Telorexia – Blind to Purpose in Nature

Telorexia:

noun

A psychological state in which the patient is unable to see purpose in nature, or even acknowledge hypocritical use of teleological language.

Our close friends Bob and Angel were dining with us at a barbecue restaurant. Bob was chowing down on a stack of ribs; Angel was nibbling string beans and a tiny square of corn bread.

Angel was 82 pounds and dropping fast. This normally attractive, athletic woman was down to skin and bones. Waging war with an eating disorder – and losing. Her husband Bob was scared. Laura and I were scared for her. Ribs sticking out of her skin. She wore baggy sweaters, her breasts sagged and she was perpetually cold.

“Angel, you’re dangerously skinny! Girl, you’ve gotta eat something!

You could not reason with that eating disorder. You could literally stand with her in front of a mirror. She would look at the reflection of herself with you and say, “You look normal. But I look fat!

I’d never personally experienced anorexia or bulimia before, so I’d never fathomed of how irrational this was. Even when Angel could see herself right in front of her eyes, standing next to a normal human, she still didn’t see it.

No amount of arguing or logic could convince her she didn’t look fat.

In fact the only argument and logic going on was: People die from anorexia and bulimia. Angel is headed that way.

Intellectually she DID know that. So the one thing that finally got her to defy every screaming cell in her brain and get help was: Her precious kids, all five and under, would be left without a mother if she died.

She sought out a professional. The next six months were grueling but she eventually overcame the beast. Angel has been healthy for the last ten years.

I will never forget how bizarre and twisted her perception of reality was.

It’s hard to not miss the resemblance between Angel and my conversation with PZ Myers and his merry band of blog followers, about randomness vs. structure in nature. (They’re not so merry, actually. Actually it seems PZ’s blog is their daily espresso shot of insults and rage.)

In London recently, I appeared as a guest on the Unbelievable radio show and podcast, opposite my opponent PZ Myers, a notorious Darwinist and Atheist. The tagline of his blog is “Random ejaculations of a godless liberal.”

PZ and his Darwinist friends are furious with me for insisting evolution is a process that follows active logical patterns; and that cells re-engineer their own DNA in response to shocks and threats.

On the show, I explained why evolution is not simply “random.” The facts confirming this have been verified for decades, and Barbara McClintock won the Nobel Prize in 1983 for this very discovery.

Yet some folks still refuse to acknowledge what Barbara took great pains to emphasize in her Nobel Prize speech: cells are smart and they re-arrange their DNA in very specific ways when faced with common threats, and very clever ways when presented with unique challenges.

Again, all this is well documented – even more so in our modern age of genomics. But in my debate with PZ Myers on Unbelievable, and in ensuing blog posts, nothing but a wall of denial. And erratic self-contradiction.

It’s a lot like anorexia. I call it telorexia.

On the show, for example, PZ insisted that transpositions (DNA rearrangements performed by the cell) are simply random.

I posted links to literature that clearly shows how transpositions are used to repair damage. And that cells have extensive systems that correct errors (Nobel Prize 2015).

PZ responds by further describing those systems that correct errors, yet PZ seems unable to see that error correction is by definition purposeful!

There would be no such thing as an error without a preferred state that was correct. What is error correction, after all? It is programmed response to a random external event.

Cells detect when things go wrong and set them right. You can’t avoid purpose in nature, or teleology.

PZ also doesn’t seem to realize that if random copying errors were good, the cell wouldn’t be trying to correct them, so therefore evolution doesn’t come from random copying errors! If random copying errors produced evolutionary events, all we’d need to do is trigger more errors and evolution would happen faster. But that doesn’t work.

This brings up a philosophical question: Is this repair consciously purposeful, the way humans fix things? Or is it just mechanical, like your cell phone?

Personally I suspect cells may possess some level of self-awareness. McClintock even asked, “What does the cell know about itself?” However, for the sake of this article, I’m quite content with “DNA error correction is just mechanical, like your cell phone.”

Some events are random. DNA copying errors are random. No matter how purposeful a cell is, it can’t fix all of them; the white noise you hear on your radio is random; the snow on TV between channels is random; radioactive decay particles are random.

Some things in genetics, like whether your got your father’s blue eyes or your mother’s brown eyes, are also random so far as I can tell.

