Sunday, February 10, 2008

Im officially 'impossible'

Mom has been describing me as 'impossible' for about 25 years now, but it wasnt official until just recently. My research focuses on basically 3 things:

  1. The evolution of HIV-- IMPOSSIBLE
  2. Endogenous Retroviruses-- IMPOSSIBLE
  3. Epigenetics-- IMPOSSIBLE
Well I thought I was doing cool research with epigenetics that will help us generate new organs for people and help cure cancer and stuff, but oh well. I guess Jonny Wells knows more about this stuff than me:
Having dismissed efforts to explain development from a purely genomic perspective, Wells then claimed that epigenetics is a neo-Darwinian concept because it is genic, and rejected that as well.
Hmm-- This doesnt seem right. Epigenetics is something Creationists *love* to exploit. Its new (well, to us, not new to life), most people dont totally understand what epigenetics is, so its a perfect gap to cram a god into. I googled a bit to try to figure out what Wells deal is with epigenetics, and found 'Icons of Evolution' on Google books:
According to the standard explanation, cells differ because the genes are differentially turned on or off. Cells in one part of the embryo turn on some genes, while cells in another part turn on others. This certainly happens, as we saw in the case of Ultrabithorax. But it doesnt resolve the paradox, because it means that genes are being turned on or off by factors outside themselves. In other words, control rests with something beyond the genes-- something "epigenetic."
See! Epigenetics is 'beyond the genes' *cue Handels Messiah* If we are created in Gods image, God is a deacetylated histone! Hurray! But wait-- theres more!
This does not imply that mystical forces are at work, but only that genes are being regulated by cellular factors outside the DNA.
AWWWW! Dammit! But, um, 'cellular factors outside the DNA' are still encoded by DNA... Unless God is poofing methyltransferases into embryos.
But wait-- Theres more!
Many biologists during the first half of the twentieth century investigates epigenetic factors in their attempts to understand embryo development, but the factors proved elusive. As the neoDarwinian synthesis of Mendelian genetics with Darwinian evolution rose to prominence between the two World Wars, biologists studying epigenesis were increasingly marginalized.
Ooooooh there we go! A variation of the Galileo gambit. Fantastic.

But Im still confused. Does Jonny accept epigenetics or not? I need to know before I waste another day trying to cure cancer!!! DI Fellows, please, show us the way!!!



Lledowyn said...

Oh it's ok. I've been impossible for 28 years now, and I'm still here! Must be nice to live as an impossibility. Actually, Richard Dawkins also has something to say about impossibilities (sort of) here. ;-)

dochocson said...

Not a real surprise, just a standard creo ploy. They will embrace a concept when it suits them, and attack it when it does not.

Their fan base isn't sufficiently critical to notice the duplicity. When we call them on it, they just obfuscate further and "disappear" threads.

Chris Noble said...

Does that mean that you research three impossible things before breakfast?

Bob O'Hara said...

Epigenetics is 'beyond the genes' *cue Handels Messiah*
Which bit? "Oh, we like sheep"?


Janine said...

Perhaps you should pray on it. Let the same big sky daddy that controls the growth of every embryo decide if he wants you to horn in on his racket. Just beware of the idea that the big sky daddy is tired of growing every embryo and is willing to let you take over. Can you say "Atlas"?

William Wallace said...

Mothers always know best. What does mother think of your God of the gaps gambits?

Never mind. If you have some time, please offer technical feedback on
The Great White Blood Cell

I just started studying this stuff, so it is bound to need corrections.

And, atheist or not, I think we can agree that this stuff is amazing.

William Wallace

HalfMooner said...

Repeat warning: Layman here.

Okay, these Disco Creos are nervous about epigenetics? They seem to see it as either as friendly godly dog, or a dangerous, Darwinist wolf.

Funny, they don't seem to think very deeply, either that, or more likely simply express themselves in shallow lies to dupe their more innocent (ignorant) fundy followers.

For instance. Jonathan Wells says:

"But it doesnt resolve the paradox, because it means that genes are being turned on or off by factors outside themselves. In other words, control rests with something beyond the genes-- something 'epigenetic.'"

Paradox? Why can't Wells see (and admit) that genes interact with proteins outside the genome and can, through them, program the turning on or off of other genes, depending upon the developmental environment of the cell? (I may be wrong about this, but I'll bet I'm closer than Wells statements are to the facts.)

But clearly Wells knows this. Unlike me, Wells has a goddamn PhD in Biology, thanks to money from Rev. Moon! Moon financed Wells' PhD at Berkeley just so he could use that sheepskin to attack science. Wells has admitted as much. That makes him a professional pious fraud, who wasted a seat at a great university under false pretenses, and who deserves nothing but scorn both from real scientists and from the public in my state, who helped finance his education at a state school.

Israel Barrantes said...

Not only creationists try to take advantage of anything related to Epigenetics, but also many other charlatans. Google "epigenetics + mind" and you'll see. It's disgusting.

Torbjörn said...

your God of the gaps gambits

Please! Your god, your gambit.

And especially stupid when used within theories (evolution for example) where the theory and its data describes continuity.

Ginger Yellow said...

At least Wells is addressing the issue. Most ID types I've encountered don't even acknowledge the discrepancy between the argument that increasing complexity necessarily means evolution can't happen through natural processes and the fact that we know development happens. Wells seems to be saying that development requires God. Like I say, he's wrong, but at least he recognises it's a problem for ID.

Joe Genes said...

Hi Abbie,

Could you perhaps point me to some articles you have published. I am also interested in how your particular research will help fight cancer.

Thank you