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Apr 24 2013

It’s an experiment, OK?

I’ve been told by a lot of people over the years that I need to start making youtube videos (some of them may have changed their minds once they learned of my low opinion of most youtube commenters), but the hurdle has always been the learning curve — I could just yell at my camera, but I’m used to investing a little prep time, and also I generally find those so, so boring. The only way to learn is to do, though, so I did. I clumsily assembled a little video discussing recent blog posts on Pharyngula, and here it is. I’m calling it the Pharyngula Fringe Report.

Not giving up my day job, don’t worry.

I think I’ll be trying to do this sort of thing sporadically over the summer, while I’m pinned down in Lovely Morris Minnesota, managing our summer research program. Maybe I’ll get a little better at it; I recognize that there are real skills involved in putting a good video together, and I don’t have them yet. Anyway, suggestions and criticisms are welcome.

84 comments

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  1. 1
    Brett McCoy

    It helps if you’re blonde and Romanian… but a good first effort! I always clam up in front of a camera, even if I am well prepared and know what I want to say.

  2. 2
    PZ Myers

    OK, 1) bottle of hair dye, 2) cute accent. I’ll add those to my list for the next one.

  3. 3
    smhll

    I think I’ll be trying to do this sort of thing sporadically over the summer, while I’m pinned down in Lovely Morris Minnesota, managing our summer research program.

    You could add action and bloodshed to your videos by filming outside and swatting mosquitos.

  4. 4
    John Morales

    Hopefully blogger → vlogger is an easier adjustment than the reverse; I note that the crop of vloggers that was incorporated into FTB hasn’t exactly thrived.

  5. 5
    Brett McCoy

    I hope there will be videos from Paradigm… you are right under Larry Flaxman, haha, he’s all kinds of kooky.

    “Mysterious numbers and strange sequences appear throughout the history of human experience. What do they mean? What secrets do they keep? Are these wake-up calls to a higher state of consciousness, triggers of paranormal experiences, or the activation of what some scientists refer to as “junk DNA”? (from a blurb about his book 11:11)

  6. 6
    Wowbagger, Designated Snarker

    You’ve got one part right – disabling the comments. No doubt it’s causing head asslposion aplenty amongst the ‘pitters and their enablers & hangers-on.

  7. 7
    yubal

    I could just yell at my camera

    Never seen/heard you yelling. EVER.

    Stop pretending, you are a softie, like me.

  8. 8
    Argle Bargle

    No wonder Tsoukalos is into aliens. He’s got a Lando Mollari haircut.

  9. 9
    Johnny Vector

    You want feedback, I got feedback. I would suggest taking some highs out of your audio. It’s not as bad as NPR sometimes gets, where you can hear the spit rattling around in the guest’s mouth, but about 6-9 dB of reduction starting around 2 kHz makes it sound better (and a closer match to the cutaways). Probably your recording software has some way to use plugins. If so, the Apple-supplied parametric equalizer will do it if you set the frequency all the way to the right and a Q of ~1.3.

  10. 10
    FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!)

    Is it bad of me that I thoroughly enjoyed your exasperation? I think it might be.

    Your tone of voice and full-on double facepalm at the stupidity of it all made my day. This is where video has it over text. You’re a fantastic writer on these things and the snark and sarcasm come through just fine in that medium. But there’s something very satisfying in hearing and seeing the emotions that these things invoke in you. It resonates more with my own feelings I suppose. Or, I’m just a little bit of an asshole for enjoying the frisson of sangfroid I also felt. Either way, I enjoyed it, so thanks for that.

  11. 11
    PZ Myers

    About the audio: I’m sitting here with one of those Yeti mics…and I forgot to use it. Next time!

  12. 12
    Anthony Popple

    Just in case you are worried that Minneapolis has fallen to the crack-pots, I might point-out that Minneapolis is hosting a big physics meeting this summer. The “Snowmass” meetings are the mass gathering where the physics community evaluates the current state of their field and pick their battles. They are usually held about once every ten years and set the course for United States funding of large-scale experiments for decades to come. It will be cool to have so many physics rooming the city this summer!

    http://www.snowmass2013.org/tiki-index.php?page=Energy+Frontier

  13. 13
    rumpus

    Short and to the point. Good start PZ.

  14. 14
    ck

    Well, if the conference you plan to cover in your next video has any “crypto-zoologists”, I think you’ll be obligated to use the Yeti mic.

