RE: "Newage sewage"

From: Vincent Campbell (
Date: Thu Aug 23 2001 - 10:14:54 BST

  • Next message: Chris Taylor: "Proof"

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    From: Vincent Campbell <>
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    Subject: RE: "Newage sewage"
    Date: Thu, 23 Aug 2001 10:14:54 +0100
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            <Morphic fields can be demonstrated according to non-contact
    influence from
    > one organism to another. Sheldrake produced a test demonstrating this
    > effect between pets and their owners. A skeptic by the name of Wiseman
    > tried to refute Sheldrake by replicating the experiment and, to his
    > astonishment, generated exactly the same data. No one has successfully
    > refuted Sheldrake's findings in this test.>
            This isn't true. Sheldrake disputes Wiseman and colleagues
    refutation of his experiment which they published in a pyschology journal (I
    forget which, it's indicated on Sheldrake's website where he gets very cross
    and has got long replies to these critiques mainly by saying these people
    only looked for what they wanted to see- says the man doing tests on psychic
    dogs as though that were unmotivated).

            As to the 'can people tell if they're being stared at' experiments,
    these have been carried out time and time again by different people- with
    the very interesting result that experimenters who believe in it sometimes
    get positive results and those that don't, invariably don't. Wiseman and a
    US researcher, whose findings conflicted in this way, tried using each
    other's methods, then each other's labs, and still a clear experimenter
    effect was present. (I saw this on a TV shows, but I presume Wiseman wrote
    it up somewhere. There is a study by someone else published in 'The
    Skeptical Inquirer' that's available online).

            But even if such studies suggested psychic dogs and people with
    psychic eyes in the back of their heads, to leap from this to saying the
    cause of this is MR through MF, is a massive and invalid leap (a bit like
    the assertion that if scientists can't explain a strange light in the sky it
    "must" therefore be a spacecraft piloted by an extra-terrestrial
    intelligence). Such things are leaps of faith, or wishful thinking, not
    scientific at all.

            <Nobody has isolated any mechanisms by which genetic information is
    > translated into organic structure.>
            See, one of the problems here Ted is you'r constant use of absolutes
    that are wrong. Here's a short article from New Scientist (more detail in
    'Science', vol 293, p1068):

            'Proteins called histones play such an important role in regulating
    genes that we should think of them as a "histone code". complementary to the
    genetic code, says biochemist David Allis of the University of Virginia.
              "For some time now, we have known there is more to our genetic
    blueprint than DNA itself", says Allis. individual genes can be turned off
    by adding methyl groups to DNA, a process called imprinting. what's more,
    imprinted DNA can be passed from one generation to another, effectively
    passing down information that isn't directly encoded in our genome.

             DNA molecules wrap themselves around histones, and it has recently
    emerged that a variety of chemical changes to these proteins, such as the
    addition of acetyl groups, can regulate gene expression. Now an
    international team including Allis has found that adding methyl groups to
    specific parts of a histone called H3 has a dramatic effect. It doesn't
    just affect single genes, but can turn large stretches of our genome on or
    off, says Allis.

              In an accompanying paper, Allis and Thomas Jenuwein of the Vienna
    Biocenter in Austria go beyond these findings, arguing that the "histone
    code" considerably extends the information encoded in the genome, and plays
    a vital role in determining the fate of cells.

              "We've now got our whole genome sequenced- and that's going to
    lead to a lot of important studies," says Allis. But he points out that
    studying the genome alone will never reveal what leads to gene expression or
    lack of expression.

              Unravelling histone switches will be important for future stem
    cell work, says Allis. "The goal of being able to make tissues we need
    isn't going to be much more than fantasy until we understand the
    consequences of the histone code over time".

            Emma Young, New Scientist, 18/08/01, p 16'

            In the same issue, it was also reported that comparing genes in
    fungi, land plants and animals, they have worked out that fungi reached land
    first as much as 1.3 billion years ago.

            Organisms have had an inordinately long time (in human terms) to
    produce an incredibly complex systems, that we've been spending, what... 150
    years tops researching. Of course there are gaps in our knowledge, but we
    are getting closer and closer to how it all works through exploration
    oriented around the genes.

            There's no way we'll find evidence of causal processes like MR
    through studies on things like psychic dogs- you can't really genuinely
    believe that can you? Without evidence of causality all you have is faith.
    When people in the lab muck about with genes it has an impact, not only on
    the individual organisms they fiddle with, but on the offspring as well- how
    much more evidence of causality do you need?


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