reply to post by Nevertheless
Appreciate the reply. I'll try to tone down the fussiness.
There is a reason why we name something to be a new kind of species only after many many many years, and it is that this process is so extremely slow.
Sorry. You still haven't explained how the same genes create species wide divergences.
I wont pretend to be a genealogist. I have read a few books on the subject and many other books on biology and the brain (I study neuroscience) so I'd
imagine myself to be somewhere between an ignorant laymen who knows nothing and someone who spends their days and nights immersed in understanding how
Basically, I know the gist of how genes are passed on. I understand how complicated the interactions within
species can become - how, for
instance, monozygotic twins usually have a 40-60% chance of both inheriting a "gay gene" (or more likely a set of genes). But WHAT causes one twin to
inherit the gene while the other one doesn't is unknown. Why? Because in all likelihood, genes work as a package. It's said that any cell nucleus
contains the DNA for the whole bodies structure. This is an inference - it's not understood HOW it happens, it's just known to indeed be the case.
In short, there seem to be insurmountable difficulties and complexities in establishing species wide divergences. How a mouse and a human can share
almost the exact same gene pool. Within this gene pool, only some genes are "master genes" doing all the work of getting the body plan rolling. So in
fact, it is a relatively small number of genes that makes a mouse a mouse and a human a human. But between a mouse and a human - macroscopically
speaking - is a massive world of difference.
We shrunk, changed color, made it fluffy (and hairier all over), we removed the nose, and maybe removed a claw or two (I have no idea), changed the
tail, in very few years compared to what it would take for nature to do the same. And that was just done by breeding.
The Soviets successfully turned a fox into a dog after a few generations of selective breeding. I'm not denying this. I know species evolve to
conditions in the environment. I'm merely saying "how"? Current genetic theory seems vague in explaining how a few genes can create such massive
macroscopic differences between species
That's the thing. Species do not "split" spontaneously, they evolve. We're the ones who put labels on organic matter, the organic matter isn't aware
of it being a specific type of species. If you have wings or live under the water doesn't matter to anyone else than us.
Yes, I've read Origin of the Species. This doesn't explain the problem of how a few genes can create a horse, elephant and a fly.
What I said before is merely a repetition of what many scientists actually advise: don't turn theory into dogma. Keplers idea were replaced by
Copernicus, who was replaced by Newtons, who was supplanted by Einstein. This doesn't mean Kepler, Copernicus, and Newton were wrong, but rather, that
they had an incomplete picture. Who would have thought the world was as complicated as current quantum physicists postulate? This is what I'm saying:
there might be another layer to DNA and genes that can't be located "within" a genes physical structure.
And nevermind the added difficulty of inconsistency between fields. Current genetic theory is in line with traditional Newtonian physics. Yet,
Newtonian physics has been superseded by Quantum mechanics as a more correct understanding of physical reality. Shouldn't we be preparing for a time
where the source of the information for genes is found in the ether - in the same place where "atoms" and "quarks" live? Obviously, at our current
point in this scientific odyssey, it would be premature to explore this question. Yet, it stands to reason that the information which guides genes is
somewhere 'out there' in the same non-material sense as electrons, protons and neutrons.
I suspect the relationship between genes and the information which guides its activity is similar to the Semitic Alphabets. The genes which contain
the information for the organic structure of an organism are the consonant sounds formed by the organs of the mouth. Whereas the "information" which
guides it would be like the vowel points beneath letters. Vowels are elusive creations of the breath. It doesn't ricochet off the palate, labia, etc,
but rather, works "within" consonants the way information works within genes.
Am I close-minded because I want us to learn all we can about DNA? Aren't you the one trying to ignore the fact that we have discovered the blueprints
to organic life, and that we, in theory, know how to grow any species in a lab, and are fighting partly with mere practicalities and the moral
That's an overstatement. There's also a serious dearth of knowledge. Consider for example that we don't know WHAT long term consequences there would
be to genetically modifying organisms. Already, there are plenty of scientists who believe GMO fruits, vegetables and grains may create disease. Who
are we to believe we can one up nature? Doesn't nature follow the principle of homeostasis? And isn't changing the genetic structure of an apple a
perturbation of that balance? Take for example the fact that variety promotes ecological stability. When we grow the same types of apples, wheat etc,
we actually threaten our food supply when a blight attacks a particular variety of food. We didn't know that. Now that we do, we've begun to take
precautionary measures against that.
Don't get me wrong. I am genuinely excited about the possibilities of gene therapy. But I'm also cautious enough to wonder: what sort of consequences
could there be? People aren't guinea pigs. I know to a scientist (and I consider myself scientifically inclined) the libertarian idea of human dignity
can make you a bit squeamish. You'd like to think in terms of probability: if a few people die (which will obviously happen) for the sake of advancing
our medicine, more people will eventually be saved. That may be true, but it doesn't feel right. It strikes one of eugenics.
edit on 19-6-2013
by Astrocyte because: (no reason given)