  15. 15
    jackal

    Am I the only one having difficulty getting the video to load?

  16. 16
    marthabie

    Dayuum, you’re a lot more mild-mannered and professor-like than I pictured you. And you didn’t even breathe fire! :)

  17. 17
    malachiconstant

    As a former local TV cameraman and editor you can take this advice for what it’s worth. I dig the editing, you’re cutting away to relevant photos and videos which is much more interesting than just a talking head. I think you also do a good job of condensing lengthy posts to the minimum necessary to get your points across.

    The most obvious thing you can fix is the obvious “reading it from the screen” vibe of most of the video. Your personality is not coming across during these parts. Check out the difference from most of the video and the portion from about 7:20 to 8:20 where you come across as speaking extemporaneously.

    You’re a professor, pretend that you’re in a room addressing your ideal class of intelligent, eager-to-learn upperclassmen rather than talking to yourself in front of your computer.

  18. 18
    Chris Clarke

    I like the brief moment of continuity failure with the headset on instead of off. Worth playing with: you could swap shirts and hats, move the bookcase around between takes, and so forth.

  19. 19
    Michael Goold

    I will believe the Discovery Institute is secular when they vigorously and honestly defend the idea that the universe was created by 12 trolls and is a frog.

  20. 20
    PZ Myers

    Yeah, that was a … test of the viewers. That’s it.

  21. 21
    JohnnieCanuck

    Not bad. Also what Malachiconstant said. Viewers can tell when you are reading by your eye movements, though you are much better than some at hiding it.

    Wing it like the experienced prof that you are, which is to say lots of prep time is good.

  22. 22
    PZ Myers

    Lack of confidence. I’ll get better.

  23. 23
    Crissa

    More giant head!

  24. 24
    Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity

    I like it. As much as I’d like to have time to read everything you write I find myself missing things some times due to life, the universe and everything. A video I can leave playing in the background while doing other stuff and if something piques my interest I can go check out the blog post.

    I liked the pacing as well.

  25. 25
    chigau (違う)

    I like Chris Clarke’s suggestion.
    If you are using cuts, go with the Richard Wiseman card trick.

    I will not follow this on yutub.
    I hope you post them here.

    The lighting was harsh.
    It might be my shitty-cheap netbook.

  26. 26
    okeydoke

    That History Channel guy looks like his sitting in front of the camera with his Babylon 5 Cosplay hairdo still on.

  27. 27
    darwinharmless

    I liked this. I thought your personality came acrosss just fine, though no doubt you will improve with practice. I’d take Pat Condell as a role model for his reading without looking like he’s reading. Don’t know how he does it. Maybe it has to do with hiding his eyes behind glasses and keeping his head mobile.
    I like your style. Talking heads work for me. So please keep it simple. Don’t get sucked into playing visual tricks or cute cutting. Cutting away to an explanatory graphic or short clip is fine. But don’t try to yuck it up too much. Simplicity is wonderful. It’s what you are saying that is important. Not so much your style in saying it, because your style is just fine.

  28. 28
    tacitus

    Good effort, for a first attempt. Having watched a number of vloggers over the past couple of years, I’ve come to appreciate how difficult it is to be good at it. It’s going to take time.

    I have to agree with malachiconstant — speaking extemporaneously is the way to go, if you can do it. Given that you teach for a living, and have delivered speeches at conferences and conventions, I have to believe you can, though I suspect recording yourself speaking to a camera will take some getting used to. Just relax – the camera is just a friend who’s stopped by for a conversation. :-)

  29. 29
    tefter

    You’ve disabled the comments?!
    Shame on you.

    :(

  30. 30
    Louis

    Want my advice? It appears that some people find YouTube success is in a) Open comments, b) Open misogyny and c) Rampant dishonesty. Include more of that, you’ll do great.

    Louis

  31. 31
    franko

    @28 tefter. Was just about to agree with you when I see PZ’s directing commenters to this blog. Ideal solution, PZ. Otherwise you look as if, like the Hamfisteds, you can’t bear people disagreeing with you.

  32. 32
    blf

    Where’s the tentacles, horns, and forked tail?

    (I haven’t actually watched and do not intend to (no sound), so apologies if they are there in a-plenty.)

  33. 33
    LykeX

    Hey, god never promised he wouldn’t destroy the earth. He only promised no more global flood. Global. Little floods are still totally cool.

