PZ Myers posted Entry 3209 on June 29, 2007 04:07 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3198

A rather unsavory character, Dr Johannes Lerle, was jailed in Germany for violating their laws against neo-Nazism and Holocaust denial. I discussed this earlier this week, and as Gerard Harbison and Andrew Brown have recently pointed out, he was not a very nice man at all…a bit of a kook, really.

Dr Lerle is an unabashed and deeply anti-semitic holocaust denier. He takes the view that the only good Jew is a Christian convert. All others are children of the devil: "Jews" with scare quotes round them, to distinguish them from Christians. Those "Jews", his website explains, control the world's press, and the American government, are murderers, hypocrites, liars and bent on world domination for religious reasons. All this and more is on his website but it's in German - a language few Americans read.

Now here's the weird twist and the reason I'm mentioning it here: Bill Dembski claims that this is an instance of the persecution of an Intelligent Design advocate. Even more confusingly, Dembski leapt to this conclusion because he heard that Lerle had been jailed for being against abortion. There's nothing there about evolution or Intelligent Design — it's all an anti-Semitic rant that babbles on about stopping abortions.

That's an oddly convoluted leap of logic from Dembski that I don't understand. Are we to assume that if a religious loon hates Jews and considers abortion and birth control to be anti-Christian conspiracies that will allow the hordes of Islam to overrun the country, he must also be a fellow traveler with the Intelligent Design creationists? Are these fairly common tenets among the fellows of the Discovery Institute? Where does he come up with the idea that this rather ugly story implies that teaching ID is a crime against humanity?

I don't see the connection. I'll be charitable and assume that his martyr complex is simply and generically inflamed so that whenever he sees anyone getting arrested, he takes it personally.

Just a hint, Bill—it would have been funnier if you'd gotten upset at Paris Hilton's imprisonment as representative of the persecution of creationists. Lerle…not funny. More than a little unpleasant, actually, and not the kind of frothing rabid religious fanatic you really want associated with your cause, I don't think. Although, say, how's Howard Ahmanson doing?

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Comment #185163

Posted by harold on June 29, 2007 5:04 PM (e)

This is yet another confirmation of the point I’ve made so many times.

Yes, it is taken for granted that an authoritarian “religious” wingnut bigot is a supporter of creationism/ID, and vice versa.

It is taken for granted that a question about evolution is an issue at a Republican debate but not a Democrat debate.

A crude way to explain the relationship would be to say that those who wish to impose brutal, irrational, and unpopular policies on others in a particularly intrusive and disrespectful way, probably because of their personal psychological issues, need to justfiy themselves by claiming that God commands others to obey them. Otherwise, why would anyone listen?

Those who wish to pander to this group out of mere veniality must hint approval of this “belief” as well.

Of course, there is denial and cognitive dissonance. Dembski may or may not admit to himself “I’m making all this BS up in the service of a fantasized authoritarian dystopia (or at least, those political elements that are the closest to that ideal)”.

In practice that is what he is doing.

For the record, I think anti-Semitic ravings should be met with verbal social disdain, and civil penalties where appropriate, not punished with jail time. But that’s the business of Germans in this case.

Comment #185178

Posted by hooligans on June 29, 2007 5:24 PM (e)

In addition to offering his websites support to the causes of holocaust deniers, HIV/AIDS deniers, Global Warning skeptics, cranks who encourage people dying of cancer to try an untested drug (DCA), he also hosts those supporting supporting Pleasuriansism. Sheezzz, any other wingnuts you want to support Bill? It is truly a pleasure watching you completly discredit yourself and your “scholarship”.

Comment #185180

Posted by Gary Hurd on June 29, 2007 5:46 PM (e)

Let’s think about this for a moment. The Nazis were killing “mental defectives” long before they were industrially killing Jews and Gypsies. “Mental Defective” included homosexuals.

This could be just another “first things first” wedge directive promoted by the DI morons, err: minions.

Comment #185181

Posted by Coin on June 29, 2007 6:13 PM (e)

The part that really takes my breath away is in Uncommon Descent’s comments section, where various readers try to claim this guy wasn’t really a holocaust denier even in the face of Gerald Harrison dropping in to offer links to Lerle’s website and news articles on the subject.

Comment 33 in particular. What on earth?

Comment #185185

Posted by David Stanton on June 29, 2007 6:36 PM (e)

I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that it would be pretty hard being a holocaust denier since the records have been made public. I recall a recent piece on Sixty Minutes where they tracked down one of the survivors and presented him with detailed documents about his captivity. The high point was when they asked him if he had ever seen a number found in the documents in reference to him, at which point he replied “every day” and rolled up his shirt to display the number on his arm.

Of course, if you can deny that we have been to the moon while Neil Armstrong is still alive, I guess you can deny anything.

Comment #185187

Posted by PZ Myers on June 29, 2007 6:43 PM (e)

I’d be more worried about denying it while Buzz Aldrin was still alive.

Comment #185189

Posted by Science Avenger on June 29, 2007 6:53 PM (e)

Beggars can’t be choosers. [shrug]

Comment #185194

Posted by Peter Collopy on June 29, 2007 8:02 PM (e)

It looks to me from his post like Dembski is upset about the Council of Europe opposing creationism, and not about the Holocaust denier being jailed. Both the letter he quotes and the article he links to discuss both, and he doesn’t place any emphasis on Lerle. It does seem a little strange to me for a non-scientific political body to endorse a particular theory or oppose a perticular doctrine, even if a pseudoscientific one.

Comment #185196

Posted by slang on June 29, 2007 8:07 PM (e)

David Stanton wrote: “I may be wrong here, but it seems to me that it would be pretty hard being a holocaust denier since the records have been made public.”

That’s tongue in cheek, right? At a website dedicated to counter evolution deniers? One would almost yearn for a Buzz Aldrin of evolution..

