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Apr 23 2013

Junk DNA in the coffee shop

I’m giving you a heads-up in advance: the last Cafe Scientifique in Morris for the school year is next Tuesday, the 30th, and you-know-who is giving it.

JunkDNACafeScientifique

I expect to see you all there. If you’re not, don’t come around asking me for a Christmas present later.

43 comments

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  1. 1
    PZ Myers

    Don’t tell anyone, but I was sneaky. The “E” word isn’t anywhere in the flyer, but the whole talk is about evolution.

  2. 2
    blf

    you-know-who is giving it

    Ray “Banananana Man” Comfort?

  3. 3
    rq

    DAMMIT, I’ll still be out of the country. (Also, this is one topic that I’m really hating to miss.)
    PZ, please come to Europe.

  4. 4
    PZ Myers

    I am! In May (Romania) and June (Ireland).

  5. 5
    Julien Rousseau

    I expect to see you all there. If you’re not, don’t come around asking me for a Christmas present later.

    Better ask for one now then.

  6. 6
    moarscienceplz

    Ooh! I wish I could be there. Could somebody record it? Pretty please?

  7. 7
    txpiper

    http://bahfest.com/

    “The Festival of Bad Ad Hoc Hypotheses (BAH!) is a celebration of well-argued and thoroughly researched but completely incorrect evolutionary theory.”

    How odd. This could lead to undesirable flirtations and inquiries. I’m surprised it is sanctioned on-campus.

  8. 8
    David Marjanović

    txpiper, did you read the comic?

    If you had, you’d understand that “evolutionary theory” isn’t shorthand for “the theory of evolution” here, but just an arguably bad wording of “hypotheses that try to explain extant organisms by speculations about how they evolved”. Some of those hypotheses are, in fact, “completely incorrect”, and some of those are so in very enlightening ways.

    The whole festival is a symposium on how not to do it. I find that great.

  9. 9
    gregpeterson

    Geez, I might actually have to drive up there for this one. Remember when the Twin Cities Cafe Scientifique used to have brilliant, provocative topics? Lately it’s all been about soil. The last one we went to was about Hmong people and their culturual right to pick weeds along roadsides. Which I’m not saying is not a worthy subject–I think it is. But it’s a far cry from the actual science I was hoping for. It’s not like there aren’t interesting topics to tackle. I think lately ours has been a bit of disgrace, so I’m sure glad to see Morris is alive and well.

  10. 10
    commondescentsee

    Will there be video online?

  11. 11
    commondescentsee

    Give those pseudogenes hell!

  12. 12
    myeck waters

    txpiper, like most creationists, has a special filter installed that automatically translates “evolutionary theory” into “the theory of evolution”. You’ll see some nimrod making that silly mistake every time someone comes out with an interesting or surprising finding in biology.

  13. 13
    Stacy

    How cute, txpiper thought xe had a “gotcha”!

    How odd. This could lead to undesirable flirtations and inquiries.

    Get it straight. You’re the folks who are against flirtation and inquiry. We’re the ones against sexual harassment and brick-stupid JAQing off.

  14. 14
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    brick-stupid JAQing off.

    I object to comparing a brick to Txpiper. The brick at least has honesty and integrity. Txpiper has neither, nor intelligence and evidence. In fact, what does he have other than flatus? Hmm…I might need some help on that one.

  15. 15
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    How sloppy is your genome?

    Well, mine is no sloppier than my desk at work. Or at home. Or my hobby supplies.

    txpiper

    You do know that you are allowed to actually learn new things, right?

  16. 16
    Amphiox

    How odd. This could lead to undesirable flirtations and inquiries. I’m surprised it is sanctioned on-campus.

    Among actually intellectually honest people who understand what the term “evolutionary theory” mean, and possess the necessary degree of integrity to actually use the term properly, for people who seek and ask questions because they actually want to acquire new knowledge rather than simply play transparent and pathetic “gotcha” games, there is no such thing as a flirtation or inquiry that is “undesirable.”

    But the texpip will never understand this because the texpip is none of these things.

    txpiper, did you read the comic?