  34. 34
    jaytheostrich

    “nothing valuable” in the Creation Museum.. I dunno.. some of those dinosaurs look pretty cool, I’d pay a few bucks for those if I had the room! They don’t have animatronics, do they?

  35. 35
    PZ Myers

    You’ve disabled the comments?!
    Shame on you.

    Says the person leaving a comment.

  36. 36
    Louis

    PZ,

    I was going to say that, but found myself unable to comment.

    Oh wait. No I didn’t.

    Louis

  37. 37
    ChasCPeterson

    I dunno.
    But then, I don’t get the whole you-tube thing.
    I’d just rather read stuff.

  38. 38
    Nick Gotts

    I thought your personality came acrosss just fine, though no doubt you will improve with practice. I’d take Pat Condell as a role model for his reading without looking like he’s reading. – darwinharmless

    Yeah. And Mussolini had some good “You have a problem with that?” poses you might want to copy.

  39. 39
    borax

    I’d actually like prepared lectures about biology and vicious take downs of pseudoscience. I don’t know anything about video production, but I know what I’d watch on you tube.

  40. 40
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Since you are soliciting opinions, I think this is a terrible idea. I prefer to read, and you write particularly well. On the other hand you aren’t an outstanding speaker. I’ve enjoyed the several talks I’ve heard from you, but only because of the content…not the form of presentation.

    But, it’s like your show here, and you should feel free to experiment.

  41. 41
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    BUT, if you are going to go forward with this, may I suggest that you increase the brushiness of your moustaches, and adopt some of the mannerisms of A. Wilfred Brimley? And swear more.

  42. 42
    PZ Myers

    I’ve explained a bit of what I’m trying to do here. I know that I don’t have the talent or looks to be a video star, alas. Starting homely and pedantic and adding getting older on top of that means I don’t have a future in broadcasting. I’ve had 50+ years to get used to that fact so I’m not going to worry about it.

    Note that what I’ll be doing is translating stuff I’ve written to the video medium. There won’t be any change in what those of you most comfortable with reading are getting. I’ll just every once in a while look a the last few weeks of blog entries, grab a couple, and talk about them.

  43. 43
    ButchKitties

    I prefer reading, but I like talking head videos. I don’t really watch them. I listen to them while I’m doing the more mindless parts of my job.

    And, for what it’s worth, I find your voice to be really soothing.

  44. 44
    faehnrich

    I like it. Do more.

  45. 45
    Thorne

    Just another opinion here. If you’re going to do the videos, minimize the talking head stuff and utilize the drama and fun of actual video. Whether it’s actual video footage of what you’re talking about, or slideshow pictures, or whatever, it’s going to be far more interesting than just watching you staring at the camera.

    And try to make yourself sound more interested in what you’re saying. Yeah, you’re not a movie star, but the relatively monotonic reading gets boring pretty quickly. Think Carl Sagan, or Brian Cox. With beards.

    (This from someone who hates even having his picture taken, much less video, and who would rather spend a week in the hands of the Inquisition than an hour even standing in front of an audience, much less actually speaking.)

  46. 46
    One Day Soon I Shall Invent A Funny Login

    OK ditto to what Malachiconstant said, but further: in future you need to pay more attention to the visual. We’ve all been watching professionally-produced TV all our lives and the very amateur look of vlogging jars.

    You don’t have to hire a studio, pro lighting tech, and a makeup person, but you can approach a lot closer with not a lot of effort.

    Number 1, find a nicer background. Get a plant, a painting, something. If you haven’t a really attractive den or living room to record in, maybe an unused classroom so we see you in front of a big chalkboard; or a lab with some nice science-y equipment behind you.

    #2, lighting. You are not flattering yourself with the current lighting and it is not difficult to set up a couple of lights that make you stand out from the background and model the shape of your features without making them flat or putting big hot spots on your nose or forehead. Ask around, you must know somebody who does portrait photography even as an amateur; a 20-minute consult will present you much better.

    Point C: grooming. Yes, you are a shaggy professor, but you need to look like one who got out of bed more than an hour ago. Before you sit down to record, ask the wife in to brush you up. Your clothes look fine, but they don’t have to be that rumpled. I can’t remember the movie title now, but there was this moment when the experienced handsome newscaster tips off the nervous rookie on how to make his suit jacket look good on camera: “Sit on it!” You tuck the tail of your sport coat under your butt and it keeps the shoulders from hiking up around your ears. Pull the sleeves down over your cuffs.