But they are only random within defined constraints. They are better described as permutations than purely random events.

In my “Synonyms for Random” blog post, I was pinpointing PZ’s crime against science: Declaring something random simply because he does not understand it, and not because it’s demonstrably random.

It’s the atheist equivalent of “goddidit.” A magic wand.

First he said all the mutations are random. Then I corrected him with details about error correction, which is anti-random. Then he reluctantly acknowledged that. Then he went on to assert that transposition locations are still random. Or… well… sort-of random.

Despite the fact that experiments document numerous ways in which many transposon locations follow specific patterns.

We don’t know all the patterns yet. But I’m wagering none of these are truly random at all. Any other wager is anti-science.

What old-school Darwinists do over and over again is acknowledge that the systems we understand do obey rules… but then jump to the conclusion that whatever next layer which we presently don’t understand, does NOT obey rules.

“Oh, but that’s just random,” they say.

Always obscuring the quest for order. Always circumventing the next discovery. In my book Evolution 2.0 I call this “randomness inflation.”

Here’s the problem: Randomness is not provable. It is a non-hypothesis. Formally it’s known as a Null Hypothesis – which simply means you don’t know. You CAN prove non-randomness. You can prove patterns to the nth degree. But you can’t positively assert “random.”

Randomness simply means “no pattern.” So when any complex system exhibits behavior you don’t understand, then you as a scientist have no right to declare it’s “random.” Because as soon as you do so, the scientific method itself – which is the search for patterns – stops.

That kills science. Ironically, the science killers are the very same folks who crow loudest about the dismal state of science education.

There is an old school of thinking in biology, shared by a cadre of people like Larry Moran and PZ Myers, that transposons are essentially random DNA parasites living inside your cells. They allegedly just multiply willy-nilly in the genome, like rats catching a free ride on a steam ship and humping each other in the cargo hold.

McClintock would have thought this preposterous. An alternate school of thought holds a much higher view of the genome. Scientists who write specialized books and papers about transposition counter this view with clear evidence. Barbara would vehemently disagree with Myers; all you have to do is read her Nobel paper and see. A growing contingent of scientists hail from her camp, not PZ’s.

Do some textbooks that say all this is “random”? Sure do. But know that when an industry is undergoing a revolution (bioinformatics and systems biology are rocking the foundations of molecular biology as we speak), textbooks will be the last to broadcast the news.

The question you should be asking is: “OK, so how do I know whether PZ and his Darwinians are right… or if McClintock and her Post-Darwinians are right? After all, Perry’s an electrical engineer, not a biologist.”

This is how I know who’s right: It’s the math. The math of digital code.

I wrote an Ethernet book for a professional society, ISA, in 2002. I spent eight years in digital networking in the factory automation business. I know digital data.

If you randomly scramble bits in ANY coding system….

  • File formats like .doc, .pdf, .mp3, .wav etc
  • Databases like .xls, SQL, etc.
  • Transmission formats like Wi-Fi, Ethernet, TCP/IP, Bluetooth, USB
  • Languages like English, Chinese, French and Esperanto

If you randomly mutate them, the only thing you accomplish is: You destroy your data. If you don’t believe me, try it. Try it at home if you want.

Data is incredibly fragile. Codes are a million times more fragile than your grandmother’s china cups and saucers. One bad bit can wreck everything.

Beneficial copying errors are so rare, they’re not even worth mention. A copying error may be slightly helpful once in a trillion times. The rest of the time, it’s like smashing beer bottles against a cement wall. Copying errors cause birth defects, cancer, extinction and death.

Not evolution.

Man-made codes have layers of redundancy and error correction. It’s the only reason our modern world works. Long before I discovered DNA has error correction, I knew it had to exist. All reliable communication systems possess it. If they don’t, you get disaster.

I knew this from the start. So I was hunting for Barbara McClintock long before I found her. Those fabulous repair systems are the only reason your body works. They’re the only reason life still thrives after 3+ billion years.

In 1948, Claude Shannon showed mathematically why this is so. Randomness is information entropy. Information entropy is mathematically identical to thermodynamic entropy. It erases patterns.