    The texpip actually read a link it “gotcha” drops? Heaven forfend!

    The texpip doesn’t do such things, that would actually be intellectually honest. All it ever does is find a title or a quotemine that it can twist into the “gotcha” du jour, and then drops it and runs away like a little coward.

    You do know that you are allowed to actually learn new things, right?

    The texpip may know, but it does not matter, because the texpip does not want to.

    Utterly pathetic.

  17. 17
    txpiper

    David,

    “txpiper, did you read the comic?”

    Yeah, I read the whole page. I would probably enjoy the event. It sounds like it will be somewhat related to the recent post about irritating terms in evolution reporting, some of which we’ve discussed.

    But honestly, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect the overall presentation of the theory to ever be really lucid. The human mind associates design with purpose and function. Most everything we do, or see other humans do, involves intent and deliberation. It is practically impossible to fly straight and level on the notion of appearance of design resulting from chaos and accidents.

  18. 18
    John Morales

    txpiper:

    The human mind associates design with purpose and function.

    Duh. That’s because design is a result of purpose and function.

    The relevant consideration (to which you are oblivious) is that the human mind is predisposed to detect design even when it isn’t there, just like it’s predisposed to impute intention to phenomena even when it isn’t there.

  19. 19
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    notion of appearance of design resulting from chaos and accidents.

    txpiper, you do realize that you are allowed to learn something new, right?

  20. 20
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    But honestly, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect the overall presentation of the theory to ever be really lucid.

    Compared to your evidenceless idiocy and your presuppositional and imaginary designer that will never be evidenced? You need to evidence your ideas, or shut the fuck up like anybody with honesty and integrity would do. All you do is prove to us your lack of both morals.

    It is practically impossible to fly straight and level on the notion of appearance of design resulting from chaos and accidents.

    Compared to your lack of evidence for your imaginary deity/designer/creator from day one? You have nothing, will have nothing, and can’t have anything cogent until you evidence said deity. Which you admit you can’t do. Where is your honesty and integrity? Missing in action, like all presuppositional godbots. Nothing but fantasy….

  21. 21
    Amphiox

    The human mind associates design with purpose and function.

    Reality is not under any obligation to conform to humanity’s evolved biases.

    But honestly, I don’t think it’s realistic to expect the overall presentation of the theory to ever be really lucid.

    Already repeating the old trick of ignoring everyone’s replies and continuing with the same old debunked lie it started with, I see. Note how the texpip continues in its dishonest tract of equivocating on the meaning of the phrase “evolutionary theory” even after it has been explained multiple times to it that its initial usage was flat wrong? And it has the nerve to start with the expression “but honestly”.

    Gross intellectual dishonesty all the way down. Way, WAAAAY down.

    notion of appearance of design resulting from chaos and accidents.

    Once more back to this ridiculous, inaccurate, and deliberately dishonest talking point?

    I once more advance the hypothesis that the texpip is not a human being but an internet bot. Few alternatives explain better the subject’s observed inability to learn anything at all.

    Pitiful.

  22. 22
    txpiper

    John Morales,

    “the human mind is predisposed to detect design even when it isn’t there”

    The more likely failure is to overlook the obvious on the basis of liking or disliking something.

    For instance, the mimic octopus “can take on the forms of a lionfish, a jellyfish, a shrimp, a crab, and more than ten other animals” http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/01/120105-fish-mimics-octopus-kopp-science

    (Interesting story there, about a fish that mimics the octopus)
    This critter exhibits amazing talents. Not only can it assume other forms, it does so to appeal to animals that it preys on, or to frighten its predators. It is cognizant of relationships twice removed from itself. If it assumes the shape and behavior of a flatfish, the rings on its tentacles are arranged so as to form stripes. How many DNA replication errors would you suppose it took to refine that?

    There are people who will stand behind lecturns and declare with 100% certainty that random mutations can produce stuff like this and all kinds of other phenomenal results. Stunning symbiotic relationships; countless incredibly precise and specialized bio-systems; acute senses; fantastically complex regulatory systems; mind-boggling cell specialization; extremely complicated, interdependent adaptations.

