Ruben Gonzalez Jr.: Molecular Visualizer

Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Studies, Department of Chemistry, Columbia University. Age 42

By Jef Akst | September 1, 2014

Excerpt: “Much of his group’s current work involves extending discoveries about translation in E. coli to the process in eukaryotes, with an eye toward human health and disease.”

My comment: That sums up the frustration that other serious scientists must share when they hear pseudoscientific nonsense touted about mutations, natural selection, and the evolution of biodiversity. The pseudoscientists often cite Lenski’s experiments as proof of evolution. See: The Man Who Bottled Evolution. For contrast, serious scientists know that all organisms compete for sources of carbon that sustain the molecular mechanisms of life cycles. The results of that competition exemplify how biophysically-constrained nutrient-dependent protein biosynthesis and degradation in species from microbes to man link ecological variation to the nutrient-dependent RNA-mediated pheromone-controlled physiology of reproduction.

It has become clear that RNA-mediated events link ecological variation to nutrient-dependent amino acid substitutions that differentiate cell types. Cell type differentiation in species is controlled by the metabolism of nutrients to species-specific pheromones. The pheromones control the species-specific physiology of reproduction, which leads to ecological adaptations (see for review Kohl, 2013). Meanwhile, those with no understanding of biologically-based cause and effect comment on mutations, natural selection, and the evolution of biodiversity as if an evolutionary event had ever been described that linked Darwin’s ‘conditions of life’ from ecological variation to ecological adaptation via mutations. (No evolutionary event = no evolution via mutations and natural selection.)

They display their ignorance, albeit anonymously, in discussion groups that might otherwise facilitate advances. Instead, the discussion groups facilitate the spread of pseudoscientific nonsense and other nonsense at a time when others make progress by ignoring evolutionary theory, which is what Dobzhansky (1964) suggested they do 50 years ago. “…the only worthwhile biology is molecular biology. All else is “bird watching” or “butterfly collecting.” Bird watching and butterfly collecting are occupations manifestly unworthy of serious scientists!”

What if serious scientist, like Ruben Gonzalez Jr., whose visions have enabled them to detail how the epigenetic landscape is linked to the physical landscape of DNA in organized genomes via RNA-mediated events, were still reporting the results of their experiments in terms of mutations and evolution of morphological phenotypes? Could any perspective on RNA and dynamic nuclear organization or Combating Evolution to Fight Disease be used to make scientific progress under conditions of extreme ignorance displayed by theorists? Did the pseudoscientists never think to ask a serious scientist about the RNA-mediated physiology of reproduction or the requirement for the concurrent ecological adaptations of morphological and behavioral phenotypes? How much longer can pseudoscientists continue to spread their ignorance before it leads to the death of us all?

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