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Wednesday, October 07, 2020

Undergraduate education in biology: no vision, no change

I was looking at the Vision and Change document the other day and it made me realize that very little has changed in undergraduate education. I really shouldn't be surprised since I reached the same conclusion in 2015—six years after the recommendations were published [Vision and Change] [Why can't we teach properly?].

The main recommendations of Vision and Change are that undergraduate education should adopt the proven methods of student-centered education and should focus on core concepts rather than memorization of facts. Although there has been some progress, it's safe to say that neither of these goals have been achieved in the vast majority of biology classes, including biochemistry and molecular biology classes.

Things are getting even worse in this time of COVID-19 because more and more classes are being taught online and there seems to be general agreement that this is okay. It is not okay. Online didactic lectures go against everything in the Vision and Change document. It may be possible to develop online courses that practice student-centered, concept teaching that emphasizes critical thinking but I've seen very few attempts.

Here are a couple of quotations from Vision and Change that should stimulate your thinking.

Traditionally, introductory biology [and biochemistry] courses have been offered as three lectures a week, with, perhaps, an accompanying two- or three-hour laboratory. This approach relies on lectures and a textbook to convey knowledge to the student and then tests the student's acquisition of that knowledge with midterm and final exams. Although many traditional biology courses include laboratories to provide students with hands-on experiences, too often these "experiences" are not much more than guided exercises in which finding the right answer is stressed while providing students with explicit instructions telling them what to do and when to do it.
"Appreciating the scientific process can be even more important than knowing scientific facts. People often encounter claims that something is scientifically known. If they understand how science generates and assesses evidence bearing on these claims, they possess analytical methods and critical thinking skills that are relevant to a wide variety of facts and concepts and can be used in a wide variety of contexts.”

National Science Foundation, Science and Technology Indicators, 2008

If you are a student and this sounds like your courses, then you should demand better. If you are an instructor and this sounds like one of your courses then you should be ashamed; get some vision and change [The Student-Centered Classroom].

Although the definition of student-centered learning may vary from professor to professor, faculty generally agree that student-centered classrooms tend to be interactive, inquiry-driven, cooperative, collaborative, and relevant. Three critical components are consistent throughout the literature, providing guidelines that faculty can apply when developing a course. Student-centered courses and curricula take into account student knowledge and experience at the start of a course and articulate clear learning outcomes in shaping instructional design. Then they provide opportunities for students to examine and discuss their understanding of the concepts presented, offering frequent and varied feedback as part of the learing process. As a result, student-centered science classrooms and assignments typically involve high levels of student-student and student-faculty interaction; connect the course subject matter to topics students find relevant; minimize didactic presentations; reflect diverse views of scientific inquiry, including data presentation, argumentation, and peer review; provide ongoing feedback to both the student and professor about the student's learning progress; and explicitly address learning how to learn.

This is a critical time for science education since science is under attack all over the world. We need to make sure that university students are prepared to deal with scientific claims and counter-claims for the rest of their lives after they leave university. This means that they have to be skilled at critical thinking and that's a skill that can only be taught in a student-centered classroom where students can practice argumentation and learn the importance of evidence. Memorizing the enzymes of the Krebs Cycle will not help them understand climate change or why they should wear a mask in the middle of a pandemic.


51 comments :

  1. My undergrad years are 40 years behind me but I remember the first 2 plus years being nothing but memorization and regurgitation. But in my third year I had a prof that loved to teach by starting a lecture with a presumably simple question. And then spend the entire lecture making the students figure it out using their own reasoning ability.

    One question was “why are there no trees in the ocean?” Another was “Why can’t a protozoan be the size of a whale?”

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    1. Hi William Spearshake,

      my biophysics teacher gave some of his students a 100 DM bill between their open thumbs and forefingers in his lecture - with the announcement that you can keep the bill if you catch him immediately after he released it. Nobody succeeded (the trick is to juke it), but nobody has forgotten what he taught about membrane biophysics.

      One of my teachers in ecology used to demonstrate the eggs from the last nesting box in the open hand during the hole-nesting birds excursion. With a big gesture he then devoured them to the horror of his students. He defended himself by saying that this helped him in his love life despite his age. Of course these were eggs made of white chocolate. No one forgot what he taught about population biology - yes, love life...


