Evolution doesn’t require experimental verification?

Recently, I have been awestruck by the statement of one of the “reputable” regulars at TSZ that evolutionary theory doesn’t need to be subjected to any experimental testing or experimental verification…

How do you like that?

He erroneously used the famous experiment that verified Einstein’s prediction of gravity’s ability to bend light. Here are the details:
See? Experiments don’t need to be run in the lab, and they can still be valid experiments.

While this kind of statement is nothing new to me that Darwinists deny or ignore the need for the experimental verification of their evolutionary claims, on the other hand, they demand ID to be subjected to the scientific method processes for their claims to be verified…Hypocrisy at its best…

So, why can’t evolution be tested?

For those who are not well familiarized with the scientific method, it is probably a good idea to review some of the requirements of the scientific theory, or hypothesis, just to realize what an impossible task Darwinists would face even if they would like to verify their evolutionary speculations by experiments… While the definitions of the scientific method vary slightly depending on where you look, most scientific methods of a theory or a hypothesis need to meet the 3 main criteria:

  1. It needs to be observable (one kind of animal evolving into another: organs in transition, the third hand evolving to hold the cellphone while I’m driving)
  2. It needs to make accurate predictions (If we tweak this gene this is going to begin to evolve, such as a change the body plans from 5 pound land walking animal to 50 ton whale)
  3. It needs to be replicated by experiments (bacteria without a flagellum put under selective pressure to evolve something resembling a flagellum or a propeller…

Anyone who has been following TSZ and my OPs knows that my calling on the supporters of evolution to help their belief system to meet the criteria of a scientific theory or scientific hypothesis is not new… The public admission by some that evolution doesn’t need to be subjected to experimental testing reached the new, unacceptable levels of ignorance by Darwinists, especially in the view of their arrogant insistence that ID would be subjected to experimental testing to be proven as a scientific theory or hypothesis…

Darwinists either don’t know, or choose not to know, but if they subjected evolution to experimental testing they could prove their theory or hypothesis right and, at the same time, ID wrong…

So, why not do it?

I guess the only explanation for the phenomenon is that Darwinists have not much faith in their own beliefs… It is just used as a facade to make their s”intelligence” look less ludicrous…

339 Replies to “Evolution doesn’t require experimental verification?”

  1. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain:

    CharlieM: Yet another poster who was trained at the Monty Python School of Arguments

    You merely asserted it, I merely asserted otherwise. That was kind of the point. Glad you noticed.

    I did not merely assert it. I did not just say that the zygote developes in an intelligent way, I backed it up by relating it to artificial intelligence and I also provided a link to the work of embryologist Jaap van der Wal

    The field of artificial intelligence demonstrates that consciousness is not needed for intelligence. How many of us have smart phones and smart TVs and all sorts of other smart gadgets?

    CharlieM: With assistance from the environment which is the womb of its mother.

    Give an example of a decision that this “intelligence” is making. Demonstrate why it is not chemistry, but a deliberate choice from similar alternatives not driven by chemical pathways.

    This paper, Anatomy of a blastocyst: cell behaviors driving cell fate choice and morphogenesis in the early mouse embryo, gives us a good insight into what is known and what is not known about the development of a zygote.

    Here is an example of part of the process that is not very well understood:

    One of the biggest questions that arises from the observations of these early steps of lineage commitment is how the transition from a state of Nanog and Gata6 co-expression to a mutually exclusive salt-and-pepper state is achieved. The identity of the inducing factor or event that shifts the balance towards PrE or EPI within any individual cell of the seemingly homogenous ICM is to date unknown.

    But they are fairly confident they know that:

    EPI versus PrE lineage allocation within the ICM is linked to the dynamics of gene regulatory networks driving the proper temporal and spatial expression of lineage-specific transcription factors

    For those who don’t know, ICM is the inner cell mass, PrE is the extra-embryonic primitive endoderm, and EPI is the pluripotent epiblast.

    Genes are not found to be in overall control of dynamic networks.

    Of course chemistry is involved in the process. It is not the chemistry but the way that the developing embryo uses this chemistry that allows it to develop in a normal way. I would call this unconscious intentionality, there is an inner purpose to the activities of the cells. There is a purpose to genes being turned on and turned off, being expressed and suppressed depending on circumstances. I call this intelligence.

  2. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: There is a purpose to genes being turned on and turned off, being expressed and suppressed depending on circumstances. I call this intelligence.

    Then you need to find a new word.