    The point of all this is to make sure that the unspoken cultural messages that you unavoidably broadcast are properly in support of the explicit spoken ones.

  47. 47
    Aaron

    Hi PZ,

    It was a great video. I felt like you had been producing videos longer than you have. I am definitely looking forward to more Fringe videos. Here are some nits which you could choose to pick:

    1. You were clearly less comfortable in the beginning half of the video. It had a kind of ‘reading from a screen’ feel near the beginning, but in the later half of the video you were more animated and real. Start off with content that gets a rise out of you like the Meyers bit or Ham. You were much less stiff after that ;)

    2. I know you like to be a little irreverant, but I find you win arguments by rational and well thought out criticisms. Drop the ‘bullshit’ its just distracting. Keep it professional, witty, and sarcastic. Just my opinion, and if there is any place where toning a troll can be worthwhile, its probably a video presentation.

    3. Background was a little lackluster. Its just not balanced. We see you, a blank wall, and an edge of a bookcase. Rearrange or find a more fitting background with some interest. Maybe a neat picture, or that bookcase behind you rather than to the side.

    4. The title at the beginning was initially hard to read at a glance. Id lose the after image of the text in the background.

    5. You jumped to a headset midway through and then it dissappeared again. It was a little odd. :)

    6. I generally liked the images you chose and how you presented them with the exception of the Bill Nye image… mostly because of the text. I didnt like that it started cut off on the left side and then began to cut off on the right side. Id stick to a still image or a slightly expanding image on that particular picture.

  48. 48
    Aaron

    Oh talk more with your hands!

  49. 49
    moarscienceplz

    Starting homely and pedantic and adding getting older on top of that means I don’t have a future in broadcasting.

    I dunno, didn’t seem to stop Walter Cronkite.

  50. 50
    David Marjanović

    “Mysterious numbers and strange sequences appear throughout the history of human experience. What do they mean? What secrets do they keep? Are these wake-up calls to a higher state of consciousness, triggers of paranormal experiences, or the activation of what some scientists refer to as “junk DNA”? (from a blurb about his book 11:11)

    While I was reading this, I burped in the most delightful way I ever have. :-)

    BTW, “activation of junk DNA”? Headline: “Cells awash in useless RNA”.

    Yeah. And Mussolini had some good “You have a problem with that?” poses you might want to copy.

    Oh snap.

  51. 51
    PZ Myers

    Walter Cronkite would never be taken seriously as a broadcast journalist in the 21st Century. He never saw that coming.

    He might have just given up his career in despair if he foresaw Wolf Blitzer.

  52. 52
    sweetpixie

    Just joined this morning so first post here – didn’t think it would be this :

    It helps if you’re blonde and Romanian… but a good first effort! I always clam up in front of a camera, even if I am well prepared and know what I want to say.

    Reference to Christina Rad I assume. I would have thought that deeming a girl succesful as a vlogger because she is a girl and blonde would be considered sexist here.

  53. 53
    chigau (違う)

    sweetpixie
    What’s your point?

  54. 54
    Rob

    PZ – some great constructive criticism above from others. I won’t repeat it. I’d add that if you can find a space with a low reverberation time that would be great also. Echo cancelling mics are all well and good, but a modestly dead space would be even better. Think reverberation time of around 0.5 seconds or less and make sure you and the mic are not too close to a hard wall or floor surface.

    sweetpixie – of course that was a Christina Rad reference. Christina is deemed a success because she is smart, funny, whimisical, occasionally compassionate, but more often bitingly snarky. On top of that she produces videos that are generally pretty technically competent on several levels. It’s also an aural and visual medium. Are people who find pretty blondes with a Romanian accent attractive supposed to not notice? The point is, Christina is successful regardless of her looks and accent. She does a good job of proving that you can be a pretty young blonde AND have something worthwhile to say.

    So, as chigau asks. Your point?

  55. 55
    chigau (違う)

    Also Christina Rad is a woman.

  56. 56
    Edward Haines

    A suggestion regarding attending the “conference” that you mentioned. There is no significant benefit to be derived from arguing with these people. Indeed, the very action of engaging in argument with them gives them support in the form of tacitly implying that their viewpoint is arguable. Woo is woo and not worth the time involved in argument and logic. Do not give them the support of arguing. If you must go, simply observe and do not engage them.

