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Some interesting citations/thoughts i like …

Oh great, now I’m worse than a fraud … practically a biologist

— Dr. Sheldon Cooper, Ph.D., Sc.D. ( a fictional character of THE BIG BANG THEORY sitcom)

I have taken a stand against atheism because I am convinced that it is perilously built on false premises and misinterpretations of evidence. . . . Properly understood, the evidence inexorably points to the existence of a creator God.

— Professor John Lennox (Mathematician, University of Oxford)

When you look at the narrative for hominin origins, it’s just a big mess — there’s no consensus whatsoever … People are working under completely different paradigms, and that’s something that I don’t see happening in other fields of science

— Sergio Almécija (a senior research scientist in the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Anthropology)

There’s no reason to doubt that Darwin successfully explained the small adjustments by which an organism adapts to local circumstances: changes to fur density or wing style or beak shape. Yet there are many reasons to doubt whether he can answer the hard questions and explain the big picture—not the fine-tuning of existing species but the emergence of new ones. The origin of species is exactly what Darwin cannot explain.

— Professor David Gelernter (Computer science, Yale University)

Origin of life is purely synthetic organic chemistry. There’s no way around it and I am perfectly situated to be commenting on this, to be critiquing the origin of life research. It is abiological, it is before biology takes over. This is purely synthetic organic chemistry and making these compounds it’s very simple four classes of compounds. You have to make them from what’s available on a presumed prebiotic earth and so the chemistry is not hard for synthetic organic chemists to follow …
Any trained synthetic organic chemist can follow me on this and I’ve never seen a synthetic organic chemist
disagree with me on this. In fact, the people that might disagree with me are biologists because they’ve never made anything.

Some might suggest that there are certain laws that we don’t yet know, undefined laws that would dictate the origin of first life. It’s very hard to comment on something that we don’t know anything about. However, one would have to have law upon law upon law upon law… One after another after another, to make the requisite molecules needed for life and then to have those requisite molecules assembled…
Because even if one had the molecules, which is very hard to do, how do you do the assembly?
We don’t know how to do that now…
If there’s some law to do this, remember just the interactome just the protein-protein interactions – within a single yeast cell the 3,000 proteins – it’s 10^79,000,000,000 on the possible combinations of just the interact on …
How do you get those to order? Of course, there is a large cascade of arrays that can get these to order but that always has life spawning life. We don’t dehydrate cells and get them to work together again …Cells will split and pass that information along to other cells. We don’t know how to spark these things and it can’t happen from a single unknown law…
You’d have to have unknown law upon unknown law upon unknown law …
Takes a lot of faith to do that. I’m not sure I have that level of faith, but if they do, good for them (for Darwinists)

— Professor James Tour (synthetic organic chemist / nanotechnologist, Rice University)

Generalized self-driving is a hard problem, as it requires solving a large part of real-world AI. Didn’t expect it to be so hard, but the difficulty is obvious in retrospect.

— Elon Musk, chief engineer (SpaceX, Tesla)

Our finding casts serious doubts over literally thousands of studies that use phylogenetic trees of extant data to reconstruct the diversification history of taxa, especially for those taxa where fossils are rare, or that found correlations between environmental factors such as changing global temperatures and species extinction rates
… the results do not invalidate the theory of evolution itself. They do, however, put constraints on what type of information can be extracted from genetic data to reconstruct evolution’s path.

— Stilianos Louca, Department of Biology (University of Oregon)

I have been working with these traditional types of models for a decade now… I am one of the lead developers of a popular software package for estimating diversification rates from phylogenetic trees. And, as such, I thought I had a really good sense of how these models worked. I was wrong …

— Matthew W. Pennell (Biodiversity Research Centre, University of British Columbia)

Mutations are usually thought to be so rare, that when we see the same mutation in different individuals, the assumption is that those individuals shared an ancestor who passed the mutation to them both… But it’s possible that the mutation rate is so high in some of these non-B DNA regions that the same mutation could occur independently in several different individuals. If this is true, it would change how we think about evolution.

