Do you like how Dawkins, Hitchens et al. represent atheists?

Discussion in 'Science & Society' started by francois, Jul 31, 2007.

  1. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    You're assuming a snail is "essential" or "must survive"; there is no such criteria though, is there? I think the persistence of a gene (or a meme if you must be Dawkinistic) is a tribute to its properties, which enable its survival in the present environmental conditions, rather than an assumption that it is immutable. Polymorphism probably requires greater changes than that gene has been subjected to, at least in quantifiable extent in the population.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2007
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  3. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Actually, I'm just assuming that there are a few genes that are essential to "snailness". The size or colour of a snail may vary - and in time could lead to speciation, in allopatry, as the Darwinistic model - but the genes that determine "snailness" are in all likelihood fixed and largely protected against mutation.
     
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  5. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Are you saying it is impossible for snails to become extinct?
     
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  7. Enmos Staff Member

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    How exactly do you propose these genes are protected from mutation ?
     
  8. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    No - rather that it is impossible (or, rather, very unlikely) for them to be other than what they are: snails. The set of genes that make "snailness" are probably insulated against substantial mutation.

    Oh, and also that snails can't go extinct. Because they have superpowers, you see. And clean, mucousy living.
     
  9. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Dunno: not really my area (yet...

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    ). Probably obstruction by histone proteins or something. The simplest method, and my bet. Or maybe multigenic methylation.
     
  10. Enmos Staff Member

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    Hmm it doesnt make much sense you know. The genes that 'make' a snail is actually all its genes together. Furthermore, i challenge you to find a biological antidote to radiation that is a 100% effective.
     
  11. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    You mean controlled methylation ? But isn't that vulnerable to environmental signals?

    Silencing genes? Again, are they causative or merely persist due to environmental advantages?
     
  12. iceaura Valued Senior Member

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    No, you haven't. Your reservations remain unclear,with the only visible basis for them a personal objection to Dawkins's tone, which you find arrogant.

    There is (as yet?) no "science" of mimetics, for example, so Dawkins discussions of it cannot count as misrepresentations of one.
    That is a false presentation of Dawkins's arguments, at least the ones I have seen, however. Dawkins makes no assumption of "prior fitness" in his handling of gene competition (again,that I have seen).

    Gould did not have a firm handle on the logical structure of evolutionary theory, despite his intellectual depth, and his occasional blind spots showed up clearly in discussions involving human evolution on the one hand, and basic creation on the other. His book on the Burgess Shale formation was one long invalidity, for example.

    Certain areas of the chormosomes are better repaired than others, and certain areas are more easily broken in the first place, but as far as "defended" against mutation - the older genes still extant are simply those whose mutations did not prevail against them - for whatever reason, including simply not competing but instead taking a different "niche".
    A better way to put it might be that what we recognize as a snail will not contain substantially mutated forms of those basic genes.

    What we recognize as a slug might, however.
     
  13. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I don't recall objecting to his tone, merely to his using science as a platform for his atheistic aspirations. And his contributions to the meme theory.

    You'd be hard put to find a Dawkins fan who does not fall victim to equivocation in understanding the concept.

    I am not aware of the wider aspect of Goulds work, but I support his criticism of Dawkins "selfish gene" theory.

    [/QUOTE]
     
  14. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Actually, it makes a great deal of sense, and for the reasons you provide. Correct development of a given member of a species requires epistacy (not epistasis, in the current usage) of action among fixed gene sets, which dates back to Fisher as I recall. In other words: fixation of those genes required to produce "snailness". (Or whateverness.)

    Well, I challenge you to find me an instance where I care.

    Oh, very well: mortality. It removes highly disruptive mutations from the genepool at quite an impressive rate, I'm given to understand. Exceeding the structural boundaries of an organism usually results in death; where it doesn't, however, you might have a hopeful monster, or maybe just a West-Eberhardian novel construct.
     
  15. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    I rather prefer my own very eloquent description. "Snailness" as a concept takes into account the limited depth of evolutionary lineage which conditions the existence of snaildom.
     
  16. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    I thought it was Gould that was the one postulating pre-selection on the basis of spandrels and the like.
     
  17. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    See, you're already confused.

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  18. spidergoat Valued Senior Member

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    Why, then, should we be commanded to "respect" those who insist that they alone know something that is both unknowable and unfalsifiable?

    Cristopher Hitchens
     
  19. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    Are we talking about the WMDs in Iraq? Or Osama's role in 9/11?

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    Hitchens is so full of it.

    I wonder, is this what he wants the world to devolve to? And while he mentioned the Bible and book of Mormon, why did he not mention the Quran?

    And he advocates intolerance as better than tolerance? So why isn't anyone invading Switzerland?

    Never ceases to surprise me how attractive intolerance is to most people.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2007
  20. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Bah! You just don't want to admit that Gould likes spandrels.

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  21. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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    Because people don't customarily leave free copies of the Quran in hotel rooms. The Gideons do.
     
  22. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I dislike speaking ill of the dead.

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  23. S.A.M. uniquely dreadful Valued Senior Member

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    I'm willing to supply one.

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