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

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  2. What a boring way of teaching (straight lecture with students memorizing pathways). I am using COVID-19 forced online to completely flip my class room for my metabolism course. I have always done the active exercises during class but now it is significantly expanded. Students watch mini-lectures ahead of synchronous sessions. In the latter, they work in small groups (breakout rooms) on questions that engage them in thinking about the metabolic pathways. Some of the best questions are the ones that get them to think about how the pathways could have evolved which forces them to really think about the chemistry. In addition to the working questions, they do reflections on each module. They really enjoy it. Once back in person, it will be even better. A number of students for their reflections on the Citric Acid Cycle commented very favorably about the focus on understanding and not memorization given the horror stories they have read about online regarding the cycle in biochemistry courses.

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    1. Good questions for the citric acid cycle are ...

      How did it evolve?

      Given the high standard free energy change for the citric synthase reaction, why is it not coupled to ATP production?

      Why do so many textbooks and websites show FADH as a product of the succinate dehydrogenase reaction?

      The glyoxylate pathway is extremely important in most species but not in mammals. Why?

      Predict the flux for each reaction.

      Why are anaplerotic reactions necessary and important?

      Delete
    2. I forgot ...

      How can most bacterial species survive without a citric acid cycle?

      Delete
    3. Hi Larry Moran,

      another one of this kind: In which direction does the citrate synthase reaction proceed under physiological conditions? ;-)




      Mall A. et al. (2018): Reversibility of citrate synthase allows autotrophic growth of a thermophilic bacterium. Science 359, Issue 6375, pp. 563-567; DOI: 10.1126/science.aao2410


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    4. All are questions my students have to think about.

      Off topic - Is there a good biochemical reference for why ketoacidosis occurs? The ketone bodies of acetoacetate and D-beta-hydroxybutyrate are bases so the explanation adding them to blood causing the blood to acidify doesn't make sense.

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    5. Hi KStRNA!

      Acetoacetic acid and β-hydroxybutyric acid are responsible for the acidification of the blood in ketoacidosis. This is caused by a long-lasting insulin deficiency:

      (1) Lipolysis as well as gluconeogenesis is ultimately disinhibited, resulting in the formation of acetyl-CoA and NADH.

      (2) The acetyl-CoA can now not be utilized in the citrate cycle as usual: On the one hand it is inhibited by the high NADH concentration, on the other hand the oxaloacetate is missing as a reaction partner of the acetyl-CoA, because the uninhibited gluconeogenesis has consumed the oxaloacetate as a substrate for glucose production.

      (3) As a consequence, the energy-rich acetyl-CoA accumulates in the cell. It cannot be used for fatty acid synthesis either, as this is not sufficiently stimulated by the lack of insulin.

      (4) In order to be able to use the acetyl-CoA nevertheless, the mitochondria of the hepatocytes now synthesize ketone bodies.

      (5) During the formation of acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate, one proton is released each, since these are weak organic acids.

      (6) The pH value of the blood decreases.


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    6. Lamarck,

      Why would putting weak bases into the bloodstream lower the pH?

      Acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate are weak bases and are what are synthesized in the liver. When protonated then they are acids but what is synthesized are bases!

      Over the course of ketone body synthesis, an acid is generated - the HMG-CoA. Given its pKa, it will deprotonate in the cell and the HMG-CoA will have a negative charge. The cell's buffering system will absorb much of proton absorbed.

      HMG-CoA lyase catalyzes the conversion of the anionic HMG-CoA to the anionic acetoacetate and acetyl-CoA. Acetoacetate then can be reduced to β-hydroxybutyrate in a process where a proton is consumed but β-hydroxybutyrate is still an anion, a weak base.

      The simplest explanation is acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate are transported out by monocarboxylate transporters (MCTs), which could that to moving a proton in the same direction, which would acidify the blood/ However, to bring acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate into other cells, a proton also must be transported into the cell, so if balanced it would be no net change in pH. However, if more ketone bodies are exported out of the liver than can be absorbed by the rest of the body, there would be a net transport of protons into the bloodstream due to the transporters moving the ketone bodies out of the liver cells. The ketone bodies are weak bases so don'y really absorb many of those protons. However, is there anything else going on? For example, given protein breakdown is also likely going on, is bicarbonate being absorbed from the blood for the urea cycle? As bicarbonate levels are diverted to the urea cycle, carbonic acid would deprotonate to bicarbonate to maintain equilibrium, decreasing the pH. It would also mean more CO2 will react with water to form more carbonic acid to once again maintain equilibrium.

