasoning other than their own fear and ignorance based dogmatism.

    “Cow farts cause global warming” type of science.

    Cool … don’t fall off the edge of the flatulent Earth … I like having you around so I can see you squirm in your denial.

    Your “long live grandpa’s dictionary” wormy squirmings are cute.

  33. GREAT sayeth Tony the Tiger C upon observing Gene H advocate for the selfish genes.

    The T-Shirt control genes.

    The two GREAT scientists take out the scientists:

  34. No, Dredd. I don’t doubt what the science says. I think you don’t understand it in a proper context so you conflate it to be something it is not. They aren’t ignorant. You are.

  35. Well, I think this whole field of micro biology is going to be the key to determining the health of all people in the future. We evolved nurturing a biotic ‘terrain’.

    On modern farms we are seeing micro biology labs- I stayed at a eco farm in Costa Rica that used microbiology and enzymes to keep facilities clean and animals healthy in a closed carbon loop.

    Having the right ‘bugs’ in your ‘terrain’ is the key to all the parts working together. This is probably true in the human body as well.

  36. There are very good reasons cheese makers preserve and cultivate certain bacteria for centuries. These bacteria not only preserve excess milk, but they also help our own bodies create nutrients. And are nutrients themselves most of the time.
    Brewers yeast is a highly nutritious substance, for example. People used to drink beer all day because the good microbes in fresh beer made it much safer to drink than sometimes dubious water sources.

  37. shano,

    And I don’t doubt that. Our understanding of the role of microbes both in the environment and in the human microbiome is really (pardon the pun) growing right now. I just don’t buy the argument from the extremists in the symbiosis camp of microbiology being the dominant driver in evolution. Conversely, the extremists in the genetic determinism camp think genes are everything. Evolution is essentially a probability matrix with multiple feeds from environment (including symbiotic organisms) and genes. No one factor is more important in shaping evolution than the other and a skew from any one factor can mean the difference between selecting in and selecting out.

  38. Great Movie! Bought the shirt for my daughter for Christmas. I told her she is not allowed to wear it out of the house in case it offends.

    She asked if she could wear her Scarface tshirt…”Say hello to my little friend!” Ummmm……

  39. GeneH,
    I had gone to bed before this was written and scroll down from it now to answer.
    =========
    Gene H.1, January 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    id707,

    If you want to know a source for a large part of what I said, read Miyamoto Musashi’s seminal work on the art of kendo “The Book of Five Rings” (“Go Rin No Sho”). He says quite a bit about fear. Notably, he’s famous for saying, “No fear, no hesitation, no surprise, no doubt” which is a much subtler saying than it appears on the surface”———
    ————————–

    I will have to think long and well just to understand the last quotation.
    .

  40. Indigo,

    You indicated that one of the issues on the T-Shirt was FEAR in your comment up-thread.

    I linked to world renowned scientist Joseph E. LeDoux:

    Joseph E. LeDoux (born 7 December 1949, Eunice, Louisiana) is a neuroscientist, the Henry and Lucy Moses Professor of Science, and professor of neuroscience and psychology at New York University. He is also the director of the Center for the Neuroscience of Fear and Anxiety, a multi-university Center in New York City devoted to using animal research to understand pathological fear and anxiety in humans. He received his Ph.D. in 1977 at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. He was a recipient of the 2005 International Prize of the Fyssen Foundation.

    LeDoux’s research interests are mainly focused on the biological underpinnings of memory and emotion, especially the mechanisms of fear.

    LeDoux is also a singer and guitarist in the science-themed rock band The Amygdaloids.

    (Joseph E. LeDoux, Wikipedia, emphasis added). The video I posted up-thread is of a lecture  he gave at The Copernicus Center concerning the brain.

    He understands how fear would make people afraid of T-Shirts under certain types of conditioning.

  41. I chose the Amazon UK available one by Thomas Cleary. His author page is full of all manner of classics (I Ching, etc).
    Wonder who translated your edition. Translators are so important I have found.

  42. Virus are component parts of the biological stressors that can test our “fitness”, ie survival potential and repro.

    But the value of bacteria resident longterm has been well demonstrated and now is accepted. Would like to see more on virus.

    BTW, our chief tester of influenza vaccines (here) says she does not take the shot.s She prefers to let her immune system “improve itself” by exposure. We can suppose she got them as a child against the common diseases. And watch out for mutations—–a very good point.

    It us easy to predict who will win the war (not us). And then they who survive will become predators on the others. Might be an interesting outcome in a billion years if the climate change has not taken all life out.

  43. idealist707 1, January 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

    Virus are component parts of the biological stressors that can test our “fitness”, ie survival potential and repro.

    But the value of bacteria resident longterm has been well demonstrated and now is accepted. Would like to see more on virus.
    ===============================================
    JT’s post illuminates, among other things, the fear people expressed on the aircraft in response to words on a T-Shirt.

    This is a function of fear conditioning though signaling, a.k.a. messaging, a dynamic that is quite subject to interpretation even at the microscopic level.

    While Dr. LeDoux deals with the aspects of fear at the high level within the amygdala, Dr. Guenther Witzany deals with signalling by microbes (prions, phages, viruses, and bacteria) at a lower level.

    A level between molecules and the cellular world within the amygdala, as well as within the greater brain.

    Dr. Witzany wrote the forward to the book Viruses: Essential Agents of Life, which I quote from up-thread (cf. Weekend Rebel Science Excursion – 13).

    Among other things, Dr. Guenther Witzany is an editorial board member of the World Journal of Biological Chemistry, and is involved in Biosemiotics (see Wikipedia, International Society for Biosemiotic Studies) which involves signaling and communication between and among microbes and other organisms, including humans.

  44. Dredd said to me.

    “Aren’t you excited ID707? (fermentation is microbial!) …”=========

    Why this now? What fermentation are you celebrating?

    In reply in the meanwhile: Yes, I am, every time I fart. And the Inosotol (sp?) is a favorite food for the beasties which I get in my nutrition supplement beverages. Hooray in effect although they express themselves otherwise.

  45. Dredd,

    You are a naughty boy. How and when did I provoke you. You are a fully responsible, which you show very often. Now retract these words.
    Call ID707 for more information.
    He made me do it.”

    Shame on you.
    I would otherwise consider you inebriated on the proceedings you have read.
    Nasty hangovers!

    PS I have never heard MikeS enter an opinion on viruses. Are you feeling well today?
    PPS Or is it a case of “I need attention, so let’s make them fight”

  46. Idealist707,

    Here are some other scientists and institutions who contributed papers to the book Viruses: Essential Agents of Life,, which is a collection of peer reviewed research papers:

    Corresponding Authors

    Stephen T. Abedon Department of Microbiology, The Ohio State University, Mansfield, OH, USA

    Frédérick Arnaud UMR754 UCBL INRA ENVL, EPHE, École Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon, Lyon, France

    Omar Bagasra Department of Biology, South Carolina Center for Biotechnology, Claflin University, Orangeburg, SC, USA

    Dennis H. Bamford Institute of Biotechnology and Department of Biosciences, Biocenter 2, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland

    Harald Brüssow BioAnalytical Science Department, Food and Health Microbiology, Nestlé Research Centre, Nestec Ltd, Lausanne 2, Switzerland

    Jean-Michel Claverie Structural & Genomic Information Laboratory (UMR7256), Mediterranean Institute of Microbiology, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Aix-Marseille University, Marseille Cedex 09, France

    CNRS – UPR2589, Institut de Microbiologie de la Méditerranée (IMM, IFR-88), Parc Scientifique de Luminy, Marseille Cedex 09, France

    Sébastien Desfarges Institute of Microbiology (IMUL), University Hospital Center and University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland

    Jonathan Filée Laboratoire Evolution, Génomes et Spéciation, CNRS UPR 9034, Gif sur Yvette Cedex, France Patrick Forterre Institut Pasteur, Paris, France

    Matti Jalasvuori Division of Ecology, Evolution and Genetics, Research School of Biology, Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

    Department of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

    I. King Jordan Georgia Institute of Technology, School of Biology, Atlanta, GA, USA

    PanAmerican Bioinformatics Institute, Santa Marta, Colombia

    François Mallet Laboratoire Commun de Recherche Hospices Civils de Lyon-bioMérieux, Cancer Biomarkers Research Group, Pierre Bénite Cedex, France

    Miguel Angel Martínez Fundació irsiCaixa, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Badalona, Spain

    Laboratori de Retrovirologia, Fundació irsiCaixa, Hospital Universitari Germans Trias i Pujol, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Badalona, Spain

    Didier Raoult Unité de Recherche sur les Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Émergentes (URMITE), Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Unité Mixte de Recherche (UMR) 6,236, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD) 3R198INSERM U1095, Méditerranée Infection, Facultés de Médecine et de Pharmacie, Aix-Marseille Université, Marseille, France

    Pôle des Maladies Infectieuses et Tropicales Clinique et Biologique, Fédération de Bactériologie-Hygiène-Virologie, Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire Timone, Assistance publique des hôpitaux de Marseille, Marseille, France

    Forest Rohwer Department of Biology, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, USA

    Marilyn J. Roossinck, Ph.D. Plant Biology Division, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Ardmore, OK, USA

    Plant Pathology and Biology, Center for Infectious Disease Dynamics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, USA

    Rachael E. Tarlinton School of Veterinary Medicine and Science, University of Nottingham, Loughborough, UK

    Luis P. Villarreal Center for Virus Research, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, University of California, Irvine, CA, USA

    Jean-Nicolas Volff Equipe Génomique Evolutive des Poissons, Institut de Génomique Fonctionnelle de Lyon, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, CNRS, Université de Lyon, Lyon Cedex 07, France

    Günther Witzany Telos – Philosophische Praxis, Buermoos, Austria

    (from pages xv-xvi of the Forward or Preface of the book)

    Revolutions in science cause events similar to this T-Shirt episode, in that fear causes all kinds of abnormal, irrational reactions.