  3. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain:

    CharlieM: It is not the chemistry but the way that the developing embryo uses this chemistry that allows it to develop in a normal way. I would call this unconscious intentionality, there is an inner purpose to the activities of the cells. There is a purpose to genes being turned on and turned off, being expressed and suppressed depending on circumstances. I call this intelligence.

    Then you need to find a new word.

    So do you also view as inappropriate the ubiquitous use of the term intelligent as applied to inanimate objects?

    What do you think about Sophia the robot? If you have never heard of it (her) here is a video to watch.
    In the 22nd minute David Hanson of Hanson Robotics LTD, says:

    If you look at every example of intelligence that exists in nature. That would be not just humans, but animals, plants exhibit some form of intelligence, single celled organisms in some regards are more intelligent than any robot on the planet today. And they operate as complex systems with a whole architecture

    What about microbial intelligence? Do you believe that there is such a thing?

    Could it be you who has a very narrow view of what “intelligence” means or is that not an option?

  4. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: Genes are the means by which organisms produce substances, they do not produce form. If an organism requires a certain amount of substance in a certain location then it will manipulate its genes accordingly. There is no such thing as a gene for this trait or a gene for that trait. There are genes that need to be expressed in bringing about the appearance of certain traits, but that is not the same thing.

    It gets difficult to follow your train of thought. Bringing about the appearance of a trait is not the same as producing form? That doesn’t make sense to me. I also don’t see the relevance of this Jaap van der Wal story that you keep bringing up.

    CharlieM: It’s all relative. Organisms are complicated and building up their bodies are complicated processes in which the genes need to be manipulated in complicated ways.

    You have managed to cram the word “complicated” three times into a single sentence. Cheers!

    Not sure whether you answered my question, though.

    CharlieM: Wolves are not turned into chihuahuas by altering genes here and there. The changes occur at the body level, the body along with its compliment of genes is the entity that is “selected” to play its part in the ongoing viability of the population.

    Sure, wolves and chihuahuas are organisms, and genes are part of the package. Perhaps the words “phenotype” and “genotype” are useful to you. The compliment of genes = genotype (sorta) and the entity that is selected = phenotype. The interactions between genotype and environment determine the phenotype. Selection acts on the phenotype. Fits your description quite nicely.

    Oh, and selection feeds back onto the population to change its genetic composition! I will see your holistic view of the organism and raise it to the population level. 🙂

  5. Rumraket Rumraket
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: Genes are the means by which organisms produce substances, they do not produce form.

    Wrong. You’ve been saying this manifestly and obviously wrong thing for years and it’s never stopped being wrong.

    Form is produced by the interaction of genes with the intra and extracellular environment. Tissues grow by cells dividing. Cells differentiate by detecting certain local conditions, which in turn interact with transcription factors, which then alter gene expression patterns. It’s a continuous interplay between the genes and the intra and extracellular environment in growing and dividing cells that produce form.

    Mutate the genes encoding the transcription factors, or mutate the binding spots, or mutate the proteins coding genes themselves, and you can alter how these developmental cascades behave.

  6. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel:

    CharlieM: Genes are the means by which organisms produce substances, they do not produce form. If an organism requires a certain amount of substance in a certain location then it will manipulate its genes accordingly. There is no such thing as a gene for this trait or a gene for that trait. There are genes that need to be expressed in bringing about the appearance of certain traits, but that is not the same thing.

    It gets difficult to follow your train of thought. Bringing about the appearance of a trait is not the same as producing form? That doesn’t make sense to me.

    Bringing about the appearance of a trait can be the same as producing form, but, obviously, only if the trait in question is physical. We know that genes provide some of the material of the body (the polypeptides), and we know that DNA and RNA is manipulated in all sorts of ways, so it is obvious that DNA is essential for building and maintaining bodies. But to use these observations to argue that DNA causes form is unjustified speculation. Do you think that anyone has observed genes creating form?

    I also don’t see the relevance of this Jaap van der Wal story that you keep bringing up.

    I have TSZ to thank for bringing van der Wal to my attention. Questions I was asked prompted me to do a bit of searching and I stumbled on his work. He is an embryologist, anatomist and phenomenalist in the Goethean sense. I realised that the way he thought about development and evolution was very similar to my own thinking. And I have quoted him because he puts things across a lot better than I ever could. A major argument of his is that an organism should be regarded as a whole, complete within itself, at all stages of its life from zygote to death in the case of eukaryotes.
    He has overturned long held assumptions about fascia and the skeleton/muscular system.

    CharlieM: It’s all relative. Organisms are complicated and building up their bodies are complicated processes in which the genes need to be manipulated in complicated ways.

    You have managed to cram the word “complicated” three times into a single sentence. Cheers!

