The Fridge-o-matic Challenge

I once offered nonlin.org the ‘fridge-o-matic’ challenge. The idea was to give me a number from 1 to 9 (a shelf in my fridge/freezer), and a lateral location Left, Middle or Right, and a depth locator Front, Middle, Back. That gives 81 sectors. I go to the named sector and fumble for the nearest organism (he’d have to trust me not to cheat). If it’s a stew or pizza I’d need more info. Then I’d need a chromosome number in that organism, and a gene number on the chromosome. We could shortcut the back’n’forth by giving numbers 1-50 and 1-10,000 which I’d then normalise to the actual counts.

Armed with this target of a random gene in a random organism in my fridge, I’d go to a public database and (if it’s in) run a BLAST on the gene to find the sequence alignments, arranged by closeness of match. I offered high confidence that this would recover a reasonable approximation of the Linneaean hierarchy – closest matches in species, then genus, then Family etc. This, I feel, nicely fits with the hypothesis of Common Descent of taxonomic ranks.

Now, the Linnaean hierarchy was based on morphology. He did not have the technology to ‘see’ genes directly. So we’d have to wonder why I could stick my random thumb in and pull out a Linnaean plum pretty much every time, on genes invisible to him.

Nonlin declined to play (he is, frankly, no fun at all). “It’s expected”, he said. “Like organisms will have like genes”. But for that to be a relevant objection, every single genetic difference between every single species pair must be involved in every morphological distinction between them. That requires quite a lot of heavy lifting from a gene. Its job might be to … I dunno, ligate a strand break in DNA let’s say. But it’s also got to do it in a squid way, and a dandelion way, and a yeast way that feeds through to morphology for every gene. We’re always being told how brittly unchangeable genes are, yet we seem to have a huge range of latitude in genes that are notionally pinned in place both by primary function and by multiple morphological roles across species.

I bring this up now for two reasons related to nonlin’s ‘Sexual selection’ thread.

1) If every difference between every gene really were morphologically significant, there’d be a constant stream of mutants not possessed of the vital characteristics that render the sexes mutually attractive to each other but not to members of other species.

2) Sexual dimorphism is a particularly striking morphological difference, which, on the ‘genes=morphology’ view, would require similar genetic differences between the sexes to those observed between like species. But most genes, even those involved in sexual differences, reside on the autosomes, which pass through both genders of offspring.

The answer, of course, is that genetic differences on the broad scale are not the key to morphological difference. Those differences are under the control of relatively few genes, and a lot of regulation (itself genetic in origin). This is as true between species as it is within (don’t fight me on this; it’s an established fact!).

Anyway, anyone fancy taking the Fridge-o-matic for a spin?

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158 thoughts on “The Fridge-o-matic Challenge

  1. Nonlin.org: And “something else” was never disproved like your failed theory is.

    How do you disprove Jesus loves you?

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  2. I’m off to cut some bread into two pieces that contain 95% and 5% of the original loaf respectively. Then, I’m going to cut a loaf such that one portion is 1900% bigger than the other. Oh hang on, I already did. 🤔

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  3. Allan Miller: I’m off to cut some bread into two pieces that contain 95% and 5% of the original loaf respectively.

    Oh wait. Maybe it is just a big misunderstanding after all. Are you now saying introns are not “junk”?!

    Because if you claim they aren’t, then nothing needs explaining, or at least not to the same level. And if you claim they are, then you got the wrong analogy again (I told you logic is NOT your forte). That is because the baker didn’t sell you a loaf. He gave you one while he charged you for 20. Adding insult to injury, he also chopped your loaf and mixed it with rubbish (rat meat for instance) so now you have to sort it out yourself. No, not the occasional rat morsel from your bread, but the bread pieces from rat meat. Is that bad according to your “theory”? I don’t know. How big of a sucker are you?

    Alan Fox: You are the one claiming “affirming the consequent” has some relevance. You tell me.

    No, it’s not you. It’s me… and my extended tolerance for extreme ignorance…

    OMagain: Nonlin.org: And “something else” was never disproved like your failed theory is.

    How do you disprove Jesus loves you?

    Is that a scientific theory?

    OMagain: Can you point to where some model that explains some observed data has been abandoned in favour of nothing at all?

    Phrenology. Furthermore, your “model” explains nothing. Further-furthermore, there was and is a model that worked. And works just fine, thank you. Hence “nothing at all” is blatantly false.

    Look man, do you ever have something half-intelligent to say? If not, I’ll have to let you go.

