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Suzan Mazur on pop science media and the recent “rethink evolution” meet

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In the midst of a fairly heavy fog, if not blackout, in the pop science media, Mazur has done more than anyone to let the public know that evolutionary biology is being forced to rethink a commitment to Darwinism (or neo-Darwinism or a lightly stretched synthesis, or whatever your PR person wants to call it now). For one thing, the genome maps just don’t support the underlying genetic fundamentalism.

And perhaps she was one of the few who even could do it. She has written mainly for popular media and her books are a valuable introduction for the layperson as to why Darwinism is failing as an explanation. They are especially helpful for those who do not have any religious concerns about it, one way or the other.

Assessing the meeting, she writes candidly at Royal Society at Huffington Post:

I spent much of the last two years investigating and reporting on an evolution paradigm shift that has happened in science — whether the science establishment and main stream media acknowledge that shift or not. And having just published an authentic report of the Royal Society “new trends” meeting, I cringed as I read Carl Zimmer’s distorted coverage that followed of that same event in Quanta and TheAtlantic.com.

Carl Zimmer is not a scientist. He’s a Yalie with a degree in English, best known as a science writer for the New York Times (“all the news that’s fit to print“), although his business card presents him as a national correspondent for STAT.More.

Hmmm. Zimmer may know his market well. Unfortunately, pop science readers are—at least this is my experience—surprisingly incurious. Yes, yes, they are supposed to be the people who are curious. Yet, time and again, they just want to hear that Darwin was right, that the space aliens are sure to arrive soon, and that people who doubt various sciencey nostrums have evolved so as not to understand reality. And a bunch of other things that circumvent serious thought.

One result is that, as a field, science journalism features far more pom pom waving for science in principle—as opposed to constructive criticism of what happens in practice—than is good for the discipline. It’s sure not a recipe for creativity or growth. I’ve seen more genuine skepticism in committees of elderly church ladies.

Put another way: A current establishment always needs PR. The future needs breaking news. At some point, one must decide which side to be on.

<em>Coffee</em> Tins Note: Now and then, of course, one comes across really useful science writing. This classic send-up of whole foods culture comes to mind.

See also: New York Times science writer defends the myth of junk DNA:. Worries Carl Zimmer, a “No junk DNA” scenario could help creationists. Carl, if you think that’s your only problem, you’ve got problems you don’t know about. Yet.

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9 Replies to “Suzan Mazur on pop science media and the recent “rethink evolution” meet

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    OT:

    2016 Nobel Prize in Chemistry Points Strongly to Purposeful Design of Life By Michael Behe | December 6, 2016
    Excerpt: “the molecular machines laboriously constructed by our brightest scientists are Tinkertoys compared to the nanotechnology found in living cells.”
    – Michael Behe
    http://cnsnews.com/commentary/.....esign-life

  2. 2
    wd400 says:

    Carl Zimmer is not a scientist. He’s a Yalie with a degree in English

    Zimmer is an author on two University textbooks and has won several awards from scientific societies for the quality of his science writing. I think he’s pretty qualified to understand the science. What about Mazur?

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400 states:

    “Zimmer is an author on two University textbooks and has won several awards from scientific societies for the quality of his science writing. I think he’s pretty qualified to understand the science.”

    If Zimmer represents the cream of the crop for scientific writing for Darwinian evolution then that is huge part of the problem.

    As Zimmer highlighted in one of his articles, Darwinists are not even on the right theoretical foundation in the first place in order to properly understand molecular biology.

    Dr. Wells relates, in this following article quoting Zimmer, how Darwinists, trying to counter the overwhelming impression of Intelligent Design that the animation ‘Inner Life of the Cell’ had created on the Internet, purposely tried, (with a new animation titled, “Inner Life of a Cell: Protein Packing”), to make the cell look as chaotic and therefore non-designed as possible,,

    Flailing Blindly: The Pseudoscience of Josh Rosenau and Carl Zimmer – Jonathan Wells April 17, 2014
    Excerpt: The new animation (like the old) also includes a kinesin molecule hauling a vesicle, but this time the kinesin’s movements are characterized (in Zimmer’s words) by

    “barely constrained randomness. Every now and then, a tiny molecule loaded with fuel binds to one of the kinesin “feet.” It delivers a jolt of energy, causing that foot to leap off the molecular cable and flail wildly, pulling hard on the foot that’s still anchored. Eventually, the gyrating foot stumbles into contact again with the cable, locking on once more — and advancing the vesicle a tiny step forward. This updated movie offers a better way to picture our most intricate inner workings…. In the 2006 version, we can’t help seeing intention in the smooth movements of the molecules; it’s as if they’re trying to get from one place to another. In reality, however, the parts of our cells don’t operate with the precise movements of the springs and gears of a clock. They flail blindly in the crowd.”