— Kateryna D Makova, biologist (Pennsylvania State University)

We have no idea how the molecules that compose living systems could have been devised such that they would work in concert to fulfill biology’s functions. We have no idea how the basic set of molecules, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids and proteins were made and how they could have coupled in proper sequences, and then transformed into the ordered assemblies until there was the construction of a complex biological system, and eventually to that first cell. Nobody has any idea on how this was done when using our commonly understood mechanisms of chemical science. Those that say that they understand are generally wholly uninformed regarding chemical synthesis. Those that say, “Oh this is well worked out,” they know nothing—nothing—about chemical synthesis—nothing. … From a synthetic chemical perspective, neither I nor any of my colleagues can fathom a prebiotic molecular route to construction of a complex system. We cannot even figure out the prebiotic routes to the basic building blocks of life: carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins. Chemists are collectively bewildered. Hence I say that no chemist understands prebiotic synthesis of the requisite building blocks, let alone assembly into a complex system. That’s how clueless we are. I have asked all of my colleagues—National Academy members, Nobel Prize winners—I sit with them in offices. Nobody understands this. So if your professors say it’s all worked out, if your teachers say it’s all worked out, they don’t know what they’re talking about…

— Professor James Tour (synthetic organic chemist / nanotechnologist, Rice University)

There’s been quite a bit of mystery around how insects first arose, because for many millions of years you had nothing, and then just all of a sudden an explosion of insects … The rocks could have contained insect fossils. The fact that they don’t indicates the dearth of insects during this period is real and not just an artifact of bad luck with preservation …

— Sandra Schachat, a graduate student at Stanford’s School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences (Stanford Earth)

For over 170 million years they dominated the land, from small creatures just a few feet long to some of the largest animals ever to have walked Earth. But despite their long evolutionary history, the origin of dinosaurs remains shrouded in mystery… The earliest definitive dinosaur is not one animal but an entire ecosystem containing a few different species. There’s no universally accepted dinosaur species that lived earlier in time.

— Josh Davis, Digital News Editor for Natural History Museum London UK

There is no dispute between me and Richard Dawkins and there never has been, because he’s a journalist, and journalists are people that report what the scientists have found and the arguments I’ve had have actually been with scientists doing research

— E.O. Wilson, biologist, Harvard (called the Darwin of the 20th century )

Do cells use passwords in cell-state transitions? Is cell signaling sometimes encrypted?

Organisms must maintain proper regulation including defense and healing. Life-threatening problems may be caused by pathogens or by a multicellular organism’s own cells through cancer or autoimmune disorders. Life evolved solutions to these problems that can be conceptualized through the lens of information security, which is a well-developed field in computer science. Here I argue that taking an information security view of cells is not merely semantics, but useful to explain features of signaling, regulation, and defense. An information security perspective also offers a conduit for cross-fertilization of advanced ideas from computer science and the potential for biology to inform computer science. First, I consider whether cells use passwords, i.e., initiation sequences that are required for subsequent signals to have effects, by analyzing the concept of pioneer transcription factors in chromatin regulation and cellular reprogramming. Second, I consider whether cells may encrypt signal transduction cascades. Encryption could benefit cells by making it more difficult for pathogens or oncogenes to hijack cell networks. By using numerous molecules, cells may gain a security advantage in particular against viruses, whose genome sizes are typically under selection pressure. I provide a simple conceptual argument for how cells may perform encryption through posttranslational modifications, complex formation, and chromatin accessibility. I invoke information theory to provide a criterion of an entropy spike to assess whether a signaling cascade has encryption-like features. I discuss how the frequently invoked concept of context dependency may oversimplify more advanced features of cell signaling networks, such as encryption. Therefore, by considering that biochemical networks may be even more complex than commonly realized we may be better able to understand defenses against pathogens and pathologies.
— Alex Root, molecular biologist ( Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA )

Evolution is slow and gradual except when it is fast. It is dynamic and creates huge changes over time, except when it keeps everything the same for millions of years. It explains both extreme complexity and elegant simplicity. It tells us how birds learned to fly and how some lost that ability. Evolution made cheetahs fast and turtles slow. Some creatures are made big and others small, some gloriously beautiful and some boringly gray. It forced fish to walk and walking animals to return to the sea. It diverges except when it converges. It produces exquisitely fine-tuned designs except when it produces junk. Evolution is random and without direction except when it moves toward a target. Life under evolution is a cruel battlefield, except when it demonstrates altruism. Evolution explains virtues and vice, love and hate, religion and atheism and it does all this with a growing number of ancillary hypotheses…It explains everything without explaining anything well.

— Matti Leisola, bioengineer (former Dean of Chemistry and Material Sciences at Helsinki University of Technology)