  57. 57
    Edward Haines

    PS, I like the video and look forward to more. Generally, I tend to avoid internet videos but enjoyed this one.

  58. 58
    txpiper

    “We have natural explanations for the origin of life on this planet”

    I don’t think so. Articles as fresh as this one http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423090924.htm are still willing to candidly point out glaring, cosmic voids in the natural explanations.

    “Origin-of-life theories often ignore the homochirality problem, even though the question is critical to the origin of life”

  59. 59
    PZ Myers

    Chirality has functional consequence to the specificity of enzyme binding. Having functional consequences makes it trivially subject to selection.

    People who bring up homochirality as a problem for evolution simply don’t understand biochemistry at all.

  60. 60
    Amphiox

    “We have natural explanations for the origin of life on this planet”

    I don’t think so.

    An explanation does not have to be 100% complete to be valid and useful.

    And since “god did it” is 0% complete and 0% useful, and any explanation that is over 0.1% complete is preferable in the comparison.

  61. 61
    Amphiox

    We would not have even recognized the existence of homochirality at all, or known that it would be a “problem” needing an answer if it had not been for the theories of evolution and abiogenesis guiding us to realize that such questions need to be asked.

    On the other hand, the creationist “theory” not only has no answer whatsoever for the issue of homochirality, it did was not even able to recognize that homochirality was even a thing.

  62. 62
    Amphiox

    Abiogenesis and Evolution theory identified homochirality as a feature (“problem”) to be explained, immediately is able to offer several plausible partial explanations, and immediately suggests a series of experimental methods by which more complete explanations can be derived and tested.

    Creationism didn’t even know that homochirality existed at all until Abiogenesis and Evolution told it so.

  63. 63
    Owlmirror

    Articles as fresh as this one http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130423090924.htm are still willing to candidly point out glaring, cosmic voids in the natural explanations.

    That fresh article is in fact a natural explanation for homochirality.

    I know that creationists love quote-mining, but one would think that you would want to aim your gun at least a little to one side of your foot before you open fire.

  64. 64
    Amphiox

    That fresh article is in fact a natural explanation for homochirality.

    Ha!

    Well, what else can you expect from the texpip? This is the same pattern it has used with every single article it has ever tried to quote.

    Standard scientific paper structure:

    1. Background – present a problem
    2. Hypothesis – propose a solution to the problem
    3. Methods – describe how the proposed solution is tested
    4. Results – show how the evidence demonstrates that the problem presented in 1. is solved

    Standard texpip quotemine:

    A. Quote from part 1, the background, about the “problem”
    B. Ignore parts 2-4 that go ahead and solve the problem.
    C. Pretend the “problem” can’t be solved.

    Intellectual dishonesty all the way down.

    Utterly pathetic.

  65. 65
    sweetpixie

    Rob – The comment wasn’t … It helps if you’re smart, funny, whimisical, occasionally compassionate, but more often bitingly snarky …
    It was … It helps if you’re blonde and Romanian … (and obviously a girl/woman) …, and thus indicating that that’s all it takes to be successful

    I find that to be a typical male sexist remark I have heard all my life. Your gender may prohibit you from spotting it. You say … The point is, Christina is successful regardless of her looks and accent … EXACTLY my point – her success has nothing to do with her gender or origin or accent. Indicating so is in my oppinion … sexist.

  66. 66
    =8)-DX

    I disagree with darwinharmless.

    1) Don’t try to look like Pat Condell on screen, unless you’re going for “dry old ranty fart”. I think working from memory like at a lecture is more entertaining. Some YTers just wing it and have written notes. Glancing down to some notes in your hands is much more pleasant (“humanny”) to watch than eyes flitting accross the screen. But you look best when it’s obvious you were directly responding to the content (with fiery passion!)
    2) Cutesy cuts and special effects are fine for this kind of video. You’re not pretending to be a documentary, so occasional bits of fun don’t hurt and remove the “always the same, always the talking head” feel.
    Otherwise yeah, simplicity is good – the video sequences and transitions were great I think, much cleaner and better put together than many YTers =)

  67. 67
    =8)-DX

    @sweetpixie #64
    In the context of the video and the fact that most people who read comments or comment know who Cristina Rad is I find it odd that you read “It helps if you’re blonde and Romanian…” as anything but: “just like Cristina Rad, it’s what PZ is trying to convey that’s important, not his looks”.

  68. 68
    Wes Sanders

    I enjoyed it very much. Would make a great weekly addition.

