I have a Question

In her Sasquatch Genome Project Dr. Ketchum claims that the mitochondria found in her sasquatch hair samples is human. Something tells me that her assumption is erroneous. As far as I can see mitochondria really has no reason to evolve, given a consistency in environment. Something tells me that different animals share mitochondrial species, which they inherited from a common ancestor. This would appear to be true of human and sasquatch/yeti in so far as both animals share a common type of environment.

Is there any work out there regarding the inheritance of mitochondria? Are the different species of mitochondria shared among the different species of eukaryote?

I Was Asked For This

David Brin asked me for evidence supporting Bigfoot, specifically genetic. I suspect that he’s looking for the animal’s genome, but the best I can do is to be found at the Sasquatch Genome Project, which provides some information, but not a genome as far as I can see.

Which points out a big problem in something like this, sloppy work. The woman behind this site, Dr. Melba S. Ketchum didn’t do a very good job. She did find genetics and they do point to a currently unknown primate, but I would not call her work organized or finalized.

Now soon after her results were made available to the general public a skeptic had a look at them. I’ve forgotten his name, but I have remembered an observation he made in his report. Namely, that most Bigfoot and (also included) Yeti genetics are also gorilla genetics. Apparently Dr. Ketchum concluded that the Bigfoot is a hybrid of gorilla and human. My conclusion is that bigfoots and humans have a common ancestor with gorillas.

Overall what I’m seeing with Ketchum’s work is her just being incompetent. My recommendations are:

  1. Keep the sasquatch and yeti samples separate. Since they are supposed to be separate species they do need to be evaluated separately. One may be a sub-species of the other, but for the moment let’s keep them segregated.
  2. Remember presentation. Make it easier for the audience to read your work. Organize it and explain.
  3. Don’t jump to conclusions. Ketchum assumed that the sasquatch had to be a mix of ape and human when such an assumption wasn’t necessary. We and bigfoot have an ancestor dating back to before the gorilla. All three it would appear have genes inherited from that ancestor. We are related, but that relation isn’t all that immediate.

I sympathize with Dave, for all too often we get those who insist on being rude and ignoring the need for evidence, and well prepared and presented evidence. Copernicus’ revolution was not all that well supported, allowing his critics to conclude that he was wrong overall. Darwin on the other hand did take the time and effort to support his conclusion, and he still had his deniers. Those of us who have accepted the presence of a bipedal ape in North America need to keep Copernicus and Darwin in mind, and to complete the damn job.

My recommendation is to gather up as much in the way of sasquatch hair as you can, remembering to keep it separate and to test it separately, at least as much as you can. Don’t mush it all up. And when you have results make those results available to all. Finally, get supplies together and head out to bigfoot territory and camp out for a year or two. Be sure to take a good film camera, something to write on, and a friendly dog. Dogs are great at breaking the ice. Above all, be patient, for meeting wild animals is not something that happens overnight.

Most importantly calm down. They’re under enough stress as it is, no sense in you adding to it.

My Understanding?

Source: What is Scientism? | American Association for the Advancement of Science

At the link above you will come across a fairly good description of scientism, as the author understands it. You’ll find others and not all will agree with him. I for instance don’t. Not entirely and not as he does.

Scientism is one of those words who’s meaning, who’s description depends a lot on our experience in the subject of science. It depends a lot on how we see science and on how we were taught science to be. For my part I was taught to see science in a certain way, and to apply it in a certain way.

As I see it science isn’t really a thing, but a way of discovering and learning. Science isn’t really about knowledge, but more a way of learning. A way of discovery and how to verify and confirm that what you have learned is true. Science is a matter of faith, faith in our ability to verify and learn, but not faith in science per se, but in how the scientific method can and will lead to learning.

In short science is not a matter of fact, but more a matter in finding out. A matter or learning from observation, trial, and experience what is going on in the world. In a recent photo on the web we saw a raccoon sleeping in a man’s living room. When a commenter said that raccoons are dangerous she was right. But at the same time she neglected to point out that sometimes some animals can be so comfortable around humans they really have no problem with them, and may well come to adopt a particular human as part of his family.

This is where science comes in, for by using science we are able to accept that things don’t have to be the way we were told they should be. That there are things not dreamt of in our philosophy.

As I see it scientism is the belief that we can take the pronouncements of scientists on faith, that they are matters of faith and not to be discounted just because they are matters of revelation and authority. In scientism science consists of a series of hoary old prophets stomping down off a mountain bearing stone tablets bearing the Word of God upon them. As far as I can see scientism is science as religious belief, and that’s not how science works.