      With regards to the MCT moving protons, isn't that what happens in lactic acidosis? Lactate is generated in the cell during homolactate fermentation. Lactate is a base and would actually increase the pH. However, when transporting out of cells via MCTs protons would also be moved out into the blood. If the liver is functional that is ok, as the liver cells when taking up lactate will also be removing protons from the blood. When the liver is not functioning properly, there isn't balance. Protons are being transported out of cells into the blood but won't be readily absorbed by the liver.

      Delete
    7. Hi KStRNA!

      »Why would putting weak bases into the bloodstream lower the pH?«

      So procatively formulated, the question does lead to a slight uneasiness in my mind... ;-)

      Textbooks of human physiology have the systemic view of differential diagnostics due to their medical target group. Therefore, some of the descriptions here might mislead to assume that ketosis is the cause of acidosis or the like. However, the use of the terms is basically identical. Actually no problem, but it is a task of biochemistry to draw attention to it.

      Of course, ketone bodies are not formed here as acids, but as their conjugated bases. So we have to look at what happens to the protons.

      Basically, the black box approach shows that the protons ingested with food are excreted net via the kidneys. Essential here H⁺ results from the decomposition of sulfur-containing amino acids to sulfuric acid - in the process, urinary protons of the order of 100 mmol/d are produced. Now the blood circulation in between with its acid-base homeostasis plays the decisive role as the hub of physiological control mechanisms. Thus, the pH value in arterial blood is close to 7.40 (= ~40 nmol/l H⁺). Deviations from this have an effect on the degree of protonation of the proteins, changing their conformation and thus influencing body functions in a variety of ways.

      In some metabolic situations, however, organic acids occur more frequently as intermediate products of energy metabolism, such as lactic acid in cases of oxygen deficiency or 3-hydroxybutanoic acid and acetoacetic acid in hunger metabolism.

      Therefore, we only need the appropriate basic route for situations where fatty acids need to be mobilized. Fasting will therefore reduce insulin levels and lead to increased activity of fatty tissue lipolysis. Et voilà: The fatty acids released in this process ionize rapidly and release protons.


      In this context interesting from an evolutionary-biological point of view:

      Jebb, David & Hiller, Michael (2018): Recurrent loss of HMGCS2 shows that ketogenesis is not essential for the evolution of large mammalian brains. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.38906.001.




      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    8. Lamarck - once again lactic acid is NOT produced during fermentation - lactate is as our host has pointed out. https://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2012/08/muscles-and-lactic-acid-myth.html

      3-hydroxybutanoic acid and acetoacetic acid are not synthesized during ketone body production, their conjugate bases are. You went from saying that acids aren't formed to then saying acids are formed. In between you talked about protons from ingesting food.

      Delete
  3. Science is under attack all over the world? In this worlds thats impossible. Instead what might be meant are conclusions SAID toi be science proven that are rejected and opposed. Then very little and probaly some right and there shoulkd be some more.creationists know that.
    Everybody forever says they are against mere memorization. GOOD. However actually all science knowledge requires memorization unless someone newly figured something out.
    There are serious problems in schooling in North America for a long time now but I still think kids generally know more, of what can be known, then ever before in history of education. surely teachers are better now, man for man, then ever before
    The bible says there is wisdom, understanding, knowledge. The first two are the difficult ones to teach kids.
    its most likely true then in former days it tended to be the upper classes kids who went to higher education and so brought with them/gained understanding and wisdom from thier circles. Today everybody goes and so mere memorization of info , knowledge, is notived by everyone. something isv wrong it seems.
    I see higher education today as just finishing school for high school.
    Finally teaching kids to think harder/critically, is difficult or not possible really in mere classes.
    I think one can not distance the education of a kid from the intelligence level of the kid. this because they are kids barely pass puberty. They are really just members of demographics without having yet had interests/passions kick them into higher thinking/learning.
    Finally case in npoint is the state censorship of creationism in North America in schools. no claim to thinking/teaching to think critically when the most important subjects have a state sponsered conclusion that may boy be questioned.God and Genesis and religion was the historic conclusions on many subjectsv and the censorship today proves critical thinking is not welcome if its result is different from if one did not do critical thinking. not just creationism but these days great demands on obedience is made.
    To sum. Great problems in education and great problems in how educating and things have never been better regarding teachers and students abilities.