Comment #185201

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OMa on June 29, 2007 9:08 PM (e)

Peter Collopy wrote:

It does seem a little strange to me for a non-scientific political body to endorse a particular theory or oppose a perticular doctrine, even if a pseudoscientific one.

Eh? The Council of Europe is proposing to do in a non-litigation society exactly what Kitzmiller vs Dover does, keeping the separation between religion and science education.

The Council of Europe Draft Recommendation wrote:

Summary

The theory of evolution is being attacked by religious fundamentalists who call for creationist theories to be taught in European schools alongside or even in place of it. From a scientific view point there is absolutely no doubt that evolution is a central theory for our understanding of the Universe and of life on Earth.

Creationism in any of its forms, such as “intelligent design”, is not based on facts, does not use any scientific reasoning and its contents are pathetically inadequate for science classes.

The Assembly calls on education authorities in member States to promote scientific knowledge and the teaching of evolution and to oppose firmly any attempts at teaching creationism as a scientific discipline. [Bold added.]

( http://assembly.coe.int/main.asp?Link=/documents… )

The reason that it has become necessary is mainly because creationists have gotten a foothold among mostly eastern Europe member states and their politicians, and because turkish creationists tries to inject pseudoscientific material into schools.

Comment #185202

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on June 29, 2007 9:15 PM (e)

“The reason that it has become necessary is mainly because creationists have gotten a foothold among mostly eastern Europe member states and their politicians”

I dropped the ball. The thing is that these creationist politicians push creationism on a political level (it is after all a socio-political movement).

They try to inject religion into science education by political decisions, while the turkish creationists does the same by sending pseudoscientific material masquerading as scientific textbooks to european (and US, I believe) schools.

Comment #185204

Posted by Red Right Hand on June 29, 2007 9:45 PM (e)

…cranks who encourage people dying of cancer to try an untested drug (DCA)…

I thought the favorite anti-cancer drug of the ID crowd was good ol’fashioned semen:

www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2007/01/the_deceitful_c.html

PS: Does anyone know what’s happened to KwickXML links? It keeps sending me to this:
www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-comments.fcgi

Comment #185207

Posted by Gerard Harbison on June 29, 2007 10:12 PM (e)

Well, I figure anyone can make a mistake, and deserves one chance to fix it. So I tried emailing or posting a comment everywhere that picked up the story, to let them know the kind of guy Lerle really is.

Dembki didn’t fix it. Nor did Brussels Journal, the source of the original bogus story. Nor did newsmax.com or stoptheaclu.com. Lifesitenews, on the other hand, issued a correction within 24 hours. You can bemoan their politics, but you can’t impugn their integrity.

If, knowing the guy is a rabid antisemite, they continue to run the story, in my opinion they are no longer blameless by reason of ignorance. They now own a piece of his antisemitism. They know he’s a bigot, but they continue to hold him up as a martyr.

Comment #185214

Posted by Alan Bird on June 30, 2007 12:32 AM (e)

Hmm Well known holocaust denier is taken to court, where he confidently expects to rip all counter arguments to shreds. But to the contrary he is shown through his performance in the witness box to be an obsessive loon.
The judgment as presented by the judge is a masterpiece of legal argument utterly destroying the holcaust denier’s case.
The denier is David Irving. The judge is The Hon. Mr. Justice Gray. You can read it on http://www.nizkor.org/hweb/people/i/irving-david…
The parallels are spooky. I wonder if, when Mr Irving looks in the mirror, he sees Behe & Dembski peering back at him?
And I would love to be present when or if Judge Grey & Judge Jones ever meet: a pair of legal colossi indeed.

Comment #185226

Posted by Jesus on June 30, 2007 3:10 AM (e)

I would care because in Germany you can be jailed for thoughtcrime.

Comment #185229

Posted by Chris Torvik on June 30, 2007 5:23 AM (e)

“It’s all so funny really. It is refreshing to step back and see that we are all still such children, haggling over what something is or isn’t. As a young child we picked up and tried to discern, with our limited database of knowledge, what objects were. Though we cannot recall the emotional feeling of ‘awed wonder’, we are delighted when we see it reflected on the face of our young.

To me it seems very clear.
But first let’s set the stage here.

First we have the EVOLUTIONISTS. They say evolution is the only way to go because some viruses, bacteria etc. have been found to mutate into changing their number of chromosomes, i.e. become ANOTHER SPECIES entirely, by our chromosomal spe-cial definition.
They say, if the viruses can mutate into another species, then so can everything.

Then there are the CREATIONISTS. They say NO EVOLUTION, everything was done with the wonderous, miraculous powers of God. And they would as soon hang you as a heretic, than listen to you even consider suggesting that GOD is an ALIEN.

Though the CREATIONISTS HAVE SOFTENED A BIT THESE LAST FEW YEARS, EITHER OF THE ABOVE TWO CAMPS SCOFF AT ANY THEORY THAT ENCOMPASSES BOTH IDEAS.

To me - it seems pretty clear.

Yes, viruses and bacteria can mutate, even to the point of the new generations being different species, by our cromosomal count standard.

However, where is the proof that anything higher than a crustacean has done this?

THE WAY I SEE IT, THERE IS A MORE ADVANCED PERSON(S) - OR ENTITY (IES). CALL THEM GOD, IF YOU LIKE. THE HAVE LEARNED THE INS AND OUTS OF DNA COMPLETELY. THEY ARE COMPLETE MASTERS OF THE SUBJECT.

THEY CREATED US. THE BUILDING BLOCKS THEY USED ARE THE SAME, AND SOME PARTS ARE SIMILAR - HOWEVER NO “LINK” CAN BE FOUND BECAUSE THERE IS NONE. SIMILARITIES CAN GIVE HOPE TO A “LINK’, BUT WHO NEEDS A LINK?