    Not sure whether you answered my question, though.

    What can I say, life is complicated at all levels.

    You asked: “Does that mean that you concede that changes in quantitative traits are not necessarily trivial adjustments of existing traits?”
    By changes in quantitative traits do you mean quantitative changes in traits? The appearance of limb bones is less trivial than the change in size of existing bones. Put it this way, a zoologist would be much more exited to find a pig with wings than to find a pig which was more massive than any previously recorded pig.

    CharlieM: Wolves are not turned into chihuahuas by altering genes here and there. The changes occur at the body level, the body along with its compliment of genes is the entity that is “selected” to play its part in the ongoing viability of the population.

    Sure, wolves and chihuahuas are organisms, and genes are part of the package. Perhaps the words “phenotype” and “genotype” are useful to you. The compliment of genes = genotype (sorta) and the entity that is selected = phenotype. The interactions between genotype and environment determine the phenotype. Selection acts on the phenotype. Fits your description quite nicely.

    Can you demonstate to me how the interactions between genotype and environment determine the phenotype? How does the the chemical composition of DNA, which is a fairly inert molecule buried within the nucleus of the cell, interact with the environment?

  7. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: But to use these observations to argue that DNA causes form is unjustified speculation. Do you think that anyone has observed genes creating form?

    “DNA causes form” is not a phrase I would use. But it is a fact that the vast majority of variation in morphology, both within and between species, is caused by genetic differences. I consider it a given that the expression of heritable variation is embedded in some organismal context, so no need to convince me that organisms are important.

    CharlieM: A major argument of his is that an organism should be regarded as a whole, complete within itself, at all stages of its life from zygote to death in the case of eukaryotes.

    That’s nice, but I don’t believe I have argued otherwise.

    CharlieM: By changes in quantitative traits do you mean quantitative changes in traits? The appearance of limb bones is less trivial than the change in size of existing bones. Put it this way, a zoologist would be much more exited to find a pig with wings than to find a pig which was more massive than any previously recorded pig.

    A quantitative trait is a trait that can be measured on a continuous scale. Pigmentation, femur length, and intelligence all fit the bill. Pigs with wings are somewhat hard to come by, but bats have wings. As I have argued before, bats wings were shaped by quantitative changes in the properties of existing skeletal structures. These changes allowed the introduction of flight into the mammal lineage. Therefore I argue contra the claim that natural selection can only change the frequency of existing traits and is incapable of introducing novelty. Without any luck so far, it appears.

    CharlieM: Can you demonstate to me how the interactions between genotype and environment determine the phenotype? How does the the chemical composition of DNA, which is a fairly inert molecule buried within the nucleus of the cell, interact with the environment?

    We just had a OP dedicated to phenotypic plasticity. You can check out some examples of interaction between genotype and environment in bringing about a specific phenotype by following the link that Nonlin provided.

    As for the mechanism by which DNA interacts with the environment; I am surprised that you ask. You must be aware that DNA is expressed by transcription and translation of genes. The gene products (RNA and protein) interact with the cellular environment; Some of them have even specifically evolved for this task, e.g. receptor molecules. This you already know no doubt, so why ask?

  8. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel: “DNA causes form” is not a phrase I would use.

    Do we even know what causes form? When it comes to evolutionary theory, does it even matter what causes form or what the sources of variation is?

  9. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    It’s Jesus, Mung, Jesus.

  10. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: When it comes to evolutionary theory, does it even matter what causes form or what the sources of variation is?

    Did Glenn Beck Rape And Murder A Young Girl In 1990?

    Just asking.

  11. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung: Do we even know what causes form? When it comes to evolutionary theory, does it even matter what causes form or what the sources of variation is?

    Of course it matters. We want to explain biodiversity.

  12. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM,

    Do you think that anyone has observed genes creating form?

    An enormous amount of work has been done on the role of genes in form. A very good lay treatment is Carroll’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful. It has been discovered – to some surprise – that the same few genes, whose chromosomal order mirrors the segmental order, underlie form in worms, arthropods and vertebrates. Change these genes and you get some grotesque misrepresentations of ‘form’.

    And yet you will continue to deny that form has anything to do with genes. It becomes mere obtuseness after a while.

  13. Mung Mung
    Ignored
    says:

    I’m working on a book, Endless Genes Most Beautifying.

  14. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung:
    I’m working on a book, Endless Genes Most Beautifying.

    I look forward to it. It may contain more substance than your contributions here.

