Re: NANFA-L-- two interesting articles

Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- two interesting articles
From: Irate Mormon (archimedes at
Date: Tue Oct 19 2004 - 23:49:07 CDT

Quoting Peter Unmack <peter.lists at>:

> Here are a couple I saw while looking through a table of contents of
> Molecular Ecology and relates to some of our recent conversations.
> Bottom line is that the first one says that the typical number of loci
> used to estimate heterozygosity would be too small too reliably estimate
> the degree of inbreeding (meaning that most current studies are inadequate
> for assessing inbreeding and bottle necks). The second article compares
> fitness and survival of hatchery versus natural trout in Michigan and
> relates to some of the other conversations we were having. Hope they are
> of interest.

Thank you Peter. I will peruse these further as time permits.

My unofficial faculty advisor, Jim Porter, taught a class in Marine Biology,
which I took and enjoyed greatly. He had a book printed for the class entitled
"Opposing Points of View in Marine Biology", or some such. Anyway, it addressed
a number of topics, such as whether copepods feed selectively, and presented two
papers on each topic, each of which contradticted the other 180 degrees. It
really drove home the point that biology is not a hard science, with predictable
and repeatable results. My other avocation was mathematics, which, although not
a hard science (it's entirely a philosophical construct), was equally
predictable and repeatable (um well, some theorems are rather surprising ,
actually, but can be arrived at logically). This is why I am critical (to some,
perhaps overly so) of the many studies which pop up from time to time,
especially in regard to genetics. It is clear to me that our current
understanding of how evolution works is deeply flawed. Natural selection -
well, that's a little more clear cut. But it seems to me that random mutation
is not the mechanism of evolution. There appears to be some reservoir of
genetic material which organisms can draw from, which is not commonly considered
to be important. For example, how much of the "junk" DNA, that doesn't seem to
code for anything, actually holds real information? And what is the purpose of
mitochondrial DNA?

These questions will no doubt seem ignorant to some of you, especially
considering my admitted lack of understanding of genetics. But some
contradictions are glaring. Supposedly, you have to have a certain amount of
genetic diversity in order for a population to survive over the long haul - and
yet, all life is supposed to have originated from a single replicator molecule
which resembles DNA in some fashion. I don't understand how both of these
theories can be true.

I'm not trying to resurrect the old creation vs. evolution debate here, and I
don't wish to see that bandied about on the list. I just want to see some
logical consistency - something that a mathematician or a physicist can grasp.

Well, OK, maybe not physics. Quantum theory is a whole 'nuther ball game. Crazy
stuff, absolutely nuts, Shroedinger's cat and all that. What do you guys think
(Todd, Bruce, Peter, Dave)?

Where am I going? And why am I in this handbasket?
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: Fri Dec 31 2004 - 11:27:50 CST