To clarify:
WHEN YOU WERE A KID AND YOU PLAYED WITH YOU ERECTOR SET DID YOU CHANGE YOUR BUILDING JUST ONE PIECE BY ONE PIECE AT A TIME? MAYBE SOMETIMES YOU DID, BUT USUALLY YOU TORE IT DOWN AND CREATED ANOTHER ONE. SOME FACETS WERE THE SAME, BUT A ‘MISSING LINK’ WAS CERTAINLY NOT EVER TO BE FOUND IF SOMEONE WANTED TO RECREATE BOTH MODELS.

AS WE GOT OLDER WE BECAME MORE COMPLEX IN OUR ERECTOR DESIGNS. SOME OF US LOST INTEREST. OTHERS WENT ON TO BECOME ARCHETECTS AND BECAME QUITE PROFICIENT AT CREATING IN THE 3RD DIMENSION AT THE FOURTH DIMENSION.

Perhaps DNA is 5th dimensional.

To me it’s obvious that we did not entirely evolve from thunder and sunshine. A computer cannot just ‘come to be’. A basic law of physics states that, “Any system without work gets more chaotic.”

I suppose it might be possible to creat a simple organism to grow into a mammal over generations - as long as it was encoded in the DNA to do that. However, from the evidence of the dinasaurs, and what our “folklores” tell us, God created us “in his image”, knowinf full well that we could happen upon this “tree of life”. Our lore tells us that God dod not want us to do this, just as a parent doesn’t want a child to do something that can harm him, and believe me, the potential for harm when speaking of genetic creation, is expontentially larger than we would first contemplate. (We didn’t forsee “chimera viruses” - opps!)

But God gave us Pokeymon to practice with, and tv came from somewhere, in part, to sedate our minds.”

Comment #185231

Posted by Praxiteles on June 30, 2007 7:04 AM (e)

Ooooh!

Time cube.

Comment #185236

Posted by Ronald from Leuven on June 30, 2007 8:17 AM (e)

Jesus wrote:

I would care because in Germany you can be jailed for thoughtcrime.

Er, no… it’s not a “thoughtcrime” that’s punishable.
It’s the outright lying that’s punishable. Just as crying “fire” in a full movie theatre is punishable (if there is no fire or any reasonable cause to assume there’s a fire)

Comment #185237

Posted by ben on June 30, 2007 8:28 AM (e)

THE WAY I SEE IT

The way I see it, you’re an off-topic, all-caps-screaming, no-sense-making, flaming nutball.

Comment #185239

Posted by Carsten S on June 30, 2007 9:01 AM (e)

Gerard,

on the UD blog, Mung has asked for a reference to German law that prohibits holocaust denial. I will not answer over there, because you have to log in, but the relevant part seems to be §130 StGB, Abs. 3:

Mit Freiheitsstrafe bis zu fünf Jahren oder mit Geldstrafe wird bestraft, wer eine unter der Herrschaft des Nationalsozialismus begangene Handlung der in § 6 Abs. 1 des Völkerstrafgesetzbuches bezeichneten Art in einer Weise, die geeignet ist, den öffentlichen Frieden zu stören, öffentlich oder in einer Versammlung billigt, leugnet oder verharmlost.

[Jesus: If you call that a thought-crime…]

Sorry for not trying to translate this, my legal English would not be sufficient.

Comment #185245

Posted by raven on June 30, 2007 9:46 AM (e)

Jesus on June 30, 2007 3:10 AM (e)

I would care because in Germany you can be jailed for thoughtcrime.

It isn’t a thoughtcrime when someone has it up on a website.

It is a hate crime.

Nice to see Jesus showing up. Maybe he could expound on his position on hate crimes, lies, and mass murder.

Comment #185248

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on June 30, 2007 10:00 AM (e)

Red Right Hand:

I think the link you get in return is where the KwickXML script stops to throw up an error message.

You ask about links in a comment with a failed link. Note that the abbreviated a link tag doesn’t work in comments, it is disabled. One has to use url (see the documentation and its example).

Yes, I know, it is stupid. KwickXML implementations sucks as all comment scripts, but still it allow more HTML than most.

Note: Also, I suspect that the PT script may be broken, since I can’t get tag nesting to work inside url tags. Or else the documentation is wrong.

Ronald wrote:

It’s the outright lying that’s punishable.

More precisely, I think it is statements that are inflammatory and inciting public unrest that is forbidden or even punishable. It is not a thought crime, and holocaust deniers may even be free to voice their ideas outside the public sphere for all I know.

This seems, btw, to be not unheard of in the rest of Europe. At least Sweden has similar regulation. But AFAIK Sweden has no good reason to suppress authoritarians and denialists like that. Hate crime was rising due to growing neo-nazi movements and others, but it was still a rather harsh move.

Germany OTOH needed to convert an authoritarian culture to a democratic one after the war. Revoking the regulations now would support the denialists, so I can understand why they are still in place.

Comment #185252

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on June 30, 2007 10:11 AM (e)

TL wrote:

it is stupid.

To be more exact, it is both stupid and bad design, since the page source code is showing up all links as an a tag. So you get no hint what is wrong, and you can’t copy a successful link to work from. (Without first modifying it, but you still need to know where the error is.)

Comment #185254

Posted by Science Avenger on June 30, 2007 10:17 AM (e)

Chris torvik said:

To me it’s obvious that we did not entirely evolve from thunder and sunshine.

That made my day. Deserves a place right next to “what about pygmies + dwarves?”

Comment #185256

Posted by christorvik@yahoo.com on June 30, 2007 10:34 AM (e)

What’s wrong Science Avenger? Does simplicity scare you? As Edison was quoted, “The highest intelligence is formatted in it’s simplist form.”

Ha, No Edison did’t really say that!!

HAHAHA

BUT HE SHOULD HAVE. OPEN YOUR MINDS. DON’T TRY TO COMPETE WITH ME. IM NOT HERE TO COMPETE - JUST TO FIND TRUTH.

IF YOU HAVE DATA THAT DISPUTES MY OPINION, I WELCOME IT. I ALSO APPRECIATE IT - AND WILL NOT SCOFF AT IT.

