The Loom

Let Evolution Be Your Guide

PZ Myers did an excellent job yesterday of dismantling the latest from intelligent-design advocate Jonathan Wells. Wells wrote a piece on WorldNetDaily called “Why Darwinism is Doomed.” It is based some new research identifying an important gene involved in the human brain–which I blogged about last month. Wells claims that this discovery is a serious threat to evolution. Why? Because scientists have only just found the gene, because many genes are involved in building the human brain, and because finding a gene that’s different in humans than in other animals doesn’t actually reveal what caused that difference. Myers shows why all three arguments are wrong.

If you rely on Wells, you will come away with an impression of how scientists look for new genes that is precisely the opposite of reality. The authors of the new paper did not simply scan through the human genome in the hopes of finding something interesting. The genome is too big and mysterious for that approach. It’s like searching the Pacific for an island. If you just wander the ocean randomly, you may die before landfall.

What made this particular search especially challenging was that the gene in question does not make a protein. Protein-encoding DNA makes up only two percent of the genome, and non-coding DNA is a murky realm of virus-like stretches of DNA, broken genes, and some genes that actually serve an important function. It is very difficult to look at a single genome and pick out functionally important segments of DNA from the “junk.”

So how did the scientists find the new gene? They began with the fact that functionally important stretches of DNA will show signatures of evolution. A functionally unimportant stretch of DNA will acquire random mutations over millions of years. But if a segment of DNA has an important function, most mutations will be harmful. So the scientists compared non-coding DNA from chimpanzees, mice, and rat, for segments of DNA showed significant signs of negative selection. They identified 35,000 segments, all of which have resisted acquiring mutations for hundreds of millions of years. Then they looked at the human versions of each one. They found evidence that 49 of those regions had experience strong natural selection only in the human lineage. They ranked the DNA regions by the strength of natural selection and then investigated the ones at the top of the list. Lo and behold, they discovered that these DNA regions encoded genes that produce RNA, which turns out to do interesting things in the brain.

These scientists did not find a new gene and then try to make up a story to fit the theory of evolution. Evolution guided them to the genes. And they are hardly alone. Last year I blogged twice about scientists who find new genes and other important elements of DNA by looking for signatures of evolution. (Here and here.) Far from showing that “Darwinism is doomed,” the new research shows just how vital evolution is to understanding how the human genome works.


  1. #1 Steviepinhead
    September 28, 2006

    Excellent point, Carl, and well explicated: “Evolution guided them to the genes”!

    The depth of the dishonesty of the anti-evolution “spokes-frauds” never ceases to amaze. Surprise, no; amaze, yes…

  2. #2 kc
    September 28, 2006

    I’ve always thought that evolutionary conservation of DNA or amino acid sequences is an underutilized demonstration of the effect of evolutionary theory on modern biology. Though these studies won’t get as much press as the identification of key regulators of human development, biochemists use this same principle frequently to identify amino acids essential to the regulation and activity of proteins under study. Evolutionary conservation acts as a map to which areas of a protein may be critical and therefore altered as a probe of function. This approach allows us to pick apart complex biochemical systems, ascribe functions to individual components, and discover means of regulation. In many cases, it would be completely impossible to know where to begin if not for the evolutionary paradigm. And it happens everyday in labs all over the world.

  3. #3 Scott Belyea
    September 28, 2006

    Evolution guided them to the genes.

    An excellent post from The Loom. Well, OK – yet another excellent post.

    OK, OK … just one more post which lives up to the high standards of The Loom.

    Thanks yet again …

  4. #4 Jonathan Bartlett
    September 28, 2006

    Is this evolution or comparative anatomy? Would not someone doing comparative anatomy without evolutionary ideas also be likely to perform the same experiment? You want to know what separates humans — see what is different about humans that is similar everywhere else. One hardly needs to be an evolutionist to see the logic in that approach. That’s just standard comparative anatomy — done long before evolution, and will continue long after evolutionism is gone.

  5. #5 Carl Zimmer
    September 28, 2006

    Jonathan: This is evolution. There are a vast number of differences between human DNA and the DNA of other animals. Most of those differences do not reflect different functions, but are just neutral mutations. All of these scientists looked at the evolutionary history of animals to determine which differences were the ones that mattered most. None of them used “comparative anatomy,” by which,judging from your blog,I assume you mean intelligent design or some other brand of creationism.

  6. #6 drew hempel
    September 28, 2006

    Still you have to admit that the whole framework for deciding how to define functioning of genes is based on the collective database of previous functions already discovered. So “adaptation” results are assumed to be defined by significant resistance to “random” mutations in contrast to experiments that have already decided what were proper “adaptations.” But what if adaptation is not random — what if there is quantum chaos “spontaneous symmetry breaking” which is either “all left” or “all right” once the process of adaptation begins. What if that process of adaptation is launched by the CEM (conscious electromagnetic) field — detailed by genetics Professor Johnjoe McFadden in his recent book “Quantum Evolution”?