All codes have ergodic patterns. What does “ergodic” mean? Autofill on your cell phone is exhibit “A” of a predictive ergodic pattern. When you text someone:

“you”…

Autofill gives you three choices:

can are know

If you choose “know,” it gives you three more choices:

what I that

and so on.

Only English words work. Shannon talks about how English has signature patterns. The word “the” appears 6% of the time. The letter “U” almost always follows the letter “Q”.

“E” appears 12.7% of the time. “Z” appears 0.1% of the time.

It is not possible for a random process to produce even one single page of e’s, z’s, the’s and qu’s with the correct ratios (+/-25% let’s say)… let alone also give you accurate syntax and grammar. Random distribution would give you 3.8% e’s, 3.8% z’s (1/26 probability for every letter) etc. etc. and natural selection would never fix it.

English from random mutations will never work… even if we grant you all the replication and selection you could ever ask for, for 13 billion years, and a million extra universes just in case you need them. Chance and necessity don’t evolve codes.

If you think I’m wrong, PROVE ME WRONG. Crunch the numbers. Post your solution for all to see in the comment section below.

In English, non-random patterns are punctuation marks, words, paragraphs and grammar. DNA has ergodic patterns too. In the genome we call them genes, start and stop codons, RNAs, transposons, cassettes, introns, exons, LINES, SINES, telomeres, chromosomes.

Each of these components exhibits particular rules and structure. This is why we recognize them when we sequence DNA. Cells obey these rules.

So evolution is necessarily systematic and structured.

This is also why there’s no such thing as a book called “The statistical case for random mutations.” (The longest chapter in Evolution 2.0 is Appendix 1, “All About Randomness” where I explain in detail why there is no such book in biology.)

So… why does an Electrical Engineer have the audacity to challenge an entire industry and profession and say “I’m right and they’ve been wrong for 70 years?”

Because the Darwinists say 2+2 equals five. But 2+2 is four.

Nobody knows better than an electrical engineer that Neo-Darwinism is a con. Claude Shannon unwittingly proved it.

Crunch the numbers if you doubt me. Report your results in the comment box.

When your math is correct, you can challenge anyone you want.

“Random mutation” is no more scientific than the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. Wholesale fraud. 2+2=5. That’s why old-school Darwinism the most troubled theory in the history of science. Time for a new paradigm.

Sometimes, you just can’t convince the poor anorexic woman that she’s starving herself to death.

Other times you can.

Some will cling to their Telorexia. Others will free themselves and embrace 21st century science.

PZ, it’s not too late. Come join the banquet. Even as you insist nature is just random chemicals, nothing but chance and selection… even as your buddies Jerry Coyne and Larry Moran complain that “finding truly new things—things that surprise and delight other scientists—is very rare… largely tedium.

You guys are 82 pounds, chewing string beans and crusty cornbread. You don’t have to stay that way. A feast is waiting. Because despite your telorexia, the revolution is underway. As we speak.

23 Responses

  1. http://hsnewsbeat.uw.edu/story/new-blood-test-may-expand-scope-liquid-biopsies

    Excerpt:
    During cell death, the DNA gets chopped into small pieces by enzymes that like to cut in the easily accessible, unprotected sections of DNA in between the nucleosomes.

    My comment: The test links ecological variation to nutrient-dependent RNA-mediated DNA repair via microRNAs and adhesion proteins. The adhesion proteins link supercoiled DNA to protection from virus-driven entropy in the organized genomes of all living genera.

    The organized genomes are linked from chromosomal rearrangements and the physiology of reproduction to ecological adaptations and all biodiversity. The headline: “New blood test may explain…” attests to an attempt to explain away the ignorance of teleorexic neo-Darwinian theorists.

    The teleorexics tried to explain healthy longevity in the context of the absence of mutations. For comparison, all serious scientists know that healthy longevity arises via the fixation of nutrient energy-dependent amino acid substitutions in the presence of the pheromone-controlled cell type differentiation of species from microbes to humans. The conserved molecular mechanisms of cell type differentiation have been revealed in the context of models that link atoms to ecosystems.

    After approximately 60,000 hours in the lab, I claim that every test I have ever performed attests to that fact.