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    1. Hi Robert Byers!

      »Science is under attack all over the world?«

      Take a look at the March for Science, for example.


      »Instead what might be meant are conclusions SAID to be science proven that are rejected and opposed. Then very little and probably some right and there should be some more. Creationists know that.«

      Science doesn't care what you believe. That's your main problem, isn't it?


      »However actually all science knowledge requires memorization unless someone newly figured something out.«

      Then also a parrot would be a knowing one. What is meant here can be best understood by watching videos on YouTube of lectures by Richard Feynman. In the style of Joseph Schumpeter: Science is creative destruction. And already we are at an Evolutionary Epistemology.


      »There are serious problems in schooling in North America for a long time now but I still think kids generally know more, of what can be known, then ever before in history of education.«

      Hopelessly lapped by Europe, Japan and South East Asia. Make America think again...


      »I think one can not distance the education of a kid from the intelligence level of the kid.
      [..]
      God and Genesis and religion was the historic conclusions on many subjectsv and the censorship today proves critical thinking is not welcome if its result is different from if one did not do critical thinking. Not just creationism but these days great demands on obedience is made.«


      LOL: You want to keep the kids stupid, but allow them to ask certain “critical” questions? Now that is a really big performative contradiction. But he who knows nothing must believe everything...

      No one is bothered by critical questions. But be honest: You can't stand that science means freedom. And the true historical insight followed from the Age of Enlightenment.

      Summary: You are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

      BTW: You should still learn something. Let's start in the classic way: Did Adam and Eve have a bellybutton?


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

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    2. The belief that random DNA copy errors can accumulate until a functional, integrated, role-specific organ or bio-system appears is stupid. Nobody has any business teaching such nonsense.

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    3. Hi txpiper!

      »The belief that random DNA copy errors can accumulate until a functional, integrated, role-specific organ or bio-system appears is stupid. Nobody has any business teaching such nonsense.«

      You're right. Nobody needs to believe it, but anyone who wants to could know.


      BTW: Did your parents meet by chance?


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    4. sci·en·tif·ic meth·od
      noun
      a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

      ===
      self-de·cep·tion | ˈˌself dəˈsepSHən |
      noun
      the action or practice of allowing oneself to believe that a false or unvalidated feeling, idea, or situation is true

      Delete
    5. Hi txpiper!

      Dunning–Kruger effect«
      »In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias in which people with low ability at a task overestimate their ability. It is related to the cognitive bias of illusory superiority and comes from the inability of people to recognize their lack of ability. Without the self-awareness of metacognition, people cannot objectively evaluate their competence or incompetence.«
      [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect]


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    6. This doesn't take much ability. The scientific method expects us to reject the notion that random fortuitous germ cell mutations can result in hyper-complex systems. (There are no observations, measurements, experiments or testing.) But you can try and apply this idea to something that you believe resulted from this 'process'. How about the development of metamorphosis?

      Just start a list, and outline the DNA replication errors that would be necessary to build metamorphosis from scratch. How would you, with the benefit of your penetrating intellect, go about designing such a thing?

      Of course, you won't do this, because you can’t. It is inconceivable. But what you can do, and will do, is just believe that things like this happened countless millions of times. Do you know why you accept this sappy idea? It is not because of evidence, because there isn't any. It certainly won't be because it makes sense, because it doesn't. You believe it simply because you like it, and you have to believe it.















      Delete
    7. Hi txpiper!

      »This doesn't take much ability.«

      Certainly. But what would you think of someone who obviously does not have the slightest idea about science, but is so impudent that he thinks he has to educate scientists about scientific methodology?


      »Do you know why you accept this sappy idea? It is not because of evidence, because there isn't any. It certainly won't be because it makes sense, because it doesn't. You believe it simply because you like it, and you have to believe it.«

      In this sense: What do you think about applying scientific methodology to your strange understanding of the Bible?


      »But you can try and apply this idea to something that you believe resulted from this 'process'. How about the development of metamorphosis?«

      Morphologically this is obviously not a thing. After all, you yourself started as a “single-celled organism”. So genetically only a sorting problem remains.


