Enemies of science

The moderator of the ISHE’s human ethology yahoo group is a staunch proponent of random mutations theory. This follow-up on my 7/27/13 blog post Are mutations random? The nature of the problem, addresses the problem I have with dissemination of scientific information via the ISHE’s list. Simply put, Feierman is refusing to post anything that challenges mutation-driven evolution because of his ridiculous belief in that theory.

Examples of blocked posts during the past week.

Re: Microbes can influence evolution of their hosts

Contrary to current scientific understanding, it appears that our microbial companions play an important role in their hosts’ evolution. A new study provides the first direct evidence that these microbes can contribute to the origin of new species by reducing the viability of hybrids produced between males and females of different species.

My response: To demonstrate this in invertebrates, they used three species of Nasonia. Their results clearly indicate that the microbiome influences adaptive evolution (sans random mutations) via the microbial metabolism of nutrients to pheromones that control reproduction — as noted in Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model with the following citation.

Niehuis, O., Buellesbach, J., Gibson, J. D., Pothmann, D., Hanner, C., Mutti, N. S., et al. (2013). Behavioural and genetic analyses of Nasonia shed light on the evolution of sex pheromones. Nature, 494, 345–348. PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text


Teaching complete evolutionary stories increases learning

Evolution is often thought to be a difficult subject to teach. A novel teaching approach in which undergraduates studied two integrative evolutionary scenarios all the way from the molecular level via the genetic and organismal levels to the population level improved the students’ ability to explain and describe evolutionary principles. The results suggest that wider use of such integrated accounts in teaching could improve students’ comprehension of evolution.

My response: It is probably far too difficult to teach students about molecular mechanisms at the same time they are being taught about evolution, unless you eliminate random mutations theory and teach them about epigenetic effects of the sensory environment that directly effect gene activation and de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes. However, as soon as you mention the experience-dependent creation of olfactory receptor genes, students might ask about Biblical Creation and how the importance of nutrient acquisition and social/sexual interactions are represented to be very important — if not critical to our species survival (as in all other species).

Next thing you know, you’ll start getting complaints from the physics professors that your students are questioning the dogma of the 2nd law of thermodynamics in the context of the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled systems biology that seems to have progressively defied the 2nd law via thermodynamically controlled hydrogen bonding, which allows the epigenetic landscape to become the physical landscape of DNA. At some point, your befuddled attempts to answer questions with comments about “closed systems” (not influenced by gravity et al?) and random mutations that somehow enable selection will cause your students to potentially recognize your nonsensical academic approach and accept it in pursuit of their degree, or pursue accurate information based on self-study. Of course, you can always claim that information acquired via self-study is of little concern to those who have acquired doctoral degrees and KNOW more about everything than anyone without a college degree could possibly know — not that there’s anything wrong with that in the academic priesthood. Indeed, it’s what’s expected of you to get tenure. Isn’t it?


Re: Sexual selection accelerates signal evolution during speciation in birds


Sexual selection is proposed to be an important driver of diversification in animal systems, yet previous tests of this hypothesis have produced mixed results and the mechanisms involved remain unclear. Here, we use a novel phylogenetic approach to assess the influence of sexual selection on patterns of evolutionary change during 84 recent speciation events across 23 passerine bird families. We show that elevated levels of sexual selection are associated with more rapid phenotypic divergence between related lineages, and that this effect is restricted to male plumage traits proposed to function in mate choice and species recognition. Conversely, we found no evidence that sexual selection promoted divergence in female plumage traits, or in male traits related to foraging and locomotion. These results provide strong evidence that female choice and male–male competition are dominant mechanisms driving divergence during speciation in birds, potentially linking sexual selection to the accelerated evolution of pre-mating reproductive isolation.

My response: Abstract excerpt: “…pre-mating reproductive isolation…”

My comment: Pre-mating reproductive isolation is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled (in birds and all other vertebrates). Ask yourself, if plumage color is not sexually selected in females, what is? Could it be pheromones as in invertebrates like the peppered moths? Is there a model for that?


Re: Just looking briefly at a few internet sources on Noble, the only thing that stands out is that he is in the same camp as Oyama, Lewontin and many others. That is, he is a developmental system theorist. For anyone interested in DST I suggest Oyama’s “The Ontogeny of Information.”

My response: Noble is president of the International Union of Physiological Sciences (IUPS), Glen. That fact distances him from your misrepresentation of him as a developmental system theorist by as far from any accurate representation that I can imagine. Where did you get the impression that he was discussing theory?

From the IUPS site?

Physiology is the study of the functions and integrative processes of life at all levels of structural complexity between and including the molecular level through to that of the whole organism. It includes all organisms, and frames function in evolutionary, environmental, ecological and behavioral contexts. It embraces a cross-disciplinary approach to modern science, through which physiologists aim to achieve translation of this knowledge into the health of humans, animals and ecosystems.”

Personally, I think your misrepresentation of other’s life work is akin to what Darwin complained about, and the misrepresentations continue for the same reason, which is the inability to accept the fact that your life’s work was based on opinions and theories, which could have been best addressed by examination of biological facts. Sucks for you, doesn’t it?

Did I ever ask: “Why would anyone ignore Darwin’s claims that his work had been misinterpreted as he indicated here (circa 1900)? variation, as leading to permanent modifications of structure independently of natural selection. But as my conclusions have lately been much misrepresented, …”

Did I ever mention that “Typically, when someone clearly indicates their work has been misrepresented, those who are misrepresenting it stop doing so. With Darwin’s works, however, it seems that the misrepresentations of cause and effect in the context of adaptive evolution have never stopped. People still talk about mutation-driven evolution and attribute their opinions to Darwin, who had no physiological evidence whatsoever of mutational cause. Isn’t it time to put physiological evidence into the concept of adaptive evolution, and discuss it as an alternative to mutation-driven evolution? Isn’t it time to start making sense?”

If not, others may try to make sense of Glen’s attempt to make Noble appear to be a theorist. For anyone truly interested in the ontogeny of information and how transgenerational epigenetic inheritance ensures the transfer of information as is required for species diversification, I recommend you look at a freshman textbook on anatomy and physiology (wasn’t that Zoology 101 when I was in college?). In any case, I did not get the impression that they were teaching me anything about theory.


Re: Scientists construct visual of intracellular ‘zip code’ signaling linked to learning, memory

My response: Article excerpt: “The process of mRNA localization is critical for cellular function.”

My comment: It is also nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled via epigentic effects on the microRNA/messenger RNA balance, which is clearly linked to learning and memory in unicellular and multicellular organisms.

Author: James Kohl

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