  2. Dale Ferry says:

    5000 characters per page is what google tells me. Including punctuation and assuming capital and lower case letters are non-equivalent, my math tells me the probability of a single page being exactly what I want would be (1/60)^5000 which would be ~ 1 in 10^10000 pages. Living organisms reproduce exponentially. One bacterium replicates every 20 minutes or so. That work outs to about 10^100million replications per 100 years. With natural selection to cull out the nonsense, I think the probability of at least one page of readable text would be pretty high.

    • I don’t believe you even have a math background at all, based on what you just showed me here. You don’t appear to even know how to use exponents.

      There have only been maybe 10^40 organisms in the history of earth.

      Try again.

      • Dale Ferry says:

        You’re right. I translocated two 0s in that calculation. In 1000 years that would be 10^10million replications, assuming no loss to natural selection. Of course there haven’t been anywhere near that number of organisms in the history of the earth. Natural selection culls at every generation. Only the genomes with ‘e’ s would go on to replicate.

    • Dave Reardon says:

      Dale, you need better prep on statistics. You are waaaay, off, as Perry has indicated.

      Exponents are very powerful. The total number of quantum vibrations since the beginning of the universe (according to the best estimates for the age and mass of the universe) is well under than 10^200 (more in the range of 10^150). That’s a rough measure of the maximum number of events since the universe began. So that leads me to conclude that any number ever used which is over 10^200 is nonsensical — or the result of very bad math.

      See http://tinyurl.com/z33bzez (Wikipedia) and “Dembski’s estimate”

      • Dave Reardon says:

        For a fun lesson in probability, read this entry http://tinyurl.com/k6ewtpk regarding the claim that given enough time an infinite number of monkeys would eventually type a Shakespearean sonnet. The last paragraph of this section is why Perry, like so many engineers who understand math, don’t buy the claim that “randomness” can explain DNA code…or anything else.

  3. Carol Sperling says:

    Other concepts worth studying:

    Pareidolia – A psychological phenomenon involving a stimulus (an image or a sound) wherein the mind perceives a familiar pattern of something where none actually exists.

    Apophenia – The human tendency to perceive meaningful patterns within random data.

    Teleonomy – The quality of apparent purposefulness and of goal-directedness of structures and functions in living organisms brought about by natural laws (like natural selection).

  4. People like Carol Sperling seem to be unwilling examine anything that links atoms to ecosystems in all living genera.

    Even though all serious scientists know that patterns in DNA base pairs have nothing to do with transcription-factor binding, neo-Darwinists will tell other teleorexics that mutations link changes in base pairs to a pattern that links natural selection to evolution.

    • I have several other posts that await the moderators approval, and am beginning to wonder if I am unwanted.

      I had hoped for discussion of all facts whether or not they support the facts from Evolution 2.0

      See for example: Computing in mammalian cells with nucleic acid strand exchange http://tinyurl.com/hcs54mt

      The fact that the safeguards can be switched off by viruses links nutrient-dependent microRNAs from the origin of the DNA code to cell type differentiation in all living genera via their physiology of reproduction.

      • You are not unwanted but your questions are complex and my time is limited. Thus far it’s not clear to me that you’ve shown how one gets from chemicals to code without help from living things. If you can clarify where you’ve shown this, this will help me.

        • Carol Sperling says:

          Angel is suffering from a delusional coping mechanism, not unlike what many theists suffer from.

          And JVK is haunting you just like I told you he would.

          Have a nice day.

          • Thanks Carol Sperling.

            You seem to equate adding complexity to Perry Marshall’s already well-detailed explanation of the difference between neo-Darwinian evolution and Evolution 2.0 as a haunting threat.

            The only threat is to those who are suffering from Atheist-Creationist Denial Syndrome. It is not a haunting threat, it is a fact-based threat to their denial.

            The ghostly threat isn’t going to automagically disappear until someone explains how weekend evolution of the bacterial flagellum can be placed into the context of billions-to-millions of years of random mutations and evolution.

        • Thanks. It is not so much what I have shown. It is the details of biophysically constrained links from atoms to ecosystems, which are perturbed by viruses.

          Ecker (from the human genome project) is senior author of a published work with this line as the first line in the abstract.