      »Of course, you won't do this, because you can’t. It is inconceivable. But what you can do, and will do, is just believe that things like this happened countless millions of times.«

      Evolution refers to the variability of species. Therefore a genetic fingerprint can be determined for this purpose. A phylogenetic signal ;-) , if you will. This is nothing else than a DNA paternity test.

      Again: Did your parents meet by chance?




      Cheers, Lamarck

      Delete
    8. Hi folks!

      »Morphologically this is obviously not a thing. After all, you yourself started as a “single-celled organism”. So genetically only a sorting problem remains.«


      On Topic: Teleonomy & junk DNA & neutral selection… ;-)



      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    9. "Morphologically [metamorphosis] is obviously not a thing"

      Then, it should be very easy for you chronicle how it developed. You, and other scientists, believe that this not-a-thing process is the result of natural selection acting on random DNA copy errors. I'm sure your education trained you to follow the stricture of the scientific method, and that's why you accept this idea. So, can describe those mutations?

      Delete
    10. "It is inconceivable"

      .. he said. But didn't try google. This helped keep him comfortably ignorant and proud.

      Delete
    11. If you can truly conceive something, then you can describe your conception.

      Delete
    12. Hi Texas Pied Piper!

      »Then, it should be very easy for you chronicle how it developed. You, and other scientists, believe that this not-a-thing process is the result of natural selection acting on random DNA copy errors.«

      As you surely know, the biblical creation myth deals with the circumstances of the sedentism of humans towards the end of the last ice age in a narrative way (Allerød oscillation, ~14,000 BP): The highest being thus made Adam out of red clay, which contains laterite, and animated him with his divine breath.

      For the narrative it is meaningless how the divine potter managed this. Only the statement that this was done is significant in this context. For the pottery of a jug there is no need for a god. Even if the highest being absolutely needs clay for this, is not important. The conclusion by analogy about pottery serves only to show that this could have happened. If it is clear how a work of art made from lumps of clay could be brought to life by Mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, it would also be clear that no gods are needed. But this is not suitable for a corresponding narrative. Because who asks for it, destroys the myth and leaves it with the pottery of jugs...

      In this sense: If I show you with the help of the genetic fingerprint that an individual is with sufficient probability your father, then it is not at all of any explanatory value whether genetic mechanisms could have brought this about. Because if x could be, this does not mean that this is the case. But if I know that x is, then there is no need to ask whether x can become in order to be...


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    13. I haven't mentioned creationism. I am interested in the science, if there is any, that makes people believe that random errors can produce complex biology. Do you have anything to offer, or do you simply believe that idea because you like it?

      Delete
    14. I invite you to peruse the 205.000 results on google scholar:
      https://scholar.google.dk/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C5&q=evolution+of+metamorphosis&btnG=

      You would have to couple what you read specifically about the history of metamorhosis evolution (the costs and benefits of various developmental and moulting strategies), together with a significant amount of reading in works dealing with basic principles of the genetic regulation of developmental processes(understanding how the development and growth of tissues is regulated by genes), and further with our understanding of how gene-regulation itself is an evolvable property (how regulatory genes can evolve and change over time). These three subjects in combination will then allow you to understand the evolution of metamorphosis.

      Have fun.

      Delete
    15. Costs, benefits, strategies and regulation are concepts related to conscious, deliberate design. Random means random. It does not mean planned, evaluated or controlled.

      Are there any 'works' that explain how chance events can assemble complex, integrated biological systems? You would think, inasmuch as NS/RM is the bedrock of evolutionary development, that lots of intellectually satisfied atheists would have published their findings.

      Delete
    16. "Costs, benefits, strategies and regulation are concepts related to conscious, deliberate design."

      No they're terms for the consequenes of certain behavioral and developmental changes, on rates of survival and reproduction. Organisms exhibiting a particular behavior (like running across a highway to chase birds on the other side) will experience both costs and benefits. The high probability of being run over by a car will incur a cost on the survival (and thus reproductive) rates of the organisms who engage in such behavior, however they might also gain the benefit (should they survive) of being able to catch an abundant source of food.

      Developing large eyes might incur a benefit in being able to spot prey from a large distance(thus aid survival and reproduction), but they also incur a cost in terms of how much food it takes to develop and maintain them, and they might constitute weak points that get easily infected or targeted by rivals in fighting for mates.

      Sorry, your "cost and benefits owe to rational designs"-excuse is really bad and silly.