    Perhaps your curiosity is jaded to the point that you can comfortably accept such declarations. I just don’t think it is prudent or rational to give selection-acting-on-mutations unlimited license. We live in an incomprehensibly sophisticated biological world. In my mind, your faith is reckless and misplaced. But I’ve spent enough time here to know that facts and reason are disposable. People will only believe things that they like.

  23. 23
    John Morales

    txpiper:

    There are people who will stand behind lecturns and declare with 100% certainty that random mutations can produce stuff like this and all kinds of other phenomenal results.

    I personally have informed you that it’s the iteration of random mutations and selection at least a dozen times; others have done it even more often.

    (And they’re called ‘lecterns’, though you actually meant to refer to ‘podia’)

    Stunning symbiotic relationships; countless incredibly precise and specialized bio-systems; acute senses; fantastically complex regulatory systems; mind-boggling cell specialization; extremely complicated, interdependent adaptations.

    It’s called an ecosystem.

    In my mind, your faith is reckless and misplaced. But I’ve spent enough time here to know that facts and reason are disposable. People will only believe things that they like.

    Your weapons-grade irony amuses me, unintentional though it be. :)

  24. 24
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    The more likely failure is to overlook the obvious on the basis of liking or disliking something.

    Yes, you overlook the obvious in disliking evolution. The million or so papers you can’t refute. Typical of hardheaded godbots without cognecy, honesty, and integrity. Lying and bullshitting all the way down…

  25. 25
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    How does txpiper lose every argument on evolution? He posts nothing but his OPINION, which *floosh* is dismissed as the sewage it is. EVIDENCE is nowhere to be seen. Funny how such dishonest liars and bullshitters operate.

  26. 26
    martinhafner

    With tegard to the picture one may ask if junk-DNA is left-handed.

  27. 27
    txpiper

    John Morales,

    “I personally have informed you that it’s the iteration of random mutations and selection at least a dozen times”

    Yes, and I have as often reminded you that beneficial mutations occurring only in germ cells that will result in a functional, slightly enhanced, selectable phenotype are so rare that your list of these is essentially non-existent.

    I’ve also mentioned many times that for the millions of organisms you think developed because of “mutations and selection” to acutally develop, it would have require billions of long sequences of completely unrelated complimentary random accidents, separated by trillions of screw-ups that even a selection fairy couldn’t work with.

    It is a stupid, implausible scenario, well-illustrated by the fact that you weren’t interested in discussing the octopus.

    But really, how many DNA replication errors would you suppose it took to make that stripes deal functional? Just that one litle specialty. Selection pressure must have been really on the ball to not miss every detail (in between the predictable screw-ups), right?

    I just don’t see how that would work because mutations/selection would have to produce all those proteins, all that complexity, all those ridiculously sophisticated physiological changes, and the wits to activate them instantaneously. But not just that. From there, the completely random DNA replication errors occurring in germ cells resulting in slightly improved proteins appreciated by natural selection and becoming fixed in the population, had to result in an acute awareness of the predator/prey relationships of a bunch of other marine organisms who had to have been involved in their own developing predator/prey strategies, so that the whole affair could integrate into a delightful little ecosystem. It’s enough to make your freakin head swim in saltwater, ain’t it?

  28. 28
    John Morales

    txpiper:

    Yes, and I have as often reminded you that beneficial mutations occurring only in germ cells that will result in a functional, slightly enhanced, selectable phenotype are so rare that your list of these is essentially non-existent.

    Heh. I’m sure you imagine you’re making a devastating point, instead of fatuously attempting to evade the implications of selection.

    It’s enough to make your freakin head swim in saltwater, ain’t it?

    Your denial of the reality of deep time has also long since become trite.

  29. 29
    chigau (違う)

    I don’t understand how they continue to see jury-rigged cobbled-together just-good-enough as exquisite fine tuning.

  30. 30
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    txpiper’s repetitive argument from personal incredulity is still as ignorant now as it was the first time.