  15. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Mung,

    Nightwish, incidentally …

  16. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: It has been discovered – to some surprise – that the same few genes, whose chromosomal order mirrors the segmental order, underlie form in worms, arthropods and vertebrates. Change these genes and you get some grotesque misrepresentations of ‘form’.

    Surprise surprise. And its all accidental!

    Well, plus drive, draft, transposition, recombination, speciation, introgression, coevolution, interacting levels of selection, pleiotropy, epistasis, transition-transversion bias, gene flow, hybridisation, endosymbiosis, WGD, karyotype change, phylogeny inference, molecular clock and so on, and so on, and so on……

  17. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Rumraket:

    CharlieM: Genes are the means by which organisms produce substances, they do not produce form.

    Wrong. You’ve been saying this manifestly and obviously wrong thing for years and it’s never stopped being wrong.

    Form is produced by the interaction of genes with the intra and extracellular environment. Tissues grow by cells dividing. Cells differentiate by detecting certain local conditions, which in turn interact with transcription factors, which then alter gene expression patterns. It’s a continuous interplay between the genes and the intra and extracellular environment in growing and dividing cells that produce form.

    Mutate the genes encoding the transcription factors, or mutate the binding spots, or mutate the proteins coding genes themselves, and you can alter how these developmental cascades behave.

    Well most of what you have written here is true, but we need to look at it in much more detail to get a better understanding of what is actually happening.

    You say that there is an “interaction of genes with the intra and extracellular environment”. So we should look carefully at this action of the genes in order to determine in what way they can be said to act and in what way they can be said to be acted upon.

    Look at the PAX3 gene in humans for example:

    Studies suggest that the PAX3 protein is also necessary for the normal development of bones in the face and skull (craniofacial bones) and elsewhere in the body, and for the formation of muscle tissue (myogenesis)

    So it’s an ideal gene for us to look at. Wikipedia tells us that:

    The human PAX3 gene is located in the 2q36.1 chromosomal region, and contains 10 exons within a 100 kb region.

    This gene just sits in place within the chromosome until such time as it is needed and then a host of nano ‘machines’ and various other proteins start their work. In order to produce the polypeptides from the gene RNA polymerase, which is very complex molecular ‘machine’, must work on the gene. The mRNA obtained from the gene is transported out of the nucleus where it is acted upon by another very complex ‘machine’, the ribosome and the protein is synthesised with all the accompanying actions such as post-translational modification (ie phosphorylation) and alternative splicing.

    The gene does very little interacting, it is a passive partner which is acted upon in precise ways.

    Transcription factors act on this gene and the product obtained by the work done on this gene is itself a transcription factor. Note this carefully it is the transcription factors in combination with other polypeptides and protein complexes that act on genes.

    From Georgia Institute of Technology

    How transcription factors travel through DNA has been a mystery, because the protein molecules are so large, and natural DNA is so tightly tangled. Spaces inside the windings are usually much smaller than the transcription factors that need to pass through them.

    And here at last we see some activity on the part of the DNA. But it is not the actions of individual genes, but the action of the DNA en masse.

    The Georgia Institute of Technology report continues:

    But Skolnick and collaborator Edmond Chow, a computer scientist specializing in algorithms that tackle very large scientific questions, believe the widely held assumption that naturally occurring DNA is rigid like bars is false. Their simulations turn the bars into wires, tense like watch springs, that flex and rattle around with snake-like motions. “The DNA motion is far and away the dominant force moving molecules through its thicket,” Skolnick said. “DNA is a bully.”

    Only those with a mechanistic view of the content of chromosomes would ever have assumed that this was “rigid like bars”. It is living substance, always in movement, never still. Although I’m not sure how the rattling DNA manages to get all the necessary transcription factors to move through the mega-thicket in the right direction in order to find their targets.

  18. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: Only those with a mechanistic view of the content of chromosomes would ever have assumed that this was “rigid like bars”.

    Reminds me of the banner that UD had for many many years with their idealised version of a bacterial flagellum that looked very much like a motor.

    I would suspect that working at the “sharp” end in biology quickly disabuses you of such notions regarding rigid DNA or expecting flagellum to look like motors.

    They are probably indeed widely held views but I’d suggest that the people holding those views hold them because it makes no difference to them, and when it starts to matter then they’ll care about the actual mechanics rather then their assumptions.

    As, after all, it’s due to people with a “mechanistic view” that you even know they are not rigid like bars!

    Right?

  19. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel: CharlieM: But to use these observations to argue that DNA causes form is unjustified speculation. Do you think that anyone has observed genes creating form?

    “DNA causes form” is not a phrase I would use. But it is a fact that the vast majority of variation in morphology, both within and between species, is caused by genetic differences. I consider it a given that the expression of heritable variation is embedded in some organismal context, so no need to convince me that organisms are important.

