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g comments on An Alien God - Less Wrong

80 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 02 November 2007 06:57AM

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Comment author: g 03 November 2007 03:49:17AM 1 point [-]

Douglas:

1. You have not explained how anything to do with tuberculosis poses any difficulties for orthodox evolutionary biology. Gesticulating vaguely at a book that, on the face of it, looks mildly crankish is not an explanation. Repeatedly saying "Google for tuberculosis strain w" is not an explanation. I may quite possibly be being dim, but you aren't showing any sign of actual willingness to help correct my dimness.

2. When Dennett uses the term "universal acid" (not "universal solvent", IIRC) he is not claiming that evolution, or "gradualism", solves every problem. Saying things like that just increases my suspicion that you are, in the Frankfurtian sense, bullshitting.

3. If you think that the fact that some cells can take up DNA from their environment is some kind of problem for orthodox evolutionary biology, then I would like to know why. No, of course what they do is not a matter of random point mutations; so what? Sexual reproduction isn't a matter of random point mutations, either.

4. I'm not sure why you bother mentioning that you're reasonably sure that humans haven't been around since the beginning of life (*reasonably sure*?!). Just out of curiosity, could you give me your probability estimate for their having been around for more than, say, a week after the beginning of life?

5. You haven't stated anything definite enough to bet on, but I think it's well established that foreign DNA can get into the germ line of multicellular organisms ("endogenous retroviruses") so (a) I'm not inclined to bet against that and (b) it doesn't seem credible to claim that it's incompatible with currently-orthodox biology.