    Not only would evolution not be random — but the computers we are using to analyze the statistical differences between mutations would be part of a larger nonrandom evolutionary process!

    In fact this is the conclusion of applied math-biology Professor Steve Strogatz: The computers are in control.

    In fact no One (1) is in control — just read “Stalking the Riemann Hypothsis” — asymmetric time reversals from quantum chaos are based on nonrandom resonance of natural numbers.

  7. #7 drew hempel
    September 28, 2006

    Also Richard Dawkins is just creepy! “Synthetic Ecology” anyone? C’mon — science will never understand the Amazon — so hey let’s just replace it with Soybeans, so much easier and besides — what a great experiment to prove the Gaia theory wrong! That Lovelock sure is nutty — Nukes will save the Earth!! Well it makes sense consider Odum, the “father” of modern ecology, was funded by the Atomic Energy Commission.

  8. #8 Jonathan Bartlett
    September 28, 2006

    “None of them used “comparative anatomy,” by which,judging from your blog,I assume you mean intelligent design or some other brand of creationism.”


    Comparative anatomy is just that — comparative anatomy. It has been a valid field of study under all biological philosophies — even the non-historical ones.

  9. #9 R.A. Porter
    September 28, 2006

    I don’t want to be smarmy, or pull this discussion way off-topic, but the “CEM (conscious electromagnetic) field — detailed by genetics Professor Johnjoe McFadden” sounds like it owes its genesis to Rupert Sheldrake’s morphic resonance. Unless I’m reading too much into your description and the quick bits I gleaned off of wikipedia.

    It’s the non-random collapses of the DNA probability waves (I’m at a loss to come up with a better way of saying that) into prefered forms that’s really bothersome. I’m sure I’m completely misinterpreting based on the limited information I have, but it all sounds like malarkey to me.

  10. #10 Carl Zimmer
    September 29, 2006

    Jonathan: I am quite aware of comparative anatomy. Anatomy is defined as a branch of morphology that deals with the structure of organisms (Webster’s). My post, however, is about a genetic study, not an anatomical one. By definition, this study was not comparative anatomy, as you initially proposed.

  11. #11 Tulle
    September 29, 2006

    Carl, you have to understand it is getting really hard for the “evolution is not useful” argument. Jonathan is trying real hard to find some way this would have been found without thinking about, or even admitting that evolution happens. It doesn’t matter that an someone doing comparative anatomy would not be looking at DNA at all, ever. Some way must be found to make evolution useless so they can stop it being taught and have their mythology put in its place.

  12. #12 Unsympathetic reader
    September 29, 2006

    And: Comparative anatomy + geological/temporal data suggest ??? (Hint: rhymes with ‘revolution’)

    What must really irk baraminologists is their continued failure to find clear-cut, reliable and biologically relevant demarcations between biological groups (particularly humans and apes) that would fit their Biblical preconceptions. Baraminology is just “‘Kinds’, repackaged”.

  13. #13 drew hempel
    September 29, 2006

    Sure it’s malarky — just like all of science. Evolution has stopped for all higher mammals according to conservation biologist Soule. Earth has 25 years left of freshwater.

    So what’s the answer? More malarky! Quantum chaos nanowater brought to you by Sandia Labs.

    Humans are no different than any other animal going past its carrying capacity — territorial males making displays of power with big phallus symbols. (knives, guns, missiles, twin towers, etc.)

    The only difference is that “objective truth” of science is “pure” only as a cycling of the elements for Earth — from left-hand carbon-based molecules (ecology) to right-hand silica-based molecules (desertification for A.I. nanobiomotors).

    That which does not change is the “nonlocal consciousness” proven by the de Broglie pilot wave — superliminal communication of SIGNALS is now a verified fact, as detailed by quantum electronics Professor G. Nimtz in Germany.

  14. #14 drew hempel
    September 29, 2006

    Here’s a taste of Johnjoe McFadden’s Malarky:

  15. #15 R. Porter
    September 29, 2006

    Drew, I’m trying to make sense of your post but having no success. I had a bit more success with the link you provided, but have to take some issue with it. The superposition of states at the quantum level is improbable at molecular distances. So while the protons in the atoms composing the molecular base pairs can be “not specifically localised to certain positions”, they will not be “smeared out along the double helix”. That’s a macro-measurement, and the uncertainty of location is a micro-measurement. While it’s possible for the proton to be anywhere in the universe, it’s HIGHLY probable for it to be within the molecule of which it is a constituent.