    But the processes involved in meiosis and reproduction are arranged in such a way as to ensure that the genetic material is altered in a structured way, for example crossing over is a regulated process. What I am disputing is that genes are active agents.

    I am not arguing that genes do not change. Genes change for many reasons, some orchestrated from within the organism and some due to external influences. Cells have procedures for dealing with unregulated changes to the DNA, sometimes they are successfully dealt with sometimes they are not.

  20. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: What I am disputing is that genes are active agents.

    Active in what sense? The proteins show most of the action in a cell, but heritable variation in how they perform their job often comes down to differences in the genes that encode them.

    BTW I will keep coming back to variation at the population level, so try to scale up.

    CharlieM: I am not arguing that genes do not change. Genes change for many reasons, some orchestrated from within the organism and some due to external influences. Cells have procedures for dealing with unregulated changes to the DNA, sometimes they are successfully dealt with sometimes they are not.

    Genetic changes have consequences for the organisms that carry them. If you change the text of a book, you change the story as well.

  21. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel:

    CharlieM: By changes in quantitative traits do you mean quantitative changes in traits? The appearance of limb bones is less trivial than the change in size of existing bones. Put it this way, a zoologist would be much more exited to find a pig with wings than to find a pig which was more massive than any previously recorded pig.

    A quantitative trait is a trait that can be measured on a continuous scale. Pigmentation, femur length, and intelligence all fit the bill. Pigs with wings are somewhat hard to come by, but bats have wings. As I have argued before, bats wings were shaped by quantitative changes in the properties of existing skeletal structures. These changes allowed the introduction of flight into the mammal lineage. Therefore I argue contra the claim that natural selection can only change the frequency of existing traits and is incapable of introducing novelty. Without any luck so far, it appears.

    I don’t agree that intelligence fits the bill. For example human, self-aware intelligence is qualitatively different enough from Microbeal intelligence to be more than just a diference of scale.

    Bats wings are indeed a variation on the theme of the pentadactyl limb. But these very specialised wings did not just develop in isolation, they developed in harmony with the organism which on the whole is a very specialised creature and it is this whole creature that passes on its attributes.

    Animal forms morph as a whole, not as sequences of individual parts changing at separate times. If you disagree with this show me the intermediates, either fossil or extant animal.

  22. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel:

    CharlieM: Can you demonstate to me how the interactions between genotype and environment determine the phenotype? How does the the chemical composition of DNA, which is a fairly inert molecule buried within the nucleus of the cell, interact with the environment?

    We just had a OP dedicated to phenotypic plasticity. You can check out some examples of interaction between genotype and environment in bringing about a specific phenotype by following the link that Nonlin provided.

    From the link:

    Although mutations are still important drivers of evolution, responses to the environment “can be the precursors, and the genes are the followers,” Gibert says. “This is a change in the way of thinking.”

    No action in evidence on the part of genes there, then. The reality of adaptive mutations has been resisted as it goes against the dogma of mutations being random with respect to fitness.

    As for the mechanism by which DNA interacts with the environment; I am surprised that you ask. You must be aware that DNA is expressed by transcription and translation of genes. The gene products (RNA and protein) interact with the cellular environment; Some of them have even specifically evolved for this task, e.g. receptor molecules. This you already know no doubt, so why ask?

    But this RNA and proteins are not the product of genes. As I have already argued here, these are the products of work that has been carried out on the genes, not of the genes themselves.

  23. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller:

    CharlieM, Do you think that anyone has observed genes creating form?

    An enormous amount of work has been done on the role of genes in form. A very good lay treatment is Carroll’s Endless Forms Most Beautiful. It has been discovered – to some surprise – that the same few genes, whose chromosomal order mirrors the segmental order, underlie form in worms, arthropods and vertebrates. Change these genes and you get some grotesque misrepresentations of ‘form’.

    Yes the arrangement where the whole is reflected in the parts was not something that the experts had predicted. Once again, As Above, So Below.

    And yet you will continue to deny that form has anything to do with genes. It becomes mere obtuseness after a while.

    Form has everything to do with the way genes are manipulated by the organism. The organism needs to be able to read and express its genes in precise and coordinated ways in order to produce the substances it requires for growth and maintenance. So genes are vital.

    And we are beginning to understand the dynamics involved in this activity.

    Such as the phenomenon of long-range contacts between different chromosomal loci aptly named chromosome kissing

    Just how much manipulation and adjustments of areas within chromosomes to bring the right sections together is awe inspiring. See the diagram below taken from here. This area of study, development of chromosome conformation capture assays, is depicted as “C-World” in the diagram.

