Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Oops, “Environmental Information May Be Inherited Transgenerationally”

arroba Email

Drug addictions and neuropsychiatric illnesses seem to recur in parents and their children in a cycle that is difficult to break. As neurobiologist Kerry Resslerexplains “There are a lot of anecdotes to suggest that there’s intergenerational transfer of risk.” But until recently evolutionists denied—and actively persecuted scientists suggesting—any such thing. For evolutionary theory has traditionally viewed heritable changes as being strictly channeled through DNA and its chance mutations which are selected when they happen to improve fitness. Thus, according to modern evolutionary theory, all inherited change that ever occurs to a species is, ultimately, from a source that is random. Non random heritable change that might be directed or influenced by environmental challenges is not allowed. No teleology, no final causes, no design.  Read more

Thanks, phoodoo, for your kind words and for your additional examples on the subject. Best, Eric Anderson
Eric, I just read your discussion with Box and I concur completely. Because natural selection is such an enigmatic concept, at some point you just have to give it a label to continue the discussion. The problem with discussing NS as doing something useful is that it requires us to ignore the times when the same concept does something harmful to the individual or nothing at all. We only count NS occurring on the percentage (we have no way of knowing what that percentage is)that we say benefited by better genes. So for instance, if you were a great warrior in Roman times, big strong, fast, you were sent to war, and probably at some time you were going to get killed at war. But if you were short and had a stump hand and bad eyesight, you hung around the village and helped the ladies collect grain for bread. That's not NS. If you were smart and loyal during the days of the Emperors in China, you became a government official and got your balls cut off so the King could have all the woman for himself. That is not NS. This isn't just a problem throughout history for man. What happens in animal kingdoms. Let's say you are the dominant male in Chimp society, so you always get the girl right? So then of course over time, we end up with all dominant males, because that's the ones whose genes get passed on. Only that is not what happens at all, chimp groups constantly have a whole assortment of personality types in its groups. Always have, always will. All dominant males would make for a pretty bad group. So yeah NS works in chimp groups except when it does nothing in chimp groups. But sometimes it produces dominant males. In snake communities, if you read which snakes get favor in sexual selection, you can't even come close to drawing a conclusion; big snakes are selected, but its much better to be small, because you use less energy and catch more prey, and you live longer so you have a better odds of mating one day, and well, just throw it all in a social blender and we will call the one time when its an advantage to be something NS and another time when its not an advantage to be something, just luck. Being small and fast would sure be an advantage as a gazelle in the savannahs, but the girls always choose the big slow, strong ones. Choosing the fast ones could be an advantage, and choosing the big strong ones could also be an advantage. If we can define some advantage, then its NS. If not, then its just random, and has nothing to do with our theory. Set those cases aside. So in the end, NS ends up being a fake concept for the very reason we call it a real concept. We only count the births and deaths which fit our concept of natural selection. Is NS a deciding factor in survival? By definition it can only be a deciding factor, because every time its not, we don't count it. We select what counts as natural selection. Every story that can make a case for NS we count as NS. Every story that makes no case, or makes a negative case, is not relative to NS. Natural selection will choose the best one, except when it doesn't choose the best one, or when it doesn't choose at all. Calling NS a force is like saying that every time a quarterback passes and his team scores a touchdown its good for his team. So throwing for touchdowns is a force. Except we must ignore every time he throws an interception or gets sacked and doesn't score or someone runs for a touchdown, or a wide receiver breaks his leg, or there is a holding penalty by his linemen, or you run out of downs. Those incidents don't count as a force, they are just random background noise, and does nothing to dispel the concept that throwing touchdowns is good for the team. Everything is natural selection except for everything in life that is not natural selection. Like 90% of life in otherwords. But if we stare only at that 10%, natural selection is definitely a driving force. All the other forces that are not natural selection? Eh, nevermind them. phoodoo