Comment #185257

Posted by Alan Bird on June 30, 2007 10:47 AM (e)

Chris Torvik: all the data you need are on talk.origins, although I don’t believe there’s anything yet on the use & abuse of capital letters. Maybe there ought to be.

Comment #185260

Posted by christorvik@yahoo.com on June 30, 2007 11:07 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #185261

Posted by christorvik@yahoo.com on June 30, 2007 11:09 AM (e)

“Have we found any missing links yet, other than viral genomes? Do we have any evidence of one genome from anything higher than a virus or bacteria, evolving into a completely new genome?

On the side of evolution, I do know of a human mutation (apparently a mutation) that made this man have an IQ of over 200.”

Comment #185262

Posted by harold on June 30, 2007 11:30 AM (e)

Chris Torvik -

IF YOU HAVE DATA THAT DISPUTES MY OPINION, I WELCOME IT. I ALSO APPRECIATE IT - AND WILL NOT SCOFF AT IT.

I’m sorry, I don’t believe you. I wish I could.

(Your belief if God is not what I’m arguing with here, I have no problem whatsoever with that.)

Buy you see, I can’t believe you, because wrote something so ignorant (see below). Sorry for the strong word but there is no polite way to say it.

I’ve learned through experience that truly honest people usually don’t try to pass themselves off as knowing something about a subject upon which they are completely ignorant.

However, I’ve bothered to reply, because you at least claim to be looking for a middle ground between extreme positions. It’s just that you are badly mistaken about what you perceive as one of the extreme positions. (Your comments about creationism are quite accurate, though.)

Feel free to prove me wrong by showing some humility and trying to learn something.

First we have the EVOLUTIONISTS. They say evolution is the only way to go because some viruses, bacteria etc. have been found to mutate into changing their number of chromosomes, i.e. become ANOTHER SPECIES entirely, by our chromosomal spe-cial definition.
They say, if the viruses can mutate into another species, then so can everything.

I’m sorry, but it’s unbelievably arrogant and insulting of you to imply that people with scientific educations would believe something like this.

However, I offer you an olive branch. Why don’t you apologize for the mis-statement, and try to learn what people really believe?

Comment #185263

Posted by UnMark on June 30, 2007 11:43 AM (e)

Sadly, Chris, as you’ve so aptly demonstrated, the “mutation” you speak of works in reverse….

Google Translate gives this english translation of the German text Carsten posted (post 185239):
“With imprisonment up to five years or with fine one punishes, which committed an action designated of the kind under the rule of the national socialism in § 6 exp. 1 of the people penal code in a way, which is suitable, of disturbing the public peace publicly or in a meeting approves of, denies or plays down.”

Comment #185264

Posted by Science Avenger on June 30, 2007 12:01 PM (e)

Chris torvik belched:

What’s wrong Science Avenger? Does simplicity scare you?

When did laughter become an indication of fear?

As Edison was quoted, “The highest intelligence is formatted in it’s simplist form.”

Ha, No Edison did’t really say that!!

HAHAHA

BUT HE SHOULD HAVE.

Didn’t you learn anything from creationism crank class? When you make up a quote to support your claims, you aren’t supposed to admit it.

IM NOT HERE TO COMPETE - JUST TO FIND TRUTH.

I seriously doubt it, because you wouldn’t have to seek very long to learn what you are pompously posting on here is crap.

Comment #185266

Posted by David Stanton on June 30, 2007 12:40 PM (e)

Chris Torvik wrote:

“First we have the EVOLUTIONISTS. They say evolution is the only way to go because some viruses, bacteria etc. have been found to mutate into changing their number of chromosomes, i.e. become ANOTHER SPECIES entirely, by our chromosomal spe-cial definition.
They say, if the viruses can mutate into another species, then so can everything.”

Well I don’t know who has been feeding you this load of crap, (although I have my suspicions), but this bears no resemblance to any evolutionary theory I have ever heard of. In fact, I am unaware of any variation in chromoisome number in any virus or bacteria, nor would it necessarily make them a new species if it were to occur. What I do know is that speciation has been observed in nature and in the laboratory in many organisms, for example:

Apple Maggots Nature 336:61-64 (1988)

Anopheles Mosquitoes Science 289:115-117 (2002)

Fruit Flies Nature 230:289-292 (1971)

Maidenhair Ferns Am. J. Botany 79:701-707 (1992)

Goatsbeard Am. J. Botany 76:1119-1124 (1989)

We also have literally thousands of examples of sibling species, speciation in progress and incipient species. We also know of many examples in eukaryotes where changes in chromosome number through polyploidy, aneulpoidy, chromosomal fusion, etc. is at least partially responsible for producing new species.

In addition, we have very good evidence for common descent through speciation, including phylogenetic evidence for relationships at the species level and for most levels above the species level, including at the Domain level. There is a tree of life which is derived form evidence in many fields, including genetics, developmental biology, palentology, etc. and it demonstrates the relatedness of all living things.

Oh and by the way, many evolutioary biologists are deeply religious so your dichotomy is false as well.

Comment #185269

Posted by raven on June 30, 2007 1:31 PM (e)

One of the best examples of speciation as we watch is mice undergoing adaptive radiation on Madeira. From an old post of mine on Dispatches from the culture wars blog.

PS: I think Torvik’s problem is not so much lack of education as misplacing his medication. Not worth trying to get through such a daunting obstacle.
*************************************************

Not so! Under the right conditions, speciation can occur very quickly. It’s adaptation that takes a long time.
http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2006/11/island…

In this case, a small population, benign environment and physical separation from other breeding groups are the magic formula.
:-)
Posted by: Salim Fadhley

From the link: Island Mice May Evolve Faster: From One Species To Six In 500 Years
SOURCE: Genome News Network
AUTHOR: Bijal P. Trivedi
COMMENTARY: Allen MacNeill

An alert Evolution List reader has already pointed me to an article that first appeared on April 28, 2000, concerning the unusually rapid speciation of common European mice on the island of Madeira. Apparently, these mice were brought to the island on sailing ships, most likely from Portugal. Since such ships were very small, the total size of the founding populations would have been extremely small; probably less than a dozen individuals (and certainly less than a hundred).