    Seeing this higher level control I can picture a person who is skilled with a needle fashioning a three dimensional tapestry out of a massive tangle of different coloured threads.

    This article, Chromosome conformation capture technologies and their impact in understanding genome function, Feb 2017, gives us a short overview of what is going on:

    Each cell needs to be in dynamic equilibrium between the demand to achieve a high degree of DNA packaging and the need to access its information for gene expression, DNA replication, repair, and recombination. In different cells or at different times of a cell’s life, different regions of the genome must be packed or released from constriction with high fidelity and in response to shifting needs of the system (Cavalli and Misteli 2013). In fact, it is becoming increasingly evident that chromatin organization within the three-dimensional nuclear space is itself a likely factor affecting gene regulation and the systemic control of expression of multiple gene loci. Local changes in chromatin conformation, such as those triggered by aberrant DNA methylation and histone modification, are an impetus for oncogenic transformation (Misteli 2010). Since local chromatin conformation is both influenced by- and influences higher-order chromatin packaging, errors in chromatin packaging may disturb cellular homeostasis.

    And here is a specific example:
    A Switch Between Topological Domains Underlies HoxD Genes Collinearity in Mouse Limbs, June 2013

    We show that the early phase of transcription requires enhancers located in the telomeric gene desert. Therefore, the early and late phases of Hoxd gene transcription in limb buds are controlled by two opposite deserts flanking the cluster on either side and corresponding to two adjacent topological domains. The transition between early and late regulation involves a functional and conformational switch between these domains, as reflected by a subset of genes mapping centrally into the cluster, which initially interact with the telomeric domain and subsequently shift to establish new contacts with the opposite side. This polarization of the cluster between the two domains ensures a proper collinear distribution of HOX products in both proximal and distal limb structures.

    I just wonder how much of this type of manipulation is going on at any particular time in each cell. Hox genes are not the controllers, they are being manipulated according to the needs of the developing organism. They are like the points on railtrack junctions being moved to ensure the cargo takes the correct route.

  24. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain: Reminds me of the banner that UD had for many many years with their idealised version of a bacterial flagellum that looked very much like a motor.

    Yes, a bit like the illustrations here at Researchgate. Everyone is doing it.

    I would suspect that working at the “sharp” end in biology quickly disabuses you of such notions regarding rigid DNA or expecting flagellum to look like motors.

    Below on the left is an image supposedly built from actual electron micrographs. How like the real thing it is I don’t know.

    They are probably indeed widely held views but I’d suggest that the people holding those views hold them because it makes no difference to them, and when it starts to matter then they’ll care about the actual mechanics rather then their assumptions.

    As, after all, it’s due to people with a “mechanistic view” that you even know they are not rigid like bars!

    Right?

    Do you think that every research scientist holds a “mechanistic view” of reality?

  25. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: I don’t agree that intelligence fits the bill. For example human, self-aware intelligence is qualitatively different enough from Microbeal intelligence to be more than just a diference of scale.

    Fair enough. How about intelligence within humans? How about intelligence between species of apes?

    CharlieM: Animal forms morph as a whole, not as sequences of individual parts changing at separate times. If you disagree with this show me the intermediates, either fossil or extant animal.

    No, I agree (barring some inevitable exceptions)

    CharlieM:

    Although mutations are still important drivers of evolution, responses to the environment “can be the precursors, and the genes are the followers,” Gibert says. “This is a change in the way of thinking.”

    No action in evidence on the part of genes there, then.

    I knew you would like that part. It’s called genetic assimilation. Note that the plastic response still requires genetic changes to become stably inherited. How that part is supposed to work is still largely unexplained. Personally, I strongly doubt that this is a general mechanism of evolutionary change.

    Anyway, it is a clear demonstration that both genotype and environment are important contributors to variation in the phenotype.

    CharlieM: But this RNA and proteins are not the product of genes. As I have already argued here, these are the products of work that has been carried out on the genes, not of the genes themselves.

    Yes the genes need to be expressed. Yet any variation in the phenotype is due to differences in the gene sequence; the RNA polymerase and ribosomes contribute nothing.

    You need to think more about population variation, Charlie.

  26. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel:

    CharlieM: What I am disputing is that genes are active agents.

    Active in what sense? The proteins show most of the action in a cell, but heritable variation in how they perform their job often comes down to differences in the genes that encode them.

    Active in the sense that they display directed movement due to their own inner forces. Movement like that of dynein motors or actin filaments

    BTW I will keep coming back to variation at the population level, so try to scale up.

