Nature Plagiarizes Behe’s Mousetrap

first_imgThe prevention of genomic instability – and cancer – can be attributed to a “complex mousetrap” mechanism, said Robert M. Brosh, Jr (Laboratory of Molecular Gerontology, NIH) in Nature.1  This not-so-subtle reference to Michael Behe’s irreducibly complex system described in Darwin’s Black Box even has a mousetrap illustration with the following caption:The BLM protein complex consists of several components, much like a mousetrap.  With all the parts properly assembled, the mousetrap will operate efficiently and catch the mouse.  In this case, a DNA structure called a double Holliday junction is caught in the BLM complex.  Xu et al. and Singh et al. report the discovery of a component of this complex, RMI2, which stabilizes and orchestrates the action of the BLM complex, ensuring resolution of the double Holliday junction, and so promoting chromosomal stability.Later in the text, he continues the analogy:As for the significance of RMI2 to the BLM complex, for analogy let’s imagine a mousetrap.  It contains several components, including a spring, a platform, a hammer, a hold-down bar and a catch.  Omit certain components of the trap, and the device may still operate, albeit less efficiently.  With all of the components in place – including those with primarily structural roles such as the hold-down bar and the platform – the trap is most likely to catch the mouse.  Returning to the BLM complex: through its interaction with RMI1, RMI2 allows the ‘BLM�Topo-3alpha device’ to assume optimal stability and configuration so that it can efficiently catalyse the splitting of the double Holliday junction, and so prevent the escape of deleterious DNA structures that would lead to crossovers (Fig. 1).  RMI2 therefore seems to have an integral structural role in the BLM�Topo-3alpha device by orchestrating its action.An easily missed reference after the phrase “and a catch” leads to a website by John H. McDonald that appears to refute Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity, showing that a “reducibly complex” mousetrap can still function.  No mention was made of Behe’s counter-refutation on Access Research Network, which graciously ends:Darwinian scenarios, either for building mousetraps or biochemical systems, are very easy to believe if we aren’t willing or able to scrutinize the smallest details, or to ask for experimental evidence.  They invite us to admire the intelligence of natural selection.  But the intelligence we are admiring is our own.”1.  Robert M. Brosh, Jr., “Molecular biology: The Bloom’s complex mousetrap,” NatureFor Brosh to employ this well-known analogy for his own purposes, without giving credit to Behe, and then to slap Behe’s face with a link to a flawed refutation of Behe’s concept without giving him a chance to respond, is disgustingly irresponsible.  You would think the world’s leading science journal would demand proper citation.  What happened to academic ethics?    Mousetraps are common, but Behe’s use of a mousetrap as a symbol of an irreducibly complex system in the cell is so well-known throughout the biological community, Brosh cannot argue that each writer has equal access to the common household item for illustrative purposes.  It’s interesting that his link to McDonald’s paper is a non-descriptive URL to the site, with no indication it leads to a refutation of Behe.  Twinge of conscience, perhaps?  The ARN article shows that Behe has the last laugh.  So should you, noting that Brosh did not even attempt to explain how the BLM complex arose by an evolutionary process.(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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More Reasons to Doubt Scientific Pronouncements