    I especially enjoyed seeing actual video of Ham and Meyers.

    Well done.

  69. 69
    txpiper

    PZ,

    “Chirality has functional consequence to the specificity of enzyme binding.”

    I wanted to do some reading about this. If I’m understanding correctly, this is a relatively new discovery.
    http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2009/November/06110901.asp

    I don’t see how this eliminates what many writers are still willing to acknowledge as a problem. The search for a solution is still ongoing.

    =====

    Owlmirror,

    “That fresh article is in fact a natural explanation for homochirality.”

    All the article was about was detecting unexpectedly high CP (5500 light years away).

    I don’t understand why there is any optimism about the space origins idea anyway. The amino acids found have all been rather limited collections (not more than 8 as I recall). That would seem to me to only compound the problem.

  70. 70
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    I don’t see how this eliminates what many writers are still willing to acknowledge as a problem. The search for a solution is still ongoing.

    Just as the search for your imaginary creator/designer is ongoing, with no hope for any conclusion other than non-existence. What an abject presuppositional loser you are.

    I don’t understand w

    Now we get to the crux of your idiocy. You refuse to understand the science. You refuse to give up your imaginary deity. You just can’t comprehend life without your delusions.

  71. 71
    Owlmirror

    All the article was about was detecting unexpectedly high CP (5500 light years away).

    Because you cannot read words, in English, for comprehension.

    I don’t understand

    Indeed.

  72. 72
    Amphiox

    I don’t see how this eliminates what many writers are still willing to acknowledge as a problem. The search for a solution is still ongoing.

    The transparently dishonest tact that the texpip is trying (again) here to peddle is that the existence of the “problem” is actually some kind of stumbling block for Abiogenesis and Evolution theory in general.

    It isn’t. It is just an issue about sorting out the fine details of the theories.

    The manner in which existing Abiogenesis theories successfully identified this as a “problem” to be solved (again, illuminating the finer details), and GUIDE the search for a solution, is in fact a demonstration of the utility of those theories.

    On the other hand, the ABJECT FAILURE of any and all design “theory” to say anything cogent at all about this subject is an excellent demonstration of why design is utterly bankrupt as a line of inquiry with respect to origins.

    It is very nice of the texpip to bring this up, and (once again) illustrate the complete superiority of naturalistic scientific theories over any and all design concepts.

    I don’t understand why there is any optimism about the space origins idea anyway.

    This is entirely due to the fact that the texpip doesn’t want to understand, and lacks the sufficient degree of intellectual honesty to even try.

    The amino acids found have all been rather limited collections (not more than 8 as I recall). That would seem to me to only compound the problem.

    The leading theories of abiogenesis pretty much all have the majority of the amino acids being derived through a process of biosynthesis on earth, from simpler precursors. There is in fact no requirement whatsoever for ANY amino acids to be synthesized in space.

    But if SOME of the amino acids ARE in fact synthesized in space, then it makes the whole process of abiogenesis on earth even easier, as now there are MULTIPLE sources for the starting raw materials. It also demonstrates that the processes by which amino acids are produced are routine in this universe. They can arise from MANY different chemical pathways, in MANY different starting conditions, from a MULTITUDE of local microconditions present on early earth as well as from MULTIPLE sources in space.

    Thus finding even ONE amino acid in space is power evidence in support of the plausibility of abiogenesis on the early earth. Finding eight is just bonus on top of that.

    How typical of the texpip’s now familiar intellectual dishonesty to deliberately focus in on just ONE of the proposed mechanisms by which the SOME of the initial building blocks are formed, and try, pathetically, to pretend that just because that mechanism does not account of ALL of the precursors this somehow is a problem for abiogenesis theory as a whole, while deliberately ignoring the fact that abiogenesis theory clearly states that such precursors were formed by MANY different mechanisms.

    It is breathtakingly pitiful.

  73. 73
    Amphiox

    “Chirality has functional consequence to the specificity of enzyme binding.”

    I wanted to do some reading about this. If I’m understanding correctly, this is a relatively new discovery.
    http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2009/November/06110901.asp

    Of course the other notable thing is that the texpip’s citation is in fact COMPLETELY IRRELEVANT TO PZ’s POINT.

    It describes a highly unusual (first time ever observed) phenomenon relating to just one specific enzyme. No where in that article is there ANY link made between this discovery and origin-of-life concepts.