This would certainly qualify as precisely the kind of founder population that I described in the previous post concerning a possible mechanism for chromosomal speciation. In particular, it is extremely interesting that the mice in question have apparently speciated in less than 500 years, and that the mechanism underlying this speciation has involved multiple chromosomal fusions.

Here’s the full article describing the research (commentary follows):

Interesting paper. This would be an extreme case, as they note. It would also qualify as a “natural” experiment. It also shows why biologists have difficulty designing experiments to demonstrate speciation. Who is going to start an experiment and let it run for 500 years? Maybe if Louis put down his creo deck of 3X5 cards and read some real research, he would learn something.

Posted by: raven | June 11, 2007 12:47 PM

Comment #185271

Posted by raven on June 30, 2007 1:42 PM (e)

The link works if copied and pasted it into the browser. It is an interesting addition to the list of recent speciation events.

http://evolutionlist.blogspot.com/2006/11/island…

Friday, November 24, 2006
Island Mice May Evolve Faster: From One Species To Six In 500 Years

SOURCE: Genome News Network

AUTHOR: Bijal P. Trivedi

COMMENTARY: Allen MacNeill

An alert Evolution List reader has already pointed me to an article that first appeared on April 28, 2000, concerning the unusually rapid speciation of common European mice on the island of Madeira. Apparently, these mice were brought to the island on sailing ships, most likely from Portugal. Since such ships were very small, the total size of the founding populations would have been extremely small; probably less than a dozen individuals (and certainly less than a hundred).

This would certainly qualify as precisely the kind of founder population that I described in the previous post concerning a possible mechanism for chromosomal speciation. In particular, it is extremely interesting that the mice in question have apparently speciated in less than 500 years, and that the mechanism underlying this speciation has involved multiple chromosomal fusions.

Here’s the full article describing the research (commentary follows):

Janice Britton-Davidian spent several weeks in 1999 placing hundreds of mousetraps all over the semi-tropical island of Madeira and discovered what may be an example of “rapid evolution.” She caught hundreds of small brown mice that look pretty much alike but that are genetically distinct—a very unusual thing for such a small, geographically contained place. It normally takes thousands to millions of years for one species of animal to diverge to become two. On Madeira, one species may have evolved into six in the space of just 500 years.

Britton-Davidian, an evolutionary biologist at Université Montpellier II in Montpellier, France, showed that populations of Maderian mice have between 22 and 30 chromosomes, even though their ancestors, who first arrived with the Portuguese in the 15th century, had 40.

Madeira is a rugged volcanic island with sharp black cliffs that block all but a few isolated rocky shores. Only a few small villages decorate the strip of coast. The Portuguese were first to inhabit the island, bringing with them the mice that Britton-Davidian so avidly seeks. As the Portuguese founded small settlements around the island, they inadvertently deposited small groups of mice at each stop. And, for the last five centuries, mountainous barriers have prevented these coastal colonies of rodents from commingling.

Britton-Davidian collected hundreds of mice from about 40 locations around the island and found six distinct populations. The common brown house mouse of Europe, presumably the ancestor of the Madeira mice, has 40 chromosomes, but the six families of Madeiran mice have between 22 and 30.

The current families of Madeiran mice are not short of genetic material. They have not lost any DNA. What happened is this: over time, some of the chromosomes fused together, packing more DNA into some chromosomes. Each of the six unique populations of mice on Madeira has its own special assembly of fused chromosomes. Each group of mice may now be its own species.

The diversity of fused chromosomes seems to have occurred in just 500 years, or between 1,500-2,000 generations of mice, says Britton-Davidian. Furthermore, the huge diversity in chromosomes has evolved solely from geographic isolation rather than adaptations to different environments.

“What is surprising is how fast this has taken place,” says Scott Edwards, an evolutionary biologist from the University of Washington, in Seattle. Based on fossil records of sea urchins and invertebrates, evolution of different species is thought to take thousands to millions of years. “But this is an interesting case because it may prove to be an extreme case of rapid speciation,” says Edwards.

Britton-Davidian wants to know whether these populations of mice have evolved into different species or whether they are on the cusp of speciation. A species is defined as a group of organisms that can mate and produce fertile offspring.

One of Britton-Davidian’s most surprising findings is that she and her colleagues found no mice that are hybrids among any of the six groups. “This might be because the hybrids are infertile or they may be less fit than the parents and unable to survive,” says Britton-Davidian. Other explanations could be that the groups have been geographically isolated and have not had the chance to mate, or that the mice “recognize each other as different and choose not to mate.”

Britton-Davidian has taken some mice from Madeira back to her lab in France and will try interbreeding the six populations to confirm whether the hybrid mice are infertile, which, if they are, would imply that the different groups were in the process of speciation. Her team will also observe the mice to see whether they show behavioral or physical differences.

REFERENCES CITED:

Britton-Davidian, J. et al. Rapid chromosomal evolution in island mice. Nature 403, 158 (January 13, 2000).

Comment #185278

Posted by David Stanton on June 30, 2007 3:15 PM (e)

Raven,

Thanks, I’ll add it to the list.

Comment #185282

Posted by Larry Gilman on June 30, 2007 4:21 PM (e)

Chilling stuff going down here. Where are the Dawkinsonian-humanist defenders of free speech?