    I’m not sure where you’re going with the “nonlocal consciousness”, either. I’m casually familiar with the experiments that have shown information sharing through conservation of spin. I’m not sure if you mean something else here. Still, even if paired particles can communicate their spin states at superluminal speeds, what does that have to do with consciousness?

  16. #16 Paul Decelles
    September 29, 2006

    Jonathan’s discussion of comparative anatomy is interesting and he is right; comparative anatomy can be done with out reference to evolution…but that’s like doing astronomy if you don’t think stars exist. You can describe the motion of these points of light but can’t really explain what is going on. Likewise with comparative anatomy where there are the concepts of what is loosely called homology and analogy, which can be applied at the molecular level.

    Here is the analogy I use with my students:

    Suppose I assign an essay and when I look at the essays I find two that are identical or nearly identical. What am I going to conclude? The students rightfully tell me that the essay writers must have cheated. After a bit of questioning the students go ah so the essays must have a common source. That’s exactly what we do in comparative anatomy and molecular biology. When find deep correspondences inspite of different function we infer common origin at some point in the past. Now that may not be a correct interpretation. The essayists might have just by chance have come up with the same wording and the DNA sequences might have a high degree of correspondence just by chance…but that strains common sense to the breaking point

    By the way in molecular biology one finds analogy as well- for instance proteins with the same function but very diffierent amino acid sequences. From that we infer independent origin and convergent evolution just as we do in comparative anatomy.

    If you (speaking to Jonathan here) don’t buy these evolutionary interpetations the burden is on you to come up with an empirically testible alternative that is based on some sort of science…not simply saying the intelligent desgner did it.

    Yes you can do some sort of comparative anatomy without evolution, but I wonder what the point would be.

  17. #17 drew hempel
    September 29, 2006

    Well the points you raise, are, unfortunately the “pop” science positions based on research that’s ten years old. I find that people often choose to not investigate the issue — no matter what “the” issue is! People, even online REFUSE to learn and instead just regurgitate the “accepted” line currently sold as off the shelf technology science. This is psychologically the safe thing to do — align yourself with the accepted norm instead of actual current scientific research! Science shouldn’t be based on dogma but just actual results, verified, no matter how radical they are.

    Why not read McFadden’s previous pages wherein he describes how micro-states cross the quasi-classical limit?

    This is new research — for example water is a “macro quantum molecule” showing “quantum chaos” — see J.L. Finney, 2004. This is also called “complexity” studies that display very strange behaviors.

    The Frolich Effect, discussed by Professor A. G. Cairns-Smith in his latest book “Evolving the Mind” is a good example. It’s well-verified yet there’s nothing on it online.

    Do you have access to I.S.I. Web of science citation index? Just search Nimtz G or “quantum electronics” and “faster than light” or “superliminal.”

    If there is faster-than-light communication then there is a field enabling such communication — a field which is pure information — this is the de Broglie pilot wave, incorporated by David Bohm (a model perfectly acceptable to arch-“sceptic” Martin Gardner).

    Are you familiar with Susskind’s “holographic principle” for the limits of black hole information? Information is retained as a field — beyond spacetime and energy-mass.

    Again this is new research — it was covered in Scientific American a few years ago as their feature news — but it’s too radical to have filtered down into the “nuts and bolts” pop science consumers — those lap dogs who greedily lick up the left-overs of our current science superstars.

    Now the question being debated in quantum chaos cosmology — by Paul Davies, David Deutsch, John Wheeler, etc. — is whether this information field is based on irrational, logarithmic magnitudes (physics) or natural, logical binary resonance (number theory). I vouch for the later, as does Paul Davies, and John Wheeler. But David Deutsch states that John Wheeler is putting physics before math. The secret is, of course, in the very origin of science when the hypotenuse of the right-angle Pythagorean Triangle was declared a “magnitude” (physics) with “alogon” — ratios that leave out infinite regression through the average and divide method of calculation. This was the trick of Eudoxus and Archytas, developed for catapult technology, by the way, exposing the lie of “pure” science (there never has been pure science) — but the concept of irrational magnitude goes against the natural resonance of Pythagoras, causing, in the words of math professor Luigi Borzacchini, a “deep disharmony,” to be the structural continuation of logarithmic-based science.

    This logic of “proof by contradiction” (the deduction of the Pythagorean Theorem) that ignores the inference of the I-thought as the foundation for One-One mathematical axioms (as per Kurt Godel’s final studies), by the way, is the true cause of the ecological crisis.

    Again we have 25 years left of freshwater on the planet. Face the facts: humans have just passed their carrying capacity and are hitting collapse, as per the power laws of the Golden Ratio (an asymmetrical resonance of the continuous ratio One as the source of the I-thought).