    Cherry picking one specific isolated unusual example and attempting to pretend that the unusualness can somehow be generalized out to be a problem for the larger framework of the theory is another one of the texpip’s favorite intellectually dishonest word-games.

  74. 74
    Amphiox

    From an old post by PZ:
    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2013/03/15/the-genetic-code-is-not-a-synonym-for-the-bible-code/

    In the synthesis of these amino acids, biochemistry typically modifies a raw starting material. The first letter of the codon says something about the biosynthesis of the associated amino acid.
    If the first letter is:
    • C, then the amino acid is derived from alpha-ketoglutarate.
    • A, then the amino acid is derived from oxaloacetate.
    • T, then the amino acid is derived from pyruvate.
    • G, then the amino acid is derived in a single step from simple precursors.
    The second letter of the codon is correlated with chemical properties of the amino acid.
    If the second letter is:
    • A, then the amino acid is hydrophilic.
    • T, then the amino acid is hydrophobic.
    • G or C, the amino acid has an intermediate hydrophobicity.
    Wait…so there’s a pattern to the genetic code, and that pattern is associated with the physical properties of the amino acids? Why, that makes sense. Chewbacca is routed! The most likely origin of the code lies in likely catalytic properties of dinucleotides; pairs of nucleotides in ancient organisms were initially functioning as proto-enzymes before they were incorporated into strings of coding information.

  75. 75
    Amphiox
    All the article was about was detecting unexpectedly high CP (5500 light years away).

    Because you cannot read words, in English, for comprehension.

    Cannot and chooses not to, because the texpip does not possess the necessary minimum level of personal integrity to do so.

    Here’s some of the words in that article that the texpip cannot and chooses not to read:

    There is a hypothesis that large CP causes homochirality of amino acids and that left-handed amino acids come from outer space. The team’s findings imply an extraterrestrial origin of homochirality of life, from the universality of CP detected in star- and planet-forming regions

    Now if we go back to my earlier post concerning how there are, in fact MULTIPLE sources for the synthesis of amino acids on the early earth, and even if we grant that most of these sources produce racemic mixtures, the article describes evidence that the amino acids from space will not be racemic, but biased towards one type.

    A bias towards one type means that competing protoproteins have non-equal pools of percursor materials to form from, and those that are predisposed to prefer the more abundant form are at a competitive advantage over those that do not. And from that point on it is a trivial matter for natural selection to kick in and optimize the process until that preferred form becomes exclusive.

    This is all, of course, a testable hypothesis.

    A testable hypothesis generated by the naturalistic theories of abiogenesis.

    Good explanatory theories produce hypotheses easily and abundantly.

    The most notable thing about design “theory” is that in its entire history it has not successfully produced even one testable hypothesis.

    Design “theory” is intellectually bankrupt.

  76. 76
    Ichthyic

    I wanted to do some reading about this.

    translation:

    “I want to go read something I will not understand and will deliberately misinterpret to make myself look like an idiot.”

    well, that IS your M.O. there, pipster…

  77. 77
    txpiper

    “The leading theories of abiogenesis pretty much all have the majority of the amino acids being derived through a process of biosynthesis on earth, from simpler precursors.”

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that the ‘a’ prefix means ‘without’. In this case, it is indicating ‘without-bio’ for the genesis. That means that theories, however leading they might be, that depend on a process of biosynthesis, are borrowing the bio before it was available. Cheating, you might say.

  78. 78
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    Cheating, you might say.

    The only cheating here is your inane and unsupported wordplay. NO LINK TO SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE TO BACK UP YOU IRRELEVANT WORDPLAY.
    Typical creobot/IDiot irrelevancies attempting to masquerade as analysis, but is nothing but OPINION of a presuppositionalist. Do everybody a favor, and realize your OPINION isn’t now nor ever will be evidence for anything other than your inane thinking.

  79. 79
    Owlmirror

    That means that theories, however leading they might be, that depend on a process of biosynthesis, are borrowing the bio before it was available. Cheating, you might say.

    I strongly suspect that Amphiox intended “chemosynthesis” or even “chemiosmosis”.

    But be that as it may, I just thought I’d point out that the creationist strategy of positing an invisible person with magical superpowers that exists by magic and operates by magic, and yet mysteriously provides no evidence whatsoever for its existence or powers, is pretty much the very definition of cheating.

