Introducing Matt Mirecal


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #1

Continuing the discussion from Mitochondrial Barcodes: An Adam-Eve Bottleneck 200,000 Years Ago?:

Welcome @mattc_mirecal. Thanks for joining us and welcome. Can you tell us a little more about yourself? What brings you here and how can we help you?

This is exactly the purpose of this forum. We did give this a fair and scientific evaluation, back when the first study came out. Did you get a chance to read it yet? (Did All Species Arise about 200,000 Years Ago?)

This is what Big Brother says, and I hope you do not follow this horrible advice. We can help give you knowledge, which is a better strength than ignorance. Come reason with us.

(Retired Professor & Minister.) #2

Hello, @mattc_mirecal. You’ve come to the right place to ask your questions. We represent many fields of training and work together to understand a diverse array of topics. I’ve learned a lot here.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #3

@mattc_mirecal would love to hear your questions here. @moderators be moving those from thither thread here.

(The Questioner?) #4

Fossils attributed to Homo in the period two to three million years ago are exceedingly rare. Bill Kimbel, director of the Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, in Tempe, who co-led the analysis of the new specimen, once saidthat “You could put them all into a small shoe box and still have room for a good pair of shoes.”

Mitochondrial Barcodes: An Adam-Eve Bottleneck 200,000 Years Ago?
(Steve Schaffner) #5

You said a bone chip. What bone chip has been acclaimed as a major discovery?

(Dan Eastwood) #6

And what do bone chips have to do with mitochondrial DNA? This seems to be a different question entirely.

(Steve Schaffner) #7

Nothing, of course. It was a red herring.

(Blogging Graduate Student) #8

Here’s the article you’re quoting from there:

Does this look like a “bone chip” to you?

(Blogging Graduate Student) #9

Yes, obtaining whole ancient genomes from “bone chips” in this manner is very important, and would be a reason to tout the results as a major discovery, but @mattc_mirecal’s original comment singled out a “bone chip of an ape like hominid”, implying it was more ancient than samples we’ve extracted genomes from. in other words, He seems to be thinking of an example where a “bone chip” was treated as a “major discovery” based purely on its morphology.

(Joel Duff) #10

Oops, my fault, I didn’t read back to the original comment and so wasn’t addressing the right question.

(The Questioner?) #11

Yeah, its a fragment, it’s a bit like finding a partial tail light and saying you found a Corvette.

Then using Bondo and Clay to generate the rest. Its far too common.

(The Questioner?) #12

Yes, and I’m not necessarily an “Adam and Eve” proponent, just a skeptic, aasking why are we dismissing this?

It looks like you have some info I’d like to evaluate. More data is always better than less.

Mitochondrial Barcodes: An Adam-Eve Bottleneck 200,000 Years Ago?
(S. Joshua Swamidass) #13

We are dismissing it because we have carefully evaluated it and found it in serious error. It is no more complex than this.

(The Questioner?) #14

Bone chips are important, but when you are trying to force a discovery, based on a specific hypothesis, it colors the data and discovery.

We used to call that shoehorning. It’s happened few times with the fossil record. Well meaning people make a “leap” to fit the fossil into a pre-defined hole.

That is what concerned me, and I know I am treading on some sacred cows here, which is why I stated that Science has become a faith based institution. It protects itself with “approved theories” and has difficulty accepting criticism, even valid criticism.

(The Questioner?) #15

I understand that it is more complex, I will have to read your rebuttal carefully and evaluate your findings.

I just want to find out why it is being dismissed, and verify that the dismissal based on “bad science” does not contain “bad science” as well.

(The Questioner?) #16

You don’t need to respond to my previous post, I will evalutae your rebuttal and we can go from there.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #17

What do you mean by this? Do you have a problem with faith? I certainly don’t. What ever the case, science is an evidence-based sort of faith, and there are no sacred cows. It is just a bad study. Their conclusions do not follow from their data. That paper should have never been published without fixing those errors.

There are scientists of all sorts here, including Christians like myself, and atheists, including some that affirm a historical Adam and some that don’t. We just do not have any motivation to lie to you here.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #18

Doing a puzzle with missing pieces:
An analogy regarding the fossil record as a whole that I’ve found personally useful is imagine you have a thousand piece puzzle and one day come to find you only had ten of the pieces… Maybe, just maybe you could get a few of them in sort of the right spot. But then you come to find a few hundred more pieces over the next several decades. After close examination of their features you can start to organize them based upon common morphology. Certainly your original estimate of where you put the ten pieces must be readjusted in light of new evidence but now you are closer to understanding the whole puzzle. Then suppose you find a new piece of the puzzle and it is very obvious it should go close to some previously found pieces but isn’t quite the same. It has a little bit of the picture from this piece and a little bit of the picture from another piece. While you don’t have all of the pieces, you are coming to a more accurate picture of reality.

Outsiders look at fossils (speaking of cows):

A favorite example of mine is this Young Earth Creationist article criticizing Daryl Domining’s ancient sirenian fossil, accusing him of just making up an imaginary creature getting the bones of a manatee and cow mixed together based upon his ‘evolutionary beliefs.’ And Daryl himself appears to tell us what he is looking at as an expert in the field:

One thing of note that he said was:

When the time comes to analyze accumulations like these, it’s usually not hard to tell whether a given isolated bone is from a seacow, a rhino, a crocodile, etc. – bones of different animals really look different, so it’s generally not a matter of guesswork!

But for non-experts like you and me (at least on this topic), just looking at a picture without any context or additional knowledge: yeah those teeth could be anything!

(Blogging Graduate Student) #19

To continue that analogy, what if you find a partial tail light that clearly matches the structure of a tail light only used by corvettes? That makes it pretty clear that the tail light came from a corvette, no?

Often this “rest” is based on other specimens, or is an educated guess based on the morphology of the pieces that are found. If it’s just an educated guess not represented by actual bones, then no conclusions are drawn from those structures - they’re just for illustrative purposes, to help us better mentally place the bones in context.

(T J Runyon) #20

So… fragments. Not all fragments are created equal. Give me a fragment from the right part of the femur and I can tell you if it walked upright or not. Give me a molar and I can tell you if it’s sapiens or Neanderthal. Some fragments are pretty worthless. Also, there has been strong pushback from the anthropology community against those who use a single tooth or skull fragment to make grand claims. It isn’t enough in most cases. Some of these comments just show me how completely unaware some folks are about certain fields. Kills me how they think they know what we talk about behind closed doors. If you’re not in the field don’t talk as though you are. You’re embarrassing yourself.