  18. #18 drew hempel
    September 29, 2006

    J. McFadden’s summary of the conscious electromagnetic field:

  19. #19 R. A. Porter
    September 29, 2006

    Actually, the point I raised regarding the improbability of a proton being located outside its atom’s molecule was learned in solid state physics as an undergrad. That’s a little more like 15 years ago, but it wasn’t “pop” science at the time.

    I guess I’m just behind on my reading; then again to keep up with your heavily “quoted” list I’d need to give up my day job. Of course, most of the time, when a person’s website discusses “the conspiratorial nature of science” and “the means by which Freemasonic music-derived techno-spiritualism operates today as the defining controlling factor for humanity” I wonder just why I’m bothering. Perhaps if I’d had a “very close encounter with an ‘autoionized’ equilateral Pythagorean big black triangle” back in ’97 I’d have seen the light.

    Or did I misunderstand again? Is the “secret of the flying snake” parody?

    If so, I’m sorry for disparaging you. If not, I’m sorry for encouraging you.

  20. #20 Philip Bruce Heywood
    September 30, 2006

    I asked a straightforward question over on EVE & CYSTIC FIBROSIS and no attempt was made to answer. I take the liberty of repeating it. What is the status of the work comparing human genetic information with that of other primates? Is it or is it not established that human genetics have been impoverished, as though by near-extinction?

    Whilst not answering that question some commentators obliged me to ask another question which I as a non-biologist (but mainstream geologist) find perplexing. Can you explain to me in a short, understandible way, (without the false claim that time is a mechanism), how we have thrown away our ape-like ancestors’ chimp-like genes, but we can’t throw grandma’s congenital worts. Please don’t say Evolution did it. I want the mechanism, not personal ideaology. Thanks.

  21. #21 Markus
    September 30, 2006

    I’m not a biologist either, but your grandma is merely a couple generations away. “Ape-like” ancestor is a few tens of thousands.

  22. #22 drew hempel
    September 30, 2006

    No — it’s quite true — I think that humans are fools for misunderstanding the inference of infinity — just ask “what’s the source of the I-thought” and that itself will reorganize your DNA based on resonance.

    As for the other discussion — primates, evolution and comparative anatomy: Professor Jeffrey Schwartz is the man to read. PZ Meyer’s disses his genetics analysis but “The Red Ape” transcends that discussion.

  23. #23 Owlmirror
    September 30, 2006

    What is the status of the work comparing human genetic information with that of other primates?

    I thought that the short answer was common scientific knowledge: Humans and chimpanzees share 98% of their genetic code. This is in support of the comparative anatomy and morphological observations (which were first made more than two-and-a-half centuries ago), and the biochemical analyses (which were first made before the DNA sequencing was done).

    The long answer is, well, a lot longer. Sorry about that.

    Is it or is it not established that human genetics have been impoverished, as though by near-extinction?

    What exactly do you mean by “impoverished”?

    There is a theory that humans went through an extreme reduction; a population bottleneck, resulting from a climate change after a supervolcano eruption, and as a result, there is a great deal less genetic variety among all humans.

    However, as noted, this is still somewhat tentative; I don’t think it would be considered “established”.

  24. #24 Owlmirror
    September 30, 2006

    (This will probably show up twice. I think I had too many links in there.)

    What is the status of the work comparing human genetic information with that of other primates?

    I thought that the short answer was common scientific knowledge: Humans and chimpanzees share 98% of their genetic code. This is in support of the comparative anatomy and morphological observations (which were first made more than two-and-a-half centuries ago), and the biochemical analyses (which were first made before the DNA sequencing was done).

    The long answer is, well, a lot longer. Sorry about that.

    Is it or is it not established that human genetics have been impoverished, as though by near-extinction?

    What exactly do you mean by “impoverished”?

    There is a theory that humans went through an extreme reduction; a population bottleneck, resulting from a climate change after a supervolcano eruption, and as a result, there is a great deal less genetic variety among all humans.

    However, as noted, this is still somewhat tentative; I don’t think it would be considered “established”.

  25. #25 Owlmirror
    September 30, 2006

    Can you explain to me in a short, understandible way, (without the false claim that time is a mechanism), how we have thrown away our ape-like ancestors’ chimp-like genes, but we can’t throw grandma’s congenital worts.

    Well, first of all, “thrown away” is a very misleading way to think about the differences between our distant ancestors and ourselves. One the one hand, a great deal of information remains the same; on the other, changes have occurred over time such that we develop very differently. It’s not time itself that is the “mechanism”, it’s the vast number of generations that lived in that period of time. Each generation differing only slightly from one another can nevertheless accumulate changes such that the later generations (humans) differ greatly from the first generations.