phoodoo @9: I'm essentially in agreement with your view of the randomness of it all. Incidentally, we had a pretty interesting recent thread (primarily Box and me discussing things) that, if I may be so bold, outlines the issues with natural selection in some detail and the "random" aspect of it all. You might have already seen it, but if not, perhaps worth a few minutes to read my comments there. Start with my comment @73, and I hope you'll find a kindred spirit, at least on this issue. :) https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/commenter-apparently-believes-that-only-part-of-darwinian-evolution-is-blindmindlessunguided-maybe-if-we-ask-nice-he-will-enlighten-us-poor-benighted-id-slobs-about-which-part/ My point in this thread is simply that evolutionists would *not* necessarily view things "influenced by environmental challenges" as non-random. So to say that things influenced by the environment are non-random, and therefore not allowed by evolutionary theory, is not an accurate description of the evolutionists' viewpoint. That's all. Furthermore, evolutionists would argue that there can be some directionality applied to the randomness, whether through natural selection (again, I agree with you, this is a nonsense cop-out), drift, bottlenecks -- or, more fundamentally, even physical forces and practical constraints, etc. It is certainly true that none of these directional influences helps in the slightest to explain anything interesting about what we see in biology, but the evolutionist, at least, would argue that those directional influences exist. So the evolutionist, at least, does not hold the view that everything has to be "random" under evolutionary theory. I agree with Hunter's larger point that the idea that everything is in the DNA is problematic, and growing moreso. (The Central Dogma is woefully incomplete at best, downright wrong at worst, and has been as much of a hindrance to our understanding of biology as a help.) I'm just trying to be cautious that we aren't overstating what the existence of "non-random" forces implies for the evolutionary paradigm generally. Eric Anderson
Cornelius Hunter is describing Epigenetics and that has been part of biology for many decades
Hunter was talking about epigenetics in the context of Evolution theory, not biology. lifepsy
It says right here in our local community college's general biology text (Biology: A Guide to The Natural World, 5th Edition by David Krogh) that the inheritance of acquired traits has been completely disproven by modern science. OldArmy94
I think I have just discovered a new theory. The theory that luck is a product of evolution. I think over the eons, the individuals who were luckiest have been selected by natural selection to carry on their genes. Thus the trait of luckyness has been fixed in the population. That is why you only see lucky organisms today, the unlucky ones have been weeded out through time. I am so lucky to be alive is so literally true. Look for my new book, Survival of the Luckiest. phoodoo
"Thus, according to modern evolutionary theory, all inherited change that ever occurs to a species is, ultimately, from a source that is random. Non random heritable change that might be directed or influenced by environmental challenges is not allowed." Eric, I think his statement is completely accurate, as he says that all inherited change must come from a "source" that is random. Natural Selection is not a source of anything. This is just a way too common trick of wording evolutionists use to slither out from under the word random, in my opinion. They try to assign a mechanism, as it were, to natural selection, which is completely hypocritical, when they argue so strongly against chance being a mechanism. Natural selection is simply a description of an observation. That evolutionists have gotten away with leading the public into calling it an active process is really just a tribute to their manipulation of mainstream discussion. Plus, even calling natural selection non-random is not really fair. Its very likely that almost all of what ends up surviving in life is pretty well up to chance. The weakest animals aren't really the ones most likely to be eaten by a Tiger, the most likely one to be eaten is the one closet to the tiger. Or the youngest. Youth has never been eradicated by natural selection, just because you are more likely to be eaten when you are young. And the one who is most likely to get laid by a pretty girl in school is the guy who has a class with a pretty girl, or the guy who works with a pretty girl, or the guy at the right party when they happen to be drunk. The one closest to the pretty girl is mostly down to luck. I think this true for pretty much all animals. One way or another almost all rabbits or snakes or rats end up mating because they happen to be near other rabbits. Luck is the single biggest factor. phoodoo
Gee, Nick Matzke was on here a while back and claimed that all the information for an organism is located in its DNA. That is where it is all at. Every bit of it. I'm still trying to square that idea with the mounting discoveries of epigenetics . . . ----- I do have to take issue with Dr. Hunter's wording, however, on one point:
Thus, according to modern evolutionary theory, all inherited change that ever occurs to a species is, ultimately, from a source that is random. Non random heritable change that might be directed or influenced by environmental challenges is not allowed.
