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Posts by tallhappy

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  • Fact, Fable, and Darwin

    09/15/2006 5:44:46 PM PDT · 139 of 342
    tallhappy to ahayes
    Interesting post, well presented and received.

    Keep in mind you are doing exactly what this author says -- your focus is purely on this topic from a socio-political standpoint.

    That it is a scientific issue is secondary to your discussion and to the discussion that takes place here.

    This is, as presented and discussed by both sides -- ostensibly religious and ostensibly scientific -- a socio-political debate, not scientific.

    To me biology is of interest and I dislike those trying to use science for political agendas.

  • Fact, Fable, and Darwin

    09/15/2006 4:29:50 PM PDT · 54 of 342
    tallhappy to Coyoteman

    The author of this piece did not spell Szathmary's name right, nor did he provide a reference to the Nature article, other than the year.

    The article he refers to is below.

    Nature 399, 745 (24 June 1999); doi:10.1038/21569

    When the means do not justify the end


    Eörs Szathmáry is at the Collegium Budapest, Szentháromság u2, H-1014 Budapest, Hungary

    Sudden Origins: Fossils, Genes, and the Emergence of Species
    by Jeffrey H. Schwartz
    Wiley: 1999. 408pp
    £19.99, $27.95)


    Evolution by radical mutation: "Tragic anatomies" by Jake and Dinos Chapman.
    The origin of species has long fascinated biologists. Although Darwin's major work bears it as a title, it does not provide a solution to the problem. Does Jeffrey Schwartz give one? I am afraid that, in general, he does not, but the book is still interesting.

    Schwartz presents a detailed and informative historical account of evolutionary biology. In fact, the book could be read as a history of evolution, and will probably occupy such a niche. Schwartz is much more ambitious than this, however: he wants to convince the reader that his "new evolution" is the Holy Grail of the field.

    These are the elements of his proposal. First, forces of speciation are largely independent of selection within the species. Second, speciation is typically triggered by a mutation in a homeobox gene. Third, such a mutation is likely to become fixed in population isolates. Fourth, the mutation remains unnoticed for a long time because of its recessive nature. Fifth, when it reaches homozygosity in the small isolate, it will appear in several individuals simultaneously. Sixth, the mutation, since it affects development, is likely to affect mate choice as well; hence, mutant homozygotes are likely to mate among themselves.

    Although Schwartz has in one sense resurrected Richard Goldschmidt's "hopeful monsters" (organisms with radically altered characteristics, produced in single large steps), he thinks that he has managed to avoid the associated pitfalls. The homeobox mutations would be macromutations in their effects, but from the genetic point of view they would qualify as micromutations, since no large genomic rearrangements are implied. The problems of finding a mate also seem to be solved by the dynamics of recessives (mutant homozygotes are thought to appear simultaneously, following a lag phase of heterozygosity). And, since homozygosity and preferential mating (pre-zygotic isolation) go hand in hand, there would be no transitional forms.

    A drawback of this scenario is the absence of a population-genetic treatment. One is therefore left uncertain about the effects of population size, fixation time, and so on. It is not even certain whether Schwartz thinks that the mutant homozygotes have a selective advantage or are effectively neutral for the individual. In the latter case, the logic of the scenario still suggests that they would influence the dynamics of sexual selection, an interesting possibility. There is nothing wrong with dreaming up a verbal evolutionary scenario, but these days this surely cannot be the last word.

    Another shortcoming of the book is the lack of at least one documented case of speciation that may have happened following Schwartz's scenario. Examples that could be taken as evidence for the component processes are discussed in some detail, but this does not rule out the possibility that one case that fits the complete scenario would never be found.

    Schwartz shares a distrust of selection with some contemporary biologists. This is, I think, why he chose to ignore, for example, Peter Sheldon's work on the gradualism apparent in the evolution of the pygidial ribs of trilobites. When he discusses the celebrated computer study by Dan Nilsson and Susanne Pelger on the evolution of the optical structure of a fish eye, he mistakenly suggests that the intermediates are not selective improvements on the previous forms. It is revealing that he dismisses this scenario by saying : "Do we actually need to invoke such an elaborate thought experiment in order to understand the origin of the vertebrate eye, or any eye, for that matter? I think not. And the reasons lie in knowing that there are homeobox genes for eye formation and that when one of them, the Rx gene in particular, is activated in the right place and at the right time, an individual has an eye."