    But that’s not what the biological evidence shows. In fact, kinesin moves quickly, with precise movements, to get from one place to another,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....84521.html

    The following video clearly demonstrates that Zimmer’s Darwinian assumption of ‘barely constrained randomness’ is ‘not even wrong’ as a starting presumption for molecular biology:

    Molecular Biology – 19th Century Materialism meets 21st Century Quantum Mechanics – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCs3WXHqOv8&index=3&list=PLtAP1KN7ahiYxgYCc-0xiUAhNWjT4q6LD

    This following article, which drives the point home, came out shortly after I had made the preceding video:

    Finding a lack of ‘random’ collisions in a crowded cell is a ‘counterintuitive surprise’ for researchers:
    Proteins put up with the roar of the crowd – June 23, 2016
    Excerpt: It gets mighty crowded around your DNA, but don’t worry: According to Rice University researchers, your proteins are nimble enough to find what they need.
    Rice theoretical scientists studying the mechanisms of protein-DNA interactions in live cells showed that crowding in cells doesn’t hamper protein binding as much as they thought it did.,,,
    If DNA can be likened to a library, it surely is a busy one. Molecules roam everywhere, floating in the cytoplasm and sticking to the tightly wound double helix. “People know that almost 90 percent of DNA is covered with proteins, such as polymerases, nucleosomes that compact two meters into one micron, and other protein molecules,” Kolomeisky said.,,,
    That makes it seem that proteins sliding along the strand would have a tough time binding, and it’s possible they sometimes get blocked. But the Rice team’s theory and simulations indicated that crowding agents usually move just as rapidly, sprinting out of the way.
    “If they move at the same speed, the molecules don’t bother each other,” Kolomeisky said. “Even if they’re covering a region, the blockers move away quickly so your protein can bind.”
    In previous research, the team determined that stationary obstacles sometimes help quicken a protein’s search for its target by limiting options. This time, the researchers sought to define how crowding both along DNA and in the cytoplasm influenced the process.
    “We may think everything’s fixed and frozen in cells, but it’s not,” Kolomeisky said. “Everything is moving.”,,,
    Floating proteins appear to find their targets quickly as well. “This was a surprise,” he said. “It’s counterintuitive, because one would think collisions between a protein and other molecules on DNA would slow it down. But the system is so dynamic (and so well designed?), it doesn’t appear to be an issue.”
    http://phys.org/news/2016-06-p.....crowd.html

    The reason why Darwinists are so far off the mark with their ‘barely constrained randomness’ assumption for molecular biology is because, basically, they have completely failed, in the reductive materialistic framework that undergirds Darwinian thought, to realize the fact that information is its own separate physical entity that is distinct from matter and energy, and to realize that that unique physical entity of information is, in fact, what is constraining the cell to be so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium, i.e. information is found to be what is ‘running the show’ in molecular biology:

    Dr Eugen S on the second law of thermodynamics – Dec. 3, 2016
    Excerpt: I hold that in order to fully explain life’s relationship with entropy it is necessary to rightly recognize that information is it’s own distinct physical entity that is separate from matter and energy, and to recognize that information is not merely to be defined as a particular arrangement of matter and energy.,,,
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-621625

  4. 4

    Zimmer is an author on two University textbooks and has won several awards from scientific societies for the quality of his science writing. I think he’s pretty qualified to understand the science. What about Mazur?

    Mazur’s writing style is almost singular in letting scientists speak for themselves through one-on-one interviews. She doesn’t need to do the analysis, they’ve already done it. And if anyone thinks that Suzan Mazur hasn’t documented an event occurring in biology, then they have their heads firmly planted …uhm… in the sand.

    Blatant appeals to authority aren’t going to change the facts. After all, this isn’t a tainted ID deal, these are otherwise approved members of the tribe, saying “the jig is up”. “Time for a correction”.