first_imgIt’s unsettling to hear scientists say that long-held beliefs might be wrong, but that’s the nature of science.  Scientific “findings” are tentative, not absolute.  Some see this as a strength of science, but unless actual progress is demonstrated, that strength is called into question.  Recent news casts doubt on various beliefs that had been trusted for a long time.1.  We were wrong about Neanderthal Man:  For well nigh a century or more, Neanderthals were thought too brutish to make art.  Not any more.  Cave paintings alleged to have been created by Neanderthals have been discovered in Spain, New Scientist reported.  Dating tests are still being done on the figures, which appear to be representations of seals.  The correctives are more serious, though.  The article also pointed out that dating of other cave art is uncertain.  Paul Pettitt from the University of Sheffield let that cat out of the bag: “Even some sites we think we understand very well such as the Grotte Chauvet in France are very problematic in terms of how old they are.”2.  Rings around the tree dates:  What could be more reliable than tree ring dating?  Trees make annual rings; count them and you’ve got an absolute date.  Why, then, did PhysOrg report, “Tree rings may underestimate climate response to volcanic eruptions”?  A study re-evaluated some estimates, and found them overall quite good, with one “glaring error” – trees might not produce rings after a volcanic eruption strong enough to affect climate.  But if dates could be underestimated by factors not previously considered, could they be overestimated by other unknowns?  The article exposed some of the assumptions that go into the dating method:The potential absence of rings in the first one to three years following eruption further degrades the temperature reconstruction. Because tree-ring information is averaged across many locations to obtain a representative estimate of northern hemisphere temperature, tree-ring records with and without missing rings for a given year are merged, leading to a smearing and reduced and delayed apparent cooling.3.  Power Law, or lawless power?   One of science’s great strengths is the ability to describe nature mathematically.  But now, PhysOrg said, it’s time for a “frank discussion,”  about the use of power laws.  These are widely-used techniques to describe relationships between phenomena so as to show causation, instead of just correlation.  Causation is a vexed question in philosophy of science.  There’s nothing like a graph to give the appearance of objectivity.  Not so fast; Michael Stumpf [Imperial College London] and Mason Porter [Oxford], wrote in Science about “the inexact science of trying to apply the power law to situations in science where it’s not always easy to show a direct link between correlation and causation, a key problem they say, in much of the science that is conducted today.”  The original paper in Science began,1The ability to summarize observations using explanatory and predictive theories is the greatest strength of modern science. A theoretical framework is perceived as particularly successful if it can explain very disparate facts. The observation that some apparently complex phenomena can exhibit startling similarities to dynamics generated with simple mathematical models has led to empirical searches for fundamental laws by inspecting data for qualitative agreement with the behavior of such models. A striking feature that has attracted considerable attention is the apparent ubiquity of power-law relationships in empirical data. However, although power laws have been reported in areas ranging from finance and molecular biology to geophysics and the Internet, the data are typically insufficient and the mechanistic insights are almost always too limited for the identification of power-law behavior to be scientifically useful …. Indeed, even most statistically “successful” calculations of power laws offer little more than anecdotal value.Sure enough; Nature last month reported a rethinking about power-law extrapolation in geology.2 “Multi-scale modelling of the deformation of magnesium oxide reveals the need for a re-examination of the way in which laboratory data are used to estimate the strength of Earth’s lower mantle,” Andrew M. Walker said.  “….The results suggest that the usual power-law extrapolation is not reliable over the wide range of strain rates that must be considered, potentially changing our view of the way in which the deep mantle deforms.”  Note: “anecdotal value” is indistinguishable from “educated guesswork.”4.  Rethinking evolution:  Since the discovery of DNA’s structure and function as the carrier of genetic information in the 1950s, most evolutionary work has concerned mutations and natural selection on DNA alone.   A major new monkey wrench has come into focus in the last decade: Epigenetics – heritable information and processes that lie beyond DNA (see new book by Woodward and Gills, The Mysterious Epigenome).  One of the few papers to rewrite evolutionary history with epigenetics in mind is a paper in Current Biology,3 “Epigenetics: What News for Evolution?”   The news is that there is little news – yet.  They don’t even know the questions, let alone the answers.  The authors wrote, “Having a formal body of evolutionary theory that incorporates epigenetics, as well as developing a clearer quantification of the connection between epigenetic variation and phenotypes will allow us to more rigorously ask whether or how epigenetics plays an important role in adaptive evolution.”References:1. Stumpf and Porter, “Mathematics: Critical Truths about Power Laws.”  Science 10 February 2012: Vol. 335 no. 6069 pp. 665-666, doi:10.1126/science.1216142.2. Andrew M. Walker, “Earth Science: Limits of the power law,” Nature 481, (12 January 2012), pp. 153–154, doi:10.1038/481153a.3. Ben Hunter, Jesse D. Hollister, Kirsten Bomblies, “Epigenetic Inheritance: What News for Evolution?”  Current Biology, Volume 22, Issue 2, R54-R56, 24 January 2012, doi:10.1016/j.cub.2011.11.054.There is no question that scientists provide a wealth of knowledge in the form of data and observations of the natural world.  Whether they understand what they are looking at (particularly in questions of origins), and can explain it with rigor above that of anecdote, are entirely different questions.  Healthy skepticism is a virtue when approaching scientific claims – especially about non-reproducible phenomena, like origins.  Would that the skeptics, who are usually skeptical of creationism and naive about evolutionism, would develop some healthy skepticism about the nature and targets of their own skepticism.(Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