    This is utterly misleading. Schwartz ignores the fact that homeobox genes are selector genes. They can do nothing if the genes regulated by them are not there. It is these genes that specify in detail the adaptive structure of the organs. To be sure, turning on a homeobox gene at the wrong place can result in the appearance of an ectopic organ, but only if the genes for that organ are present in the same individual. It is totally wrong to imply that an eye could be produced by a macromutation when no eye was ever present in the lineage before. Homeotic mutations that reshuffle parts do happen, and sometimes they may have led to fixation of real evolutionary novelties, but this does not mean that such changes are implied in the majority of speciations. In fact, macromutations of this sort are probably frequently maladaptive, in contrast to the vast number of past and present species — not to mention the fact that morphological differences between related species can be minute.

    The history given in the book is fascinating, and some of the suggestions merit further work, but the reader is likely to be deeply disappointed more than once before the end.

  • Fact, Fable, and Darwin

    09/15/2006 4:15:53 PM PDT · 37 of 342
    tallhappy to Coyoteman
    Typical uninformed and oft-rebutted antiievolution tripe.

    Not really.

    You are much too much kneejerk and emotional on the issue.

  • Fact, Fable, and Darwin

    09/15/2006 4:14:50 PM PDT · 36 of 342
    tallhappy to ofwaihhbtn; ahayes
    Rather, from the very start it primarily has been an attack on religion by militant atheists who wrap themselves in the mantle of science.

    These threads showed me that more than anything else.

  • Kid Trapped in Car During Repossession

    09/15/2006 3:39:08 PM PDT · 6 of 6
    tallhappy to HuntsvilleTxVeteran
    It seems to be child abuse to leave a child in a car with out an adult.

    You don't have kids do you?

  • Kid Trapped in Car During Repossession

    09/15/2006 3:38:02 PM PDT · 5 of 6
    tallhappy to wjersey
    Rosalie Hargroves frantically called police at the time, fearing her son had been kidnapped.

    He was. This guy should get the book thrown at him hard.

  • China's leaders rediscover Confucianism

    09/15/2006 12:54:34 PM PDT · 24 of 42
    tallhappy to Truthsearcher

    My 23 is to you, as well as mrs don-o

  • China's leaders rediscover Confucianism

    09/15/2006 12:50:29 PM PDT · 23 of 42
    tallhappy to Mrs. Don-o; truth_seeker
    Arguments about Confucianism are really beside the point. Truthseeker's comment:

    All you need to know about the current regime in China is this, everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, they do, is aimed at maintaining their power to control China. They have no goals other than that one.

    is the bottom line.

  • New Islamo-funnies

    09/15/2006 10:18:41 AM PDT · 5 of 8
    tallhappy to vimto

    I don't get the second and third ones.

  • Bambi Can Stay on Farm (Family Can Keep Orphaned Fawn)

    09/15/2006 10:10:32 AM PDT · 3 of 7
    tallhappy to Diana in Wisconsin

    What's the DNR?

  • VH1 making Political Statement

    09/15/2006 7:56:56 AM PDT · 24 of 24
    tallhappy to LisaMalia

    No. He was on drugs all the time. Never stopped.

  • VH1 making Political Statement

    09/15/2006 12:26:21 AM PDT · 15 of 24
    tallhappy to DemforBush
    Lennon was an extraordinary musician, and I'm sorry he was murdered. But the man just wasn't playing with a full deck, I'm afraid.

    He was on drugs all the time.

  • VH1 making Political Statement

    09/15/2006 12:25:38 AM PDT · 14 of 24
    tallhappy to LisaMalia
    Power to the people, right on!!!
  • Convict Caught in Tenn. After 30 Years

    09/14/2006 5:21:39 PM PDT · 3 of 5
    tallhappy to freepatriot32

    Interesting stories.

