Top-down causation

Silencing genes and serious scientists

Silencing genes — to understand them Excerpt: “RNAi and other processes may help science understand how life works at the most basic level.” My comment: Serious scientists already understand how life works at the most basic level.  Viral microRNAs perturb protein folding that links nutrient-dependent microRNAs to DNA repair via the conserved molecular mechanisms that link amino acid substitutions to the biophysically constrained chemistry of protein folding, which is required for genomic stability and increasing organismal complexity. Fixation of the amino…

Read More

Quantum correlations/pseudoscience

A quantum advantage for inferring causal structure Preprint excerpt: “The causal inference schemes described here promise extensive applications in experiments exhibiting quantum eff ects. For instance, they can provide a test of whether the dynamics of a given open quantum system is Markovian or not [17{24]. This is because in a non-Markovian evolution, the environment acts as a common cause between the dynamical system at one time and the same system at a later time. Our inference schemes may also help…

Read More

Is DNA-directed transcription RNA-mediated?

Single-cell transcriptogenomics reveals transcriptional exclusion of ENU-mutated alleles. Concluding sentence excerpt: “…rather than a rigid deterministic mechanism, transcription is not hardwired and able to select against potentially adverse changes in the DNA template. Such transcription avoidance may be yet another layer of protection against the detrimental consequences of mutations and provide further clues to understanding its possible consequences, including reduced penetrance and variable expressivity.” Reported as: Rather than being a one-way street, DNA-directed RNA transcription may have profound adaptability Excerpt:…

Read More

Imagining that data historically supports evolutionary theory

1) Arguments in the evo-devo debate: say it with flowers! Abstract excerpt: A key question in evolutionary developmental biology is how DNA sequence changes have directed the evolution of morphological diversity. The widely accepted view was that morphological changes resulted from differences in number and/or type of transcription factors, or even from small changes in the amino acid sequence of similar proteins. My comment: This is the first time I have seen anyone claim that the “…small changes in the…

Read More

The anti-entropic force of "Nature"

Exploring the Epigenome A National Institutes of Health-funded consortium publishes 111 reference maps of DNA and histone marks. By Jenny Rood | February 18, 2015 Excerpt:  “All our cells have a copy of the same book, but they’re all reading different chapters, bookmarking different pages, and highlighting different paragraphs and words.” These chemical bookmarks, such as methylation and acetylation, help control which genes are transcribed into RNA and expressed in a given cell type, thus aiding the maintenance of a…

Read More

The future of physics predicts no future for evolutionary theory

The ever-smaller future of physics ‘Theory of everything’ captures Weinberg’s imagination in Lee Historical Lecture Excerpt: “…there are hints that the answers to fundamental questions will reveal themselves at around a million billionths — between 10­-17 and 10-19 — of the radius of the typical atomic nucleus. My comment: Evolutionary theorists may not recognize the problem that this presents. By accepting de Vries definition of “mutation” and rejecting experimental evidence, which links the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of…

Read More

Jumping back: Science or Pseudoscience?

Daily Comment November 21, 2014 European Science’s Great Leap Backward By Michael Specter Excerpt 1) “When politicians reject verifiable data and reputable research and rely instead on politics or desire, the results can be devastating.” Excerpt 2 with my emphasis) “…scientific organizations from around the world… have strongly endorsed the safety of G.M. foods. (It should be noted that the U.S. can claim no superiority in our approach to evidence-based science, as demonstrated by the fact that nearly half of…

Read More