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PH needs to ‘continue to get better’ as rest of Southeast Asia catches up

first_imgTyphoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH But amid all that, the Filipinos vow to work and fight harder to keep the Philippines on top of the cage competitions in the region.“No matter who’s in the lineup, we know that we’ll always give our all,” said Ravena.“Every man in front of me will compete. It doesn’t matter if we have one day or one month to prepare, we’re all going to fight. That’s the message we have for these guys and it’s very consistent,” said Reyes. “We might be outplayed, we might be outmatched, we might be outsized, but we’ll never be outfought.”ADVERTISEMENT Gilas Pilipinas coach Chot Reyes. Photo from Fiba.comOne of the biggest realizations of Gilas Pilipinas from the 2017 Southeast Asian Games is that everyone else in the region has caught up in terms of level of competition.Though the Philippines came away with the gold medal in men’s basketball, it faced a tall challenge from regional rivals like Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore.ADVERTISEMENT Coach Chot Reyes admitted that the Philippines should start developing its ranks from the ground-up, and it starts in the biennial games.“We have to continue getting better, not only for our Southeast Asian opponents, but for Asia as well, and not only for Asia, but also for the world,” Reyes said on Thursday at the homecoming presser hosted by Chooks-to-Go at Marco Polo in Ortigas.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutFour-time SEA Games gold medalist Kiefer Ravena echoed those sentiments, noting that unlike before Gilas couldn’t simply just turn it on when it wanted to against quality competition.“Before, we could be lenient in practice and still expect to come out on top. But as they grow and get better, the task of getting a gold medal just gets harder and harder. For us with this type of program, we really have to have the dedication because we already know how tough the opposition will be,” he said. WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension LOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games LATEST STORIEScenter_img Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnesses View comments Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next MOST READ Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games PLAY LIST 03:07PH billiards team upbeat about gold medal chances in SEA Games00:50Trending Articles02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games Despite streak, Cone wary of upcoming tough stretch for Kingslast_img read more

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8 days agoMan Utd boss Solskjaer: Right call to offload Alexis and Lukaku

first_imgMan Utd boss Solskjaer: Right call to offload Alexis and Lukakuby Paul Vegas8 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says he has no regrets offloading Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku.He insists sending the pair to Inter Milan was the best decision for all concerned.Solskjaer told Sky Sports: “In one-off games, you think we could’ve had a number of extra players with experience. Alexis and Rom are goalscorers and good players, but at the moment, we made those decisions and they were the right decisions.”That’s the only way you’ve got to look at it. All the players here want to give everything for the club and for the shirt – that’s a big thing.”Every day that they come in training, and every day that they put the shirt on, they’re going to give everything that they have. So you can’t really say, ‘oh I wish I didn’t do that’.”Giving a couple of the lads the chance to show themselves, maybe it was a little bit too early for a few of them. But Mason Greenwood has stepped in and scored a couple in the midweek games, so it’s a great experience for them.”We know we haven’t had the results that we wanted, but I wouldn’t have kept the players we sold. It was the right decision.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

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Parents Urged to Start Saving Early for Children’s Tertiary Education

first_img Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, is urging parents and guardians to start saving early for their children’s tertiary education. “It shows that you believe that they are going to make it to college and if you believe it, they will believe it. It doesn’t matter how little you are saving; if you put down a little bit and say ‘this is your college fund, so this means you are going to college,’ they will make it happen,” he said. Minister Green was speaking at the Public Sector Employees Co-operative Credit Union’s 14th Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) awards ceremony at the St. Stephen’s United Church, Cross Roads, Kingston, on Wednesday (Aug. 15) Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information, Hon. Floyd Green, is urging parents and guardians to start saving early for their children’s tertiary education.“It shows that you believe that they are going to make it to college and if you believe it, they will believe it. It doesn’t matter how little you are saving; if you put down a little bit and say ‘this is your college fund, so this means you are going to college,’ they will make it happen,” he said.Minister Green was speaking at the Public Sector Employees Co-operative Credit Union’s 14th Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) awards ceremony at the St. Stephen’s United Church, Cross Roads, Kingston, on Wednesday (Aug. 15)He said saving for tertiary education is an important investment that will enable children to realise their career aspirations in the 21st century job market.“Secondary school is not enough, the jobs that they used to get when they leave secondary school, by the time they are finished with high school, a lot of (those jobs) don’t exist,” he argued.The State Minister further stressed the need for parents to be involved in their children’s school life.“Do you pay attention to what your child is doing in school? Do you ask them about their homework? Do you ensure that it is done?” he questioned.State Minister Green commended the GSAT award recipients and implored them as they go on to high school, to surround themselves with positive people, who mean them well, find their passion and take pride in themselves.A total of 74 students received education grants totalling $1 million from the Public Sector Employees Co-operative Credit Union.The entity’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Tamara Maxwell-Green, said that since 2004, more than 600 students have benefited from financial assistance valued at $12.6 million.She congratulated the students on their achievement, adding that the credit union strongly believes in supporting the youth and investing in their education.“We offer financial literacy programmes to help students and parents get a firm grasp on all the various financial weights that come with education. Our goal is to help you make the right decisions for your children’s future from both a financial and education perspective,” she said.The credit union’s GSAT awards provide support to members’ children to meet some of the cost of their secondary schooling. Story Highlightslast_img read more

