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Technocratic manipulations: Sorry, no Darwingate on theory
Sorry, there wont' be a Darwingate on evolution. The journalists got muzzled 
on this one. Still the question remains, what did they know, and when did 
they know it. 
And why are most Darwin books misleading? 
Dawkins' stance on genetic engineering foments the very distrust he wishes to 
combat. Quite apart from the complex issues involved, and I endorse no 
kneejerk rejection here, the fact of the matter is that humanity is embarking 
on one of the most complex technological innovations in history with a 
systematic legacy of theoretical mendacity on the subject of evolution, and 
this aspect of technocratic ideological manipulation reigns unchecked. I am 
no Creationist, not by a long shot, but the sordid joke here is that 
fundamentalists seem to be the only people with the presence of mind to know 
there is a problem with evolutionary theory. 
This field is a disgrace, and I include the reverse deceptions of 
Creationists. 
A distorted theory of evolution, and the unwillingness to be truthful to the 
public, sets an ominous precedent at the dawn of GE. 
So whatever else is the case, we cannot trust the word of scientists here. 
The main theory of evolution gives an inadequate picture of man, and what's 
worse a host of theorists know it, but don't say so. Look at the recent 
Origination of Organismal Form, Muller and Newman. This isn't Darwinism. 
 Current evolutionary theory is undergoing a rapid transformation, and yet 
the public is and has been fed on Dawkins for a generation, and with theories 
that were obsolete almost at the point they were invented.  If you don't 
believe this compare the current texts, on the forefront with a work by Soren 
Lovtrup, Darwinism: Refutation of a Myth, by an embryologist who clearly 
tried to blow the whistle in the eighties. His thinking has been confirmed, 
yet now we see that the field morphing public opinion without acknowledgement 
of any mistakes, problems or seriously changes. 
So whatever the issues with genetic engineering, we must not forget who we 
are dealing with. The biological profession simply does not have an adequate 
view of man. And will take no steps to debrief or review its history, 
legacies,and cryptic paradigms manipulations. 
That does not breed confidence at the point where the commerical and 
technocratic manipulation of man and man's self-image is being handed a 
massively complex technology to play with, beyond review, and armed at all 
points with the institutional and media clout that can preempt any 
intelligent review of what's what. 
Dawkins has made his bundle, why doesn't he just quit while he is ahead? 
Surely he knows this crap about computer programs (actually a great idea 
properly presented) doesn't really hack it. 

Ladies and gentlemen, the sci estab isn't trustworthy about evolution. So 
shall we trust them on genetic engineering? 


http://www.checkbiotech.org/root/index.cfm?fuseaction=news&doc_id=4575&
start=1&control=173&page_start=1&page_nr=101&pg=1
Genetics: why Prince Charles is so wrong    
    
Tuesday, January 28, 2003 
By Richard Dawkins 

Genes work just like computer software, says this writer - which is why the 
luddites don't get it, but their children probably will. 

    
        
    IT IS HARD TO EXAGGERATE the sheer intellectual excitement of genetics. 
What has happened is that genetics has become a branch of information 
technology. The genetic code is truly digital, in exactly the same sense as 
computer codes. This is not some vague analogy, it is the literal truth. 
Moreover, unlike computer codes, the genetic code is universal. Modern 
computers are built around a number of mutually incompatible machine 
languages, determined by their processor chips. The genetic code, on the 
other hand, with a few very minor exceptions, is identical in every living 
creature on this planet, from sulphur bacteria to giant redwood trees, from 
mushrooms to men. All living creatures, on this planet at least, are the same 
“make”. 

The consequences are amazing. It means that a software subroutine (that’s 
exactly what a gene is) can be carried over into another species. This is why 
the famous “antifreeze” gene, originally evolved by Antarctic fish, can save 
a tomato from frost damage. In the same way, a Nasa programmer who wants a 
neat square-root routine for his rocket guidance system might import one from 
a financial spreadsheet. A square root is a square root is a square root. A 
program to compute it will serve as well in a space rocket as in a financial 
projection. 

What, then, of the widespread gut hostility, amounting to revulsion, against 
all such “transgenic” imports? This is based on the misconception that it is 
somehow “unnatural” to splice a fish gene, which was only ever “meant” to 
work in a fish, into the alien environment of a tomato cell. Surely an 
antifreeze gene from a fish must come with a fishy “flavour”. Surely some of 
its fishiness must rub off. Yet nobody thinks that a square-root subroutine 
carries a “financial flavour” with it when you paste it into a rocket 
guidance system. The very idea of “flavour” in this sense is not just wrong 
but profoundly and interestingly wrong. It is a cheerful thought, by the way, 
that most young people today understand computer software far better than 
their elders, and they should grasp the point instantly. The present Luddism 
over genetic engineering may die a natural death as the computer-illiterate 
generation is superseded. 

Is there nothing, then, absolutely nothing, in the misgivings of Prince 
Charles, Lord Melchett and their friends? I wouldn’t go that far, although 
they are certainly muddleheaded. The square-root analogy might be unfair in 
the following respect. What if it isn’t a square root that the rocket 
guidance program needs, but another function which is not literally identical 
to the financial equivalent? Suppose it is sufficiently similar that the main 
routine can indeed be borrowed, but it still needs tweaking in detail. In 
that case, it is possible that the rocket could misfire if we naively import 
the subroutine raw. Switching back to biology, although genes really are 
watertight subroutines of digital software, they are not watertight in their 
effects on the development of the organism, for here they interact with the 
environment furnished by other genes. The antifreeze gene might depend, for 
optimal effect, on an interaction with other genes in the fish. Plonk it down 
in the foreign genetic climate of a tomato, and it might not work unless 
properly tweaked (which can be done) to mesh with the existing tomato genes. 

What this means is that there is a case to be made on both sides of the argum
ent, and we need to exercise subtle judgment. The genetic engineers are right 
that we can save time and trouble by climbing on the back of the millions of 
years of R & D that Darwinian natural selection has put into developing 
biological antifreeze (or whatever we are seeking). But the doomsayers would 
also have a point if they softened their stance from emotional gut rejection 
to a rational plea for rigorous safety testing. No reputable scientist would 
oppose such a plea. It is rightly routine for all new products, not just 
genetically engineered ones. 

A largely unrecognised danger of the obsessive hysteria surrounding 
genetically modified foods is crying wolf. I fear that, if the Green movement’
s high-amplitude warnings turn out to be empty, people will be dangerously 
disinclined to listen to other more serious warnings. The evolution of 
antibiotic resistance among bacteria is a vicious wolf of proven danger. Yet 
the menacing footfalls of this certain peril are all but drowned out in the 
caterwauling shrieks over genetically modified foods, whose dangers are 
speculative at most. To be more precise, genetic modification, like any other 
kind of modification, is good if you modify in a good direction, bad if you 
modify in a bad direction. Like domestic breeding, and like natural selection 
itself, the trick is to introduce the right new DNA software. The realisation 
that software is all it is, written in exactly the same language as the 
organism’s “own” DNA, should go a long way towards correcting muddled 
thinking. 

 

John Landon
Website for
World History and the Eonic Effect
http://eonix.8m.com


John Landon
Website for
World History and the Eonic Effect
http://eonix.8m.com