  47. Shano,

    Thanks for the tip. I did too after a model supported by those using the method of a living Chinese woman.
    My chief achievement was, apparently from the envious comments, to drop my stomach and let it rest on the floor after only 5 sessions.

    If you want Berns method for the six-second relax exercise, I can relate it.

    Help! Since taking SSRIs nothing works as well, particularly “nowness” and meditation. Any suggestions. And don’t say yeasted veggies.
    I would like to but don’t have the energy to make them. What do you do besides cabbage?

    Restoring the microbial fauna/flora of the colinic area is important. We got them early from others, but multi-use of penicillin for childhood ear aches has depopulated the system of most 8 year olds in a study. Don’t recall it being indicative of any similar results. So probably not fatal. ;-)

    But fermented food is one way to go.

  48. idealist707 1, January 26, 2013 at 9:01 am

    Dredd,

    You are a naughty boy. How and when did I provoke you. You are a fully responsible, which you show very often. Now retract these words.
    Call ID707 for more information. He made me do it.”

    Shame on you.

    I would otherwise consider you inebriated on the proceedings you have read.

    Nasty hangovers!

    PS I have never heard MikeS enter an opinion on viruses. Are you feeling well today?

    PPS Or is it a case of “I need attention, so let’s make them fight”
    ======================================================
    That is what happens when “T-Shirts” with words on them scare people.

    Mike S has not had time to realize the revolutionary concept of Good Microbes and Good Viruses in the sense that organisms cannot live without the help of the good ones.

    He does understand Good Vibrations however.

    He will come around in his own time like the rest of us have.

  49. Just a word of caution—-to all.

    Just anybody can claim a name, even nuts in all forms.
    And just a “good” name doesn’t mean skit.
    I have not researched this society named by Dredd and don’t intend to.
    It is the similar technique primarily used by conservative pols and orgs.

    The American Society for Microbiology
    Maybe it is good, or maybe it is a nut fringe with a rant to drive.

  50. Dredd,

    Good advice proffered is never welcome unless asked for, but anyway.

    So you used MikeS as an pawn in your game! Bad boy.

    You do seem a bit inebriated today. Go back to Koolaid.

    BFN

    PS I note that you cite but ignore my chief points. How does that advance your points?

  51. idealist707 1, January 26, 2013 at 8:39 am

    … Would like to see more on virus.
    ===============================================
    In Chapter one, these things were said in the first paper in the book:

    A word virus, a Latin term for poison, commonly refers to this strategy for survival … First, however, a relatively commonly adopted misconception on what a biological virus actually is must be resolved because it has been behind many of the misunderstandings on viruses … The seemingly trivial difference between a virus an a virion needs to be tackled as it allows us to appreciate viruses as evolutionary players, or even as living organisms … In any case and regardless of our opinions on the living status, viruses are part of the evolving biosphere and therefore a relevant factor in various evolutionary processes.

    (Revolutionary Struggle for Existence, Matti Jalasvuori, Tony The Tiger, The Greatest Gene, page 1). That is an interesting chapter.

  52. idealist707 1, January 26, 2013 at 9:39 am

    Dredd,

    Good advice proffered is never welcome unless asked for, but anyway.

    So you used MikeS as an pawn in your game! Bad boy.

    You do seem a bit inebriated today. Go back to Koolaid.

    BFN

    PS I note that you cite but ignore my chief points. How does that advance your points?
    =========================================
    I am proffering quotes from experts on a given subject that is relevant to irrational fear like the people on the plane exhibited.

    It happens everywhere.

    People have a right ot cling to ignorance, but they have no right to avoid the consequences of so doing.

  53. dread Dredd,

    Don’t force me to expose to the full my scepticism of all things medical, scientific, etc., not endorsed by Leonardo da Vinci.

    Whenever I see some devil who is leading a “center” of whatever kind, I get bad feelings. to express it in normal words.

    Academic pretentiousness is rife. It must be as it is the result of competing for attention, resources, recognition, sourcing by other who cite you etc etc.

    Study an academic and you will see his warts Read Lee Smolin’s book on the Problem with Physics (?).

    The guy who runs the reknown (here) Center for bla bla on Stress and De-stressing got his doctorate in 1986 fooling around with me.
    He is, everytime I see him on TV and we meet very occasionally on the street, still the stressed out poor guy who mishandled me. Hopefully his techniques handling patients has improved, but his own nerves have not.

    Please excuse me, I have been kicking the shins of authorities since a child. And I have suffered for it. They have gone on unaware of their insufficiencies.

    We, a hundred thousand multinational employees had a CEO who was promoted at least 3 steps higher than agt which his competence was last proven.
    And after each colossal failure seen by all, he was advanced further.
    He did not have apparent connections, just a poor set of superiors and lastly a poot board of directors.

    It’s all mostly bullskit.

  54. PS I did not rise above the lowest level in rank. But I mocked them at intl banquets, and backtalked their stupidity when addressed. and all of them knew who I was. I had some value as they could have bought me out instead of listening to my repudiation of their arguments when advanced to me.
    And all those in between. suffered my tongue.

    Stop depending on citation of authorities as proof of whatever.

  55. Otto West: Apes don’t read philosophy.
    Wanda: Yes they do, Otto. They just don’t understand it. Now let me correct you on a couple of things, OK? Aristotle was not Belgian. The central message of Buddhism is not “Every man for himself.” And the London Underground is not a political movement. Viruses aren’t the cause of fear in humans unless that person has a phobia. Those are all mistakes, Otto. I looked them up.

    Fear is caused by learning (and as such is influenced by cultural conditioning) and the capacity to fear from an evolutionary psychology standpoint came about by adaptation which – once again – is a response to multiple environmental inputs combined with genetic predisposition.

    The problem here isn’t viruses or bacteria, Dredd.

    The problem is you really don’t understand evolutionary processes or the microbiology that you are reading. Just because viruses and microbes can share information does not directly translate to them being causes for responses in complex organisms unless they are somehow attacking parts of the brain. In a healthy brain, fear is a natural conditioned and adapted response to stimuli.

    Cite all you like. None of them will mitigate that you simply don’t know what you are talking about when you conflate viruses and bacteria into being a something they are not.

    *************

    id707,

    “PPS Or is it a case of “I need attention, so let’s make them fight””

    Yep. I very often ignore Dredd’s huge scientific ignorance on the subject of biology for that very reason, but every so often I have to rattle his cage about his lack of understanding of biology and evolution as a process. I’ve never even bothered to point out another flaw with his pet theory which is differential information throughput in simple versus complex organisms.

    Also, in re translations, I have several translations of Go Rin No Sho and I really can’t suggest one or the other over the rest. Even with the slight differences, the underlying material tends to shine through in part because Mushashi was a very bare bones kind of author. There isn’t a lot of imagery or flowery language to be lost in translation.

  56. The oldest and greatest-number-population on Earth:

    Prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) are the most abundant cellular organisms on our planet Earth. However, numerous studies have revealed that in fact prokaryotic viruses dominate them … with a population size over 10^31 outnumbering their hosts by at least an order of magnitude … This means that viruses play a key role in the evolution of their hosts and control their population structure … In addition, viruses influence globally ocean carbon cycling …

    (Virus Universe, from the book Viruses: Essential Agents of Life, by Hanna M. Oksanen, Maija K. Pietila, Tony The Tiger, The Greatest Gene, Ana Sencilo, Nina S. Atanasova, Elina Roine, and Dennis H. Bamford, page 1, emphasis added).

  57. “a” is not the same article as “the” which is what you in the “symbiosis is everything” camp are usually contending, Dredd. Thanks for proving you don’t understand what you are reading.

  58. The tie-in to some relevant issues to fear of T-Shirts:

    Endogenous viruses and defectives, transposons, retrotrasposons, long terminal repeats, non-long terminal repeats, long interspersed nuclear elements, short interspersed nuclear elements, group I introns, group II introns, phases and plasmids are currently investigated examples that use genomic DNA as their preferred live habitat. This means that DNA is not solely a genetic storage medium that serves as an evolutionary protocol, but it is also a species-specific ecological niche. A great variety of such mobile genetic elements have been identified during the last 40 years as obligate inhabitants of all genomes, either prokaryotic or eukaryotic. They infect, insert, delete, some cut and paste, others copy and paste and spread within the genome. They change host genetic identities either by insertion, recombination or the epigenetic (re)regulation of genetic content, and co-evolve with the host and interact in a module-like manner. In this respect they play vital roles in evolutionary and developmental processes. In contrast to accidental point mutations, integration at various preferred sites is not a randomly occurring process but is coherent with the genetic content of the host; otherwise, important protein coding regions would be damaged, causing disease of even lethal consequences for the host organism. In contrast to “elements”, “entities”, and “systems”, biological agents are capable of identifying sequence-specific loci of genetic text. They are masters of the shared technique of coherently identifying and combining nucleotides according contextual needs. This natural genetic engineering competence is absent in inanimate nature, and therefore represents a core capability of life.