Ronald from Leuven wrote:

Er, no… it’s not a “thoughtcrime” that’s punishable. 
It’s the outright lying that’s punishable. Just as crying “fire” in a full movie theatre is punishable (if there is no fire or any reasonable cause to assume there’s a fire)

I don’t see Ronald’s distinction between thoughtcrime and lying-as-crime: the idea that “outright lying” should be punishable is just what every theocrat, every dictator, every totalitarian commissar has always said and always will say. Once the principle that only accurate speech is protected speech has been firmly established, the details of the resulting tyranny depend only on who has the power to say what is a “lie” and what is not. As for that awful metaphor about crying “fire” in a burning theatre, it originated—or at least became canonically quotable—with US Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes’s opinion for the majority in 1919 in a decision jailing a Socialist not for actually panicking a crowded public building but for distributing leaflets denouncing the draft and US involvement in World War I (Schenck v. United States, http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl…. It originated in political speech control and has been cited ever since, reliably, by just about everyone seeking to control political speech under any circumstances whatever. Holocaust denial on a website, in speeches, or in books is clearly political speech, however obnoxious. While it is understandable that Germany and France have criminalized holocaust denial, given the history, I agree with Noam Chomsky that they are wrong to do so.

It’s simple: free speech is either for speech you despise, speech you think is harmful, speech you think is pernicious and mind-rotting and false, or it is nothing at all. Just a propaganda phrase blowin’ in the wind.

Raven wrote:

It isn’t a thoughtcrime when someone has it up on a website.
It is a hate crime.

If words on a website can constitute a “hate crime,” then we have fallen down the civil-liberties rabbithole and there is no telling when we’ll hit bottom. And if telling lies about history can be criminal, then why only Holocaust history? Hey, we should be sending left-wing revisionist historians off to jail in droves—or right-wing defenders of the cherished traditional falsehoods, depending on your point of view. And why only recent history? —why not evolutionary history, too? In which case, either (a) defending evolution will be a punishable crime, by and by, or (b) defending Creationism will be, depending on who has the firmest grip on the handles of state power and therefore gets to say what, in law, is the true “history.” Not utterly far-fetched: both sides already claim, as in the case of Holocaust denial, that very great harm is liable to result if the lies told by the other side prevail.

When Germany, France, and other countries imprison people for talking hateful ideological racist nonsense they are diminishing and violating a fundamental human right, and that should be of concern to everyone who cares about liberty. No matter how confused Michael Behe’s thought processes are. If you won’t stick up for the nasty-ass nutballs today, then when it’s your turn to be classified as a nasty-ass nutball, please don’t squeal about your precious rights as they drag you away.

Sincerely,

Larry

Comment #185288

Posted by so-totally-not-a-lawyer on June 30, 2007 5:54 PM (e)

You don’t mention your restrictions on free speech, like libel and slander. As I understand it, truth is the best defense in such cases, and untruth can be the deciding factor in forbidding certain expressions of speech.

Another factor in libel or slander (don’t hang me on the terms, IANAL!) seems to be whether actual harm is inflicted on the party being slandered.

In at least some countries on this side of the pond the overwhelming opinion is that the lies about what happened here in WW II are indeed very damaging to those few that survived the death camps and labor camps, and their relatives, and many others.

Laws forbidding holocaust denial are nothing more than a specific law implementation of said specific libel/slander, making it easier to prosecute than when each and every single case would have to be judged separately about it being damaging or untrue. Of course each case is still judged about other factors that might come into play, if any.

Another factor that might be worth considering is that in some constitutions the right for equal rights comes first, that is, protection against discrimination on race, sex, religion, etc. Freedom of speech is just about as high on the list, as long as it adheres to the ‘higher’ article.

Comment #185292

Posted by Coin on June 30, 2007 8:37 PM (e)

When did laughter become an indication of fear?

Science Avenger,

You may be aware of the quote by Mahatma Gandhi:

First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win.

In certain circles this quote* has begun to be seen not as an observation of a particular process, but a universal natural law, such that if any one of these four points are observed, then it is inevitable that the remaining points will shortly follow.

Once this premise is accepted, the obvious conclusion is that being ignored and/or laughed at is a good thing, something to be sought out and encouraged. Meanwhile, since the ignored/mocked/fought/won process is here viewed not as a little irony of life to be appreciated, but the actual recipe for success, it starts to seem reasonable to respond to being ignored or mocked with celebration, triumphalism. If they’re laughing at you, then that means that inevitably they will soon be fighting you, fearing you, and losing to you. Mission accomplished!

* Or variations on it, such as “they laughed at Einstein”– though, come to think of it, that particular version is a bit weird, since, y’know, did anyone ever laugh at Einstein? As far as I know Einstein gathered no public attention whatsoever until 1905, when his four big papers came on the scene all at once, and as far as I know the reaction at that time was more or less immediate and overwhelmingly positive. The only particularly negative responses to Einstein’s ideas I’m aware of came later, and were driven by anti-semitism more than by any particular inability to accept the ideas themselves. Similarly, did anyone ever laugh at Edison? I’m pretty sure the public’s only reaction to Edison was to just kind of throw money at him.

Comment #185303

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 30, 2007 11:16 PM (e)

Are we to assume that if a religious loon hates Jews and considers abortion and birth control to be anti-Christian conspiracies that will allow the hordes of Islam to overrun the country, he must also be a fellow traveler with the Intelligent Design creationists?

Bill said it, not me.

Comment #185304

Posted by Popper's Ghost on June 30, 2007 11:49 PM (e)

I don’t see Ronald’s distinction between thoughtcrime and lying-as-crime

Even though it’s right there in black and white his example, eh? Don’t make yourself like an idiot; there’s no law in Germany against lying. Sheesh.

Comment #185307

Posted by chunkdz on June 30, 2007 11:53 PM (e)

raven wrote:

One of the best examples of speciation as we watch is mice undergoing adaptive radiation on Madeira.

This is not speciation. From the article:

Britton-Davidian wants to know whether these populations of mice have evolved into different species or whether they are on the cusp of speciation. A species is defined as a group of organisms that can mate and produce fertile offspring.