    But hey, feel free to do your part for the cause. We get the position you’re in. Demand conformity. 🙂

  5. 5
    wd400 says:

    Not sure you read the piece UB? Mazur is playing the authority game, claiming her (in your words) analysis-free reporting makes her an expert while Zimmer is a mere English major and should shut up.

    Not a great argument to start with, an even worse one if you know Zimmer’s background.

    (And no one is demanding conformity. This crowd get’s Nature papers to make their case and meetings at the Royal Society. Hard to think or two greater symbols of the scientific mainstream. Evolutionary biologists would just like to see more evidence that the things these people talk about are very important or are not sufficiently dealt with by existing biology).

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    wd400 states:

    “Evolutionary biologists would just like to see more evidence that the things these people talk about are very important or are not sufficiently dealt with by existing biology”

    Seeing as on this very post an article was referenced in which Behe stated:

    “the molecular machines laboriously constructed by our brightest scientists are Tinkertoys compared to the nanotechnology found in living cells.”
    – Michael Behe

    And seeing as no one has ever witnessed unguided material, i.e. Darwinian, processes construct molecular machines from scratch,

    “The argument that random variation and Darwinian gradualism may not be adequate to explain complex biological systems is hardly new […} in fact, there are no detailed Darwinian accounts for the evolution of any fundamental biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations. It is remarkable that Darwinism is accepted as a satisfactory explanation for such a vast subject — evolution — with so little rigorous examination of how well its basic theses works in illuminating specific instances of biological adaptation or diversity.”
    Prof. James Shapiro – “In the Details…What?” National Review, 19 September 1996, pp. 64.

    Michael Behe – No Scientific Literature for the Evolution of any Molecular Machines – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5302950/

    And seeing that the programming in the cell is orders of magnitude more advanced than anything man has ever programmed (Codes within codes within codes,,,)

    Dynamic Genomes in Bacteria Argue for Design – By Ann Gauger
    “Codes within codes within codes – highly efficient and highly intelligent systems – don’t happen by accident and/or selection. The cell might begin with one code, which is incredible in itself. To layer another code in the opposite direction is far and away beyond that. Then to add a third layer of structural dynamics is simply awe-inspiring.”
    http://www.biologicinstitute.o.....for-design

    Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 – published online May 2013
    Excerpt: In the last decade, we have discovered still another aspect of the multi- dimensional genome. We now know that DNA sequences are typically “ poly-functional” [38]. Trifanov previously had described at least 12 genetic codes that any given nucleotide can contribute to [39,40], and showed that a given base-pair can contribute to multiple overlapping codes simultaneously. The first evidence of overlapping protein-coding sequences in viruses caused quite a stir, but since then it has become recognized as typical. According to Kapronov et al., “it is not unusual that a single base-pair can be part of an intricate network of multiple isoforms of overlapping sense and antisense transcripts, the majority of which are unannotated” [41]. The ENCODE project [42] has confirmed that this phenomenon is ubiquitous in higher genomes, wherein a given DNA sequence routinely encodes multiple overlapping messages, meaning that a single nucleotide can contribute to two or more genetic codes. Most recently, Itzkovitz et al. analyzed protein coding regions of 700 species, and showed that virtually all forms of life have extensive overlapping information in their genomes [43].

    38. Sanford J (2008) Genetic Entropy and the Mystery of the Genome. FMS Publications, NY. Pages 131–142.
    39. Trifonov EN (1989) Multiple codes of nucleotide sequences. Bull of Mathematical Biology 51:417–432.
    40. Trifanov EN (1997) Genetic sequences as products of compression by inclusive superposition of many codes. Mol Biol 31:647–654.
    41. Kapranov P, et al (2005) Examples of complex architecture of the human transcriptome revealed by RACE and high density tiling arrays. Genome Res 15:987–997.
    42. Birney E, et al (2007) Encode Project Consortium: Identification and analysis of functional elements in 1% of the human genome by the ENCODE pilot project. Nature 447:799–816.
    43. Itzkovitz S, Hodis E, Sega E (2010) Overlapping codes within protein-coding sequences. Genome Res. 20:1582–1589.
    http://www.worldscientific.com.....08728_0006

    And yet no one has ever witnessed unguided material processes creating any programming whatsoever,,