    As for the congenital warts you mention (“worts” are plants, or grains used in brewing), well, heredity does exist, and warts might well be a trait that can be passed along to descendants, like every other trait. That doesn’t mean that all descendants will get them, though. And how severe are these warts? Do they interfere with survival or reproduction? If not, there’s no reason they would be selected against. Now that we have a better understanding of genetics, it may become possible to locate the genetic sequence that codes for the warts, and indeed “throw them away” (that is, make sure that the offspring do not have those sequences).

    Hm. I note that a medical dictionary ascribes the cause of warts to a virus. That’s an example of how something can appear to be genetic, and yet not be: presumably, grandma’s warts were spread by ordinary physical contact to her descendants, the virus going from her skin to that of her children.

  26. #26 drew hempel
    September 30, 2006

    The whole Chimp-human DNA evidence is more a reflection of current reductionist genetic IPO priorities.

    Here’s a new paper by Professor Jeffrey Schwartz that directly deals with the morphology versus genetics arguments in primate evolution. To ignore the clear evidence is to side with the aristocratic, imperialistic forces that construct the true history of science. That position is fine to take, as it is the defining force in current “evolution” — yet it’s not the truth.

  27. #27 Unsympathetic reader
    September 30, 2006

    The whole Chimp-human DNA evidence is more a reflection of current reductionist genetic IPO priorities.

    No, it’s a reflection of sequence differences across species.

  28. #28 Philip Bruce Heywood
    September 30, 2006

    Well I got my spelling corrected, anyway.

  29. #29 drew hempel
    September 30, 2006

    If you cut and paste little clips from Jeffrey Schwartz’ paper your ideas will be 180 degrees different from the little clip you have provided.

    Let’s have a real debate on this “science” blog instead of reactionary comments with no substance.

    Or we can continue to ignore the evidence with caddy remarks.

    This isn’t about “sympathy” — unless you’re considering the fact that orangutans are about to go extinct (along with 25% of primates).

  30. #30 drew hempel
    September 30, 2006

    Not only has evolution already ended for “higher mammals” — but trickle down economics are too slow for nature — it’s a global meltdown!

    How ironic — the discovery and study of evolution is its own demise:

  31. #31 Unsympathetic reader
    September 30, 2006

    My remarks were not ‘catty’ but actually straighforward.

    Schwartz’s research is just as reductionistic as sequence comparisons. How do you think one establishes taxonomic relationships? Schwartz is attempting to identify and quantify specific organismal traits for comparison. Like every other approach in the science of comparative biology (taxonomy) he seeks to find a objective and ‘hard’ basis for his choice of traits. He then quantifies and ranks the measurements to construct the trees of relationships. Sequence and morphological comparisons are complementary methods for determining biological relationships. They may not always agree but that’s not a issue of ‘reductionist genetic IPO priorities’; it’s of matter of how the observed variations arose and the relative rates of acquired variation in the different lineages. If you read Schwartz’s other publications, you’ll find that Jeff enthusiastically encourages the ongoing research which is attempting to determine the underlying, specific genetic and epigenetic mechanisms behind organismal phenotypes (e.g. morphology, behavior & etc.) and developmental biology. That *is* reductionistic.

    BTW – The paper Drew referenced in the most recent post was authored by John R. Grehan. John references papers by Schwartz but the URL doesn’t specifically point to a paper by Jeff.

  32. #32 drew hempel
    September 30, 2006

    Actually for those brave enough to read Schwartz’ book — reissued last year — you’ll find that ethology is just as much part of his argument as morphology.

    Well ethology does get us into “cagey” territory doesn’t it?

    Orangutans are solitary, peaceful primates compared to our “true” ancestors — those war-mongering, big-balled chimps!

    But then considering that orangutans are actually more accurate in terms of behavioral traits then we begin to see — gasp — the POLITICAL basis for this whole argument.

    Moot — of course — since Mother Nature will take of its “progression.”

  33. #33 Unsympathetic reader
    September 30, 2006

    Drew writes: ‘Actually for those brave enough to read Schwartz’ book…

    Personally, I’d recommend following that up with a broader survey of the scientific literature. Multiple sources tend to give fuller pictures.

    Well ethology does get us into “cagey” territory doesn’t it?

    Why? Are you suggesting there are no inherited biological or genetic components to behaviors? Schwartz *knows* that learned or non-inherited behaviors would not provide reliable determinants for establishing phylogeny. In his work, Jeffrey would specifically ignore traits that did not have evidence of an underlying, *biological* and inheritable component.

