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Israeli researchers mull epigenetics vs. Darwinism

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Jean-baptiste lamarck2.jpg Over at Evolution News & Views, we are told that two Israeli researchers are “ flirting with Lamarck”:

Lamarck? He was the much-ridiculed Frenchman (1744–1829) who was right about the inheritance of acquired characteristics.

In other words, stuff that happened to our grandparents and parents could help shape our genome, and affect our health and sense of well-being. See, for example, Can epigenetics even shape attitudes?

Here’s the abstract:

“Which came first, the Chicken or the Egg?” We suggest this question is not a paradox. The Modern Synthesis envisions speciation through genetic changes in germ cells via random mutations, an “Egg first” scenario, but perhaps epigenetic inheritance mechanisms can transmit adaptive changes initiated in the soma (“Chicken first”). Open access

Anyway, Evolution News & Views, we offers,

What makes speculative articles such as this ultimately disappointing is the absence of supporting data (i.e., evidence) for the mechanisms being proposed.

From a philosophical standpoint, however, the speculations are fascinating — because they indicate what researchers are willing to try, in the face of the supposed “highly confirmed” status of textbook evolutionary theory.

How be this: There is lots of supporting data out there but maybe they daren’t offer it in a context that would sound like confronting the publicly funded Darwin cult?
Also: CRISPR findings vindicate Lamarck, says researcher in Quanta article, but it is now called epigenetics. Darwin’s tenures and many science journalists (pom poms for “science”) don’t like epigenetics. It detracts from the easy answers offered by Darwin’s followers.

See also: Another non-Darwinian biologist we need to know about: Mae-Wan Ho

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19 Replies to “Israeli researchers mull epigenetics vs. Darwinism

  1. 1
    Roy says:

    Lamarck was wrong about inheritance of acquired characteristics, and will continue to be wrong unless babies start being born precircumcised and lacking an appendix.

    That mechanisms that change genomes other than through mutation are being described as Lamarckian does not mean they are examples of Lamarckism

    Oh, and this:

    How be this: There is lots of supporting data out there but maybe they daren’t offer it in a context that would sound like confronting the publicly funded Darwin cult?

    is not only desperate posturing but also evidence that whoever wrote it didn’t bother to read the actual article:

    The more plausible track appears to be one in which the epigenetic change is first transferred as is from the soma into the germline (e.g. in the case of small non-coding RNA in worms), and at a later stage is assimilated and replaced by a genetic change. The alternative is that the somatic epigenetic change could first be assimilated into the soma’s genome and only later be transferred as such into the germline (a scenario with no current supporting data).

  2. 2
    Mapou says:

    Roy, the self-deceiver:

    Lamarck was wrong about inheritance of acquired characteristics, and will continue to be wrong unless babies start being born precircumcised and lacking an appendix.

    This is so ass-backwards, it’s not even funny. The whole point of epigenetics is to adapt to the environment. How is circumcision or the lack of an appendix a type survival adaptation? And why the appendix? It does serve a purpose, regardless of your ignorance of it.

    That mechanisms that change genomes other than through mutation are being described as Lamarckian does not mean they are examples of Lamarckism

    One such clearly Lamarckian mechanism is the one that allows finches to grow longer beaks. The reason that it is not Darwinian is the speed (single generation) and the repeatability/reversibility of the process.

    Epigenetics is not the exception in biology. It is the rule. Everything else, i.e., any other theory of evolution, is voodoo. Epigenetics is so widespread that some trees develop a different genetic signature at the top than at the bottom.

  3. 3
    News says:

    Roy at 1: The appendix is part of a redundant anti-pathogen system. The fact that appendices get infected no more proves they are a bad thing than the fact that soldiers get shot protecting civilians at the front (and civilians die in the crossfire) means that soldiers are a bad thing.

    The value of circumcision seems to relate to the views of human communities, which are all over the map. So I am currently unclear how any of this show that Lamarck was wrong.

  4. 4
    wd400 says:

    What do you think Lamarck’s theory of evolution was, News?

  5. 5
    Roy says:

    @ Mapou:

    I didn’t say anything about epigenetics (which is not the same as Lamarckism). Nor does it matter why circumcision occurs, or what the appendix does. Both you and News seem to have some hot button such that whenever the appendix is mentioned you start yelling “It does have a function! It does!!! regardless of whether this is relevant.

    All you have shown is that you don’t know anything about Lamarckism, epigenetics, phenotype plasticity or finches.

  6. 6
    Roy says:

    @ News:

    Try applying Lamarck’s 2nd law:

    All the acquisitions or losses wrought by nature on individuals, through the influence of the environment in which their race has long been placed, and hence through the influence of the predominant use or permanent disuse of any organ; all these are preserved by reproduction to the new individuals which arise, provided that the acquired modifications are common to both sexes, or at least to the individuals which produce the young.

    to wisdom teeth, appendices, tonsils and genitalia.

  7. 7
    Virgil Cain says:

    Epigenetic change is Lamarkian evolution, Roy. epigenetics and Lamark

  8. 8
    Mapou says:

    Roy, this is pure nonsense. Epigenetics is not Lamarckism. It is the genetic mechanism of Lamarckism. In fact, adaptation, the observed changes in organisms under environmental pressure, that Darwinists love to confuse with voodoo evolution via RM+NS, is nothing but epigenetics/Lamarckism. It was genetically designed from day one for this purpose, to adapt. There is no need for RM+NS nonsense anywhere.