And as far as I can see science and the scientific method can be applied to most anything, even things that we assume can’t be, for as we learn of them we will learn just how they could work if they indeed were. For we are an animal that needs to understand, or to think we understand even when our understanding is wrong. For that gives us a basis on which we can learn of our errors and correct them. Science gives us the tools we need to discover and correct our mistakes. Scientism denies us those tools and insists that we take what we know as holy writ. Science is a pair of reading glasses making our world clearer. Scientism is gouging out the eyes because what you see, albeit oh so dimly and blurred, offends you.

So that is my understanding, how I see scientism. My understanding is necessarily blurred, incomplete, but at least it’s a start and one I can improve upon. What is your understanding, can it be improved, and can you let it be improved?

They Live

Source: Home – Sasquatch Genome Project

I’ve decided I’m going to make this very plain, there is a great ape living in North America, and the link above provides evidence for this.

The problem is not with the evidence provided, but with Ketchum’s interpretation of it. She says it’s proof that the sasquatch is a hybrid of Man and some unknown ape. She says this because it would appear that they found gorilla DNA in the samples she tested. Ah, doctor, that’s not how it works.

Now I’m not what you’d call literate when it comes to reading the results she provides, but somebody much more competent than I came to this conclusion. Namely that what the specimens showed was a lot or gorilla DNA. This leading me to the conclusion that the sasquatch of North America is descended from a common ancestor of gorilla and human.

Unfortunately her mistake regarding what the sasquatch is unfortunately led certain other parties to conclude that the animal does not exist. Indeed cannot. I’ve forgotten what the logical fallacy is called, but assuming that being wrong in one area means you have to be wrong in everything. That’s not how it works. What her work did do is demonstrate the existence of a great ape living in North America, and which may even be native to this continent assuming that it is a separate species instead of a sub-species of yeti.

But there are those bigfoot scares, because to them only humans can be bipedal apes. And that when it comes to the sasquatch you can rely on the authorities.

I say, “Bull shit.”

When anybody says anything that is counter to the available evidence they can’t be relied on. That’s what it comes down to, and what it means is that some self-identified scientists can only be called creationists where this subject is concerned. They talk like creationist, they think like creationists, they act like creationists. And I say it’s damn well time they damn well stopped.

There is nothing supernatural about bigfoots, they’re just damn apes.

Foundation

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Source: Planck length – Wikipedia

I’m starting with the basics here, namely the shortest possible length there can be. Known as the Planck Length, it a dinky little bit of volume which we’ll call a “quantum”. A quantum being a sphere of 3 dimensions no greater than one Planck Length in height, width, and depth. Our universe is made up of quanta, and those quanta come in one of two states, the low energy “flat” and the high energy “fold”.

Space-Time can neither be created or destroyed, only switched from one state to the other. In addition, ST can only be in a fold state when it is sufficiently compressed. When there is no compression then there can be no folds.

In addition, in as much as the universe is one solid sphere of space-time the quanta within can’t move in and of themselves. But the states can. What that means is, a fold state can “hop” from quantum to quantum, with one quantum “unfolding” and the next in the path of “motion” “enfolding”. However, quanta resist change, and it is this resistance that disturbs the quanta around the fold in “motion”. At this level it is this disturbance which produces the force we call “gravity”.

There is more to be said on the forces, but for now we’ll leave it at that.

What We Think We Think

Source: Postmodernism – Wikipedia,

The essay I linked to above goes into what the author understands about postmodernism to some detail, but as I understand it what it comes down to is, we can’t really understand it.

Not in its entirety. Not to any totality. For we are a limited animal that really can’t handle all that much stuff, not to any real great degree. And to make matters even worse, we can’t really understand what others understand. Not really, for our ability to communicate is flawed and there is really no way for us to truly inform each other. Your Christianity is not my Christianity, for what you learned, what you know, what you understand cannot be what I know, learned, or understand. You get right down to it your version of Christianity can have but one member, and that is you. Unless, that is, there is an omniscient God, in which case He would constitute the second member of your religion is so much as he can understand how you understand.