    (As an aside: Given that probably, the most poorly genetically understood type of organismal trait is primate behavior and that the traits would likely vary significantly in different environmental contexts*, I’d personally hesitate to rely strongly on ethology if I had better alternatives for comparison.

    *For example, one of the best known mechanisms for discordant distances in phylogentic comparisons is intense selective pressure on a trait in one of the lineages).

    About those ‘war-mongering’ chimps: What of Pan paniscus? Consider the pan clade: Interesting sets of behaviors for groups with close genetic ties, eh? I guess I would agree that ethology is a ‘cagey’ problem, but not for the ‘political’ reasons you might propose.

  34. #34 drew hempel
    October 1, 2006

    Well actually I’ve only read “The Red Ape” — see I’m a fanatic follower of Schwartz. I read “The Red Ape” every day and have read it every day ever since I discovered it — some 20 years ago.

    I read no other books nor other analyses.

    In fact I don’t think you should read “the Red Ape” because I’ve read it more than enough for you and the rest of “science.”

    OK the above was comedy — now back to reality:

    Epigenetics — it’s what everyone’s serving for breakfast these days. Nonlinear photon pumping — transposons, horizontal gene transfer, retro-viruses.

    Evolution ain’t what it used to be. Read Dr. Mae-Wan Ho’s book “The Rainbow and the Worm” — biophotons are real!

    Joel Sternheimer’s protein music is another great example.

    Here’s two other “less reductionist” professors I recommend: William Calvin and Michael Corballis.

    So with Calvin we have the whole global “pump” punctuated equilibrium argument.

    2.5 mya — global warming causes permanent bipedalism in hominids — this is the “lop-sided ape” argument of Corballis.

    Put the two together and you get the reductionist trajectory of left-brain, right-hand technology — just a reflection of quantum chaos (moon-sun-earth) dynamics mind you.

    Already, 2 mya, more chips in the flint causes better cutting tool. Reductionism.

    The real issue is arboreality and asymmetry and which sense is dominant — visual or auditory. When we were in the trees (our I should say our common ancestor with orangutans, some 20 mya, according to Schwartz) the inner ear connecting to our cerebellum created some bizarre effects.

    The full-lotus yoga posture recreates this brain symmetry by the way. Brain plasticity is truly amazing!

    Bird calls create ultrasonics which resonate the stomata of plants so that nutrients are absorbed from the morning dew.

    Try to recreate that in a petry dish — as Louis Kervan details in his book “Biological Transmutations” — it’s not gonna happen.

    “Gossip, Grooming and the Evolution of Language” by Professor Robin Dunbar.

    It might be that bird behavior better suits human behavior than any of the primates. The inner ear of humans is the jaw of our pineal-gland “inner smile” — the melatonin bliss resonated into DMT vision that connects with nonlocal consciousness. It’s no accident that the golden ratio is the inner ear.

    Or try this out — hydrocarbon cycle becames secret to vortex engines through implosion via thermogradients. Viktor Schauberger — not a professor but he understood Nature better than most.

    Of course positronium research is totally classifed.

  35. #35 drew hempel
    October 1, 2006

    Deception as a Darwinian signal is highly underrated:

  36. #36 fessway
    October 1, 2006

    I can’t decide who’s more annoying: the Creationists or the New Agers.

  37. #37 Markus
    October 1, 2006

    Creationists seem to number higher but New Agers seem to be much more intense. Plus they refer to much more sources as “support”.

  38. #38 Drew Hempel
    October 1, 2006

    Let us bow our heads and take comfort in the possibile antimatter over Antartica as the blessed sign for future evolution of Mother Science:

  39. #39 drew hempel
    October 1, 2006

    As per above discussion on superliminal signaling in evolution:

    Title: Superluminal signal velocity and causality
    Author(s): Nimtz G
    Source: FOUNDATIONS OF PHYSICS 34 (12): 1889-1903 DEC 2004
    Cited References: 50
    Abstract: A superluminal signal velocity (i.e. faster than light) is said to violate causality. However, superluminal signal velocities have been measured in tunneling experiments recently. The classical dipole interaction approach by Sommerfeld and Brillouin results in a complex refractive index with a finite real part. For the tunneling process with its purely imaginary refractive index this model obtains a zero-time traversing of tunneling barriers in agreement with wave mechanics. The information of a signal is proportional to the product of its frequency band width and its time duration. The reasons that superluminal signal velocities do not violate causality are: ( i) physical signals are frequency band limited and ( ii) signals have a finite time duration.

    Addresses: Nimtz G (reprint author), Univ Cologne, Inst Phys 2, Cologne, D-5000 Germany
    Univ Cologne, Inst Phys 2, Cologne, D-5000 Germany
    E-mail Addresses:

  40. #40 drew hempel
    October 1, 2006

    Professor emeritus Michael Soule — radical conservation biologist willing to confront the facts or soft-headed New Ager gone over the edge?