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Even though cloud computing continues to be popula

first_imgEven though cloud computing continues to be popular, security and trust issues remain. In an interview with Boom Bust, Alex Daley addresses those issues as well as the larger-scale fallout of the NSA’s spying activities on US citizens. He also shares his thoughts on Apple’s current valuation and its recent stock buyback activity. While many large-cap tech stocks may be overpriced in today’s markets, Alex and his tech team know how to find companies with a strong promise of good upside. The tech sector is always a tricky market, so don’t put your investments in unnecessary risks: learn how to put their work to work for you.last_img

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A Conservative election candidate has been caught

first_imgA Conservative election candidate has been caught out misleading disabled constituents about the closure of the Independent Living Fund (ILF).A transcript of an election hustings event in Merton, south-west London, has been published which shows that the Conservative candidate Paul Holmes misled voters when asked about the ILF.Holmes told the audience on 9 March that he knew there was “a lot of concern” about the ILF, but that “people that were on the ILF from quite a while ago will continue to receive that money, but for new applicants it has closed, and it’s going down to local authorities”. This was inaccurate because the fund will close to all ILF-users at the end of June, with the UK government passing the non-ring-fenced funding to English local authorities and the Welsh and Scottish government.The hustings was organised by Merton Centre for Independent Living (CIL), Merton Seniors Forum, Merton Mencap and Age UK Merton.Holmes should have been aware of government ILF policy because he has been working in the Westminster office of Tory Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, who has been briefed several times on the issue by Merton CIL.Holmes has so far not responded to a request for a comment from Disability News Service.The decision to close ILF has been one of the most controversial of the last five years among disabled people and their organisations, and has been the subject of a series of legal actions, protests (pictured) and direct actions over the last four years.The government has continued to argue that the care and support needs of ILF-users are better met within a single care and support system, run by local authorities.But many campaigners believe that closing ILF – a government-resourced trust which helps about 16,500 people with the highest support needs to live independently – will threaten disabled people’s right to live with dignity, and could force many of them into residential care or make it impossible for them to work or take part in everyday activities.The Scottish government announced last year that it would set up its own ILF, for both existing and new users, while the Welsh government has opted to transfer the government funding and responsibility to local authorities, but with conditions attached on how it should be spent, protecting the budgets of existing ILF-users for at least the first nine months.ILF-users in Merton do not yet know whether the government funds will be ring-fenced for their use, according to the latest research by Disability Rights UK.Of 96 English local authorities that responded to the charity’s latest Freedom of Information Act requests (out of a total of 152 councils), only 24 said they would ring-fence the government funding.And some of these 24 are only ring-fencing the money because they have not yet carried out assessments of existing ILF-users.Merton is one of 22 local authorities that have yet to decide how the ILF funds transferred by the government will be used.Meanwhile, a prominent ILF-user, Mary Laver, marked the 61st birthday of Conservative work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith, by riding her powered wheelchair from the House of Commons to the MP’s constituency in Chingford, east London.Laver, an ILF-user for 25 years and herself a member of the Conservative party, yesterday (9 April) travelled the 14 miles to deliver a “very special birthday card” to Duncan Smith.She says Duncan Smith is the man who is “going to imprison me in my own home for the rest of my life without a parole or right to appeal” by closing ILF, which has helped her live an independent life for the last 26 years.last_img read more

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