    Up until now it has been a mainstream assumption that viruses are escaped genetic elements of cells. Because they cannot replicate without cells, they must have originated later in evolution that the first cells. Increasing empirical data do not fit this picture but better fit the virus-first perspective … According to these data, RNA and DNA viruses have polyphyletic origins and represent a variety of features that are not present in cellular life … Since viruses with RNA gnomes are the only living beings that use RNA as a storage medium, they are considered to be remnants of an earlier RNA world that predated DNA … Negative-stranded RNA viruses have genome structures and replication patterns that are dissimilar to all known cell types. There is no known similarity between RNA-viral replicases and those of any known cell type. Furthermore there are no references to DNA-viruses having a cellular origin. Also, nucleo-cytoplasmic large DNA viruses such as Mimivirus have no known homologs in either viral or cellular genomes … Phylogenetic analyses point ot an older time scale, as DNA-repairing proteins of DNA viruses do not have any counterparts in cellular life …

    (Viruses: Essential Agents of Life, Chapter: From Molecular Entities to Competent Agents … Natural Genetic Engineers, by G. Witzany, Dr. Tony The Tiger, Dr. The Greatest Gene). This low-level genetic engineering may be how the pathogen Toxoplasma Gondii learned to do brain surgery which alters the amygdala’s fear system in the brain:

    Next, we then saw that Toxo would take the dendrites, the branch and cables that neurons have to connect to each other, and shriveled them up in the amygdala. It was disconnecting circuits. You wind up with fewer cells there. This is a parasite that is unwiring this stuff in the critical part of the brain for fear and anxiety… It knows how to find that particular circuitry… Meanwhile, there is a well-characterized circuit that has to do with sexual attraction. And as it happens, part of this circuit courses through the amygdala, which is pretty interesting in and of itself, and then goes to different areas of the brain than the fear pathways… Toxo knows how to hijack the sexual reward pathway.

    On a certain level, this is a protozoan parasite that knows more about the neurobiology of anxiety and fear than 25,000 neuroscientists standing on each other’s shoulders… But no doubt it’s also a tip of the iceberg of God knows what other parasitic stuff is going on out there. Even in the larger sense, God knows what other unseen realms of biology make our behavior far less autonomous than lots of folks would like to think.

    (Hypothesis: The Cultural Amygdala, quoting Dr. Sapolsky). The fear factor of those who freaked at words on a T-Shirt are symptoms of fear based cognition that is irrational, out of whack.

  59. idealist707 1, January 26, 2013 at 10:06 am

    dread Dredd,

    Don’t force me to expose to the full my scepticism of all things medical, scientific, etc., not endorsed by Leonardo da Vinci.
    ========================================
    Yep, wasn’t he the one who said “if you think education is expensive, try ignorance”?

  60. idealist707 1, January 26, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Just a word of caution—-to all.

    Just anybody can claim a name, even nuts in all forms.
    And just a “good” name doesn’t mean skit.
    I have not researched this society named by Dredd and don’t intend to.
    It is the similar technique primarily used by conservative pols and orgs.

    The American Society for Microbiology
    Maybe it is good, or maybe it is a nut fringe with a rant to drive.
    ====================================================
    They are definitely scary because they are replicating like viruses:

    The American Society for Microbiology is the oldest and largest single life science membership organization in the world. Membership has grown from 59 scientists in 1899 to more than 39,000 members today, with more than one third located outside the United States. The members represent 26 disciplines of microbiological specialization plus a division for microbiology educators.

    Eligibility for Full Membership is open to any person who is interested in microbiology and holds at least a bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience in microbiology or related field. Many members hold advanced degrees, including a large number at the master’s, PhD, ScD, DrPH and MD level. A regularly matriculated student of microbiology or a related field is eligible to become a student member. There are also separate membership categories for postdoctoral fellows and for transitional scientists in the early years of a career.

    Microbiologists study microbes–bacteria, viruses, rickettsiae, mycoplasma, fungi, algae and protozoa–some of which cause diseases, but many of which contribute to the balance of nature or are otherwise beneficial.

    Microbiological research includes infectious diseases, recombinant DNA technology, alternative methods of energy production and waste recycling, new sources of food, new drug development, and the etiology of sexually transmitted diseases, among other areas. Microbiology is also concerned with environmental problems and industrial processes.

    Microbiology boasts some of the most illustrious names in the annals of science–Pasteur, Koch, Fleming, Leeuwenhoek, Lister, Jenner and Salk–and some of the greatest achievements for mankind. Within the 20th century, a third of all Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been bestowed upon microbiologists.

    (About ASM, emphasis added). I say it is time to get some pitchforks out and get rid of this innylekshool infection holy roller style.

  61. Dredd, this is the reason I think GMOs are so dangerous. Any given bacteria can take those fragments of code from GMO plants and replicate them. If it is the one that produces Bt toxin? Who knows, it needs to be studied.

  62. Shano,

    When I awake completely. Just awakened by my Ethiopian helper, who left me with soup cooking now. He is another story, particularly for American Afros, ie former slaves descendants.

    Ie later you’ll get a FDA microbiological study report defining detected dangers from standard FDA reports. Asked for more time to study. Nope, Obama signs the law removing guard zones around GMO alfalfa.

  63. GeneH,

    Let me console Dredd that he has not lost his groupie to you.

    Will give short comment showing that your words are read carefully.

    Your assertion that it all is a melange where all these factors each contributing equally is but a contention lacking proof. A study of a 2 million years might give some light as to what was most important at each stage, or even prove your contention right. But assertions are just that, opinions not facts.
    ===========================================

    Dredd,

    Building your life on someone’s motivated paper is not too good an idea.

    The existence of these ideas is good, the mold rapidly encrusts old knowledge and fools may tend to revere them. Like Eddington did when commenting the work of a young Indian physicist. The Indian came to America, where colonies had had another effect.

    And perhaps a very prescient word was said by a Jewish Nobel prize winner in Physics. “There is lots of room at the bottom”. Therewith launching the dawn of nanotech. Nanotech is of obvious importance, as you demonstrate well, in the biological world. To the bottom. Met a lab tech headed for Japan to study intra-cellular mysteries. Wonder how that worked out.

    But a small peeve. Stop characterizing these microbes and DNA thingies with a penetration point for cell entry AS THOUGH THEY THINK OR HAVE INTENTIONS. Bad thinking.

    Some say we do or do not have free will, but that is another discussion.

  64. BTW All,

    Do you have access to non-GMO seeds. Monsanto is attacking home farmers and others on that front here in Europe. Yes, I know I am crediting them to be persons, but they do do evil, IMHO.

    Seedbanks forever. Established in the permafrosted island (?) and regenerated regularly. Screw Montsanto.

  65. shano 1, January 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Dredd, this is the reason I think GMOs are so dangerous. Any given bacteria can take those fragments of code from GMO plants and replicate them. If it is the one that produces Bt toxin? Who knows, it needs to be studied.
    ======================================
    Indeed.

    Not because of fear but because we don’t know enough. We have begun to scratch the surface of understanding genetics and microbial influence and manupulation of genetic components.

    We have just begun to think of the good microbes (the vast, vast majority, including viruses) after we have tried to exterminate them for decades.

    If we had succeeded we would be extinct.

    Now we want to play with them after trying to exterminate them.

    Jumping from one ditch into the other with insufficient thought in between.

    We are afraid of stuff on T-Shirts but not of screwing with potential catastrophe.

    Seems to be a bit rrational.

  66. “Your assertion that it all is a melange where all these factors each contributing equally is but a contention lacking proof.”

    Actually that isn’t exactly what I said and the proof is in the theory of evolution, id707. Looking at evolution as a holistic system no one factor is more important than another. For any given organism, any one of those factors skewing can be the difference between selecting in or out. Example: plagues (viral or microbial) can mutate (skew) and cause a massive die out or possibly extinction of given species. In that example, symbiosis is the driver of evolution. Example: loss of a food source can cause a species to die out if it cannot adapt or the introduction of a new food source can cause a species to thrive. In this example, environment is the driver of evolution. Example: a genetic “disorder”, i.e. a non-beneficial mutation, can cause a species to die out or a beneficial mutation can cause a species to thrive. In this example, genetics are the driver of evolution. All of these factors create the probability matrix that is natural selection. Any one factor or, most usually, combination of factors shape the matrix but as a whole no one factor dominates holistically. That is simply how the system Darwin described works. This is what the extremists from both the symbiosis and the genetic determinism camps miss.

  67. GeneH,

    Apologies for not quoting you instead of paraphrasing you.

    What you say is in accordance with my one year evening study at Stockholms University of Evolutional Biology. (which isn’t much)

    However this does and cannot account for what has happened in terms of survival over millions of years, which is not trivial.

    The forms of spreading, competition, sudden extinction due to climate change, depletion of nutrition are borne out by what we know now and is what we believe.

    But over time we don’t know what weighed most at any given time, neither for a species nor the planet as a whole.

    A small quibble, and it must remain so, as we can’t ever know the answer, and are not necessarily served well by an answer. Better to analyze the now.

  68. “However this does and cannot account for what has happened in terms of survival over millions of years, which is not trivial.”

    Actually, the theory of evolution does precisely that.

  69. And we haven’t even touched on the subject of environmental effects through epigenetics, nor placental environment. and I wonder if they have decided that reading good books and listening (foetus also) to Mozart is “good” while pregnant.

    Is eating fermented foods, saying your prayers, or whatever………!?

  70. Gene H. 1, January 26, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    “However this does and cannot account for what has happened in terms of survival over millions of years, which is not trivial.”

    Actually, the theory of evolution does precisely that.
    ========================================
    It should be noted that “the theory” is akin to “the law” … which is both reductionist, retro, and overly imaginary, glossy, and general.