  41. #41 Kevin McLeod
    October 2, 2006

    Goodness gracious. What is it about good science that attracts critiques by nutjobs like moths to a flame?

  42. #42 Unsympathetic reader
    October 2, 2006

    Yes, well there is a difference between sound science and something that sounds scientific…

    The one good thing about this discussion is that it jogged my recollection of Billy Joel’s “Angry Young Man“. I haven’t thought about that tune in years.

  43. #43 drew hempel
    October 2, 2006

    Well since I’m 35 is that some argument for increased longevity? Technically a young men designation ends at what — 32? Sure I look like I’m 25 and I plan just on getting younger (thanks to my ability to flex the pineal gland).

    Melatonin is not new age hokum — the N.I.H. sponsored a cancer conference devoted to melatonin and the pineal gland in 2003.

    I read one scholarly book a day and have spent the last 5 years corresponding with scientists from all disciplines.

    Certainly science is more interesting than this regression to “gee whiz” 1950’s McCarthyism-research.

    It appears that the “older” thinkers hope to take haven in the glory of simpler days…. ah, how feeble our dreams of yesteryear.

    I was censored from PZ Meyers by the way — that’s how “real” science operates: fascism.

    Considering the servere limitation to engage with the research I’ve presented on this forum — self-censorship by scientists is just as effective. Chomsky has stated as much in regards to some 90% of professors.

  44. #44 Nix
    October 3, 2006

    Drew, a serious question: are you a computer program? Because your output is so disjointed and so full of jumps between completely unrelated fields that you read like a copy of Megahal that’s just been fed a bunch of bad pop science and new-age-woo books.

    (Hint: you can’t flex things that don’t contain muscles or a blood supply or other pneumatic system connected to muscles. Yes, that rules out flexing the pineal gland. Sorry.)

    (And, um, fascism? PZ?! No, definitely not. But he’s damned good at spotting kooks thanks to years in the kook-hives that are and auk.

    If he was a fascist you’d be imprisoned or dead. Instead, you can’t babble in his front yard anymore. How terribly confining that must be for you.)

  45. #45 drew hempel
    October 3, 2006

    This is the sad thing about “science” people. I have no problem reading science nor studying it but at the same time I’m not limited in studying other types of knowledge systems. The overall effect of science is today’s global ecological crisis. To attempt to disconnect science from imperialism is pure myopic back-slapping.

    Now — a little common sense. There are muscles attached to the brain. “Flex” — does not necessarily mean muscles (nor does it exclude muscles) — it can mean focusing cerebral-spinal fluid or even increasing resistance of electromagnetic fields or creating superpositioning of consciousness waves — like pumping a swing.

    Science makes up new terms all the time but concepts can be based on a lot of different terminology, even though they are the same concepts. The concept of consciousness as a means for creating energy is found throughout the world — vitalism, alchemy — these are the rejected terms for it in the West.

    There’s no need to rely on New Ageism — the only thing necessary is “natural resonance.” This is an issue of philosophy of science, discussed in detail by Professor H.M. Collins (in his books published by Cambridge University Press and M.I.T. Press).

    Physics professor Robert McCauley (UT-Austin) critiqued the quantum chaos science book “Linked,” by professor A. Barabasi, as being hokum because “Linked” relies on resonance — which “is not mathematizable” to use McCauley’s words.

    Well that’s the paradox of resonance isn’t it? Astronomy professor Seymour Percy made this point about resonance — that resonance is the achille’s heel of science, the “sublime kernal” of scientific ideology — in a letter to the journal Nature. Nature did not publish Professor Percy’s letter but Professor Percy had the letter published in John Anthony West’s book on astrology.

    Interdiscinlinary analysis is what is most needed in science today so when such broad connections are made around resonance then most analysts have their brains lock-up. Yet interdisciplinary analysis is the M.O. of the Santa Fe Institute, for example.

    Professor Nicholas Humphries, in one of his neuroscience books, states that it’s impossible to flex your prefrontal cortex. So I emailed him and told him I’m doing it right now! The person I took classes from, to be able to do this, sat in a cave in full-lotus for 28 days straight with no food and no water. Master Chunyi Lin is a certified international qigong master by the government of China. Master Lin has taught qigong to the Mayo Clinic doctors.

    Of course my level of alchemy is only a beginner’s level compared to what he is able to do.

    These skills are quite rare in the West because of gender relations and in fact science is based on gender relations. Alchemy (read “Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality”) is based on the electrochemical hormones, using the body as a harmonic oscillator, focused on its Platonic nodes of natural resonance.

