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

by dhw, Saturday, February 09, 2019, 12:36 (12 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: 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.

DAVID: [...] Changing leg to fin is full blown evolution of a new species, never to be compared to minor adaptation which is all bacteria do. They adapt but do not change into a new species. […]

In your hypothesis, apparently your God either fitted the first living cells with a programme for pre-whale leg replacement (in addition to programmes for every other change in the history of evolution), or popped in personally to amputate the legs of pre-whales and insert flippers/fins in their place. My proposal is that pre-whales entered the water, and their cell communities adapted existing structures to make the body more suited to life at sea. Three unproven hypotheses to explain speciation.

dhw: 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.

DAVID: As Paul Davies notes, "we don't know how the hardware produces the software', to which I answer, the genome has many functional layers we still do not understand. My theory lies in those areas as an expectation Davies answer will be found there.

Nobody knows how speciation happened. If your 3.8 billion-year-old library of information and instructions for the whole of evolution might be found in the genome, then so might an autonomous brain equivalent which allows cells to work out their own innovations.

DAVID: I'll change my view based on factual research. […] Living biochemistry is extremely complicated which includes convolutions of many processes operating in concert and at times antagonistically in feedback loops.

You will change your “library” view, for which there is not one jot of factual evidence, only if factual evidence is found for a different view. This might be seen as the epitome of dogmatism. Nobody is denying the complexity of living biochemistry. That does not mean your “library” is more likely than a brain equivalent.

DAVID [on the subject of grants and fake research): You are off point. I'm discussing the very current overstatements of the research results as to proof. Again look at the series of theoretical origin of life for examples. The hyperbole is a recent event in the past ten years or so. Faux articles are constantly being accepted by borderline journals. I still have the right to present and re-interpret the findings, in order to counter to the overblown conclusions. Findings are fixed fact. Interpretations are another breed of cat.

All agreed, but the subject we are discussing is what genes do and don’t do. You quoted (and initially agreed with) an article which explicitly supported the view that cells issue their own instructions (as opposed to your belief that their behaviour has been preprogrammed by a divinely compiled, 3.8 billion-year-old library of information and instructions), thus supporting the views of Shapiro and older scientists who firmly believe that cells are intelligent. Sorry, but changing the subject to fake research and the grant system does not support your case for cellular “library” versus cellular intelligence.

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

dhw: 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?

DAVID: In multicellular organisms things are much more complex and cells in organs have very specific fixed jobs. Single cells must do everything and must be able to make simple altered responses to a variety of stimuli that present themselves, a wholly different set of circumstances that does not transfer over to the much more complex organisms. You are trying to compare cows to clams.

The greater the complexity, the more intelligence needed to run the show. If single cells can work out their own solutions to their problems, why do you think cell communities can’t do the same? Ever heard of cooperation?

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: Speciation must be done through stem cells. We know of some processes that alter their eventual output, both chemical and mechanical.

Thank you. This is indeed what interests me. Once a stem cell is given a new function, it retains that function and so, following the principle of common descent, theoretically perhaps we should begin with stem cells: i.e. the original cells had the potential to develop into every form we now know. The variations and innovations brought about by multicellularity (= evolution) would then – in my hypothesis - be the result of stem cells being given new roles by existing cell communities as they respond to ever changing conditions.

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