          “RNA silencing at the transcriptional and posttranscriptional levels regulates endogenous gene expression, controls invading transposable elements (TEs), and protects the cell against viruses.”

          What I have shown links quantum physics to the de novo creation of genes. What you have shown is that DNA repair mechanisms are required to maintain the virus-perturbed code.

          I have shown how RNA-mediated DNA repair occurs in the context of an atoms to ecosystems model. You are still discussing randomness and evolution with people who know nothing about nutrient energy-dependent cell type differentiation.

          It may not be possible for them to move forward, but you have the attention of a few other serious scientists who can link your claims across all living genera by what is currently known.

          In my opinion, you are excluding their input by not allowing the first part of my submission to be included in the context of the prize.

          Thank you for allowing the link to my invited review of nutritional epigenetics. If you include it as part 1 of the prize submission, perhaps others will see why the review was invited, and why the submission was returned without review.

          Nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled ecological adaptations: from atoms to ecosystems http://tinyurl.com/j6cryd7

          No one from any camp wants someone like you or like me to destroy their theories. And, no one else from outside those camps will risk their wrath — as you have been told.

          Why are you concerned about accepting the review as part 1 of the 2 part submission that will link hydrogen-atom transport in DNA base pairs to cell type differentiation that is perturbed by viruses?

          It’s just part 1 of the submission. Perhaps part 2 will be unnecessary, or meaningless. But if you exclude part 1 because of the complexity, no one gets to part 2 who isn’t already nearly there.

          And the works of others who are nearly there will not be integrated into the representations made in your book.

  5. Todd Moody says:

    Telorexia is built into methodological naturalism, according to which fully natural processes are not goal-driven. Goals are “overlay” descriptions of fundamentally goal-less combinations of lawlike and random phenomena. Methodological naturalism recognizes only those two and, as you point out in the book, random phenomena are only defined negatively.

    If it is ever shown (as opposed to assumed) that goal-less natural processes can reliably (lawlike) produce code-driven systems, the need to associate such systems with the activity of intelligent, goal-driven agents will evaporate. Since this hasn’t happened yet, nobody is in a position to claim to know that natural selection and unguided mutations have done it. We can only say that science is betting on it.

    We can’t prove that a sequence of numbers (or anything else) is random; only that we haven’t found an algorithm more compact than the sequence itself that generates it (as explained in Evo2.0). It doesn’t follow that no such algorithm exists. Similarly, the failure to find a purely natural process that generates code-driven systems can never prove that no such process exists, so methodological naturalism can always insist that we keep looking. There’s nothing wrong with that, as I see it, but there’s also nothing wrong with saying that given what we know NOW, it looks like something else is going on.

    And if we say that, we can ask whether it looks more like the “something else” is external, as “mainstream” ID says (an external intelligence using targeted modifications of some kind to bring about the code-driven system) or internal, as Evo2.0 conjectures: Individual cells possess their own kind of intelligence, beyond what “blind” natural causes can do. I don’t know if that dispute can be approached empirically; I suspect it can, but it’s definitely over my pay grade.

    • Good comment.

      I would just add that methodological naturalism shouldn’t encourage telorexia; it should only require that we be able to test and observe.

      Telorexia really comes from materialism which is not at all the same as methodological naturalism. Atheists in particular conflate the two.

  6. Carol Sperling says:

    The least you could do is construct your greek-rooted words properly. Telos is Greek for purpose, and orexis is Greek for appetite. The prefix “an” means without, so anorexia means without appetite. So Telorexia would be a purposeful appetite. The greek word for blindness is tuflos. So…. the word for purpose-blindness would be teleotuflos.

    • Is teleophobia a properly constructed word? Is there a better word than teleophobic to describe people like Masatoshi Nei?

      http://www.amazon.com/books/dp/0199661731 Mutation-Driven Evolution
      “…genomic conservation and constraint-breaking mutation is the ultimate source of all biological innovations and the enormous amount of biodiversity in this world. In this view of evolution there is no need of considering teleological elements (p. 199).”

  7. David Pierpoint says:

    Thought of your section on cancer cell in Evolution 2.0 when I read this today… intelligent cells combating each other and we’re simply trying to figure out how to assist in the process.

    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/03/genetics-of-cancer-tumours-reveal-possible-treatment-revolution

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