    So, obviously, for psychological reasons, there are certain taboos in science. Read “The Religion of Technology” by Professor David F. Noble (1996, while he was at M.I.T.) — science is based on Platonic structural dynamics — specifically the inverse relation of mass squared to energy frequency distance (read “Supersymmetry” by the U of Michigan particle physics professor).

    The extention of logarthmic-based mathematics, as physics, is based on a “deep disharmony” (math professor Luigi Borzacchini) that is the structural cause of the ecological crisis.

    The fact is Earth has 25 years of freshwater left. To not see the larger cause of this is pure hokum! I’m not against science — I’m just realistic about it’s results, which are relative and based on imperialism. There is no pure science — the Pythagorean Theorem was created, not by Pythagoras, but by Archytas and Eudoxus and Hippocrates, for catapult technology.

    The only thing that doesn’t change is this formless awareness — the logical source of the I-thought (as taught by Kurt Godel, see Rudy Rucker’s “Infinity and the Mind”) — and science is part of a larger cycling of the elements, against any superiority of technology for the benefit of civilization.

  46. #46 drew hempel
    October 3, 2006

    OK — it was Professor Joseph McCauley — we exchanged emails about resonance and quantum chaos and he stated that resonance is “not mathematizable.”

    Another good source on this is Professor Bart Kosko’s new book “Noise.” Alchemy is, as Kosko details, simple a perfect sine-wave with asymmetrical, nonlinear resonance — but it can not be “contained by infinity” through symbols, so therefore it’s not mathematizable.

  47. #47 drew hempel
    October 3, 2006

    Title: Experience influences the EEG theta localizations in QiGong meditation

    Author(s): Tei S, Faber PL, Lehmann D, Tsujiuchi T, Kumano HR, Kochi K
    Document Type: Meeting Abstract
    Language: English
    Cited References: 0 Times Cited: 0
    Addresses: Univ Tokyo, Dept Stress Sci & Psychosomat Med, Grad Sch Med, Tokyo, Japan
    Univ Hosp Psychiat, KEY Inst Brain Mind Res, Zurich, Switzerland
    Waseda Univ, Dept Hlth Sci & Social Welf, Tokyo, 1698050 Japan
    IDS Number: 071PT

    ISSN: 0167-8760

  48. #48 Clastito
    October 8, 2006

    Drew, you are nuts.
    This being said, I know for a fact that PZ has banned practicing evolutionary biologists from posting on his site, and many other evolutionary biologists have shown their disagreement with his paranoid, tasteless extremism.
    Do not take PZ as a representative of what an evolutionary biologist is like. In fact, you CANNOT: A search in Pubmed shows no research that PZ has published in any evolutionary journals. Just as well.

  49. #49 drew hempel
    October 9, 2006

    Yeah — the label “nuts” comes from Nuit — the word for nothingness (as per physics professor John Barrow’s recent book). I read one scholarly book a day so I tend to go over people’s heads a lot.

    PZ Meyers is just one person I’ve dialoged with online. He responsed to me directly once — in response to a question I asked him about Professor Jeffrey Schwartz for example.

    Meyers aligns himself with the skeptics, via Magic Randi, which is unfortunate as any close reading of — the work of George P. Hansen — will reveal. Then there’s always Dennis Stillings, another Minnesotan, who Magic Randi’ed Magic Randi himself (in collaboration with U of Minnesota Physics Professor).

    Nevertheless I’ve noticed Meyers has included specific comments I’ve made (for example his whole superconducting silica brain remark is directly from what I’ve been posting).

    These things really don’t matter, because self-censorship, as has become the norm online, is just a sign of the tragic times we live in. I just recommend books for fun and read science for fun — I’m a crank which is a shrink for scientists (self-imposed, of course). I have a Masters Degree….. (not in science).

    Here’s my latest recommendation for all you real scientists:

    New School Professor Humphreys, Willard C.
    Anomalies and Scientific Theories. San Francisco: Freeman, Cooper & Company, [1968]

  50. #50 Steviepinhead
    October 10, 2006

    drew, you don’t just “go over people’s heads a lot.” You float completely away into the ozone. Less hemp, more focus, guy.
    It’s not at all clear why you and clastito feel it’s appropriate to take up time and space on Carl’s blog to air your complaints about P.Z. Myers.
    In any event, try to remember the very basics of courtesy, like dropping that first “e” from your misspelling of his name–who knows, if you’d paid attention at this basic level of detail, perhaps you and Paul would have gotten off to a better start.
    Do let us know if you come up with any evidence for magic dragons named Puff, though. That would be an intriguing result of your random-book-a-day “researches”.

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