Even if the first sentence is correct (which in the strong materialist view it is, barring a dispute over the word "random"), I'm not sure evolutionists would view "environmental challenges" as non-random. Indeed, all of the various and myriad random environmental influences on an organism are certainly alleged to be picked up and carefully sorted through by natural selection. So organisms being "influenced by" their environment is certainly part of evolutionary theory. I think what Dr. Hunter is driving at is that the creative part, the building part, the part that drives the "arrival" of the species (rather than its "survival"), is ultimately supposed to be tied to chance changes in DNA. And, yes, I agree, that part of evolutionary theory -- the Central Dogma -- is growing more and more untenable with each passing day. I have to say, though, evolutionary theory won't go away even as the Central Dogma becomes less and less tenable. It will just adjust, like it always does, and claim that all the new discoveries are "right in line with what we always expected" (see LP's comment above). It will be interesting, nonetheless, to see what the breakdown of the Central Dogma will lead to over time in terms of the claims of evolutionary theory -- and in terms of making people adjust their DNA-only viewpoint, a la Matzke, in the coming years. Eric Anderson
Lincoln, I get a kick out of how Darwinists, upon learning the discoveries of epigenetics as a central switching stations which controls all the operations of the entire network of genes, reacted to this completely unexpected discovery by simply saying, well, its part of the new synthesis theory. Talk about a bold whitewash. In one fell swoope they can just incorporate ANYTHING no matter illogical, until this dragnet they called the new synthesis. I have never seen any evolutionist anywhere adequately try to describe how such a system could come about through a Darwinian random mutation model. In fact they can't describe how it could come to be through any model. Its not another fact of the ever elastic theory. You have conveniently been spared from having to explain any of your theory, by just throwing out the, well, its the modern synthesis tag-the kumbaya, feel good escape which completely removes you from explaining junk DNA, epigenetics, natural genetically engineered systems, Lamarckian inheritances, you name it. Its your get out of jail free card, with no obligation to ever reason again. phoodoo
Interesting article: Transcriptome research. http://www.sciencemag.org/site/products/lst_20140117.xhtml Upright BiPed
I see bornagain77 is as desperate as usual and with their usual mantras of "materialist" this, "neodarwinist" that. Like their use of quantum woo bornagain77 fails to understand that Epigenetics is part of and consistent with the naturalism. The so-called central dogma is Crick's wording,
The central dogma of molecular biology deals with the detailed residue-by-residue transfer of sequential information. It states that such information cannot be transferred back from protein to either protein or nucleic acid.
and as you can see it won't be much of a change to molecular biology if this was changed to say "usually such information cannot be transferred back from protein". Lincoln Phipps
Hey Lincoln-
The Darwinism proposed by Weismann and Wallace, in which an inheritance of acquired traits is rejected, was called Neodarwinism by George John Romanes. - Ernst Mayr "What Evolution Is" 86-7
Moreover, directly contrary to the materialistic assumption that we are merely helpless 'victims of our genes', victims who are forever trapped in whatever misfortune our genes happen to throw at us, it is now known that, besides environmental triggers producing epigenetic changes, mental states can also 'epigenetically' modify the expression of our genes, thus giving us a certain measure of control of our 'genetic fate':
Genie In Your Genes – video http://www.genieinyourgenes.com/ggtrailer.html Anxiety May Shorten Your Cell Life – July 12, 2012 Excerpt: These studies had the advantage of large data sets involving thousands of participants. If the correlations remain robust in similar studies, it would indicate that mental states and lifestyle choices can produce epigenetic effects on our genes. http://crev.info/2012/07/anxiety-may-shorten-your-cell-life/ Scientists Finally Show How Your Thoughts Can Cause Specific Molecular Changes To Your Genes, - December 10, 2013 Excerpt: “To the best of our knowledge, this is the first paper that shows rapid alterations in gene expression within subjects associated with mindfulness meditation practice,”,,, “Most interestingly, the changes were observed in genes that are the current targets of anti-inflammatory and analgesic drugs,”,,, the researchers say, there was no difference in the tested genes between the two groups of people at the start of the study. The observed effects were seen only in the meditators following mindfulness practice. In addition, several other DNA-modifying genes showed no differences between groups, suggesting that the mindfulness practice specifically affected certain regulatory pathways. http://www.tunedbody.com/scientists-finally-show-thoughts-can-cause-specific-molecular-changes-genes/ The health benefits of happiness - Mark Easton - 2006 Excerpt: "It's not just that if you're physically well you're likely to be happy but actually the opposite way round," said Dr Cox. (Extensive studies show that) "If you are happy you are (much more) likely in the future to have less in the way of physical illness than those who are unhappy". http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/happiness_formula/4924180.stm