    And there are indeed cases in nature where a species would lose the need for an organ such as the eye, for example, and the organ would eventually transform into a useless appendage. All that is programmed in the genes and reprogrammed when necessary. Nature defecates on Darwinian processes.

  9. 9
    Mung says:

    Moreover, Roy can’t read:

    All the acquisitions or losses wrought by nature on individuals, through the influence of the environment in which their race has long been placed, and hence through the influence of the predominant use or permanent disuse of any organ; all these are preserved by reproduction to the new individuals which arise, provided that the acquired modifications are common to both sexes, or at least to the individuals which produce the young.

  10. 10
    Roy says:

    While surgeons and razor-wielders may not strictly be “nature”, they are most definitely part of the environment in which humans exist and have been for a long time, so unless Mung can come up with a reason why Lamarckism would not apply to organs removed by surgery as well as to organs affected by accident, disability or disuse, he is firing blanks.

    As for the other two highlighted sections, does Mung really think that appendectomies, tonsillectomies etc do not result in permanent disuse of the organs removed? Does he think that they only apply to one gender?

    Perhaps he could explain how a human can continue to use their appendix after it is has been placed in a glass jar full of formaldehyde.

  11. 11
    Virgil Cain says:

    Roy, Artificial as opposed to natural. Lamarck’s ideas only pertain to the natural.

  12. 12
    Mapou says:

    Roy @10,

    You people are incorrigible. It’s almost as if you are possessed by a malevolent alien entity or something. You continually come up with one pathetic argument after another to defend your voodoo theories.

    My first question to you is this: Why are you Darwinists so stupid?

    My second question is: Has it occurred to you that the genome was designed and that this is the reason that babies are not born circumcised? IOW, has it occurred to you that the designers engineered the heritance mechanism to allow only certain changes to be inherited and not others?

    My third question is: Why are you Darwinists so stupid?

  13. 13
    Roy says:

    Mapou @ 12

    If I’m so stupid and my arguments are so pathetic, you should be able to refute them. Instead, you post only insults and non sequuntur.

  14. 14
    Mapou says:

    Roy, I believe Darwinists should be insulted and humiliated at every opportunity. You are a case in point. You are so stupid, all my arguments went over your head.

  15. 15
    Roy says:

    How Christian.

  16. 16
    Mapou says:

    You don’t know what a Christian is. I can be even more insulting toward Christians who have more faith in silly man-made doctrines than in their savior.

  17. 17
    bornagain77 says:

    Roy, and why do you, as a militant atheist, appeal to ‘illusory’ Christian morality, which you ridicule others for believing in, to be upheld?

    Why not appeal to survival of the fittest morality that you yourself believe to be true to be upheld? Do you or do you not believe it to be superior to Christian morality since you hold it is true?

    You know, the morality that Dawkins himself espouses to be upheld?

    Richard Dawkins espouses Militant Atheism: “Mock them, Ridicule them.”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPqqp8KVuQU

    In other words, why don’t you yourself live consistently within your professed worldview of ‘blind, pitiless, indifference’ instead of ‘borrowing’ morality from Christians?

    “The universe we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil, no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference.”
    – Richard Dawkins

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt:,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    http://www.weeklystandard.com/.....tml?page=3

    Moreover, this psychopathic characteristic inherent to the atheistic philosophy is born out empirically, in that people who do not believe in free will and a soul tend to be more psychopathic than the majority of normal people in America who do believe in free will and a soul.

    The moral benefit of believing in free will (several studies):
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-565274

    Anthony Jack, Why Don’t Psychopaths Believe in Dualism? – video – 14:30 minute mark
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?l.....zOk#t=862s

    A scientific case for conceptual dualism: The problem of consciousness and the opposing domains hypothesis. – Anthony I. Jack – 2013
    Excerpt page 18: we predicted that psychopaths would not be able to perceive the problem of consciousness.,,
    In a series of five experiments (Jack, in preparation), we found a highly replicable and robust negative correlation (r~-0.34) between belief in dualism and the primary psychopathic trait of callous affect7.
    Page 24: Clearly these findings fit well with the hypothesis (Robbins and Jack, 2006) that psychopaths can’t see the problem of consciousness8. Taking these finding together with other work on dehumanization and the anti-social effects of denying the soul and free will, they present a powerful picture. When we see persons, that is, when we see others as fellow humans, then our percept is of something essentially non-physical nature. This feature of our psychology appears to be relevant to a number of other philosophical issues, including the tension between utilitarian principles and deontological concerns about harming persons (Jack et al., accepted), the question of whether God exists (Jack et al., under review-b), and the problem of free will9.
    http://tonyjack.org/files/2013.....281%29.pdf

    Verse and Music:

    Matthew 22:37-40
    Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    MATT MAHER – Because He Lives (Amen): Song
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBvU7arNhQs

  18. 18
    Mapou says:

    Proverbs: There is a time for everything. A time to plant and a time to harvest.

    Me: There is a time for cheek turning and a time for arse kicking. Watch out.

  19. 19
    Axel says:

    BA#17
    Silence came Roy’s stern reply.

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