    The microbes, which includes viruses, made the environment, and have consistently changed it through genetic creation and management, not the other way around:

    Given the immensity of the virosphere, it is not a question of if but how viruses have driven organismal evolution since the days of LUCA.

    Viruses are everywhere and in abundance, and the time has come to sit up and take notice. Viruses: Essential Agents of Life helps point the way.

    (Book Review: Viruses: Essential Agents of Life, by Welkin Johnson). The environment did not drive evolution in the 3.5-3.8 bn years leading up to the time LUCA theoretically emerged, as did a fundamental piece of the environment:

    Cyanobacteria, which appeared about 200 million years before the GOE, [Great Oxygen Event] began producing oxygen by photosynthesis. Before the GOE, any free oxygen they produced was chemically captured by dissolved iron organic matter. The GOE was the point when these oxygen sinks became saturated and could not capture all of the oxygen that was produced by cyanobacterial photosynthesis. After the GOE the excess free oxygen started to accumulate in the atmosphere … the oxygen did eventually accumulate in the atmosphere … the increased oxygen levels provided a new opportunity for biological diversification, as well as tremendous changes in the nature of chemical interactions between rocks, sand, clay, and other geological substrates and the Earth’s air, oceans, and other surface waters. Despite natural recycling of organic matter, life had remained energetically limited until the widespread availability of oxygen.

    (Great Oxygenation Event (GOE), emphasis added). Microbes in the form of viruses were around way long before mammalian environment or mammalian genes even existed, including human DNA, and so they produced them.

    Yes, they were around before the current Earth’s atmosphere, and so they made the environment what it was and has become.

    Resort to reductio ad absurdum does not a valid theory make:

    Any fundamental organizing principle of biology, be it ecological or evolutionary, must be able to explain viruses. There are more of them and they are more diverse than any other biological group. In the following review, we begin by estimating the number of viruses on the planet and their production rates. Then we explore their diversity and the evidence demonstrating that viruses move DNA between environments, while simultaneously exchanging genes among themselves. In even markedly diverse biomes, the same pool of genes are being shuffled around by viruses. Of particular interest, viruses carry specialization genes specific to each environment, acquired from their hosts and with which they manipulate the infected system in biologically interesting ways. From these observations, we conclude that viral evolutionary and ecological dynamics are very rapid and generate an infinite variety of ever-changing forms.

    (Viruses: Essential Agents of Life, Chapter Scratching The Surface of Biology’s Dark Matter, links up-thread). Never-the-less, bully pseudo-science has not felt the need to entertain reality:

    Virology was born in 1898, and has suffered from sampling bias ever since. For decades, viruses were defined by what they were not: not as big as a bacterium, not visible with a microscope, not culturable in the absence of a host. At the dawn of the 20th century, undiscovered viruses and aspiring Hollywood starlets had the same challenge—how to catch someone’s attention. Thus, the first viruses known to science were those causing very obvious phenotypes in clinically or agriculturally important hosts: yellow fever in humans, mosaic disease in tobacco, foot-and-mouth disease in livestock. The acid-test was the ability to pass through the pores of a Chamberland or Berkefeld filter; the viruses that were easiest to find were those that produce infectious cell-free virions—another source of discovery bias. And, in the days before cell culture, the easiest of those to study were the ones that induced rapid and obvious pathogenesis in a conveniently available host organism. By mid-20th century, technology fostered the move to reductionist experimentation, including electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography, cell-culture and, of course, recombinant DNA technology. Virologists moved into laboratories, and the model systems they chose to bring with them were often those already in place, proven to be tractable and considered relevant by funding agencies. Today you can peruse any virology textbook and get the impression that less than two dozen viruses represent the entirety of Earth’s virosphere.

    Viruses: Essential Agents of Life (2012, Springer), edited by Günter Witzany, is a great way to kick off the next 100 years of virology, with nary a reductionist thought to be found within its 427 pages.

    (ibid, Book Review: Viruses: Essential Agents of Life, emphasis added). Abiotic evolution is even more important to define than viral evolution is, but likewise it has not been done in our bully science with anything near a coherent theory.

    Environment did not drive abiotic evolution (during a vast span of time prior to biotic evolution) either:

    … the Big Bang occurred approximately 13.75 billion years ago, which is thus considered the age of the Universe … The Earth is said to have formed “around 4.54 billion … years ago” … Therefore The Big Bang happened about 9.21 billion years before the Earth formed (13.75 – 4.54 = 9.21) … Biological organisms formed on the Earth about a billion years later, which would be ~10.21 billion years after The Big Bang.

    Humans, homo sapiens, are said to have evolved about 200,000 years ago, which would be ~13.7498 billion years after The Big Bang (13.7498 + 00.0002 = 13.75 billion years). Homo sapien evolution is a very tiny 0.0002 billion years of the 13.75 billion year story.

    The abiotic epoch which preceded the biotic epoch involved a vast amount of “time” as we know it, populating vast areas of space with the atoms that make up chemicals, the subject of the scientific discipline Chemistry … 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 … 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 … The gist of this is that the era of the evolution of machines is just another way of saying the epoch of abiotic evolution.

    (Putting A Face On Machine Mutation – 3). Machines did not need the kind of environment biological organisms need, so the microbes, which includes viruses, made an environment for future biological organisms which included oxygen and other goodies.

    Viruses did not adapt to something that did not exist or that they needed, they made something that did not previously exist for something that would later exist.

    As professor Bassler puts it, microbes made the rules for multi-cellular development and microbes invented the multi-cellular behavior inside us (Microbial Hermeneutics – 2). Let’s face it, Grandpa’s theories were and are infirm in terms of evolutionary reality.

  71. All I have to face is that you still don’t know what you are talking about, Dredd.

    Firstly, this statement is utter nonsense: “The microbes, which includes viruses, made the environment, and have consistently changed it through genetic creation and management, not the other way around”. A) microbes are not viruses. Microbes are a diverse lot but they have in common that they are cellular life, i.e. they are the smallest unit recognized by science as alive and they operate on or inside the cell wall membrane. Viruses are considered to be “on the edge” of life because they lack the complexity of a prokaryotic or eukaryotic cell. A virus only has three parts: 1) genetic material (either DNA or RNA), 2) a protein coat that protects these genes and 3) sometimes an envelope of lipids that surrounds the protein coat for protection when they are outside a cell. While viruses (which arose from both plasmids and evolved from bacteria) can share RNA and DNA, they do play a role in horizontal gene transfers which can effect evolution, but no more so than random mutation, differential reproduction and environmental considerations. They do not “manage” genetic creation. They are simply one of several influences on complex organisms and how their genes express.

    As for the environment? Viruses and microbes didn’t create the environment. They arose in the environment created by liquid water and the energy introduced to that system by solar activity and volcanism. After they arose from the primordial abiotic soup, they – like all creatures – began to influence the environment. The most important influence being the introduction of oxygen to the atmosphere. However, they did not “create” the environment.

    The abiotic chemical processes that led to biotic chemistry are a function of complexity built up over time – the random chemical combinations of an energetic system that eventually led to a chemistry upon which life could be built. In the case of life on Earth, life built upon a carbon base. Under different circumstances, alternate forms of that chemistry could have just as easily led to life, a specific example being silicon although it would be a lower energy system. None of what you’ve said makes abiotic chemistry into a god that creates and shepherds life. It’s just a condition in the environment required for complex organic life to develop. A condition that arose from a random process of chemical bonding until peptides arose and eventually peptides combined to make polypeptides and polypeptides eventually combined to make nucleotides and all of them formed complex macromolecules like RNA and DNA. That is the point where life becomes possible – when differential reproduction becomes possible and that becomes possible when inorganic chemistry becomes a nucleotide base for making RNA. That is what Bessier is saying: a complex chemical stew cooked through billions of permutations until something interesting happened. Namely that a complex abiotic chemistry took on the ability to reproduce itself in an organic differential manner. That it took a really long time to get there compared to the length of time complex life has existed on Earth is irrelevant.

    Evolution applies to complex life, not inorganic chemistry. Inorganic chemistry permutates and combines randomly based upon how much energy is within the system and what raw basic elements are in the system. Physics still applies.

    The only thing wrong with Darwin’s theory is you don’t understand it at all apparently, just like you don’t understand most of the microbiology that you read.

  72. Stuff written on T-Shirts is scary to Grandpa Oldie But Goodie.

    An expert who teaches evolution, virology, and Darwinism got jiggy wid it by asking the question Can Viruses Make Us Human?:

    “THIS QUESTION WILL SEEM preposterous to most. Viruses are molecular genetic parasites and are mostly recognized for their ability to induce disease in their host. Their effect on host evolution has long been thought to be like that of a predator on its prey, eliminating the host with weakened defenses. How can we propose any constructive role for viruses? Many viruses, however, can infect their host in a stable and persisting manner, generally with no disease, often for the life of the host. Such viruses can bring to bear onto their host the viral seeds of genetic creation.

    Based on this premise, this essay will examine the possible role of viruses in the evolution of complexity, including the evolution of human-specific attributes.

    This view of human evolution is part of a larger idea, that stable persisting viruses (genetic parasites) can allow the host to acquire complicated functions (complex phenotype) in one punctuated event of colonization. Such a process can now be considered as a possible explanation for several major dilemmas in evolutionary biology. All these dilemmas involve the origin of various host lineages that have acquired a complex and interacting set of functions in a relatively short time frame. Such acquisitions of complexity have always been difficult to explain by a simple Darwinian process.”

    (Proceedings of The American Philosophical Society, VOL. 148, NO. 3, Sept. 2004, by Luis P. Villarreal, Dr. The Greatest Gene, p. 296). Dr. Villarreal is Director of the Center for Virus Research, University of California, at Irvine.