    Scale up from what to what? I look at populations as groups of individuals with varying attributes. And I see a vast difference between populations of, say, bacteria and populations of higher vertebrates. Organisms of the latter kind display much more individuality than the former and this difference matters and it should be taken into account in any study.

    CharlieM: I am not arguing that genes do not change. Genes change for many reasons, some orchestrated from within the organism and some due to external influences. Cells have procedures for dealing with unregulated changes to the DNA, sometimes they are successfully dealt with sometimes they are not.

    Genetic changes have consequences for the organisms that carry them. If you change the text of a book, you change the story as well.

    Of course they have consequences. That is why there is built in processes designed to mix up the genome which is to be passed on.

  27. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel:

    CharlieM: I don’t agree that intelligence fits the bill. For example human, self-aware intelligence is qualitatively different enough from Microbeal intelligence to be more than just a diference of scale.

    Fair enough. How about intelligence within humans? How about intelligence between species of apes?

    Yes intelligence varies within humans and between species of apes. But there is a qualitative difference between instinctive body intelligence and self-conscious rational intelligence. Every animal, including humans has the former, but only humans have the latter. The intelligence within and between our cells is with us throughout our lives, through waking, sleeping, unconsciousness, it’s always there. Our self conscious rational intelligence appears during a certain period of our lives. A new born baby does not have it but a teenager does.

  28. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel:

    CharlieM: But this RNA and proteins are not the product of genes. As I have already argued here, these are the products of work that has been carried out on the genes, not of the genes themselves.

    Yes the genes need to be expressed. Yet any variation in the phenotype is due to differences in the gene sequence; the RNA polymerase and ribosomes contribute nothing.

    You need to think more about population variation, Charlie.

    I think that it’s much more complex than you imagine. The three dimensional architecture of the chromatin and the various ways in which genes can be spliced play very important roles in the way an organism develops. I’ve been having a look at topologically associated domains and such like and the way genes are manipulated is extremely important to the formation of the phenotype.

    We are only just beginning to scratch the surface of the processes involved in genomic functions so don’t you think it is a bit premature to attribute evolutionary novelty and the variety of life to the comings and goings of accidental changes to the genome. I say let’s see what all the new technology tells us about the structures and processes taking place within cells, before jumping to conclusions about causes.

    Comparing populations tells me that studying colonies of bacteria in the narrow confines of a petri dish is very different from studying human populations which interbreed worldwide and where conscious decisions are an important contribution to reproduction.

    Regarding the belief that all of our somatic cells contain the same genome, my daughter informed me of this research on stem cells with the headline, “Even to the Brain: Yes, Breastmilk Stem Cells Do Transfer to Organs of Offspring”. which complicates matters even further with respect to the stability of the genome in each of us. For those of us who were breast fed seemingly even some of our neurons and glial cells develop from our mother’s stem cells.

  29. OMagain
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: We are only just beginning to scratch the surface of the processes involved in genomic functions so don’t you think it is a bit premature to attribute evolutionary novelty and the variety of life to the comings and goings of accidental changes to the genome. I say let’s see what all the new technology tells us about the structures and processes taking place within cells, before jumping to conclusions about causes.

    Has there even been the slightest hint of telic intent behind a single damm thing that’s ever been observed in biology? Has any question in the entire history of life been resolved by saying: a ghost did it?

    For how long should we hold off attributing biology to not-gods?

  30. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    OMagain:

    CharlieM: We are only just beginning to scratch the surface of the processes involved in genomic functions so don’t you think it is a bit premature to attribute evolutionary novelty and the variety of life to the comings and goings of accidental changes to the genome. I say let’s see what all the new technology tells us about the structures and processes taking place within cells, before jumping to conclusions about causes.

    Has there even been the slightest hint of telic intent behind a single damm thing that’s ever been observed in biology? Has any question in the entire history of life been resolved by saying: a ghost did it?

    For how long should we hold off attributing biology to not-gods?

    Worrying about gods being involved or not is an unnecessary complication if we are just trying to understand life. We understand that individuals develop from single cell to complex adult through regulated processes geared to achieve a specific outcome. Why should we automatically rule out life as a whole emerging in a similar way. Just because we may be ignorant of natural processes we need not invoke the gods. We can study nature without making any prior assumptions either way.

  31. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: But there is a qualitative difference between instinctive body intelligence and self-conscious rational intelligence. Every animal, including humans has the former, but only humans have the latter.

    And don’t forget that only humans can solve sudoku’s. That’s a qualitative difference as well.

    CharlieM: I think that it’s much more complex than you imagine.

