Samstag, Juli 30, 2022
StartEvolutionPhysics is an atavistic type of biology, then

Physics is an atavistic type of biology, then

I’ve addressed the nonsense about most cancers as an atavism a number of occasions right here, and I even made a video about it. Paul Davies is a medical crackpot, and his pal Charley Lineweaver is simply as goofy, however it appears they seen me, and I acquired a pleasant well mannered e mail from Lineweaver about it.

Hello PZ,

I simply got here throughout your video

I plead harmless of subscribing to the Haeckelian view that

“Improvement levels recapitulate grownup evolutionary levels”

at 14:38 of your video.

If you happen to take away the phrase “grownup” then I might agree extra with the assertion.

You is likely to be fascinated with our two current papers (connected).

Additionally, as a biologist, you is likely to be fascinated with a web-based video course
I simply put up at

It’s acquired loads of biology in it.

If you happen to discover any egregious errors, please let me know.

Yours for higher science,

Charley Lineweaver

First, I might word that eradicating one phrase doesn’t assist: “Improvement levels recapitulate evolutionary levels” is simply as unhealthy as “Improvement levels recapitulate grownup evolutionary levels”. Improvement doesn’t recapitulate the evolutionary historical past of the organism. Are we going to assert that mammals advanced from an historic ancestor with a trophoblast that connected to a bigger organism to leech off its fluids? After all not. Mammalian extra-embryonic membranes are nice examples of an evolutionary novelty showing at a time in growth that doesn’t mirror a phylogenetic sequence.

As for his declare that cancers are atavistic reversions to a primitive state, see the hyperlinks I posted above. Sufficient mentioned. It’s rubbish science. I’m simply mildly horrified that sure, he despatched me two extra papers on the topic, revealed in 2021, and the thought continues to be getting revealed in respectable journals. Perhaps I’ll dig into these papers another time, however I feel it’s adequate to dismiss them out of hand since they supply no new info, and are simply extra workout routines in frantic handwaving. Flap, flap, flap, oh look, we made one other paper. Flap, flap.

I used to be mildly intrigued by the website online he talked about, calling it an “on-line video course”, which it isn’t. It additionally doesn’t have a lot biology in it. However you be the choose: go to for your self.

It was very good of him to incorporate a video abstract of the “course”, titled “The Course in 7 Minutes”. Nice, I can spare 7 minutes!

I didn’t even give it 7 minutes, I’m afraid. I skipped rather a lot, lacking nothing of substance, as a result of all it’s is an excerpt from Beethoven’s Fifth performed whereas random photographs flash by. There isn’t a content material there. There are not any phrases, no explanations, not even an try and sew any sort of story or rationalization to it. It’s an incoherent mess. It’s an correct abstract of the “course”, I’ll give him that.

I dug deeper, and he does have sort of a syllabus.

Week 1 – What does “Are We Alone?” Imply?
Week 2 – Our Evolution Over 20 Million Years
Week 3 – Our Evolution Over the Previous 500 Million Years
Week 4 – Our Evolution Over the Previous 3 Billion Years
Week 5 – Our Evolution Over the Previous 4 Billion Years
Week 6 – Origins of Life: What’s Life?
Week 7 – Clever Extraterrestrials?
Week 8 – Extra Conversations with Specialists

Every of these entries is a hyperlink to extra movies, and as soon as once more, we descend into chaos. Lineweaver’s method appears to be to ask numerous of his science mates to let him interview them, and he drops by and units up a digital camera of their workplace and asks a bunch of questions, like these:

This video-based course probes the query “Are we alone?” In contrast to SETI scientists, Mars rovers and planet-hunting astronomers, we take a organic method and ask: “How did WE get right here?” Like salmon swimming upriver to the pond the place they have been born, we’re led upstream from whence we got here. We take a pilgrimage into the previous to the origin of life 4 billion years in the past. Throughout this evolutionary odyssey with astrobiologist Charley Lineweaver, we ask: Who’s “we”? Why did our brains get so large? How did life get began? Are viruses alive? What’s life? Solutions to those questions could assist us get from How DID life begin? to How DOES life begin?

This results in a complicated assortment of brief (usually 5-6 minutes) video interviews. There isn’t a synthesis. There are not any solutions, not even an try and assemble some sort of consensus. I watched a number of after which gave up.

If I have been requested, “are we alone?”, my reply can be one thing like, “I don’t know, however most likely not. I feel the prebiotic chemistry that led to life might be common, so it may very well be frequent, however we’ve acquired an n of 1 thus far. If we discovered indicators of historic life on Mars, although, that may enhance the chance of lifetime of some type being frequent.” That’s all we’ve acquired thus far. I additionally suppose that anybody who says sure, completely, or no, completely, isn’t value speaking to additional.

I might flip the questions on, although, and ask how Charley Lineweaver, an honorary affiliate professor on the Analysis College of Astronomy and Astrophysics and Analysis College of Earth Science on the Australian Nationwide College, a person with a sophisticated schooling that’s completely in physics, who has a PhD in physics from Berkeley, will get to name himself an astrobiologist, and does that imply I get to name myself an astrophysicist, regardless of an schooling that was virtually solely in biology, and regardless of having a place as a biology professor?

Oh, wait. He additionally says he’s “the son of a highschool biology trainer”, so I assume he inherited his guardian’s {qualifications}. With that logic, that signifies that my father’s line of labor means I get to name myself a diesel mechanic now. Or perhaps an astro diesel mechanic?


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