As I understand it, postmodernism says that we can’t really know. Not completely. Our understanding, our knowledge is provisional, and depends a great deal on what we can know and on how we can know it. That said, it is possible to take things too far, for there are those who say that we can not know anything, and that what we think we know is wrong. If that’s your case, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Our knowledge is imperfect. So far as that is true we are wrong. But what we know and how we know it can be tested. It can be verified. Years ago I read the account of a naturalist who did a study of a mated pair of ravens in New England. After one year of study he had came to certain conclusions about them and thought his work was done. But then he continued the study for another year. After the second year of study he came to another conclusion, that his first conclusion was wrong. You get right down to it, the most important word in a scientist’s vocabulary is, “Oops.” This naturalist found himself saying “oops”, for he had been in error. And the lesson I learned is that you can never conclude a study, for as long as you do a study you will learn where, when, and just how you are wrong. As somebody once observed about subjects in a biology experiment, once set up and running the organism will do what it damn well feels like. You get right down to it, regardless of the field of science everything is probabilistic and nothing can ever truly be deterministic. You want simplicity you’ve got to dig deep.

That is how I understand matters and it should give you some idea of where I’m coming from when I write about matters. I can’t rea lly know how I know things, and I rather doubt anybody can. At the best I can do no better than to let you know what I’m thinking, and to give you some idea of how I came to that conclusion. Though I must ask that you remember that there will be times when I will find myself saying “oops” and correcting my errors when I become aware of them. Then correcting my corrections when I learn that they are wrong. For we are a flawed animal and perfection can never be a part of us.

The Rotters

Bon appétit!

Source: Scientists Just Discovered Plastic-Eating Bacteria That Can Break Down PET

Supposedly nothing eats plastic, but apparently we have found a bacterium, Ideonella sakaiensis, that does.  Now has far as I know there are bacteria that digest hydrocarbons, and that includes plastics. However the old plastic eating bacteria were anaerobic. That is, unable to handle an oxygenated environment. I. sakaiensis is an aerobic bacterium, one evolved to handle oxygen as part of the course of business. And the thing to remember about bacteria is that they are rather profligate when it comes to sharing their genetics.

What is going on here is known as “lateral transfer”, and it means that a species of bacterium with the genes for a trait will pass it on to other types of bacteria, and those genes will be expressed. That is what appears to have happened here, with an anaerobic bacterium transferring the gene for digesting plastics to a population of I. sakaiensis, who in turn have started eating plastic successfully.

Then we find out about this, and thinking it a solution to our problem started encouraging this behavior and giving Ideonella sakaiensis the opportunity to prosper and spread. The organism is already in the wild, just really hasn’t had a good chance to spread beyond where it is most often found. But keep in mind that just as they got the ability from an anaerobic bacterium, so they could pass it on to other aerobic bacteria, and they in tun could “infect” our supply of bottles and shirts meaning that your boxers and socks could start to rot much as cotton and wool clothing does.

And won’t that be embarrassing?

Now consider Trisha, a young lady of about 20 at the local beach for socializing and displaying her form in a one piece suit. Then a six year old girl announces to everyone in hearing range that Trisha is “flashing”. That is, there are now holes in her swimsuit, a couple of them in just the wrong places. Made aware of this some people, boys for the most part, make rude comments, while others, adults for the most part, check out what they are wearing and discover that they too are now on display.

Oh the consternation. Oh the dithering and running around. Oh the sun burn in sensitive places and the run on clothing made of natural fibers.

Now for the young children finding themselves au natural is just a lark. Though you can expect their parents and the other adults will get rather protective. With the older folks a lot would get embarrassed, but not all. You can also expect there to be a run on cotton, linen, and hemp at the lower end, with the better off switching to silk. And expect laundry detergents of variable efficacy to appear on the market.

And keep in mind just how much plastic we use in our lives. Basins and tubs, cutlery, intravenous lines. tons of stuff. How do we replace them? We’ll likely come up with treatments to sort of hinder the rotting, but that will add to the cost of plastics, making a polyethylene shirt something of a luxury item. Clothing factories sending out packages of sludge that were once button down shirts. And suits etc made of specially treated plastics that require expensive care. You may have to pay thousands for a polyester double knit. And then you have glass jars and bottles making a return, with all the problems that come with them. Medical supplies will just have to become reusable, and plastic tubing a prize to be treasured.

Life is adaptable, which means we have to be adaptable too.

Oh the Impact

A new brain-computer interface device can translate the neural signals controlling someone’s vocal tract into full sentences of audible speech.

Source: Amazing Device Turns Thoughts Into Audible Sentences

Now think of this out in the wild. It may be for those who can’t really speak for themselves at the moment, but I can see certain parties forcing others to wear something like it to keep track of what they’ve thinking. Fortunately, at the moment it can really only handle those who sort of mumble, but with further development the machines’ capability could extend to actually translated the thoughts that don’t get “voiced”.