    Nonlin.org: Very good. Let’s have some fun with numbers:
    1. “Likely” = 100%
    P1} If evolution, then “the sun WILL rise tomorrow”
    P2} If not evolution, then “the sun will NOT rise tomorrow”
    P3} The sun rose
    C} therefore evolution “true”???

    2. “Likely” = 0%

    100%? 0%? You might say I’m an extremist. And you’d be right given all that yelling about your naked emperor. So just for fun, let’s do mid-range this time and see if it fares any better:
    3. “Likely” = 50%
    P1} If evolution, then “the sun doesn’t care tomorrow”
    P2} If not evolution, then “the sun still doesn’t care tomorrow”
    P3} The sun rose
    C} therefore “what evolution”???

    Haha!

    Allan Miller: Well, I’ve tried ‘admitting’ it fails, but you didn’t believe me. That puts us at a bit of a convenient impasse as regards addressing your alternative.

    Yes, but your credibility is shot. We’ll proceed once you write with your own little hand: “this OP (the-fridge-o-matic-challenge) was a bad, indefensible idea”.

    Allan Miller: So let’s examine how ‘something else’ addresses introns, the widespread correlation of metabolic genes with morphological ones, or transition/transversion bias.

    We’ll proceed once you clear step 1 above.

    Allan Miller: If you reject the evolutionary expectations, which I have defended at length, the same data requires explanation (bearing in mind analogies are not explanations).

    We just discussed your action plan.

    Allan Miller: That’s because I have more satisfactory tools at my disposal. But I thought I’d try your approach on for size, see how you like it when reflected back.

    Feel free.

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  4. Nonlin.org,

    Oh wait. Maybe it is just a big misunderstanding after all. Are you now saying introns are not “junk”?!

    No. I’m saying recasting the proportions as 1900% changes nothing. I think you may be overstretching the analogy a tad.

    Allan Miller: I’ve tried ‘admitting’ it fails, but you didn’t believe me. That puts us at a bit of a convenient impasse as regards addressing your alternative.

    Nonlin: Yes, but your credibility is shot. We’ll proceed once you write with your own little hand: “this OP (the-fridge-o-matic-challenge) was a bad, indefensible idea”.

    This OP (the fridge-o-matic-challenge) was a bad, indefensible idea. There you go.

    We’ll proceed once you clear step 1 above.

    OK, done. Go. Introns, transition/transversion bias and the correlation of metabolic genes and intergenic sequence with morphology.

    Allan Miller: If you reject the evolutionary expectations, which I have defended at length, the same data requires explanation (bearing in mind analogies are not explanations).

    Nonlin: We just discussed your action plan.

    OK sir, all done sir, the floor is yours.

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  5. Nonlin.org: Is that a scientific theory?

    As far as I can tell, having looked at your website and your writings here, you think that jesus dun it. Is that not the case?

    And no, that’s not a scientific theory.

    Nonlin.org: Phrenology

    And what observed data did that ‘explain’?

    While it is true that that was dropped in favour of nothing at all, let’s compare what that explains and what evolution explains and contrast the two, see if we can spot any differences.

    Nonlin.org: Furthermore, your “model” explains nothing. Further-furthermore, there was and is a model that worked. And works just fine, thank you. Hence “nothing at all” is blatantly false.

    Why are you so afraid to name that previous model then? Until you do we can’t even begin to test the truth of that statement

    If the previous model worked ‘just fine’ then why did we abandon it?

    Can you name something that the previous model explains that evolution cannot?

    Nonlin.org: Look man, do you ever have something half-intelligent to say? If not, I’ll have to let you go.

    I’m not the one afraid to put a name to what you are proposing to replace evolution with.

    What was the previous model that was erroneously replaced by evolution?

    narrator: It was special creation aka Jesus loves you, all along.

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  6. Allan Miller: OK sir, all done sir, the floor is yours.

    Is it finally time for the alternative to evolution that explains everything it also explains and more besides? I can’t wait!

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  7. Nonlin.org: Further-furthermore, there was and is a model that worked. And works just fine, thank you. Hence “nothing at all” is blatantly false.

    Out of interest, what does your previous ‘model’ have to say about how covid is changing and becoming more transmissible? Is it only targeting people that have pissed off Jesus, perhaps?

    If your model works ‘just fine’ I look forwards to the explanation of why covid exists at all, given nothing can evolve or start existing without the designer’s direct input and intent.

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