  73. Dredd,

    The support, for example, for the development of complexities like the eye, has been in Darwinistic examples, the slow development from a light sensitive skin patch to the most complex development currently available.
    This is the Darwinistic approach.

    The sudden development of the brainpower of humans has not been explained in this fashion, some would declare.

    Your quotation from the APS seems an interesting idea.

    WTF do they know about microbiology, etc.?

  74. Ooo. Cherry picking.

    “Such acquisitions of complexity have always been difficult to explain by a simple Darwinian process” . . . if you don’t understand the mathematics of complexity like Dredd apparently doesn’t. “Possible” does not mean “actual”, “difficult” does not mean “impossible”, and one mechanism that can explain punctuated equilibrium does not mean there is only one mechanism.

    There.

    That’s better.

  75. id707,

    Luis P. Villarreal is a microbiologist. Dredd is just compounding his ignorance by cherry picking sentences he thinks backs his contention. Fallacy piled upon top of poorly integrated knowledge and even worse understood science.

  76. Dredd:

    the suggestion that certain viruses might be responsible for evolution of a species is very interesting. Are mutations in dna large enough to induce changes in an animal spontaneous or are they caused by either environmental chemicals or a particular virus?

  77. Bron 1, January 27, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Dredd:

    the suggestion that certain viruses might be responsible for evolution of a species is very interesting. Are mutations in dna large enough to induce changes in an animal spontaneous or are they caused by either environmental chemicals or a particular virus?
    =========================================
    It goes back to a time prior to the existence of DNA, back to pre-Cambrian, before the “Cambrian explosion” (a.k.a. Darwin’s Dilemma) of novel species and novel features:

    Abstract. New concepts and information from molecular developmental biology, systematics, geology and the fossil record of all groups of organisms, need to be integrated into an expanded evolutionary synthesis. These fields of study show that large-scale evolutionary phenomena cannot be understood solely on the basis of extrapolation from processes observed at the level of modern populations and species. Patterns and rates of evolution are much more varied than had been conceived by Darwin or the evolutionary synthesis, and physical factors of the earth’s history have had a significant, but extremely varied, impact on the evolution of life.

    “Until 530 million years ago, multicellular animals consisted primarily of simple, soft-bodied forms, most of which have been identified from the fossil record as cnidarians and sponges. Then, within less then 10 million years, almost all of the advanced phyla appeared, including echinoderms, chordates, annelids, brachiopods, molluscs and a host of arthropods.

    The extreme speed of anatomical change and adaptive radiation during this brief time period requires explanations that go beyond those proposed for the evolution of species within the modern biota.”

    (R. L. Carroll, “Towards a new evolutionary synthesis,” Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 15(1):27-32, 2000, emphasis added). That is exactly what evolutionary consideration of microbes in the evolutionary synthesis does.

    Microbial (includes prions, phages, viruses, and bacteria) creation and proliferation of RNA etc. provides a quick way, in evolutionary time scales, for the proliferation of genetic material, the development of oxygen, and other issues.

    I felt I needed to note and emphasize that the new viral theories I presented via quotes up-thread, which have scared some folks here and there, lean toward the hypothesis that viral evolution happened prior to single cell evolution.

    As you know, that is a departure from much of current evolutionary theory.

  78. idealist707 1, January 27, 2013 at 12:03 pm

    Dredd,

    The support, for example, for the development of complexities like the eye, has been in Darwinistic examples, the slow development from a light sensitive skin patch to the most complex development currently available.
    This is the Darwinistic approach.

    The sudden development of the brainpower of humans has not been explained in this fashion, some would declare.

    Your quotation from the APS seems an interesting idea.

    WTF do they know about microbiology, etc.?
    ======================================
    Not as much as Dr. The Greatest Gene, but remember this is rebel science, not the science of the flatulent Earth Society he hopes to preside over.

    The hypothesis presented in my quotes up-thread to the book “Viruses: Essential Agents of Life” is a plausible hypothesis that viruses developed RNA prior to single celled life, then developed DNA symbiotically, and therefore were able to engineer life forms that appear “suddenly” (Cambrian Explosion or Darwin’s Dilemma) over a small time scale, in evolutionary time scale (10-30 million years).

  79. Bron and Idealist707,

    Concerning scary stuff on T-Shirts.

    The links to all the papers cited are available at the rebel science site under the name Weekend Rebel Science Excursion – 13.

    WARNING: Don’t go there without first getting your standard issue pitchfork from Dr. The Greatest Gene.

    You might encounter some avenues that lead to scientists there …

  80. When dilemmas arise in the theory of the case during T-Shirt bad-word litigation, not-so-honest lawyers try to argue their way out of it in place of reasoning their way out of it.

    On the other hand, when honest scientists incur a dilemma in a hypothesis or theory, they try to science their way out of it.

    Dilemmas in Darwinian and other evolutionary biology are not an exception:

    Abstract. New concepts and information from molecular developmental biology, systematics, geology and the fossil record of all groups of organisms, need to be integrated into an expanded evolutionary synthesis. These fields of study show that large-scale evolutionary phenomena cannot be understood solely on the basis of extrapolation from processes observed at the level of modern populations and species. Patterns and rates of evolution are much more varied than had been conceived by Darwin or the evolutionary synthesis, and physical factors of the earth’s history have had a significant, but extremely varied, impact on the evolution of life.

    “Until 530 million years ago, multicellular animals consisted primarily of simple, soft-bodied forms, most of which have been identified from the fossil record as cnidarians and sponges. Then, within less then 10 million years, almost all of the advanced phyla appeared, including echinoderms, chordates, annelids, brachiopods, molluscs and a host of arthropods.

    The extreme speed of anatomical change and adaptive radiation during this brief time period requires explanations that go beyond those proposed for the evolution of species within the modern biota.”

    (R. L. Carroll, “Towards a new evolutionary synthesis,” Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 15(1):27-32, 2000, emphasis added). That is exactly what evolutionary consideration of microbes in the evolutionary synthesis does.

    Microbial creation and proliferation of RNA etc. provides a quick way, in evolutionary time scales, for the proliferation of genetic material, the development of oxygen, etc., which tend to be scientific approaches rather than ad hominem approaches that are infantile (cf. Have We Solved Darwin’s Dilemma?).

    Lub and police.

  81. dredd:

    I like this virus theory, I never believed that a fuggin whale came from an animal that just started spending more time in the water hunting for food so it went from an animal about 6′ long to 60′ long in the span of a few million years and became 100% aquatic.

    No way without a good deal more help than some minor pressure from a food source.

    And I dont give a good god dam what the experts think. those dumb asses also thought a good deal of what is now commonly accepted was wrong.

    The small minds of science have prevented many correct ideas to be many years longer than necessary in their acceptance. Postponing leaps forward in knowledge.

  82. “but remember this is rebel science,”

    In other words, science without enough proof to be accepted as anything other than theoretical by the biology community at large.

    “Patterns and rates of evolution are much more varied than had been conceived by Darwin”

    Except that Darwin didn’t come up with the idea of punctured equilibrium nor did your guys, Dredd. It was proposed by paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould based upon the fossil record. And again, that viruses may play a part in the phenomenon does not mean that they are the only mechanic responsible for it. Random mutation is just as likely a cause as are abrupt environmental changes (particularly those that select in for a recessive gene).

    “I felt I needed to note and emphasize that the new viral theories I presented via quotes up-thread, which have scared some folks here and there, lean toward the hypothesis that viral evolution happened prior to single cell evolution.”

    No. Some of us actually understand the science that you don’t. Also, no one has said viral “evolution” didn’t occur before prokaryotic or eukaryotic cell. Viruses aren’t alive in the biological sense though. They are at the cusp of abiotic and biotic chemistry. Something you gloss over and don’t understand as demonstrated above when you conflated microbes and viruses and thus illustrate your ignorance of even the basics of biology.

    The bottom line keeps coming back to that you are talking out of your ass when you talk (ad nauseum) about evolution let alone biology and chemistry. You simply don’t understand evolution any better than the microbiology you read. If you did, you’d realize all the work you point to as “proof” of you theory about viruses and microbes controlling the world not only supplements evolution but reinforces it, however, it does not supplant it. Natural selection and its many inputs (and the very real mathematics behind it) is not theory and it remains the primary explanation for adaptive evolution whether your “rebel science” confabulation likes it or not. The difference between what you preach and the idiocy that is Intelligent Design is a hair’s breadth. You just substitute viruses and microbes for God. Nothing “created” or “managed” any thing. The right kind of chemistry for life arose as a matter of chance that the Earth had enough liquid water, enough energy added to the system from the sun and volcanism, and the right chemicals in the right proportions for it to eventually come about as a matter of increasing molecular complexity arising over time as a matter of random combinations. Life is a fluke of the right things being at the right place under the right conditions for a long enough time for a stable biome to arise.

  83. Dredd:

    Gene makes some good points, a virus is not really alive per se. But I imagine you dont mean manage as in cognition and willful purpose do you?

    If so, then I must disagree, however evolution happened it was just probability. Earth was just lucky enough to have all of the right conditions for life to emerge. I like the statement by Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurrasic Park; “life will always find a way.”

  84. Saved from moderation. Hope have fixed the problem with a55hole.

    idealist7071, January 27, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    You guys fight a good battle. I see no need for me to characterize you respectively, but it is tempting to an old snarkerare.