  • John and Ken Responding to L.A Times Article (Audio Tape Leak Story)

    09/14/2006 3:48:56 PM PDT · 3 of 6
    tallhappy to kingu
    Not much those two bozos say is worth it (actually it is John who's the main bozo).
  • Forward to the Past- Moslem progress---Assessing the Islamist Threat, Circa 1946

    09/14/2006 3:47:58 PM PDT · 4 of 37
    tallhappy to SJackson

    Great post, thanks. One type of thing FR is all about is posts like this.

  • Jerry Lee Lewis Is 'Last Man Standing'

    09/14/2006 2:16:06 PM PDT · 3 of 47
    tallhappy to kiriath_jearim
    Goodness gracious.
  • Asia Times: OBL in Afghanistan

    09/14/2006 1:24:37 PM PDT · 2 of 18
    tallhappy to InvisibleChurch
    If he is alive this would seem the area he is in.
  • CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY: The impact of the Sino-Iranian strategic partnership

    09/14/2006 12:32:20 PM PDT · 5 of 6
    tallhappy to Dr. Marten

    BBC Summary of World Broadcasts

    June 14, 2000, Wednesday

    SECTION: Part 3 Asia-Pacific; CHINA; KOREAS; FE/D3866/G

    LENGTH: 601 words

    HEADLINE: China sets up new defence project to counter US - Hong Kong report

    SOURCE: Source: 'Tai Yang Pao', Hong Kong, in Chinese 13 Jun 00


    Revise the "non-alliance" policy

    This shows that both China and Russia are being directed against

    Text of report by special correspondent Wen Jen: "Revealing secrets of Beijing's 998 State Security Project" by Hong Kong newspaper 'Tai Yang Pao' on 13th June

    While the United States is planning to demand the revision of the "Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty," Beijing has started the "998 State Security System Project." According to informed sources, this "project" is mainly "tailored" and directed against the US state missile defence system. The content of the project includes efforts to accelerate the research, development and installation of new weapons and even to revise the "non-alliance" policy, and to form an alliance with "other countries" to resist US hegemonism.

    With regard to China's specific actions against US hegemonism, as revealed by the informed sources, Hu Jintao, vice-chairman of the CCP [Chinese Communist Party] Central Military Commission, recently attended a work conference of the four general departments of the People's Liberation Army during which he relayed a decision adopted by the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee which is aimed at taking countermeasures against the US missile defence system, that is the "998 State Security System Project." This project will start in an all-round manner.

    The content of the "998 State Security System Project" mainly includes the following:

    (1) Step up the research and manufacture of new weapons to deal with new strategic tactics.

    (2) Develop naval ship-launched missiles and cruise missiles.

    (3) Equip the troops ahead of schedule with electron laser and light beam weapons.

    (4) Stop talks with the US on the issue of proliferation.

    (5) Revise some original policies on not being the first to use nuclear weapons.

    (6) Revise the improper policy on "not forming alliance or blocs."

    It has been learnt that in early June, China successfully completed the test and appraisal of the neutron and laser artilleries of the navy and air force in the northwestern part of China.

    According to informed sources, the "998" project is a strategic resolution adopted in early August 1999 at the enlarged session of the Political Bureau of the CCP Central Committee in Beidaihe. The session is aimed at guaranteeing that China can possess threatening military strength that can counterattack the aggressors while China is being invaded or attacked by hegemonism, militarism, and foreign military blocs.

    The "998" project leading group is composed of trans-century leadership layers which include five persons, namely Hu Jintao, Wu Bangguo, Guo Boxiong, Cao Gangchuan, and Liu Jibin. At the work conference of the four general departments, Hu Jintao said clearly that if the United States draws up the state missile defence system, then, China will comprehensively start the "998" project.

    Chi Haotian also pointed out at the session that the US missile defence system is mainly directed against China and Russia. It is aimed at guaranteeing that the United States will not suffer counterattack by the countries which it has invaded. The new US-Japan Security Treaty is also directed against China and Russia.

    Therefore, if China fails to possess several threatening weapons, relatively, it will not have safety.

    Personages from the Beijing military circle pointed out: In face of the hegemonist military threat, it is wise of the higher echelon to make the decision of starting the "998" project at all times. The state sovereignty and security are above everything at any time.

  • CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY: The impact of the Sino-Iranian strategic partnership

    09/14/2006 12:17:15 PM PDT · 4 of 6
    tallhappy to Dr. Marten
    Thanks Doc.