Verse, Video, and Music:
Proverbs 17:22 A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson: "Happy, Happy, Happy" - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jAku3B5vnc With Every Act Of Love - Jason Gray http://myktis.com/songs/with-every-act-of-love/
What is even more troubling for neo-Darwinists is, not only that transgenerational changes are inherited apart from DNA (as troubling as that is for the central dogma),,,
"One of the mechanisms, referred to as epigenetics, involves small chemical tags, such as methyl groups, attached to DNA or its histone packaging proteins." C. Hunter
,,,What is even more troubling for neo-Darwinists is that transgenerational changes can be environmentally induced all the way down to directly modifying the DNA of a genome,,
Majority of mutations are directed (non-random) - Jonathan Bartlett - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJwWhhpua_o Non-Random and Targeted Mutations (Environmentally induced changes to the level of DNA, 6:34 minute mark of video) - video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTChu5vX1VI An environmentally induced adaptive (?) insertion event inflax - 2009 Excerpt:Genomic changes in flax induced by the environment include the sequences encoding the ribosoal RNAs , many repetitive sequence families and a novel single copy insertion termed LIS-1, comprising a 5.7 kilobase(kb) DNA fragment.,,, http://academicjournals.org/article/article1379511958_Chen%20et%20al..pdf Environmentally Induced Heritable Changes in Flax - 2011 Excerpt: Some flax varieties respond to nutrient stress by modifying their genome and these modifications can be inherited through many generations. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182631/ Flax: More Falsifications of Evolution and the Real Warfare Thesis - Cornelius Hunter - 2011 Excerpt: The latest paper deals with flax plants which, when grown under stressful conditions, modify their genome. The genomic changes help the plant to thrive under the new conditions, and the changes are passed on to the progeny. The flax plant’s genomic changes are not just a lucky strike—the same precise additions, in the same precise location, occur when the experiment is repeated. For the changes are “the result of a targeted, highly specific, complex insertion event.” http://darwins-god.blogspot.com/2011/07/flax-more-falsifications-of-evolution.html
This is a direct contradiction of the modern synthesis (central dogma) of neo-Darwinism,,
Does the central dogma still stand? – Koonin EV. – 23 August 2012 Excerpt: Thus, there is non-negligible flow of information from proteins to the genome in modern cells, in a direct violation of the Central Dogma of molecular biology. The prion-mediated heredity that violates the Central Dogma appears to be a specific, most radical manifestation of the widespread assimilation of protein (epigenetic) variation into genetic variation. The epigenetic variation precedes and facilitates genetic adaptation through a general ‘look-ahead effect’ of phenotypic mutations.,,, Conclusions: The Central Dogma of molecular biology is refuted by genetic assimilation of prion-dependent phenotypic heredity. This phenomenon is likely to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg,,, Even more generally, the entire spectrum of epigenetic variation, in particular various modifications of DNA, chromatin proteins and RNA, potentially can be similarly assimilated by evolving genomes.,,, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3472225/ How life changes itself: The Read–Write (RW) genome - James A. Shapiro - 2013 Excerpt: Research dating back to the 1930s has shown that genetic change is the result of cell-mediated processes, not simply accidents or damage to the DNA. This cell-active view of genome change applies to all scales of DNA sequence variation, from point mutations to large-scale genome rearrangements and whole genome duplications (WGDs). http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1571064513000869 also see J.Shapiro, "Revisiting the Central Dogma", and D.Nobel, "Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology".
Cornelius Hunter is describing Epigenetics and that has been part of biology for many decades even all the way back to Darwin. Look at the work of Robin Holliday for example - is he persecuted ? No. What Cornelius Hunter see as "actively persecuted" is demanding evidence. When creationists make claims then when they are asked for evidence for those claims then they call that being persecuted. Lincoln Phipps

Leave a Reply