The author of the study is unsure of whether the populations are new species or not. Yet Raven is quick to claim it as evidence for speciation in mammals. Stanton adds it to his questionable list of speciation examples. Talkorigins adds it to it’s list of speciation examples. Allen MacNeill claims that these are 6 distinct species and that it supports his pet hypothesis. But what does the author say?

Britton-Davidian has taken some mice from Madeira back to her lab in France and will try interbreeding the six populations to confirm whether the hybrid mice are infertile, which, if they are, would imply that the different groups were in the process of speciation.

Hmmm…., the author is unsure but will do some testing to find out. Too eager to wait for the results, however, the University of Ediacara has decided to run with the assumption that mammalian speciation has occurred in just 500 years.

(Incidentally, in Britton-Davidian’s follow up research on the mice she refers to them as “races” of mus musculus, not new species.)

Comment #185308

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 1, 2007 12:18 AM (e)

P.S.

I’m aware of Chomsky’s views, especially regarding holocaust denier Faurisson, and agree with them. But that one’s personal view is that a distinction doesn’t warrant the treatment that it receives is no justification for ignoring the distinction, which is what you did and I commented on. Holmes’ villainy was invoking a justifiable cause for restraint, shouting “fire” in a crowded theater, in service of an unjustified restraint on legitimate speech. His villainy does not attach to Ronald from Leuven who, unlike Holmes, used the example in good faith. Whether there are any speech acts that are so injurious to the public welfare that they should be criminalized is a matter about which people of good faith can sincerely disagree, without those who think they are being told that they are theocrats or totalitarians or that their acceptance of such restrictions will lead to theocracy or dictatorship; such slippery slope arguments are fallacious.

Comment #185309

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 1, 2007 12:29 AM (e)

as far as I know the reaction at that time was more or less immediate and overwhelmingly positive

I think you imagine it rather than know it. From Wikipedia:

At the time, however, they were not noticed by most physicists as being important, and many of those who did notice them rejected them outright. Some of this work—such as the theory of light quanta—would remain controversial for years.

Comment #185313

Posted by Coin on July 1, 2007 1:54 AM (e)

I think you imagine it rather than know it. From Wikipedia:

I see, thanks.

Comment #185334

Posted by David Stanton on July 1, 2007 8:06 AM (e)

Chunkdz,

You make a good point. However, at the risk of wandering even more off topic in this thread, I would like to point out a few things myself.

The problem of speciation is a difficult one to study because reproductive isolation usually leads to very slow genetic divergence. Since no one human life span is usually sufficient to follow the entire process, the charge of “were you there” can always be raised. And of course, if the species are already distinct before the study begins, then the charge is that the speciation was not really observed.

What is required for more direct observation of the process is a special case where reproductive isolation is very rapid and probably preceeds genetic divergence. The island mice story is such a case. There is a known time of colonization with very little genetic diversity originally. Then there were documented change in chromosome structure that occurred in a short time span. That is why this study is important.

As to whether these represent new species or not, it may be hard to say at this point. If the chromosome number does indeed vary from 22 to 30 and if the changes were primarily caused by chromosomal fusions, then we are undoubtedly observing speciation in action by a process that has been known to produce new species in the past. Even in the absence of any other significant genetic dievergence, it seems highly unlikely that there would not be at least some pair-wise combinations of karyotypes that would not be capable of producing fertile hybrids. If this is indeed the case, then by definition new species would have been produded. Of course, it might take some time in order to make this determination, so perhaps we should not be too quick to jump to conclusions.

At the same time, we also don’t want to fall into the trap of thinking that this evidence does not support the concept of rapid speciation. Observations of speciation in progress do count as evidence. If changes that occur before new species arise do not count and changes that occur after new species arise do not count, then we must observe exactly the important changes at the exact time and in the exact individuals in which they occur in order for anything to count. That is an unreasonable burden of proof. That is why studies such as these are so important.

Comment #185345

Posted by William E Emba on July 1, 2007 9:58 AM (e)

raven wrote:

One of the best examples of speciation as we watch is mice undergoing adaptive radiation on Madeira. From an old post of mine on Dispatches from the culture wars blog. [omitted]

Giant mutant mice on a remote South American island were recently identified as having learned over the past century to attack and kill albatross chicks that are more than a hundred times the size of the mice. See, for example, Mice gang up on endangered birds. I’m not used to science videos with a “viewer discretion” advisory.

Comment #185396

Posted by Pastor Bentonit, FCD on July 1, 2007 3:10 PM (e)

christorvik wrote:

Syntax Error: mismatched tag ‘kwickxml’

Well, at least you got that right!

Comment #185401

Posted by raven on July 1, 2007 3:53 PM (e)

One of the best examples of speciation as we watch is mice undergoing adaptive radiation on Madeira.

This is not speciation. From the article:

Britton-Davidian wants to know whether these populations of mice have evolved into different species or whether they are on the cusp of speciation. A species is defined as a group of organisms that can mate and produce fertile offspring.

The author of the study is unsure of whether the populations are new species or not. Yet Raven is quick to claim it as evidence for speciation in mammals.

A creo lying again. I said, “One of the best examples of speciation as we watch”….It’s obvious something is in progress by the karyotype rearranging. Whether it has finished or not can be determined by breeding experiments.

What you haven’t factored in is a known fact. Crosses between karyotypically different individuals produces reproductive failure in a high proportion of zygotes. This is due to unbalanced genomes in many of the zygotes. Just based on the known genetics of translocations the resulting crosses will be at least of lowered fertility and the progeny will likely have lowered fertility as well. Assuming there is any fertility.

The chromosomal differences alone are highly significant. All human populations, all 6.7 billion of us have the same chromosomal karyotype, barring a few mutants here and there. Who have reproductive problems and produce abnormal offspring in the cases where the unbalanced genomes are viable. One such is a genetic form of Downs syndrome which produces the trisomy 21 condition. So what happened to the mice?

Britton-Davidian, an evolutionary biologist at Université Montpellier II in Montpellier, France, showed that populations of Maderian mice have between 22 and 30 chromosomes, even though their ancestors, who first arrived with the Portuguese in the 15th century, had 40.