    Oh well, since you didn’t ask:

    GeneH is the man who has read it all, “understood” it all (he may have in wider terms also) and puts it on the bookshelf (computer access line by line, tag for tag) and regards it a holy until some a55holy, who corresponding to a quantum physicist comes along and stirs up trouble. This is snarky of course.

    Dredd, is a brilliant enthusiast, who looks very effectively for material which supports his psychic needs to be a groundbreaking pioneer.
    He can’t read his comments with GeneH’s eyes while writing them.
    No other barbs pop up for the moment, mainly because I read Gene’s latest most recently. Saved by the weakness of my memory.

    I like Dredd’s wish for new insights and breadthroughs but the rigor of the establlished must be proven not true. I can’t any at all.
    I also long for the effective defenses from the established scientists, hinted at by GeneH

    Now I will retire, being a pup barking around the two dogs contending over a bone. My barks are ineffective and ridiculous.

    Will follow, while waiting for a popular level book aimed at my level of ignorance which illustrates either the ultimate triumph (for now) or the still ongoing struggles of the dogs.

    Doesn’t need colored pictures or graphs, although if carefully proof-read and understood by the illustrator, those are welcome also.

    Any suggestions?
    From both if I may ask.

    No answer needed. Perhaps like biotic life, time will solve it..

  85. Bron 1, January 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Dredd:

    Gene makes some good points, a virus is not really alive per se. But I imagine you dont mean manage as in cognition and willful purpose do you?

    If so, then I must disagree, however evolution happened it was just probability. Earth was just lucky enough to have all of the right conditions for life to emerge. I like the statement by Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurrasic Park; “life will always find a way.”
    ==========================================
    Scientists have gone back and forth about viruses and life:

    Virology was born in 1898, and has suffered from sampling bias ever since. For decades, viruses were defined by what they were not: not as big as a bacterium, not visible with a microscope, not culturable in the absence of a host … Today you can peruse any virology textbook and get the impression that less than two dozen viruses represent the entirety of Earth’s virosphere.

    Viruses: Essential Agents of Life (2012, Springer), edited by Günter Witzany, is a great way to kick off the next 100 years of virology, with nary a reductionist thought to be found within its 427 pages.

    (quoted from book review by ABS microbiologist). The point is that today’s textbooks about the subject are based on false data that scientists who specialize in virology and microbiology know is in error.

    But there is consensus that some are “alive” or must be considered as part of the web of life. The “not” alive begins with prions and most phages, however, the most developed viruses are considered to be of the web of life:

    The categorization of viruses as nonliving during much of the modern era of biological science has had an unintended consequence: it has led most researchers to ignore viruses in the study of evolution. Finally, however, scientists are beginning to appreciate viruses as fundamental players in the history of life. it is easy to see why viruses have been difficult to pigeonhole. They seem to vary with each lens applied to examine them. The initial interest in viruses stemmed from their association with diseases—the word “virus” has its roots in the Latin term for “poison.” In the late 19th century researchers realized that certain diseases, including rabies and foot-and-mouth, were caused by particles that seemed to behave like bacteria but were much smaller. Because they were clearly biological themselves and could be spread from one victim to another with obvious biological effects, viruses were then thought to be the simplest of all living, gene-bearing life-forms. Their demotion to inert chemicals came after 1935, when Wendell M. Stanley and his colleagues, at what is now the Rockefeller University in New York City, crystallized a virus—tobacco mosaic virus—for the first time. They saw that it consisted of a package of complex bio-chemicals. But it lacked essential systems necessary for metabolic functions, the biochemical activity of life.

    (Scientific American, Are Viruses Alive?, by Luis P. Villarreal, 2004). Viruses, the book argues, are ultimately important in evolutionary discussions.

    The issue that is called “Darwin’s Dilemma” is called that because Darwin wrote about it in Origin of Species, indicating that objections to his hypothesis could be made because of it:

    The Cambrian explosion, or Cambrian radiation, was the relatively rapid appearance, around 530 million years ago, of most major animal phyla, as demonstrated in the fossil record, accompanied by major diversification of organisms including animals, phytoplankton, and calcimicrobes. Before about 580 million years ago, most organisms were simple, composed of individual cells occasionally organized into colonies. Over the following 70 or 80 million years, the rate of evolution accelerated by an order of magnitude (as defined in terms of the extinction and origination rate of species[4]) and the diversity of life began to resemble that of today.[5]

    The Cambrian explosion has generated extensive scientific debate. The seemingly rapid appearance of fossils in the “Primordial Strata” was noted as early as the 1840s,[6] and in 1859 Charles Darwin discussed it as one of the main objections that could be made against his theory of evolution by natural selection.

    (Cambrian Explosion, Wikipedia). The virologists and microbiologists who did the book I quote from up-thread look to an explosion of activity in microbial evolution, generation of oxygen and development of RNA, then intense viral genetic activity as a hypothesis to fill that 10-50 million year “gap.”

  86. idealist707 1, January 27, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Will follow, while waiting for a popular level book aimed at my level of ignorance which illustrates either the ultimate triumph (for now) or the still ongoing struggles of the dogs.

    Doesn’t need colored pictures or graphs, although if carefully proof-read and understood by the illustrator, those are welcome also.

    Any suggestions?
    From both if I may ask.

    No answer needed. Perhaps like biotic life, time will solve it..
    =============================================
    Some folks think that Scientific American, Discover, and similar mags and on line sites, put it in a more readable form.

  87. Bron 1, January 27, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    Dredd:

    But I imagine you dont mean manage as in cognition and willful purpose do you?

    I mean what they mean, seeing as how the ideology comes from them, very seasoned evolutionary biologists, virologists, and microbiologists.
    ——————————————–
    If so, then I must disagree, however evolution happened it was just probability. Earth was just lucky enough to have all of the right conditions for life to emerge.

    There are a lot of states of mind that seem to be faith of a secular or a religious sort even though the writer did not intend it that way.
    ——————————————–
    I like the statement by Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurrasic Park; “life will always find a way.”

    One of the most famous evolutionists of our time (Ernst Mayr) feels that human intelligence was a “lethal mutation” so we would not be around long.

    I suppose then, some could also validly wonder if human intelligence is “life.”

    If the virologist evolutionists are right — and Mayr is also right — next time the viruses might not allow human intelligence eh?

  88. There is the unique problem of why identical twins have different fingerprints. One would think they would also be identical.

    One theory is that viruses change the genes a bit so, although identical, they can differ in specifics.

  89. ALL BOW BEFORE THE GREAT AND POWERFUL VIRUS!!! WORSHIP THE VIRUS!!! IT IS THE ONE TRUE GOD!!! IT MADE US ALL!!!

    Nitwit.

    Mathematics is the language of science but physics is the mother of everything.

    The Cambrian explosion was caused by nothing more mystifying than a complexity boundary being reached. RNA and DNA had finally grown complex enough for multi-cellular life to flourish into a multitude of morphologies. That’s the mathematics and physics of it. Quite simply the incomplete fossil record and chemical signatures remaining in Cambrian rocks that remain as evidence are insufficient to support any other theories but especially one that involves viruses and bacteria. The complexity threshold combined with other factors such as increased oxygen in the atmosphere and calcium in the oceans led to rapid diversifying morphologies. These rapidly diversifying morphologies in turn led to a “genetic arms race” between predator and prey species that further amplified the effects of the complexity boundary being exceeded. Complexity and confluence of environment alone are sufficient to bring about life. No “microbial/viral guiding force” required.

    Unless, of course, you’re battling for funding for your microbiology lab and its projects.

  90. Or you’re a scientific semi-literate with a boner looking for God in the microscopic world and willing to misunderstand and misrepresent whatever you need to rationalize your irrational belief to yourself.

  91. “… however evolution happenedEarth was just lucky enough to have all of the right conditions for life to emerge.”

    The survival of the fittest luckiest.

    All you bullies can now evolve into gamblers.

    A new kind of hit or miss.

    Whoopeee! science R us …

  92. Dredd:

    please dont think my slight disagreement with you is bullying. I actually do think viruses have played a larger role in evolution than believed.

    But I do think the universe is so because it has to be. In other words, it is the physics of the thing and it cannot be any other way.

  93. Bron,

    Have Dredd draw some the mystical forces that are just so that a universe like ours can exist at all.

    The net energy from fusing hydrogen is just enough to ignite the sun (0.0007), at 0.0006 it would not ignite, at 0.0008 it would explode and not be stable.

    He is better at explainning things than I am. There are popular books available. Check your library.

  94. Bron 1, January 28, 2013 at 8:09 am

    Dredd:

    please dont think my slight disagreement with you is bullying. I actually do think viruses have played a larger role in evolution than believed.

    I didn’t.
    ———————————————————-
    But I do think the universe is so because it has to be. In other words, it is the physics of the thing and it cannot be any other way.

    I there is no choice so it cannot be any other way, that leaves out both natural and unnatural selection.

    Darwinist bully priests will be shocked I tells ya, shocked!
    ==================================================
    idealist707 1, January 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm

    Bron,

    Have Dredd draw some the mystical forces that are just so that a universe like ours can exist at all.

    The net energy from fusing hydrogen is just enough to ignite the sun (0.0007), at 0.0006 it would not ignite, at 0.0008 it would explode and not be stable.

    He is better at explainning things than I am. There are popular books available. Check your library.
    =================================
    Dood, I already explained up-thread that microbes gave us fermentation.

  95. “Differential reproduction happens naturally as a function of DNA combining in diamorphic sex.”

    But not before microbes invented good sex.

    New scary T-Shirt: “Diamorphic sex is not good for babies.”