    I think it’s not, and I also think that you are overusing the words “complex” and “compicated”. Stop using “it’s complex” as if we know nothing

    CharlieM: Comparing populations tells me that studying colonies of bacteria in the narrow confines of a petri dish is very different from studying human populations which interbreed worldwide and where conscious decisions are an important contribution to reproduction.

    Jacques Monod (1954):

    Anything found to be true of E. coli must also be true of elephants.

    … and of humans as well. Conscious decisions do not remove genetic variation.

    CharlieM: Regarding the belief that all of our somatic cells contain the same genome, my daughter informed me of this research

    Microchimerism only concerns a very small portion of cells from an individual. Also, I don’t see what problem this poses for my claim that a considerable part of phenotypic variation is genetic.

  32. CharlieM CharlieM
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel: February 18, 2019 at 9:57 am

    CharlieM: But there is a qualitative difference between instinctive body intelligence and self-conscious rational intelligence. Every animal, including humans has the former, but only humans have the latter.

    And don’t forget that only humans can solve sudoku’s. That’s a qualitative difference as well.

    CharlieM: I think that it’s much more complex than you imagine.

    I think it’s not, and I also think that you are overusing the words “complex” and “compicated”. Stop using “it’s complex” as if we know nothing

    I’ll stop using it when I stop seeing phrases like, “It’s more complex than we thought” in the scientific literature.

    CharlieM: Comparing populations tells me that studying colonies of bacteria in the narrow confines of a petri dish is very different from studying human populations which interbreed worldwide and where conscious decisions are an important contribution to reproduction.

    Jacques Monod (1954):

    Anything found to be true of E. coli must also be true of elephants.

    … and of humans as well. Conscious decisions do not remove genetic variation.

    Don’t you think that deciding to produce dog breeds by inbreeding is removing genetic variation? Do bacteria call out and otherwise act in ways that make others aware of their inner feelings?

    CharlieM: Regarding the belief that all of our somatic cells contain the same genome, my daughter informed me of this research

    Microchimerism only concerns a very small portion of cells from an individual. Also, I don’t see what problem this poses for my claim that a considerable part of phenotypic variation is genetic.

    What do you mean by, “is genetic”? That’s a pretty vague term. Do you mean that form is ultimately caused by genes? That would be like saying that the ultimate design of a car is ultimately caused by the factories which make the components.

  33. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Perpetual argumentum ad badanalogium

  34. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    CharlieM: I’ll stop using it when I stop seeing phrases like, “It’s more complex than we thought” in the scientific literature.

    Press releases and magazines do not belong with the scientific literature. Researchers are not as naive as you make them out to be.

    CharlieM: Don’t you think that deciding to produce dog breeds by inbreeding is removing genetic variation?

    It doesn’t. Inbreeding (without selecting) will merely redistribute the genetic variation from within to between dog breeds.

    But actually I was referring to the variation among the breeders, the decision makers themselves.

    CharlieM: Do bacteria call out and otherwise act in ways that make others aware of their inner feelings?

    Not that I am aware of. How exactly is this relevant?

    CharlieM: What do you mean by, “is genetic”? That’s a pretty vague term. Do you mean that form is ultimately caused by genes?

    No, I mean that variation in most phenotypic traits is at least partly caused by differences in the DNA sequence.

  35. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    Allan Miller: Perpetual argumentum ad badanalogium

    I am walking on the north pole and find a watch that only contains broken parts.

    A-HA we conclude that it was made by a selfish watchmaker!

  36. J-Mac
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel: I am walking on the north pole and find a watch that only contains broken parts.

    A-HA we conclude that it was made by a selfish watchmaker!

    And the broken watch had no designer either…😉

    Only perfectly functioning watches would have a designer…but if the same analogy is applied to life systems, like the design of the human eye, than the analogy doesn’t apply for some reason…
    Optimism bias…😂

  37. phoodoo
    Ignored
    says:

    Corneel: I am walking on the north pole and find a watch that only contains broken parts.

    A-HA we conclude that it was made by a selfish watchmaker!

    Why would you assume it was made?

  38. Corneel Corneel
    Ignored
    says:

    I thought my Behe-Paley-Dawkins mash-up was pretty bad, but it seems to have drawn some fans.

    J-Mac: Only perfectly functioning watches would have a designer

    But it IS functioning. It even appears to run better on all those broken parts.

    phoodoo: Why would you assume it was made?

    Good point. It probably isn’t.
    Also: why am I at the north pole? I must be out of my mind.

  39. Allan Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    Chortle. Let’s pursue that bad analogy like … like …

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