    On Algorithmic Specified Complexity by Robert J. Marks II – video
    paraphrase (All Evolutionary Algorithms have failed to generate truly novel information including ‘unexpected, and interesting, emergent behaviors’) – Robert Marks
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=No3LZmPcwyg  

    Robert Marks: Some Things Computers Will Never Do: Nonalgorithmic Creativity and Unknowability – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cm0s7ag3SEc

    Evolutionary Computing: The Invisible Hand of Intelligence – June 17, 2015
    Excerpt: William Dembski and Robert Marks have shown that no evolutionary algorithm is superior to blind search — unless information is added from an intelligent cause, which means it is not, in the Darwinian sense, an evolutionary algorithm after all. This mathematically proven law, based on the accepted No Free Lunch Theorems, seems to be lost on the champions of evolutionary computing. Researchers keep confusing an evolutionary algorithm (a form of artificial selection) with “natural evolution.” ,,,
    Marks and Dembski account for the invisible hand required in evolutionary computing. The Lab’s website states, “The principal theme of the lab’s research is teasing apart the respective roles of internally generated and externally applied information in the performance of evolutionary systems.” So yes, systems can evolve, but when they appear to solve a problem (such as generating complex specified information or reaching a sufficiently narrow predefined target), intelligence can be shown to be active. Any internally generated information is conserved or degraded by the law of Conservation of Information.,,,
    What Marks and Dembski prove is as scientifically valid and relevant as Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem in mathematics. You can’t prove a system of mathematics from within the system, and you can’t derive an information-rich pattern from within the pattern.,,,
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....96931.html

    And seeing that quantum computation is heavily implicated in the protein folding search problem and also implicated in highly sophisticated DNA search strategies

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Today, Luo and Lo say these curves can be easily explained if the process of folding is a quantum affair. By conventional thinking, a chain of amino acids can only change from one shape to another by mechanically passing though various shapes in between.
    But Luo and Lo say that if this process were a quantum one, the shape could change by quantum transition, meaning that the protein could ‘jump’ from one shape to another without necessarily forming the shapes in between.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.
    http://www.technologyreview.co.....f-protein/

    Scientists’ 3-D View of Genes-at-Work Is Paradigm Shift in Genetics – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Highly coordinated chromosomal choreography leads genes and the sequences controlling them, which are often positioned huge distances apart on chromosomes, to these ‘hot spots’. Once close together within the same transcription factory, genes get switched on (a process called transcription) at an appropriate level at the right time in a specific cell type. This is the first demonstration that genes encoding proteins with related physiological role visit the same factory.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....160649.htm

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    And yet such quantum computational abilities are orders of magnitude more advanced than anything man has built thus far,,

    Physicists Entangle 8 Photons in ‘Spooky’ Experiment – February 2012
    Excerpt:  Entanglement is a fragile state, and entangling photons with any efficiency is a major challenge; physicists generally produce a huge number of photons for every pair of successfully entangled particles. The difficulty of creating multiple pairs of entangled photons grows exponentially as more are added. Xing-Can Yao and his colleagues at USTC calculated that if they simply extended previous six-photon experiments to include another pair of entangled photons, it would take roughly 10 hours of experimental time to generate one entangled eight-photon set. (Physicists verify the presence of entanglement by running statistical tests that require large samples of photons, so an experiment that takes hours to produce a single entangled state is impractically slow.) To overcome that limitation, the researchers used an optical scheme that filters out fewer photons and hence boosts the output of entangled photons.
    http://www.livescience.com/185.....otons.html

    Then perhaps wd400 could calm the doubts of us non-evolutionary experts, who doubt that unguided material processes could ever build such staggering complexity, and show us exactly where it has been scientifically demonstrated that unguided material, i.e. Darwinian, processes have EVER built molecular machines and/or generated programming of any sort. Such a demonstration, besides being highly ‘scientific’ and falsifying ID, and thus forever silencing the doubts of us ‘non-expert critics’ of Darwinian evolution, would also have the potential to net wd400 and his company of evolutionary ‘experts’ up to 3 million dollars.