  96. Gene H. 1, January 25, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    Not a virus or microbe hater, Dredd. I’m just not in the extremist end of the pool when it comes to understanding their part in evolutionary processes. They are no more or no less important in shaping evolution than environment and genetics.
    ===================================
    Well that suggests that you did not read the scientific papers indicating that viruses produced both environment (oxygen) and genetics (RNA … XNA … then early DNA and most DNA lately).

    Oh well, code monkeys Cold Monkeys stay way north of the equatorial regions anyway, and may now be, or are scheduled to become extinct by Cambrian Explosion Sexual Diamorphism (it causes heartless attacks).

    Unless, of course, they are darwinian luckytroids (sex not needed).

    Dood, see yah down at The Greatest Gene Casino?

  97. The high level of oxygen in our atmosphere came from cyanobacteria, the first organisms to produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, not viruses. Viruses don’t photosynthesise. They aren’t complex enough nor do they have the need to produce carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water as a source of engery. The changes in eukaryotic cells that allowed photosynthesis to arise came about by endosymbiosis – a process of horizontal evolution where organelles inside the cyanobacteria originated as free-living bacteria (not viruses) that are taken inside another cell first as endosymbionts and are later genetically incorporated to the host cells to become true organelles.

    It is your failure to grasp the very basics of biology that undo you, Dredd.

  98. Gene H. 1, January 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    The high level of oxygen in our atmosphere came from cyanobacteria, the first organisms to produce oxygen as a byproduct of photosynthesis, not viruses. Viruses don’t photosynthesise. They aren’t complex enough nor do they have the need to produce carbohydrates from carbon dioxide and water as a source of engery. The changes in eukaryotic cells that allowed photosynthesis to arise came about by endosymbiosis – a process of horizontal evolution where organelles inside the cyanobacteria originated as free-living bacteria (not viruses) that are taken inside another cell first as endosymbionts and are later genetically incorporated to the host cells to become true organelles.

    It is your failure to grasp the very basics of biology that undo you, Dredd.
    ==================================
    Yes, the viruses, under the hypothesis that they evolved first, (which is one of three main hypotheses on the subject, but two others say viruses evolved after simple cells) will have been agents that made other microbes possible.

    I was making statements about the virus first hypothesis. If they developed first then they learned replication or reproduction first. They did RNA or DNA first as well.

    The endosymbiosis theory is well accepted now, but there is dispute and controversy about which came first the virus or the bacterium.

    Time will hopefully tell:

    In our opinion, this proposal, together with definition of viruses as capsid encoding organisms … clarifies the concept of a virus and should have implications for the question of their origin … We will briefly come back below to the history of concepts related to the nature of viruses …

    (Patrick Forterre and Mart Krupovic, listed in my comment up-thread).

  99. The Virus-First Hypothesis:

    The progressive and regressive hypotheses both assume that cells existed before viruses. What if viruses existed first? Recently, several investigators proposed that viruses may have been the first replicating entities. Koonin and Martin (2005) postulated that viruses existed in a precellular world as self-replicating units. Over time these units, they argue, became more organized and more complex. Eventually, enzymes for the synthesis of membranes and cell walls evolved, resulting in the formation of cells. Viruses, then, may have existed before bacteria, archaea, or eukaryotes (Figure 4; Prangishvili et al. 2006).

    (The Origins of Viruses). The general evolutionary dogma indicates that evolution moves in the direction from simple to complex, not the other way around.

    That is why I currently favor the virus first hypothesis.

  100. Gene H. 1, January 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

    In other words, you didn’t know what you were talking about. Again. Nice attempt at a recovery though.
    ===========================
    I pity those who have to live with you. Your conversations indicate you may suffer from something akin to Coprolalia.

  101. Having a problem understanding the word “may” and the fact that the fossil record won’t support your contentions? Awww. Having problems coming to terms with the fact that viruses aren’t alive but exist on the cusp between abiotic and biotic chemistry?

    And I could not possibly care less what you think of me personally, Dredd.

    If you don’t like having holes poked in your delusional theories about the God the Virus? Maybe you should constrain yourself to babbling about it to your inane blog that you are constantly pimping.

  102. The cyanobacteria hypothesis for the origin of oxygen has some problems:

    “Without the Great Oxidation Event [a dramatic rise of oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere some 2.3 billion years ago], we would not be here. No dinosaurs, no fish, no snakes – just a lot of microorganisms.”

    The conventional theory of how oxygen accumulated in the atmosphere focused on the burial of organic matter in seafloor sediments that later hardened into rock.

    Cyanobacteria are microbes that live primarily in seawater. They are believed to have been the first organisms on Earth to perform oxygenic photosynthesis. In this process, they produce organic carbon, the building blocks of life’s molecules, and release oxygen gas (O2). The O2 enters into the seawater, and from there some of it escapes into the atmosphere.

    When these microbes die, their remains become buried in seafloor sediment. Their decomposition removes oxygen from seawater, and in turn, from the atmosphere.

    As the carbon-burial theory goes, when organic material is buried, oxygen becomes available to build up in the atmosphere. So perhaps there was a sudden increase 2.3 billion years ago in the amount of organic carbon that was buried, leaving more free oxygen.

    But there’s a glitch: Studies have shown that the amount of buried carbon found in sedimentary rocks remained constant during the early stages of the Great Oxidation Event. So a change in the carbon-burial rate can’t explain the buildup of oxygen in the atmosphere.

    “If the Earth’s early microbial mats acted similarly to modern ones we studied, they may have pumped a thousand times more hydrogen into the atmosphere than did volcanoes and hydrothermal vents, the other main sources,” Hoehler said at the time.

    Scientists are making progress on understanding the Great Oxidation Event, but still greater mysteries remain to be unraveled in the saga of oxygen on Earth.

    “Although we think we know when oxygen first appeared and rose, we know very little about its rise to the present level, especially about the relationship between atmospheric oxygen and the development of animals,” says Catling

    (The Rise of Oxygen, Astrobiology Magazine, emphasis added). If the virus first theory grabs hold, I expect another look will be taken at the various and conflicting hypotheses concerning the the Great Oxidation Event (GOE).

    A viral source is a reasonable suspect, since they were and are the greatest population on Earth.

  103. Again with not understanding the word “may”, a lack of fossil evidence and an attempt to change the subject which was photosynthesis, not carbon burial, as the source of early oxygen.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=origin-of-oxygen-in-atmosphere

    Oxygen came from biotic life, not viruses. That we are uncertain as to the mechanisms that govern the atmosphere’s oxygen level is irrelevant to the fact that photosynthesis is the chemical mechanism that creates it. Again, viruses do not photosynthesise.

  104. In my quote up-thread, which coprolalia sufferers probably missed, to wit:

    Cyanobacteria, which appeared about 200 million years before the GOE, [Great Oxygen Event] began producing oxygen by photosynthesis.

    Likewise my statement concerning viral participation in the advent of oxygen:

    Microbial (includes prions, phages, viruses, and bacteria) creation and proliferation of RNA etc. provides a quick way, in evolutionary time scales, for the proliferation of genetic material, the development of oxygen, and other issues.

    Had to do with another GOE just before the Cambrian:

    There is evidence that oxygen levels also rose 1.3 billion years ago and again before the Cambrian Explosion, a rapid proliferation of animal life that began 540 million years ago. Some researchers believe increasing levels of atmospheric oxygen helped trigger the Cambrian Explosion.

    Catling says the reason for those rises in atmospheric oxygen “is even more of a mystery than the first one.”

    “There were huge ice ages [Snowball Earth events] just before the Cambrian Explosion, but also associated with the Great Oxidation Event,” Holland says. “It is important to have a much better understanding of those events and the history of life.”

    Kasting, Catling, Des Marais, Hoehler and Holland are members of the NASA Astrobiology Institute so those issues have special relevance for them.

    (ibid, The Rise of Oxygen, emphasis added). Reasonable people (excludes certain coprolalia sufferers) are honest enough not to dogmatically claim we know the exact source of oxygen at the Cambrian Explosion, and the much earlier GOE.

    And they are honest enough to read and criticize in context when they read other hypotheses from their fellows, such as those scientists who have advanced the “viruses first hypothesis.”

    New T-Shirt: “Coprolalia Sufferers are Infallible.”

  105. An abiotic theory for the GOE hypothesizes:

    Pennsylvania State University atmospheric scientist Jim Kasting proposed a decade ago that Earth gained an oxygen-rich atmosphere because molecular hydrogen belched out by volcanoes diffused into space.

    At first, that doesn’t seem to make sense. If volcanoes were putting out hydrogen, and cyanobacteria were pumping out oxygen, why wouldn’t they just combine to form water and be done with it?

    Actually, that did occur to some extent. But Kasting believes more of the oxygen produced by photosynthesis ended up buried within Earth’s mantle, the layer beneath the crust, before the hydrogen could get to it. He is not sure how, but cites three theories:

    (1) oxygen reacted with iron in seawater, and the resulting iron oxide precipitated onto the seafloor, then was buried deep within the Earth;

    (2) oxygen-rich water in seafloor sediments was buried within the Earth, leaving oxygen in the mantle when the water’s hydrogen was belched out by volcanoes; and

    (3) oxygen-rich sulfates in undersea hot springs reacted with iron in seafloor sediments, which were buried to put oxygen into the mantle.

    (ibid, The Rise of Oxygen). Furthermore, we are not talking about original “creation” of oxygen:

    Carbon and oxygen were not created in the Big Bang, but rather much later in stars. All of the carbon and oxygen in all living things are made in the nuclear fusion reactors that we call stars.

    (Understanding the Evolution of Life in the Universe 101). What we are talking about is a viral activity that could happen whether one argues that viruses are alive or not alive.

