Appealing speculation vs biological facts

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: April 4, 2014

The latest experimental evidence of biological facts was incorporated in  Nutrient-dependent/pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution: a model.  I think it was largely because of what the late Carl Sagan said about literacy and nutrition that participants on the Neuroanthropology Interest Group FB page  have come to see problems with what Neil deGrasse Tyson is now claiming about evolution. For example, the common claim that ‘Evolution is well-established by evidence’ was something the new  Cosmos covered in its second episode.”
What we were told was well-established by evidence is now accurately portrayed as appealing speculation.
1) Appealing speculation:  “It is appealing to speculate that genetic variants affecting lipid catabolism in modern Europeans were acquired by modern human ancestors through genetic flow from Neanderthals, and then spread rapidly though the ancestral population by means of positive selection.
The appealing speculation can now be compared to biological facts.
2) Biological facts:…our results indicate that this massive developmental remodeling of the human cortex, which affects hundreds of genes, might be driven by expression changes of only a few key regulators, such as microRNAs.”
I asked: Does anyone think that positive selection for genetic variants affecting lipid catabolism is a biologically plausible explanation? In my model, for comparison, the variants arise due to ecological variation that results in ecological adaptations.
1) Neanderthal ancestry drives evolution of lipid catabolism in contemporary Europeans and
2) MicroRNA-Driven Developmental Remodeling in the Brain Distinguishes Humans from Other Primates take the claim that ‘evolution is well-established by evidence’ from being a questionable claim to being a blatant misrepresentation of biological facts.
Do biological facts make any difference in the context of what people believe? See for example:
1) Organizational and activational effects of hormones on insect behavior
2) Alternative RNA Splicing in Evolution
3) A Challenge to the Supremacy of DNA as the Genetic Material.
4) New general concept for the treatment of cancer
5) Epigenetics Neil Degrasse Tyson
The question arises, given these biological facts, why do people still believe that evolution is well-established by evidence? The only experimental evidence of biologically based cause and effect shows that species diversity results from ecological adaptations. For example, cancer (see #4 above) does not cause species diversity. But what difference does that fact make?
Tuesday, Sep 17, 2013 08:43 AM EST

Scientists’ depressing new discovery about the brain

Forget the dream that education, scientific evidence or reason can help people make good decisions

Marty Kaplan, Alternet
Excerpt:  “The power of emotion over reason isn’t a bug in our human operating systems, it’s a feature.”

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