  80. 80
    Amphiox

    Don’t lose sight of the fact that the ‘a’ prefix means ‘without’. In this case, it is indicating ‘without-bio’ for the genesis. That means that theories, however leading they might be, that depend on a process of biosynthesis, are borrowing the bio before it was available. Cheating, you might say.

    Dishonestly playing with terms again? Another typical, much repeated texpip behavior.

    Pathetic.

    It is notable here to consider the context of the point I was making as well. I was addressing, specifically, the texpip’s dishonest implication that ALL 22 amino acids needed an abiogenetic explanation, which they don’t. The earliest systems that may qualify as organisms did not necessarily need all 22 amino acids. They evolved the capacity to use and make the full 22 amino acid set. Indeed, as the post I linked to from PZ shows, the patterning of the genetic, indicates strongly that organisms began with using only a handful of amino acids, perhaps as few as four, and then gradually evolved up to a capacity of 15 or 16 (15 + 1 stop, which may or may not have also specified a 16th amino acid) specified by a doublet nucleotide code, and then evolved the modern triplet code with 22 amino acids from there. Thus all amino acids beyond the first handful arose from biosynthesis, and only the first few need to have come about by chemosynthesis.

    Naturally, the texpip responds to this by deliberately twisting my words to try to play a “gotcha”, transparently incompetent though it was, while, once again, completely and deliberately ignoring the actual meat and content of what I was saying.

    Intellectual dishonesty all the way down.

    AND of course, we must also note that the observed pattern seen in the modern genetic code is consistent with the scenario whereby organisms started using only a handful of amino acids to make polypeptides (and note that a small handful of amino acids to start with make it easier to evolve homochirality – once homochirality is established for the small precursor subset, then all additional amino acids added would automatically match that homochirality as they would be biosynthesized from the same precursors as the original amino acids, and not uncommonly from those earlier amino acids themselves) and gradually evolved to use more and more amino acids over time.

    But it is not consistent at all with a design hypothesis. There is no functional reason to have such an association between nucleotides in the code and the biosynthesis pathways for amino acids if you’re positing a designer determining the code in a top-down fashion.

    Design “theory” is once again left in a WHY, OH MIGHTY MAKER, WHY???? moment.

    On this, as on so many other details of biology, design “theory” is utterly bankrupt of useful ideas.

  81. 81
    Amphiox

    And for those (unlike the texpip), who are honestly interested in abiogenesis theory (unlike the texpip), modern Abiogenesis theory is generally accepted to encompass the sequence of events that lead from the prebiotic chemistry of the early earth as it formed all the way to the appearance of LUCA, the last universal common ancestor of all extant life. Abiogenesis does not strictly end with the transition from non-life to life, but continues past that point to the evolution of LUCA.

    Part of the reason for this is practical, as the methodological tools of the Theory of Evolution at present can take us back from all extant life to LUCA, but at the moment have difficulty investigating what came before LUCA. (No more gene trees to trace, cladistic analyses hit singularity at LUCA, no fossils, etc).

    But it also means that as Evolution allows us to predict the properties of LUCA from the backwards looking perspective, Abiogenesis allows us to predict the properties of LUCA fromt he forwards looking perspective. The two will converge, and thus will act as independent ways of verifying each other, and reinforcing our ability to learn about LUCA.

    Which is yet another area of inquiry about which design “theory” provides absolutely zero insight, and is intellectually bankrupt.

  82. 82
    Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls

    TXPIPER, until you provide conclusive physical for your imaginary creator/designer, physical evidence that would pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Ergo, your presuppositions are false, as you have admitted you have no such evidence. Dishonesty all the way down.

    You are a proven liar and bullshitter. Each and every claim you make must be supported by scientific evidence. Or the SCIENCE stands, as only more science, not your irrelevant and irrational OPINION.

  83. 83
    txpiper

    “Dishonestly playing with terms again?”

    No, you just lost your place in the jargon and I recognized it for what it was. You could have ducked into Owlmirror’s reasonable and gracious apology on your behalf. But your response was more akin to PeeWee Herman’s bike wreck. “I meant to do that.”

    But all things considered, perhaps this is what evolutionary theory would predict. You’d have to expect a few intellectual and emotional foibles in accumulations of brain cells that are the result of DNA replication errors, right?

  84. 84
    txpiper

    Amphiox, my last post was unnecessarily rude. I would like to apologize for it. Contrary to what you might think, I do recognize your very respectable brightness.

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