    Stars are not alive and they create the oxygen, so it is not unthinkable that viruses could manipulate oxygen, since the manipulate molecules, cells, RNA, and DNA.

  106. The bottom line is that viruses don’t photosynthesise by themselves – they aren’t complicated enough – nor are they life. Cells photosynthesise.

  107. On a positive note, MIT researchers have built viruses that in some way mimic photosynthesis by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen, however, they fail to produce the useful byproducts because they end up breaking them down to their component atoms and protons. But that is an engineered virus, not a natural occurring one. There are indeed other ways to chemically produce oxygen, including fusion, but in Earth’s biome the majority of the job was done by cyanobacteria – cellular life.

  108. A natural link from virus to cyanobacteria and oxygen:

    The researchers have identified the genetic codes of these viruses using molecular techniques and discovered that some of them are responsible for providing the genetic material that codes for key components of photosynthesis machinery [in cyanobacteria].

    Viruses may also help to spread useful genes for photosynthesis from one strain of bacteria to another.

    The study provides new insight into the role that viruses play in both the processes of evolution, and in making our planet a habitable environment for living organisms.

    (Astrobiology Magazine, emphasis added). The list of scientists going with the virus-first hypothesis is growing:

    I note the growing evidence for the theory that viruses arose before the Last Universal Cellular Ancestor (LUCA). This ancient origin theory is supported by the presence of capsid architectures that are conserved among diverse viral taxa, including among RNA and DNA viruses, and the strongly inverse relationship between genome size and mutation rate across all replication systems, such that pre-LUCA genomes were probably both small and highly error prone and hence RNA virus-like. I also highlight the advances that are needed to come to a better understanding of virus origins, most notably the ability to accurately infer deep evolutionary history from the phylogenetic analysis of conserved protein structures.

    (What does virus evolution tell us about virus origins?, Edward C. Holmes, Journal of Virology, J. Virol. doi:10.1128/JVI.02203-10, Mar. 2011).

  109. The earliest version of the hypothesis:

    Several genes coding for key proteins involved in viral replication and morphogenesis as well as the major capsid protein of icosahedral virions are shared by many groups of RNA and DNA viruses but are missing in cellular life forms.

    On the basis of this key observation and the data on extensive genetic exchange between diverse viruses, we propose the concept of the ancient virus world. The virus world is construed as a distinct contingent of viral genes that continuously retained its identity throughout the entire history of life. Under this concept, the principal lineages of viruses and related selfish agents emerged from the primordial pool of primitive genetic elements, the ancestors of both cellular and viral genes.

    Thus, notwithstanding the numerous gene exchanges and acquisitions attributed to later stages of evolution, most, if not all, modern viruses and other selfish agents are inferred to descend from elements that belonged to the primordial genetic pool.;

    In this pool, RNA viruses would evolve first, followed by retroid elements, and DNA viruses. The Virus World concept is predicated on a model of early evolution whereby emergence of substantial genetic diversity antedates the advent of full-fledged cells, allowing for extensive gene mixing at this early stage of evolution.

    We outline a scenario of the origin of the main classes of viruses in conjunction with a specific model of precellular evolution under which the primordial gene pool dwelled in a network of inorganic compartments. Somewhat paradoxically, under this scenario, we surmise that selfish genetic elements ancestral to viruses evolved prior to typical cells, to become intracellular parasites once bacteria and archaea arrived at the scene.

    Selection against excessively aggressive parasites that would kill off the host ensembles of genetic elements would lead to early evolution of temperate virus-like agents and primitive defense mechanisms, possibly, based on the RNA interference principle.

    The emergence of the eukaryotic cell is construed as the second melting pot of virus evolution from which the major groups of eukaryotic viruses originated as a result of extensive recombination of genes from various bacteriophages, archaeal viruses, plasmids, and the evolving eukaryotic genomes.

    Again, this vision is predicated on a specific model of the emergence of eukaryotic cell under which archaeo-bacterial symbiosis was the starting point of eukaryogenesis, a scenario that appears to be best compatible with the data.

    (“The ancient Virus World and evolution of cells“, 2006, by Eugene V Koonin, Tatiana G Senkevich, and Valerian V Dolja). These folks are or were from:

    National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, USA (Koonin)

    Laboratory of Viral Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20894, USA (Senkevich)

    Department of Botany and Plant Pathology and Center for Genome Research and Biocomputing, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA (Dolja)

    (ibid).

  110. A mechanism for horizontal evolution and evidence of increasing complexity but not directed design. Anything else you’d like to add that supports what I said?

  111. Scary T-Shirt: “I Can Fly”

    The evolution of evolution:

    JUST suppose that Darwin’s ideas were only a part of the story of evolution. Suppose that a process he never wrote about, and never even imagined, has been controlling the evolution of life throughout most of the Earth’s history.

    It may sound preposterous, but this is exactly what microbiologist Carl Woese and physicist Nigel Goldenfeld, both at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, believe. Darwin’s explanation of evolution, they argue, even in its sophisticated modern form, applies only to a recent phase of life on Earth.

    At the root of this idea is overwhelming recent evidence for horizontal gene transfer – in which organisms acquire genetic material “horizontally” from other organisms around them, rather than vertically from their parents or ancestors. The donor organisms may not even be the same species. This mechanism is already known to play a huge role in the evolution of microbial genomes, but its consequences have hardly been explored. According to Woese and Goldenfeld, they are profound, and horizontal gene transfer alters the evolutionary process itself. Since micro-organisms represented most of life on Earth for most of the time that life has existed – billions of years, in fact – the most ancient and prevalent form of evolution probably wasn’t Darwinian at all, Woese and Goldenfeld say.

    Strong claims, but others are taking them seriously. “Their arguments make sense and their conclusion is very important,” says biologist Jan Sapp of York University in Toronto, Canada. “The process of evolution just isn’t what most evolutionary biologists think it is.”

    (Archeology Daily). And we haven’t even considered abiotic evolution.

  112. Horizontal gene transfers are nothing more than another input to natural selection, but still they provide no evidence of directed design (which is the heart of your contention). “Darwin’s explanation of evolution, they argue, even in its sophisticated modern form, applies only to a recent phase of life on Earth.” A statement which comports with what I’ve been saying: Darwinian evolution applies to cellular life. What you are talking about before cellular life is chemistry, not biology. That is what the word abiotic means:

    abiotic /ˌeɪbʌɪˈɒtɪk/, adj.,
    physical rather than biological; not derived from living organisms:

    Unless, of course, you want to argue with the Oxford English Dictionary to make up your own meaning as you are wont to do.

    Natural selection, however, is another proposition. “[T[he most ancient and prevalent form of evolution probably wasn’t Darwinian at all, Woese and Goldenfeld say.” Which is where they – and you and everyone else in the extremist symbiosis camp – go wrong in understanding the full implications of natural selection. Even if you ignore the fact that viruses are not alive and look at simple or single celled organisms, in horizontal gene transfers the mutation that provides benefit will prevail over the mutation that does not and it is still not the only way of altering genes. In this way horizontal gene transfers are no different from any other input into natural selection.

    You probably shouldn’t read cosmology you don’t understand either. It leads you to include quotes such as this in your reference: “Rose indicates that focus one only one molecule, the DNA molecule, the gene, leads down inaccurate pathways; the solution is to see the organism as an entire functioning entity with equal emphasis on the parts, not unequal emphasis on the genetics alone” . . . which is something anyone with a modern complex understanding of natural selection as a process will tell you. Because what Rose is saying is what I’ve been telling you all along:

    No one input to natural selection is dominant and there are multiple inputs.

  113. shano,

    Because that is the limit of our current technology in manipulating DNA. Some day, hopefully soon, direct editing of DNA using nanotechnology will become practical and we’ll be able to edit DNA like editing a magnetic tape using tools that have less chance of error or superfluous code. However, I do share your concerns with GMO crops.

  114. Gene H. 1, January 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Horizontal gene transfers …

    Unless, of course, you want to argue with the Oxford English Dictionary to make up your own meaning as you are wont to do.
    ====================================
    No, it is reality I am dealing with, which you would do well to emulate.

    Horizontal transfers of genes presupposes existing entities to which the genes can be transferred to and from.

    Therein lies the problem.

    The two GEO events as well as the two “life explosions” (e.g. Cambrian and the one prior to that) require an existing LUCA that is in very, very great abundance.

    The virus first hypothesis is an attempt to explain first the explosion of quantities of entities that can thereafter horizontally move genes among themselves.

    The microbes in the form of prions, phages, and viruses are uniquely capable of that, compared to prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells which do little if any horizontal gene transfer on their own.

    Especially if they didn’t yet exist until much later.

    Whether the prions, phages, and viruses can free oxygen so it ends up in the atmosphere too is being explored further.

  115. “compared to prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells which do little if any horizontal gene transfer on their own.”

    Except for the entire process of endosymbiosis.

    “The microbes in the form of prions, phages, and viruses are uniquely capable of that”

    Again, microbes are microrganisms. They are alive. One can argue that a virus is on the cusp of being a microrganism and abiotic chemistry, but prions and phages? Not even close to being alive. They are scraps of protein particles even simpler than a virus.

    Really, it’s embarrassing how you blow the basics of biology. You also act as if horizontal gene transfers are something new when they are not. The idea of endosymbiosis has been around since the turn of the 20th Century, before even Crick and Watson laid out the basis for the modern genetic model.

    And none – none – of what you say supports the idea of directed design in higher organisms. That, Dredd, is a fantasy about as far from reality as one can get.

Comments are closed.