      So, back to google with you. Off you go buddy, the link is still there. Read about the evolution of metamorphosis(the history of changes that have occurred and the costs and benefits), then about how genes regulate the development of tissues and morphology in multicellular organisms, and then finally about how gene-regulation itself can evolve by mutation and natural selection.

      Delete
    17. The articles you link are not about mutations.

      Are you saying that you understand how metamorphosis (and everything else) is the result of random replication failures, but you can't quite put it into words?

      Delete
    18. Hi Texas Pied Piper!

      »I haven't mentioned creationism.«

      Do you hear the rooster crowing?

      Honey pot: Who besides you has mentioned creationism here? Of course everyone here knows that you are a I-am-not-a-creationist-creationist. For some reason, creationists are embarrassed to be called creationists, and draw something like ID. Therefore I will gladly give you a definition (Surely you know this ;-) ):

      Creationist := {Ordinary guy. Orthodox evangelical, dispensationalist, literalist Bible thumper}


      »I am interested in the science, if there is any, that makes people believe that random errors can produce complex biology. Do you have anything to offer, or do you simply believe that idea because you like it?«

      Do you hear the rooster crowing?

      The only thing that interests you here is to find out what of Rom. 9:18 NIV applies to you. But since I have given you an aesthetically elegant answer to the corresponding question - even, to make you happy, with reference to the Bible - the last part obviously applies to you.

      Now that we have clarified with your help that creationists are wrong, we still need you as a dummy to fight stupidity:

      Q1: Do you still beat your wife?
      Q2: Taking into account the findings from Q1, what is a meaningful question from your “scientific interest” (compare your quote above)?


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    19. Creationism isn't the issue. I want to understand how natural selection acting on random DNA copy errors resulted in metamorphosis, or bio-sonar, or eardrums, or any other biological thing. This is about the centerpiece of evolution, the only and actual mechanism for development. And so far, you have offered absolutely nothing. It's your theory, and your belief. What is the problem?

      Delete
    20. Hi Texas Pied Piper!

      »Creationism isn't the issue.«

      Nothing more: Finally, with your help, we found out that creationism does not apply, that organisms are related to each other and thus did not come into being by poof.


      »I want to understand [...]«

      Why should I be interested? I am an Enlightenment battle cruiser who can destroy every creationist in the world. So, since you are no longer a creationist, because we have established that creationism is BS, it means for me: mission complete. Next one, please.


      »[...] how natural selection acting on random DNA copy errors resulted in metamorphosis, or bio-sonar, or eardrums, or any other biological thing.«

      Wrong, wrong, wrong!

      Category error & false problem…

      For creationists: The ability to drive a car does not depend on knowing how a gasoline engine works. Knowing that evolution is true does not depend on knowing what the mechanisms are like. And of course, thinking can be done without knowing how the brain does it. But nice to have...


      »[...] This is about the centerpiece of evolution, the only and actual mechanism for development.«

      Wrong, wrong, wrong!

      A theory of biological evolution deals with the potential of the mutability of the germ line in space and time. In algorithmic representation, evolution can be generalized as a generic algorithm of learning, consisting of trial and error - genetically implemented as mutation and selection. The genome can thus certainly be understood as a form of a brain. So if you know how to make a thought, you also know how evolution works.


      »[...] This is about the centerpiece of evolution, the only and actual mechanism for development.«

      Wrong, wrong, wrong!

      The foundation of a theory of evolution is formed from a theory of the mutability of species.


      »[...] And so far, you have offered absolutely nothing.«

      Wrong, wrong, wrong!

      Q1: Do you still beat your wife?


      »[...] It's your theory, and your belief.«

      Wrong, wrong, wrong!

      A theory is the best that can be had in the natural sciences. Belief, on the other hand, as the form of an opinion, is at best a (falsifiable) hypothesis.


      »What is the problem?«

      You know as much about it as the man in the moon....


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    21. "I am an Enlightenment battle cruiser..."

      I'm embarrassed for you.

      Delete
    22. "I'm embarrassed for you."

      Given your repeatedly demonstrated lack of knowledge that's an astounding statement. Since when is another person's knowledge a reason to be embarrassed form them? Apparently, if you're a creationist, people should be ashamed of their education? That's what your saying to Lamarck

      Delete
    23. "Where is the science? "

      All around you in their responses and in print. The fact that you simply choose to stick fingers in your ears and put blinders on your eyes while chanting "nuh-uh, that's not science" is irrelevant.