  31. 31
    Tethys

    functional, slightly enhanced, selectable phenotype are so rare that your list of these is essentially non-existent

    What a ludicrous staement. That list would include;
    All domesticated livestock
    Pedigreed dogs and cats
    Corn
    Wheat
    Rice
    The vast majority of the plants humans eat or grow for ornamental purposes.

    txpiper doesn’t want to give up his exalted position above all the rest of the worlds animals, so he can’t allow himself to believe that he is just a naked ape with an enlarged cranium rather than gods special creation.

  32. 32
    Pteryxx

    functional, slightly enhanced, selectable phenotype are so rare that your list of these is essentially non-existent

    adding to the list: Hyper-aggressive rats

    Heck, it’s so easy to select for genetic changes that rodent colony handlers can *accidentally* produce genetically distinct strains of lab mice simply by unconsciously picking the ones that bite less as breeders. Responsible managers have to introduce random breeder selection to avoid handler-specific genetic drift.

  33. 33
    David Marjanović

    Yes, and I have as often reminded you that beneficial mutations occurring only in germ cells that will result in a functional, slightly enhanced, selectable phenotype are so rare that your list of these is essentially non-existent.

    Liar. You have asserted such, but you’ve never even tried to show us any numbers.

    Numbers, or it didn’t happen.

    You can’t do science without statistics. I’ve tried it and failed. :-)

    I just don’t see how that would work because mutations/selection would have to produce all those proteins

    What proteins? All you need are pigment cells with muscles and nerves around them. I don’t think any new proteins are required for that.

    an acute awareness of the predator/prey relationships of a bunch of other marine organisms who had to have been involved in their own developing predator/prey strategies

    Bullshit. Those octopuses who occasionally look like a lionfish are eaten less often than those that never do. They get to reproduce more often, and thus their offspring are overrepresented in the next generation. Why an octopus makes itself look like a lionfish, or whether it’s at all aware that it’s doing that, is irrelevant – it just needs to be heritable.

    Opossums that “play dead” aren’t playing either. They’re not playing theater, they’re not consciously and deliberately pretending anything. They’re actually having a panic attack.

  34. 34
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    I’ve also mentioned many times that for the millions of organisms you think developed because of “mutations and selection” to acutally develop, it would have require billions of long sequences of completely unrelated complimentary random accidents, separated by trillions of screw-ups that even a selection fairy couldn’t work with.

    Recombination allows these variants to arise in parallel. The mathematics of this are spelled out in an early paper by sometime Pharyngula contributor, Joe Felsenstein.

  35. 35
    Amphiox

    it would have require billions

    No.

    of long sequences

    No.

    of completely unrelated

    No.

    complimentary random accidents

    No.

    separated by trillions of screw-ups

    No.

    that even a selection fairy couldn’t work with.

    The odious liar texpip is right back at its favorite (but pathetic) tactic of strawmanning the Theory of Evolution, replacing what it actually says with an imaginary construct pulled straight of the the texpip’s ass, I see.

    The texpip bot seems to run a very crude daisywheel that just cycles over and over mindlessly. “Random accidents” is nub number 4, “screw-ups” is nub number 7, and “selection fairy” is nub number 12, I think.

    Reality of course it not so kind to the texpip’s diseased imaginings.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17928853

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18594508

    The “selection fairy”, to borrow the metaphor, works. It has been directly observed.

    Just because the texpip cannot wrap his small small broken mind around the concept doesn’t make it any less true.

    Pitiful, really.

  36. 36
    Amphiox

    functional, slightly enhanced, selectable phenotype are so rare that your list of these is essentially non-existent

    Just because texpip lacks the necessary degree of intellectual honesty to actually READ the many long lists it has been given over the years does not make those lists non-existent.

    What it does make non-existent is the texpip’s integrity.

    Utterly pathetic.

  37. 37
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    And also, obviously, Joe Felsenstein is known for things other than being a sometime Pharyngula commenter.

  38. 38
    Amphiox

    And, just for fun, here’s a few more examples of “functional, enhanced, selectable phenotypes”, which were not only “selectable” but, proven with observation, actually selected!

