Sunday, June 03, 2007

No, really-- Where did I mess up?

Im taking full advantage of my 'student' status. When you are a student, its still okay to make mistakes in the lab, accidentally misspeak with your jargon, and not have a clue how, say, SDS-PAGE works... as long as you learn from your mistakes. Really, I learn better from when I screw up (NEVER making a solution without checking its pH again!).

So, um, where are the Creationists who want to correct my Behe post? Its not like I didnt make mistakes-- for instance, I should have been more specific with that second Paint pic. Thats what a quasispecies would look like from a sample of a population. Thats more of a population frequency landscape, as opposed to a general 'EVERYBODY' fitness landscape, and I worry I might have confused some people by not being appropriately specific.

Now, Im sure Bossman could read my post and offer some suggestions and corrections. I know the HIV fitness big-wigs at NIH Los Alamos could chastise my overly simplistic explanations until I turn red from embarrassment. Hell, even the physics and math folks have weighed in on various blogs.

So again, um, where are the Creationists? Why cant they correct my errors and give me constructive corrections?

Ill tell ya why. Its the same problem HIV Deniers have (*GASP!* Creationists and Deniers have something in common?? Say it aint so!!!). Where their personal knowledge stops, the 'magic' begins. DaveScot already demonstrated his willingness to revert to magic with endogenous retroviruses, exactly how Blondie shot her own credibility in the head.

Retroviruses are weird. The whole quasispecies thing is super weird. Combine all this with fitness landscapes, and you might as well be drunk on the tilt-a-whirl. Its confusing as hell. And instead of using this opportunity to learn something new, Creationists 'rebuttal' is 'Evilutionists are MEAN!'

What??

One commenter tried to address the science of Marks posts, and fell flat on his face:

Unfortunetaly for Darwinists, it has been shown that to achieve even a simple modification of a protein, let’s say two amino acid residues, evolution must cross a sequence space of mutations that provide no selective advantage.
Really? Really? You sure about that? Cause I could swear that every day in the lab I compete viruses against one another with one-->five base pair differences that have HUGE fitness differences with all dimensions stripped away but one! And youre really sure that crossing 'simple' stretches of sequence space cant happen unless there is a selective advantage? HIV explores all one and two base pair permutations of the current average 'maximally fit' variant, and some three and four base pair permutations, in one HIV patient, every day.

Every day.

So see, when the fitness landscape is changing every day, and youve got billions of HIV genome permutations floating around, willing and able to shift the quasispecies as necessary... Well, now you all are seeing why HIV is such a bastard for scientists to conquer.

And Im not even getting into Motoo Kimura.

This is reason #21342521 I hate Creationists. They are absolutely worthless to me. I can learn nothing from them, because they dont want to learn themselves, and theyre so damn arrogant that they dont even know when theyre completely wrong-- even the oh-so-educated ones like Dembski. Worthless.

7 comments:

Dustin said...

"Unfortunetaly for Darwinists, it has been shown that to achieve even a simple modification of a protein, let’s say two amino acid residues, evolution must cross a sequence space of mutations that provide no selective advantage."

Even if it didn't provide a selective advantage, that simple modification could occur. Selectively neutral modifications are just that. There's nothing to regulate them, so they happen all the time.

Ian said...

Its the same problem HIV Deniers have (*GASP!* Creationists and Deniers have something in common?? Say it aint so!!!).

Actually, at least in the case of Phillip Johnson and Jonathan Wells, the ID proponents and HIV denialist are one and the same.

trrll said...

"This is reason #21342521 I hate Creationists. They are absolutely worthless to me. I can learn nothing from them, because they dont want to learn themselves, and theyre so damn arrogant that they dont even know when theyre completely wrong-- even the oh-so-educated ones like Dembski. Worthless"

I agree that this is the single most annoying thing about ID/creationists. One doesn't have to be right to make important contributions to science. I can think of a number of scientists who have advanced scientific thinking greatly by being wrong in interesting ways.

There was a time when I dug into creationist doctrine with the idea that surely, with their different perspective, they must have come up with something interesting. But everything that I followed up turned out to be garbage--dishonest garbage. Things taken out of context, misquoted, incorrectly interpreted. And there is not progression to their argument--they keep repeating the same tired old errors year after year, never even bothering to attempt to rebut criticisms in any meaningful way. The attack on Mark CC's review on UD is typical. No attempt to rebut even one of Mark's criticisms, just an attack on his credentials as a mathematician. You would think, on a web site supposedly run by a credentialed mathematician, they would have something to say about Mark's mathematical criticisms. But nooooo....

Don't expect them to come around here. They are only happy playing in their private sandbox, where they can pat one another on back and keep out anybody who argues too effectively against their nonsense.

Torbjörn Larsson said...

Really, I learn better from when I screw up (NEVER making a solution without checking its pH again!).

Or probing a circuit without connecting or disconnecting the juice as the case may be, or driving from repair shop without checking the gas. (The one time I did that the car stopped ~ 200 m from a station though. No kidding!)

[OT chemistry anecdote: When I worked on equipment development for a biotech startup, IIRC one guy complained, oh at least half a day I think, about his expensive and irreplaceable antibodies inactivity and how all the fresh batches didn't work. Turned out his equipment 'PBS' stock was still distilled water. And we learned too. :-) /OT chemistry anecdote]

a number of scientists who have advanced scientific thinking greatly by being wrong in interesting ways.

Indeed. As a non-biologist the first couple of months engaging creationist propaganda was educating, and the starting material (Talk Origin et cetera) is still impressive if one has time to penetrate it further.

But nowadays it is mostly the Mark CC math aspects that can remain demanding. Oh, and virus research (HIV denial) of course. :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey ERV!
So what's with the bad blood between you and someone calling herself "FIRSTBLOOD" with some MySpace page about HIV denial? I saw she specifically listed you along with Tara Smith as people who had converted her to denialism (yeah right) on Tara's aetiology.
Do you have any idea who this particular denialist might be?
Sounds juicy!

VancouverBrit said...

Heh heh. We played a great Western blot trick on someone in our lab once. She was showing a new student how to do Westerns, and was making a huuuuge deal about how he had to follow her instructions EXACTLY or the gel wouldn't polymerise. So when she took him off to show him how to do cell culture exactly the way she wanted him to, we hid her blot apparatus and replaced it with an identical one containing distilled water. She eventually came back, and to demonstrate how perfect her method was, tipped the apparatus upside down. The look on her face was priceless.

ERV said...

Anon-- I have no idea who that person is. They didnt converse with me on Aetiology, because 'FIRSTBLOOD' found me through Denialismblog a couple weeks ago. Long after I participated in any HIV threads on Aetiology, and I wasnt even very active on those.

However this person was stupid enough to leave a creepy comment on my blog, and hasnt heard of SiteMeter *angelic smile* So I doubt there will be any fun Denier drama here from that individual.

Honestly, its probably just lincoln making a new persona so he can get around his vow.

Vancouver-- AHH I wanna do that! We run these huge SDS-PAGE gels (not just the mini gels) and it would make a great joke... But I already scare off the undergrads/grad students without playing tricks on them... and Bossman would have my head on a platter... LOL!