      Delete
    24. They offered nothing. There are no studies that show how random mutations can incrementally accumulate to form complex biological specialties. There are no observations, measurements, experiments or testing, so there is no science. You can prove me wrong by providing links to papers that deal specifically with that supposed process. But you will not. There are none.

      Lamarck's education is like knowing all there is to know about Superman or Star Trek. It is not about things that have been discovered. It is just about what people like and choose to believe.

      Delete
    25. The second paragraph of my last post should read:

      Lamarck's education, as it pertains to evolutionary development, is like knowing all there is to know about Superman or Star Trek. It is not about things that have been discovered. It is just about what people like and choose to believe.

      Delete
    26. Hi Texas Pied Piper!

      »I'm embarrassed for you.«

      The easily embarrassed doesn't learn:

      »Answering the question: What is enlightenment?
      Enlightenment is man's exit from his self-inflicted mental immaturity. Mental immaturity is the inability to use one's intellect without the guidance of another. This mental immaturity is self-inflicted if the cause of it lies not in the lack of understanding, but in the resolution and courage to make use of it without the guidance of another.
      Sapere aude! Have the courage to make use of your own intellect! is thus the motto of the Enlightenment.

      Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a part of men, having long since freed nature from foreign guidance (
      naturaliter maiorennes), nevertheless like to remain in mental immaturity throughout their lives; and why it is so easy for others to raise themselves up as their guardians. It is so convenient to be in mental immaturity. [...]« [Kant, Immanuel (1784): Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklärung? Berlinische Monatsschrift, pp. 481-482 (Translation by ‘Lamarck’).]


      »Lamarck's education, as it pertains to evolutionary development, is like knowing all there is to know about Superman or Star Trek.«

      Right: I love mythologies. And there is a good reason why it is called Superman here and not “Ordinary guy. Orthodox evangelical, dispensationalist, literalist Bible thumper”. And in Star Trek II & III even the term ‘Genesis’ appears...


      »There are no studies that show how random mutations can incrementally accumulate to form complex biological specialties.«

      I will take your statement as literally as you do the Bible, so I'm pretty simple-minded: Right! So what? An example of how to establish with scientific certainty that evolution is true, I have given above.

      »It is not about things that have been discovered.«

      I know you're desperate. But why can't you stand the fact that there is evolution? Is it your mental immaturity?


      »It is just about what people like and choose to believe.«

      Let's put it this way: science is better than bad sex and somehow still contributes to species survival. Even for the benefit of the stupid...


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    27. ”An example of how to establish with scientific certainty that evolution is true, I have given above.”

      No, you simply have a low threshold for what constitutes proof. Your kind of science does not ask for empirical evidence.

      ==

      ”…why can't you stand the fact that there is evolution?”

      I am asking you about the most fundamental aspect of your theory; the process responsible for the supposed development of absolutely everything biological that has ever existed. And all you have is doubletalk.

      Delete
    28. Hi Texas Pied Piper!

      »I am asking you about the most fundamental aspect of your theory; the process responsible for the supposed development of absolutely everything biological that has ever existed. And all you have is doubletalk.«

      You have your problems with the truth. Especially towards yourself. Because you would not be here if the above was really your view, would you?

      What do you think in this context about Augustine of Hippo judging the lie as the decision for self-divisiveness carried out with as expression of a turning away from God? According to his view, all human knowledge of truth is based on an irradiation of the unchanging divine light. Therefore, the deliberate deviation from the source of truth given with the phenomenon of the double heart can only come to stand as rebellion against God. Consequently, every lie is inevitably a sin and therefore inevitably results in the loss of eternal life.

      And as for your consistent straw man argument: The central element of a theory of evolution is the mutability of species. From this we derive kinship. And this can be detected by theory-based observation.

      »No, you simply have a low threshold for what constitutes proof. Your kind of science does not ask for empirical evidence.«

      You run away from “empirical evidence” like the craven coward that you are. Perhaps it is because you simply have no threshold for your literal understanding of the Bible, which is evidence. And so better you take care of my case. Certainly some members of the 'Evangelical Orthodox Church' know for example 1 Thess. 5:21, Ex 20:16 or 1 Petr. 3:15. In this sense:

      Q1: To check your honesty to the ratio: Is it right that what is literally written in the Bible is so given by God and that it is above all reason, logic and scientific knowledge?
      Q2: To check your faith: Assuming that evolution is true, would you still believe in the God of the Bible like the majority of Christians?
      Q3: To check your scientific skills: Show why or why not the genetic fingerprint is suitable as a paternity test.