    (Actually it isn’t “more”. All these examples were already provided to the texpip several times over in prior threads. They were all ignored, naturally)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lactase_persistence
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v489/n7417/full/nature11514.html
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21628944.500-captured-the-moment-photosynthesis-changed-the-world.html

  39. 39
    Amphiox

    And here’s an example of what can only be described as a MASSIVE macromutational phenotypic leap, of the kind that really could be the first step to the development of a major new phenotypic form, which the texpip and his ilk have long insisted would be impossible, or at least so detrimental as to be impossible to be retained.

    And yet it turns out to be virtually neutral, and had no trouble whatsoever persisting and spreading over multiple generations.

    http://blogs.plos.org/dnascience/2012/12/13/when-an-arm-is-really-a-leg/

    Contrary to the texpip’s lie (which it has now persisted to repeat despite multiple demonstrations otherwise), evolution does not, in fact, require that every mutational step be beneficial, complimentary, or positively selected for.

  40. 40
    txpiper

    David,

    ”You can’t do science without statistics. I’ve tried it and failed.”

    Well, then perhaps you’d be willing to do a brief statistical analysis on that stripes deal. You have two separate and distinct specialties involved with that. One is tentacles with rings-on-demand, and the other is their arrangement into stripes when the octopus takes on the form of a swimming flatfish. That kind of precise result is not something easily accomplished by DNA copy errors. But, with “deep time”, all things are possible, right? So my question is still about how many rare, sequential, complimentary, randomly-spaced beneficial mutations would have been involved until the octopus wound up with the rings arranged into the stripes?
    .
    ”What proteins? All you need are pigment cells with muscles and nerves around them. I don’t think any new proteins are required for that.”

    Well, after looking at this http://tolweb.org/accessory/Cephalopod_Chromatophore?acc_id=2038 I expect that there are several very specialized proteins involved in cephalopod chromatophore units. Hell, there are 25 or so in a proton-driven flagellum motor. I can understand why you want to oversimplify the problem inasmuch as you are stuck with idea that such things are accidental productions.

    However, PZ is an expert on stuff like this. If he’s reading this and disagrees, and says there is nothing novel involved, I’ll stand down.
    .
    ”Those octopuses who occasionally look like a lionfish are eaten less often than those that never do. They get to reproduce more often, and thus their offspring are overrepresented in the next generation.”

    Yeah, I know the standard jargon. But what I’m curious about is how in hell the octopus actually wound up with the ability to occasionally look like lionfish and other anmals as a result of DNA replication errors. Good grief.
    .
    ”Opossums that “play dead” aren’t playing either. They’re not playing theater, they’re not consciously and deliberately pretending anything. They’re actually having a panic attack.”

    That’s very interesting. But the octopus is not playing dead. It is simulating one of several other animals in order to deceive one of several other animals. It is a very complex situation. It taxes credibility to think that this complex ecosystem is the result of random, unguided, coincidental, complimentary accidents. Were I you, I’d just trivialize and dismiss every single detail, and move on.

    ======

    “a MASSIVE macromutational phenotypic leap, of the kind that really could be the first step to the development of a major new phenotypic form…..And yet it turns out to be virtually neutral, and had no trouble whatsoever persisting and spreading over multiple generations.”

    This is what is known as a “defect”, and well illustrates the actual character of mutations. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it.

  41. 41
    John Morales

    [OT + meta]

    txpiper responds to the Marjanović:

    Well, then perhaps you’d be willing to do a brief statistical analysis on that stripes deal.

    Yet another thing this specimen has never grokked: onus probandi.

  42. 42
    txpiper

    John, you need to actually engage. Falling back on all kinds of escape hatches and excuses is inevitably going to result in the loss of the raging curiosity and inquisitiveness that drives real science. Science protects no ideas and cannot become religious about theories. Severe scrutiny of every detail is always warranted. Not free rides.

    Have you not yet noticed that it pisses you off when difficult, uncomfortable questions are posed?

  43. 43
    chigau (違う)

    [[meta]meta]
    John Morales
    I had googletranslate open and copypasted onus probandi (just to be sure).
    The “To” translate window was set to Japanese.
    Here you go (for later fun):
    立証責任
    risshō sekinin
    proof responsibility

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