Once more unto the breach in Perry Marshall’s cranium, dear friends. He is once again trying to claim that he alone has the one true understanding of Barbara McClintock’s work, and he keeps getting it wrong. It’s just embarrassing to watch.
He makes obvious statements like this:
Damage is random. Repair is not.
Well, duh. If the cell were to just go charging in and practice excision repair (a process that snips out a short piece of one strand of DNA and brings in polymerase to re-synthesize it) on random stretches of DNA, it would increase the frequency of errors. Polymerase proofreads as it goes; it checks to see if the nucleotide it just copied into a new strand properly complements the nucleotide on the other strand, and if it doesn’t, it steps back, cuts out the error, and tries again. It doesn’t repeat if they match.
This is familiar stuff. Students in our classes here at UMM get all this kind of material, in far greater detail, by their second year here. The problem is that Marshall carries it too far: he assumes that the cell “knows” the nature of the specific error made, and intelligently acts to directly repair it. It doesn’t. The cell can invoke general mechanisms to attempt repair, but it doesn’t in any way “know” what to do.