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
    29. You people should be embarrassed. I wish this exchange had occurred in front of an auditorium full of high school students.

      Delete
    30. "People often encounter claims that something is scientifically known. If they understand how science generates and assesses evidence bearing on these claims, they possess analytical methods and critical thinking skills that are relevant to a wide variety of facts and concepts and can be used in a wide variety of contexts.”

      National Science Foundation, Science and Technology Indicators, 2008


      Indeed.

      Delete
    31. "If they understand how science generates and assesses evidence bearing on these claims, they possess analytical methods and critical thinking skills that are relevant to a wide variety of facts and concepts and can be used in a wide variety of contexts.”"

      As you've repeatedly demonstrated, you possess none of those skills txpiper

      Delete
    32. Produce the evidence bearing on the claims about mutations, and we'll see.

      Delete
    33. “Duckbills evolved in North America and eventually spread to South America, Asia, and Europe. Because Africa was an island continent in the Late Cretaceous, isolated by deep seaways, it seemed impossible for duckbills to get there.

      The discovery of the new fossil in a mine a few hours from Casablanca was “about the last thing in the world you would expect,” said Dr Nicholas Longrich, of the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath, who led the study. Dr Longrich said: “It was completely out of place, like finding a kangaroo in Scotland. Africa was completely isolated by water – so how did they get there?” ”


      Apply the scientific method, and get a brilliant, insightful answer:

      “Because Africa was isolated by deep oceans at the time, duckbills must have crossed hundreds of kilometres of open water- rafting on debris, floating, or swimming – to colonise the continent. Duckbills were probably powerful swimmers – they had large tails and powerful legs, and are often found in river deposits and marine rocks, so they may have simply swum the distance.

      “Sherlock Holmes said, once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth,” said Longrich. “It was impossible to walk to Africa. These dinosaurs evolved long after continental drift split the continents, and we have no evidence of land bridges. The geology tells us Africa was isolated by oceans. If so, the only way to get there is by water.”


      I love watching evolutionary scientists solving tough problems.

      “Over millions of years,” said Longrich, “Once-in-a-century events are likely to happen many times.”
      https://www.heritagedaily.com/2020/11/the-first-duckbill-dinosaur-fossil-from-africa-hints-at-how-dinosaurs-once-crossed-oceans/136056

      Delete
  4. Hello Dr Moran I wanted to inform you that sciencedirect published an article 5 years ago that supposedly solves the paradox of value c

    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1674205215001604

    I would like to ask you if you have time to read the article and write me an opinion in your comment answer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Unknown,

      why don't you do this yourself at this point? What is your finding about whether the c-value paradox has been solved here? Some impressions:


      »The Genome Balance Hypothesis is hypothetical because the position effect mechanisms implicated are not proved to apply to all junk DNA, [...]«

      A hypothesis is hypothetical? Lo and behold! Le dernier cri of science obviously had to go into the abstract because of its intellectual scope. Hypothetically of course only because we are looking at a Junk DNA All-Star…


      »Results and Theory
      Balance Per Se as an Idea
      The selective advantage or disadvantage of quantitative mutations that raise or lower product levels fall under the general eukaryotic gene regulatory theory called “the gene balance hypothesis” (Birchler and Veitia, 2007, 2010).«


      Results and Theory? A very unorthodox approach, it seems to me. Balance Per Se as an Idea? Yeah, why not? But the rest of the quote makes me float far above the clouds with a certain feeling of lightness: How playfully theory and hypothesis are combined in an intoxication of the senses...

      Even the contemplative view of the graph on the ship in heavy seas does not necessarily shed light on what exactly a Genome Balance Hypothesis involves or how the C-value paradox is solved here. Dude, what are you smoking?


      Cheers,

      Lamarck

      Delete
  5. Hey Larry, I recenty found this paper

    Adaptation in plant genomes: Bigger is different (https://bsapubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/ajb2.1002)

    and was wondering your thoughts on the paper, given your commitments to genome size evolution being neutral.

    ReplyDelete