Monday, April 04, 2011

Human Biological Diversity

Here is a new HBD Bibliography:

It's a collaborative effort, so send corrections and suggestions (even of your own work) to:


Friday, March 11, 2011

12 Creationist blogs

I got this message from Tim Dalton:

We just posted an article, “Understanding Creationism: The Top 12 Creationist Blogs”. I thought I'd bring it to your attention in case you think your readers would find it interesting.

For myself, I would add Creation-Evolution Headlines.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

James Madison


Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Origin of Gene Expression

Crystal structure of a reverse polymerase is a paper published by PNAS. Its authors are John J. Perona and Javin P. Oza. The first sentence reads: "The primary transcripts of transfer RNA (tRNA) molecules undergo extensive processing and chemical modification to become functional components of the protein synthesis apparatus." Transfer RNA (tRNA) plays a central role in some origin of life scenarios describing how a genetic code might have arisen in a precellular environment. Cells must translate information stored in DNA to enable protein synthesis. Codons correlating to specific amino acids need to be paired and properly sequenced so as to make possible functional sequences of polypeptides. Sets of enzymes known as tRNA synthetases ensure the attachment of a specific amino acid to a specified tRNA.

The paper alludes to modification of primary tRNA transcripts. Chemical modification makes functional specificity possible. Described is an instance of guanosine attachment to tRNA making recognition by histidyl-tRNA synthetase possible. Plausible scenarios for the evolution of gene expression modification components are possible but some degree of minimal cellular functionality is a prerequisite in the view of this writer.

That view is sometimes criticized as an argument based on personal incredulity. That's an odd critique in view of the fact that specified pathways are in acutely short supply. What's the opposite of personal incredulity? Unquestioning faith? Sounds close. If skepticism is grounded in the complexity of that which is observed and a process allowing that x, y and z can evolve depends on greatly complex cellular components being in place, then an absence of the foregoing should elicit skepticism in the mind of all but unquestioning believers.


Saturday, October 02, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green but it is Very Lucrative

Salvador Cordova wrote Sanford’s pro-ID thesis supported by PNAS paper, read it and weep, literally. Quoting:

Cornell Geneticist John Sanford argued that Darwinism is wrong because the rate of genetic deterioration is so high that natural selection could not arrest it. If natural selection cannot arrest genetic deterioration, how then could it be the mechanism for evolutionary improvement?

Sanford predicted through his research that human genome is deteriorating. This was a daring scientific prediction, and now Michael Lynch of the elite National Academy published on the topic for his inaugural paper. The NAS has now made the paper available to the public free of charge.

Read it, and weep, literally:

Rate, Molecular Spectrum, and Consequences of Human Mutation

A focus on the human mutation rate is not new. It has been noted by James Crow- The high spontaneous mutation rate: Is it a health risk? and by Nachman and Crowell- Estimate of the Mutation Rate per Nucleotide in Humans. Nachman and Crowell take note of a paradox made apparent by the "high deleterious mutation rate in humans." They concluded by remarking that "the results presented here indicate that some form of positive epistasis among deleterious mutations is likely."

This quote appears at Telic Thoughts:

the impact of deleterious mutations is accumulating on a time scale that is approximately the same as that for scenarios associated with global warming


Being ever alert in noting newly evolved species of social causes, that caught my attention. I think we could be witnessing a new cause in the making. This, like some many of its ancestors, holds forth great promise. The threat- high human mutation rates. The effect- disease and death. The genesis of a new social movement is apparent. After all the global warming movement was built around much less. From Crow's paper:

My concern, however, is not with mutation as a cause of evolution, but rather as a factor in current and future human welfare. Since most mutations, if they have any effect at all, are harmful, the overall impact of the mutation process must be deleterious. And it is this deleterious effect that I want to discuss.

Great stuff. All the elements are present. Concern. Human welfare. Motivating one to want to discuss deleterious effects. Can legislation be far behind? And oh that funding. Hope the tea baggers don't sabotage the fun. But there is more:

I conclude that for a number of diseases the mutation rate increases with age and at a rate much faster than linear. This suggests that the greatest mutational health hazard in the human population at present is fertile old males. If males reproduced shortly after puberty (or the equivalent result were attained by early collection of sperm and cold storage for later use) the mutation rate could be greatly reduced.

You can sense where this is heading. Go for it man. But alas there was this disappointing remark:

I am not advocating this.

C'mon, take a stand. Don't wimp out on us before the cause even gets untracked. We don't have the rules and (more importantly) the money arranged yet. Sometimes you just have to look at the pros to see how to ruin (or advance) a cause. From Greens Shackle National Security - and Renewable Energy:

A more likely reason is that the Chinese want to manufacture the finished goods, thereby creating countless “green” factory jobs, paid for with US and EU taxpayer subsidies, channeled through GE, Siemens, Vestas and other “socially responsible” companies that then install the systems across Europe and the USA.

The Chinese economy is not growing for lack of good planning and is seizing on opportunities that leftist zealots in the West present. Kermit said something about how good it is to feel green. The Chinese know of the wisdom of that frog. Let the west feel good while they take their money. All for the environment of course. The white west is soooo smart. No wonder arrogance is the norm on MSNBC while outrage pervades the electorate. And there is this too:

The Indian government is planning to launch a $11 billion fund to help finance the massive power generation planned during 2012-2017.

and this nugget:

Coal remains the backbone of the generation sector in India with more than 55 percent of the power generated by coal-fired power plants

Lest we forget China’s Thirst for Oil.

China’s growth has been stellar with high GDP numbers reported yearly. In 2009, Chinese crude oil imports accounted for 52% of the country’s total oil consumption, up from 45% in 2006. Importing more than 50% is recognized as an energy security alert. By 2020, analysts believe that 65% of the oil consumed in China will have to be imported. Not that long ago, China was an oil exporter in 1992.

