Reputation
3,683
Top tag
Next privilege 5,000 Rep.
Approve tag wiki edits
Badges
10 25
Newest
 Pundit
Impact
~47k people reached

Feb
6
awarded  Critic
Feb
6
comment Is it the case that all changes in phenotype during life are not inheritable?
–1, the paper didn’t actually provide evidence of epigenetic inheritance in any meaningful sense of the word, as is the more general conclusion: so far as we know, there is no single naturally occurring case of passing on of acquired traits. This isn’t unthinkable (see Prader-Willi syndrome), but remains yet to be demonstrated. I’ve written my take on the subject on Skeptics.SE: skeptics.stackexchange.com/a/7338/82
Feb
6
awarded  Student
Feb
6
asked How many times did life emerge from the ocean?
Feb
6
comment Why is polyploidy lethal for some organisms while for others is not?
Excellent question! A topic of active research and without clear consensus, as far as I remember from some talk.
Jan
31
comment Are there any examples of sudden leaps in evolution?
Even under punctuated equilibrium, acquisition of new traits happens over a period of thousands of generations, not “just a few generations”. It is punctuated on the geological timescale only.
Jan
31
comment Are there any examples of sudden leaps in evolution?
This is selective sweep (i.e. a given allele’s abundance is sweeping through a population via selection). But that isn’t in itself a sudden leap in evolution since the allele is already in existence (= “has already evolved”).
Jan
31
comment How does the brain's energy consumption depend on mental activity?
This sounds wishy-washy. In fact, we do have a pretty solid understanding of “how information is processed and how it's constrained by physical laws and principles of entropy and energy.” We might lack the computational power to build good predictive models but the physical, chemical and molecular biological basis is well understood. The whole “we don’t understand the brain” discussion is really a red herring. We do. It’s just that the brain models a very complex network with certain emergent properties, remodelling of which is extremely expensive.
Jan
10
comment Is there any convincing evidence for the existence of nanobacteria?
It would be very illustrative if you could post the actual figures shown in these papers.
Jan
5
comment What is the modern state of the theory of evolution?
Wow, you were told complete BS. :-(
Jan
4
comment Could Junk DNA be used as a Turing Machine by nature?
The problem is not that the proof is specious, it’s that the proof is impossible since the assertion is provably wrong. I agree with the more specific point that cells in particular are Turing complete – but not all self-replicating information machines are.
Jan
3
comment Could Junk DNA be used as a Turing Machine by nature?
Unfortunately, it can be shown trivially that self-replication isn’t sufficient for being Turing complete (imagine the programming language “Rep” which has a single command, “rep”, which prints “rep”; clearly this language allows to write self-replicating programs and clearly it isn’t Turing complete).
Jan
3
awarded  Teacher
Jan
3
answered What does the human body use oxygen for besides the final electron acceptor in the electron transport chain?
Dec
31
comment What is the most difficult feature to explain evolutionarily?
Fair enough, point taken.
Dec
31
comment What is the most difficult feature to explain evolutionarily?
I agree with (2) simply because it’s very hard to find good evidence (as you mentioned with the “just so” stories). I disagree with (1) since this can be explained by quite easy models and is a classical example of evolutionary arms race.
Dec
30
comment Where can I find the common names for the zoology taxonomy?
That list is called Wikipedia. ;-) … Seriously, (almost?) all Wikipedia articles on animals carry both the common and the scientific name.
Dec
30
comment Why did the process of sleep evolve in many animals? What is its evolutionary advantage?
@Innab It’s irrelevant that the energy expense is only a fraction. The important thing is that there is any at all. Do the math, it will never be beneficial to rest instead spending the same time hunting, because the net energy balance of hunting is positive (i.e. energy take-in rather than expense), so in sum, resting will always spend more energy than hunting.
Dec
29
awarded  Commentator
Dec
29
comment Could Junk DNA be used as a Turing Machine by nature?
@nico Redundancy is required for a fail-safe system, it provides a direct evolutionary advantage. And while our bodies aren’t particularly efficient in many aspects that cannot be controlled by evolution (laryngeal nerve …), most isolated systems under evolutionary control have been highly optimised. For instance, a eukaryotic cell’s energy turnover is orders of magnitude more efficient than any engine or generator ever created by humans (intelligently designed).