In free societies this is likely to be strictly regulated. In despotic, Saudi Arabia for instance, widely embraced. And even where rights are respected there will be those who cheat.

But then it is very likely that most despots will soon learn that you just can’t keep track of everyone’s thought. They’ll have to focus on those they have reason to suspect.

And it just occurred to me that we will be seeing scams claiming that parents will be able to eavesdrop on the thoughts of their teens. More tension and strife, just what families don’t need.

Our Need for Assurance

Filmmaker Errol Morris, once Kuhn’s grad student, accuses him of being a bad philosopher and bad person.

Source: Was Thomas Kuhn Evil? – Scientific American Blog Network

You get right down to it, we hate to be uncertain. The impression I get from the blog post linked to above is that Morris is none too fond of Kuhn telling him that he can’t be totally certain. I have bad news for Morris, you can’t be totally certain.

You get right down to it, we are limited. Limited in what we can know and limited in what we can understand. How we can see things has a profound effect on how we can know and understand, for we live at one level of perception, and when you go to a higher or lower level how you can perceive does change. There is a reality out there, but how we see it depends a great deal on how we can see it.

It is our flaw that we insist how we see things has to be the way to see it. In addition, how we see a thing depends on how we can see it, for our brains do not handle information as fast as we’d like. Speaking as an autistic, I get overwhelmed by what’s going on. At times things are just too much and I need some quiet time to get myself together. You get right down to it, everybody gets a bit overwhelmed and needs some time to get their shit together.

Oh, and Morris did insult Kuhn in that long ago meeting, with Kuhn over reacting to the insult.

So I wouldn’t say that Kuhn was evil, just mistaken. And that is was possible for him to learn and accept that. Just as it is possible for anybody to learn and accept that he was wrong, should they be willing to learn and accept.

That is how I see things. You?

On Being Wrong

Source: Home – Sasquatch Genome Project

In the link just above Dr. Ketchum presents her conclusion regarding the Sasquatch. Her conclusion is wrong, and that she is wrong is used by some of her critics to support their claim that she has to be wrong about the existence of Bigfoot. There is a term for this, the Fallacy Fallacy, in which the fact that one party is wrong about one thing means whatever else they say has to be wrong.

Now Ketchum doesn’t help her cause any through how she handles the data, in how she frames it. The presentation is crap and she assumes too much. Back when her findings were first released a skeptic had a look at them and found that the DNA found included a lot of gorilla DNA. This tells me that bigfoot has a common ancestor with the gorilla, which is what you’d expect given that both are great apes.

As I recall the skeptic concluded that Ketchum has to be wrong about the existence of the animal, based on her being wrong about the animal.This falls under the Fallacy Fallacy. In short, he came to a wrong conclusion because she made a wrong conclusion. In other words, he let his prejudice lead him astray.

He’s not alone, there are others who insist that something just can’t be all because another party made a mistake in one part of their conclusions. And very often it’s because the overall finding is something the skeptic didn’t learn in school. It comes down to this, we make mistakes because of our limitations. Limitations that mean we can’t know everything. We can at best know but a little of our world, and the rest will remain a mystery. But some just can’t accept that, for they are so insecure as to need absolute assurance.

And it’s not just in primatology. Physics is rife with it, with parties insisting on complications in their models, when the best way to understand what’s going on is to accept that it’s really quite simple, and that what we can see at present has layers beneath it. The foundation of the Quark is the String. Now what is the foundation of the String? For Strings as I’ve seen them presented are just too busy to be the foundation. Hadrons are badly focused blurs, Quarks are badly focused blurs. I suspect that Strings are badly focused blurs, and what they are made of are yet even more badly focused blurs. It isn’t until you get down to the bottom of things that you can an object that is simple and which constitutes the foundation of what all we know of.

And I suspect that this object is more a state spacetime can exist in, a state that in motion “disturbs” the spacetime around it that is in a different state. To add to this, it is my suspicion that there is a minimum size below which there can be nothing smaller. Which is to say, our existence is based on quanta below which we can not go. That is how I understand quanta, a part of spacetime and not in truth separated from it.

But anyway, whether we’re talking about zoology or physics, we need to accept that we can be wrong, and that we are wrong. I suspect that Strings are not the bottom of the pile, and I have concluded that the Sasquatch is a great ape living in North America. This last based on what evidence has been provided, and on what I know of the land of Beringia, which is at present partially flooded.

And that’s me being a contrarian.

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