Yes folks, those solar panels and wind mills made in China come out of some very fossil fuel run factories. So what are we looking at here? Vast increases in the amount of fossil fuels consumed in China, India and other developing economies in Asia and Africa. This outputs (and will output even more in the near future) vast amounts of CO2, dwarfing any savings in the prissy west. If you developed warm feelings for the green cause while attending an institution of higher learning and get the feeling you have been had you are right on. The white man's burden is heavy but it is not being shouldered by some very savvy businessmen in Europe and America who stay ahead of the regulatory curve. Rather the burden for our environmental fantasies fall on working class stiffs on both continents.

If we could get our green marketing directors headed over to Crow's lab they just might develop the seed of a good social cause and funnel some more cash to research into disease in the process. It would do more good than the current social justice mania.

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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Loss of Rights or Toleration for the Intolerant.

Which way should we allow it to backfire?

Taking away some rights of others to do whatever they’d like to do – the backfire being that this might (further down stream) provide precedent for reasons as to why some of our rights should be taken away.


Being tolerant of a worldview that is intolerant to our way of life (culture, religious identity) – the backfire being that their worldview (when their numbers increase enough) forced upon us causes us to lose our way of life; our ability to freely practice the things that gave our culture its identity.

In the former, we’re still the ones from which our governmental leaders come from. They are here to serve the mass of people; we are not here to serve them. So, the principle would still exist that the majority, who give the government the power it has, can take power away from its leaders.

In the latter, we’re second class citizens (dhimmi). We no longer have that principle to enforce. Vocalization of the principle falls on deaf, unconcerned ears. We sacrificed one right following the former – we lost them all following the latter.

History more consistently supports the likeliness of one scenario over the other. Tolerance for the intolerant per se never played in our favor. I just hope there’s another Charles Martel or Jan Sobieski amongst our ranks….. it looks like we’ll be needing them.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Wiki and DNA Repair

There are many posts at Intelligently Sequenced within the label "DNA Repair." Wikipedia has an article on this topic. This is from it:

In contrast to DNA damage, a mutation is a change in the base sequence of the DNA. A mutation cannot be recognized by enzymes once the base change is present in both DNA strands, and thus a mutation cannot be repaired. At the cellular level, mutations can cause alterations in protein function and regulation. Mutations are replicated when the cell replicates. In a population of cells, mutant cells will increase or decrease in frequency according to the effects of the mutation on the ability of the cell to survive and reproduce. Although distinctly different from each other, DNA damages and mutations are related because DNA damages often cause errors of DNA synthesis during replication or repair and these errors are a major source of mutation.

Given these properties of DNA damage and mutation, it can be seen that DNA damages are a special problem in non-dividing or slowly dividing cells, where unrepaired damages will tend to accumulate over time. On the other hand, in rapidly dividing cells, unrepaired DNA damages that do not kill the cell by blocking replication will tend to cause replication errors and thus mutation. The great majority of mutations that are not neutral in their effect are deleterious to a cell’s survival. Thus, in a population of cells comprising a tissue with replicating cells, mutant cells will tend to be lost. However infrequent mutations that provide a survival advantage will tend to clonally expand at the expense of neighboring cells in the tissue. This advantage to the cell is disadvantageous to the whole organism, because such mutant cells can give rise to cancer. Thus DNA damages in frequently dividing cells, because they give rise to mutations, are a prominent cause of cancer. In contrast, DNA damages in infrequently dividing cells are likely a prominent cause of aging.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bethell about Eric Hoffer

Eric Hoffer's Skepticism About Darwinism appears at Evolution News and Views. From the article:

He had written that "when God died in the middle of the 19th century there was immediately set in motion a process which tended to reverse the separation of nature and human nature." Darwinism, and the intellectual currents of his day, "aimed to reduce human nature to nature." Biologically, man was now seen as nothing more than "a superior monkey." Politically, he was an automaton who could be manipulated by a Mao or a Stalin.

Hoffer's refusal to join the parade of thinkers who accepted that man was little more than a boastful ape was perhaps his finest hour as a philosopher. It showed him at his most independent. And his perception of the unique qualities of man encouraged him to ponder man's Creator.


Saturday, July 31, 2010

DNA DSBs and Genomic Integrity

Androgen-induced TOP2B-mediated double-strand breaks and prostate cancer gene rearrangements, Michael C. Haffner et. al. (Nature Genetics 42, 668–675 (2010)), reminds us that DNA double-strand breaks can induce genomic rearrangements and cancer. The study relates DSBs to androgen signaling.

Organisms have remedial tools able to check potentially devastating effects of DSBs. How viable are multi-cellular life forms without such tools? The answer indicates a natural entry for a front loading concept.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Network Topologies and Biochemical Adaptation

Key Circuits Control Cell's Ability To Adapt To Changes In Its Environment is a Science Daily article. Quoting from it:

ScienceDaily (2009-08-25) -- Researchers have identified the two key circuits that control a cell's ability to adapt to changes in its environment, a finding that could have applications ranging from diabetes and autoimmune research to targeted drug development for complex diseases.

A paper on the finding was published in the August 21, 2009 edition of the journal Cell. The article is titled
Defining Network Topologies that Can Achieve Biochemical Adaptation. Biochemical adaptation is an issue around which controversy has centered during discussions of intelligent design. Michael Behe comes readily to mind.

The Science Daily article places some emphasis on adaptation to stimulus, cellular reset and homeostasis. Researchers analyzed millions of cellular circuits involved in adaptive responses. The complexity of the analysis is impressive. Interestingly a study of enzymatic regulatory networks resulted in the identification of "two core structures that are common to every adaptive response."