    The Origin of Information: How to Solve It – Perry Marshall
    Where did the information in DNA come from? This is one of the most important and valuable questions in the history of science. Cosmic Fingerprints has issued a challenge to the scientific community:
    “Show an example of Information that doesn’t come from a mind. All you need is one.”
    “Information” is defined as digital communication between an encoder and a decoder, using agreed upon symbols. To date, no one has shown an example of a naturally occurring encoding / decoding system, i.e. one that has demonstrably come into existence without a designer.
    A private equity investment group is offering a technology prize for this discovery (up to 3 million dollars). We will financially reward and publicize the first person who can solve this;,,, To solve this problem is far more than an object of abstract religious or philosophical discussion. It would demonstrate a mechanism for producing coding systems, thus opening up new channels of scientific discovery. Such a find would have sweeping implications for Artificial Intelligence research.
    http://cosmicfingerprints.com/solve/

    The Law of Physicodynamic Incompleteness – David L. Abel
    Excerpt: “If decision-node programming selections are made randomly or by law rather than with purposeful intent, no non-trivial (sophisticated) function will spontaneously arise.”
    If only one exception to this null hypothesis were published, the hypothesis would be falsified. Falsification would require an experiment devoid of behind-the-scenes steering. Any artificial selection hidden in the experimental design would disqualify the experimental falsification. After ten years of continual republication of the null hypothesis with appeals for falsification, no falsification has been provided.
    The time has come to extend this null hypothesis into a formal scientific prediction:
    “No non trivial algorithmic/computational utility will ever arise from chance and/or necessity alone.”
    https://www.academia.edu/Documents/in/The_Law_of_Physicodynamic_Incompleteness

    Verse:

    2 Peter 1:16
    For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

    Shroud of Turin: From discovery of Photographic Negative, to 3D Information, to Quantum Hologram
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F-TL4QOCiis

    Astonishing discovery at Christ’s tomb supports Turin Shroud – NOV 26TH 2016
    Excerpt: The first attempts made to reproduce the face on the Shroud by radiation, used a CO2 laser which produced an image on a linen fabric that is similar at a macroscopic level. However, microscopic analysis showed a coloring that is too deep and many charred linen threads, features that are incompatible with the Shroud image. Instead, the results of ENEA “show that a short and intense burst of VUV directional radiation can color a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin, including shades of color, the surface color of the fibrils of the outer linen fabric, and the absence of fluorescence”.
    ‘However, Enea scientists warn, “it should be noted that the total power of VUV radiations required to instantly color the surface of linen that corresponds to a human of average height, body surface area equal to = 2000 MW/cm2 17000 cm2 = 34 thousand billion watts makes it impractical today to reproduce the entire Shroud image using a single laser excimer, since this power cannot be produced by any VUV light source built to date (the most powerful available on the market come to several billion watts )”.
    Comment
    The ENEA study of the Holy Shroud of Turin concluded that it would take 34 Thousand Billion Watts of VUV radiations to make the image on the shroud. This output of electromagnetic energy remains beyond human technology.
    https://www.ewtn.co.uk/news/latest/astonishing-discovery-at-christ-s-tomb-supports-turin-shroud

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    Gene Pleiotropy Roadblocks Evolution by Jeffrey P. Tomkins, Ph.D. – Dec. 8, 2016
    Excerpt: Before the advent of modern molecular biology, scientists defined a gene as a single unit of inheritance. If a gene was found to influence multiple externally visible traits, it was said to be pleiotropic—a term first used in 1910. During this early period of genetic discovery, pleiotropy was considered to be quite rare because scientists assumed most genes only possessed a single function—a simplistic idea that remained popular throughout most of the 20th century. However, as our understanding of genetics grew through DNA science, it became clear that genes operate in complex interconnected networks. Furthermore, individual genes produce multiple variants of end products with different effects through a variety of intricate mechanisms.2,3 Taken together, these discoveries show that pleiotropy is a common feature of nearly every gene.,,,
    The pleiotropy evolution problem is widely known among secular geneticists, but rarely discussed in the popular media. In this new research report, the authors state, “Many studies have provided evidence for the ability of pleiotropy to constrain gene evolution.”,,,
    “Our study provided supportive evidence that pleiotropy constraints the evolution of transcription factors (Tfs).”,,,
    The authors state, “We showed that highly pleiotropic genes are more likely to be associated with a disease phenotype.”,,,
    http://www.icr.org/article/9747

  9. 9

    spin spin spin WD.

    Zimmer is a company man. Even the event organizers (and participants) took note.

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