The regulars here may recall John A. Davison, who died in 2012. He was notoriously persistent and repetitive, and rather clueless: he was the guy who started a blog with one article, never wrote another one, and just made new comments. He later announced that it was full, and so…he started a brand new blog, one article, and posted more comments to himself on it. It was rather sad.
Less well known is that he was actually a biologist, had a Ph.D. in zoology, and taught at the University of Vermont. He had a “scientific” theory, which was his, which he thought explained all that evolutionary change while refuting those silly scientists who believed that mutations occurred. No! Evolution was all due to chromosome rearrangements, which somehow are not mutations, and he also somehow ignored the existence of allelic differences between species:
In 1940 Richard B. Goldschmidt  presented the evidence that it is the chromosome, not the gene that is the unit of evolutionary change. While this was not then accepted by the evolutionary establishment, recent karyological studies fully support his perspective. The primary demonstrable differences that distinguish us from our closest primate relatives are revealed in the structure of our chromosomes. They consist of several reorganizations of homologous chromosome segments in the form of translocations, pericentric and paracentric inversions and a single fusion which result in the human complement of 46 chromosomes while the Chimpanzee, Gorilla and Orang each have 48 (Yunis and Prakash ). The important point is that there is no evidence that such transformations involved in any way the introduction of species specific information into the genome. This is further reinforced by the demonstration that we are nearly identical at the DNA level with our close relatives. The simplest explanation is that the information was present in a latent state and simply revealed or derepressed when the chromosome segments were placed in a new configuration (Davison ).
Yet when you read what he had to say about it, what was striking was the complete failure to read and understand the scientific literature — he had come up with his scientific theory, by God, and he didn’t have to address it critically, ever. All he had to do was go on blogs and internet forums and write the same pretentious catchphrases over and over again. And that was the saddest thing of all, that a mind could become so calcified and bitter and obsessed.
So he died, but you knew another had to emerge, and he has come. I was asked to look at a string of comments left on a science article by a fellow going by the pseudonym JVK, and all the Davison traits were there. Pretentious phrasing. Repetition: if the audience didn’t get it the first time, just say the same thing again, twice. A kind of sneering anger that people don’t understand how smart he is. An obsession with one narrow idea, which is his, which explains all of evolution and proves that everyone else is wrong.
Behold James Vaughn Kohl.
Ecological adaptation occurs via the epigenetic effects of nutrients on alternative splicings of pre-mRNA which result in amino acid substitutions that differentiate all cell types of all individuals of all species. The control of the differences in cell types occurs via the metabolism of the nutrients to chemical signals that control the physiology of reproduction.
These facts do not refute evolution; they simply refute the ridiculous theory of mutation-initiated natural selection that most people here were taught to believe is the theory of evolution.
That theory is far too ridiculous to be anything but a joke in the context of biological-based increasing organismal complexity. But here, we have lots of jokers, don’t we? The proof of ecological variation that appears to refute the theory of evolution, which actually refutes itself, is that ecological adaptations occur too fast for mutations to compete with them as a source of anything but diseases and disorders.
Basically what he’s saying in the first couple of sentences is that the environment induces variations in gene expression that are responsible for the differentiation of the various cell types. This is partly true; environmental influences certainly do contribute to cells developing in different directions. However, there are many examples of patterns that resist environmental influences, or in which maternal factors shelter the embryo from the environment. Fertilized human eggs, for instance, acquire polarity information when they implant in the uterus, but are largely insulated from temperature and nutrient stress.
Then there are other things that are just too narrow. Is alternative splicing the only mechanism to create variants in cells? No, of course not. External signals cause changes in the phosphorylation state of proteins in the cytoplasm, for example, that can affect metabolic activity; no alternative splicing involved. Signals can also switch on and switch off specific genes, again, no alternative splicing needed.
Then there are bits that are just plain weird. He gives the impression that what we eat dictates what signals we can generate. Do you get Sonic Hedgehog in your diet? No. It’s a protein synthesized by your cells.
The primary patterning elements in multicellular organisms are produced by networks of interacting genes; major body plan features might be initiated by environmental or maternal signals (which then begin a series of gene-regulated processes that produce the details), but the environment is primarily going to be an important modulator. Need I point out as well that what Kohl has described is a limited subset of the processes in development and that no one in their right mind thinks that development somehow refutes the contribution of other sources of variation to evolution? It was Van Valen who said in 1973 that “Evolution is the control of development by ecology…” That’s pretty much the mainstream view, so there’s nothing novel in what Kohl wrote.
Further, what he writes is a particularly pretentious, obfuscatory way of saying what he means — he’s trying to obscure rather than explain.
But then, that’s what he does. He crashes into a thread full of lay people and then lords it over them with his abuse of jargon. And he does it over and over again, and you can see the responses: most of the other commenters are more or less stunned, they don’t know how to deal with all the specific buzzwords he throws at them, and they have these doubts…maybe he’s saying something I should know about. No, he’s not. He’s babbling in scientese.
And he just keeps hammering away with his pseudo-scientific pronouncements.
Nutrient stress and social stress force organisms to adapt via seemingly futile cycles of protein biosynthesis and degradation that either result in amino acid substitutions that stabilize organism-level thermoregulation or the organism dies. It does not mutate into another species, which is why that cannot be explained to a high school freshman.
The point of this article was to show people that high school freshman have already been taught to believe in a ridiculous theory of mutation-initiated natural selection. Thus, they think everything that happens to DNA must be a mutation and there is plenty of extant literature that supports that idea. All of it is wrong in the context of ecological adaptations.
Based on Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ ecological adaptations are nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled. The adaptations can be viewed as amino acid substitutions.
96 of them differentiate our cell types from those of most recent extinct ancestor.
He’s also obsessed with human pheromones. He has written a book, The Scent of Eros, about the physiological responses to pheromones — speaking of murky, difficult, ephemeral phenomena, I think the human dependence on pheromones is probably real, but only one tiny part of our behavioral repertoire, and almost certainly not a major influence on development. Kohl also sells a line of beauty products: for example, Scent of Eros With Musk Fragrance – Pheromones For Men To Attract Women.
Maybe he thinks belligerent pomposity is the way to attract the attention of investors from Axe.