Genome complexity: what genes do and don't do (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, February 08, 2019, 10:17 (191 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: But my opinion is based the fact that life continues through automatic activity, with no evidence of inventive activity except in Shapiro's bacterial studies.

dhw: The whole of evolution depends on inventive activity! Once the innovation has been invented, then it will be automatically repeated until conditions change, in which case there may be adaptation, extinction, and/or innovation. You have no evidence that all undabbled innovations (new inventions) derive from a 3.8-billion-year old library of information and instructions, plus instructions on how to choose the right instruction, but you are convinced that it is true because new inventions are automatically repeated and you reject the concept of cellular intelligence, although it has a 50/50 chance of being right. How does this count as evidence for your "library"?

DAVID: I theorize and so do you. What has a 50/50 chance is only that cells have some ability to intelligently respond to stimuli with simple adaptations. The rest of your statement is conflation.

The rest of my statement concerns your own hypothesis, so I don’t know what you think I’m conflating. Nobody knows how innovation takes place, although it is sometimes difficult to draw a borderline between invention and adaptation (e.g. legs becoming fins and vice versa), but at least we know that adaptation does happen, and you have not (yet) included instructions for that in your vast library. And so you have a fixed belief in an extraordinarily convoluted hypothesis, as bolded, for which there is no evidence, but you reject a far more straightforward hypothesis because there is no evidence.

dhw:[…] Why don’t you stick to the subject and acknowledge that some highly reputable scientists believe/believed in cellular intelligence, and in your fairer moments you acknowledge that cellular behaviour appears to be intelligent, and there is a 50/50 chance that it is, but you yourself simply don’t believe in it?

DAVID: Conflation again. I'm talking about current scientists, not the older ones you quote.

Shapiro is not an “older one”, and it is absurd and probably libellous to dismiss the findings of current scientists as fake simply because they confirm the findings of older scientists with whom you disagree. You never complain about the grant system if an article seems to support your own fixed belief in "automaticity", and in any case you didn’t disagree with the article you quoted: you said it expressed your own thoughts.

dhw:[…]. Both of us reject chance. The usual question has now become: did the process originate 1) through a 3.8-billion-year-old library of information and instructions to cover the whole of evolution, plus instructions on which instructions to follow; 2) divine dabbling; 3) the intelligence of cells working out ways to repair damage, precisely as bacteria work out ways to cope with new threats?

DAVID: Multicellular organisms are not bacteria. I don't think Shapiro's point carries over.

At least you now seem to be accepting Shapiro’s view that bacteria work out their own ways to cope with new threats. Do you honestly think that if single cells can do this, communities of cells can’t?

dhw:[…] what interests me here is the versatility of stem cells. When conditions change, cells/cell communities must also change if they are to survive (adaptation), but perhaps innovation takes place when certain cells are given totally new functions. It seems that stem cells can do precisely this.
DAVID: Yes.

DAVID: (under “stem cells”) I can't find my recent entry which indicated not much is known, but here is an entry about a coming conference:
https://www.the-scientist.com/sponsored-webinars/stem-cells--opportunities--hurdles--an...

"Since Sir. Martin Evans’ 1981 identification of embryonic stem cells in mice, stem cells have been at the center of the drive to revolutionize medicine and the drug discovery process. In 1998, human embryonic stem cells were grown in a lab, and the field was further boosted in 2006 with the pivotal discovery of induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell techniques, which removed the need to destroy embryos. […] The Scientist is bringing together a panel of experts who will share their research, explore cellular reprogramming, and discuss the next steps.
"Topics to be covered:
Molecular mechanism of induced pluripotency
Roadblocks to iPSC reprogramming, and erasing transcriptional memory in cellular reprogramming"

DAVID: all that is known is from very recent work

Maybe the conference will yield more details, though the experts don't seem to be concerned with possible implications for how evolution works. What they call “pluripotency” (= my “versatility”) could be the key to the whole process. Many thanks for searching.


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