These mice are far more different from each other geneticly, than any population of humans. Quite a bit happened in those 500 years.

Really have to wait for the reproductive studies to be done. But when a speciation event takes hundreds of thousands or millions of years, seeing anything in 500 hundred years is significant.

Comment #185420

Posted by raven on July 1, 2007 4:16 PM (e)

The strong reduction in fertility measured in these hybrids represents a reproductive isolating mechanism effectively reducing gene flow between the all-acrocentric and 22Rb mice populations of Tunisia.

Summary quote for the paper below. Crosses between mouse populations with different karyotypes don’t work well.

Analysis of the testicular histology of F1 and backcross males showed in some cases a breakdown of spermatogenesis.

Oops, the F1s don’t look reproductively all that good either.

Reproductive isolation is not necessarily all or nothing. Horses and donkeys can breed and produce mules. Who are sterile. Dogs are often classified as the same species as wolves. They can interbreed with wolves…sometimes. But in the real world how often does this happen and will all breeds cross with wolves? Toss a chihuahua into a wolf pen and find out. Most likely the little dog would end up as a quick snack. I’m not expecting wolf-chihuahua hybrids any time soon either.

Heredity. 1993 Nov;71 ( Pt 5):532-8.Links
Fertility estimates in the Tunisian all-acrocentric and Robertsonian populations of the house mouse and their chromosomal hybrids.Said K, Saad A, Auffray JC, Britton-Davidian J.
Faculté de Pharmacie de Monastir, Service de Biologie et Physiologie Animales, France.

The reproductive features of wild all-acrocentric and 2n = 22 Robertsonian (Rb) house mice (M. m. domesticus) from Tunisia were studied. The aim was to examine the possibility of a reproductive selective advantage associated with chromosomal change as well as to measure the effect of heterozygosity for a large number of Rb fusions on the fertility of hybrids. Results showed that litter sizes were significantly smaller in Rb than in all-acrocentric mice. This difference, which may represent a favourable demographic strategy related to the habitat segregation observed in the Tunisian mice, needs to be studied further. The F1 hybrids between the two chromosomal races showed a significantly reduced reproductive success and litter size (respectively, 53 per cent and 60 per cent less than either parental race). Analysis of the testicular histology of F1 and backcross males showed in some cases a breakdown of spermatogenesis. The degree of this disturbance was not related to the level of chromosomal heterozygosity suggesting that genetic incompatibilities between the two genomes might be involved. The strong reduction in fertility measured in these hybrids represents a reproductive isolating mechanism effectively reducing gene flow between the all-acrocentric and 22Rb mice populations of Tunisia.

Comment #185430

Posted by raven on July 1, 2007 4:58 PM (e)

A quick search for followup on Madeira mice didn’t turn up much. But apparently chromosomally different mice are not uncommon. There are two races in Tunisia that are at least partially reproductively isolated.

In addition to the habitat partition, allozyme and mitochondrial DNA analyses showed that the 22Rb populations were genetically differentiated from the 40Std ones. This differentiation mostly stemmed from an important decrease in genetic variability in the 22Rb populations from the Sahel towns. The extent of morphological, ecological and genetical divergence observed between these chromosomal races in Tunisia is in agreement with the predictions of the chromosomal speciation model of White which advocates that karyotypic differentiation between taxa can lead to their reproductive isolation and independent evolution.

Decide for yourselves but this looks a lot like speciation in progress to me.

Arch Inst Pasteur Tunis. 2001;78(1-4):33-40.Links
[Probable origin of the Robertsonian phenomena in domestic mice in Tunisia][Article in French]

Ould BI, Chatti N, Britton-Davidian J, Saïd K.
Laboratoire de Biologie Cellulaire et Génétique, Unité de Recherche, Génétique (Biodiversité et Environnement) UR/09-30 Faculté de Médecine Dentaire de Monastir, Laboratoire de Biochimie, Faculté de Médecine de Monastir, 5000 Tunisie.

The Robertsonian phenomenon in house mice (Mus musculus domesticus) from Tunisia consists in the presence of only one 22-chromosome Robertsonian race (22Rb) carrying the maximum number of fusions observed until now. The 22Rb populations exclusively occupy urban centers in the Eastern-Central region of Tunisia where standard population with 40-all acrocentric chromosomes (40Std) occur in surrounding neighborhoods and rural environments. In addition to the habitat partition, allozyme and mitochondrial DNA analyses showed that the 22Rb populations were genetically differentiated from the 40Std ones. This differentiation mostly stemmed from an important decrease in genetic variability in the 22Rb populations from the Sahel towns. The extent of morphological, ecological and genetical divergence observed between these chromosomal races in Tunisia is in agreement with the predictions of the chromosomal speciation model of White which advocates that karyotypic differentiation between taxa can lead to their reproductive isolation and independent evolution. Such a process is verified if the Rb process in Tunisia results from local differentiation which is supported by both the genetic and morphological data. However, the hypothesis of an origin by introduction of these mice from another region of Tunisia or from another country cannot be totally dismissed. In this study, an allozymic analysis of mice (22Rb and 40Std) from the geographically distant city of Kairouan was performed. Results showed that 22Rb and 40Std mice from Kairouan shared the same high degree of variability, and were not genetically differentiated. This contrasts with the results registered in the two chromosomal races in the Sahel towns. Such data argue in favor of a local differentiation of the Robertsonian process in Tunisia and suggest that the decrease in variability of the structural nuclear genes in the Sahel 22Rb populations can be related to an introduction from Kairouan into a Sahel locality resulting in a founder effect or followed by a severe bottleneck prior to its dispersion throughout the Sahel region.

Comment #185436

Posted by harold on July 1, 2007 6:55 PM (e)

I hate to do it, but I feel that I have to reassure some of the “freedom of expression” trolls.

For the record, much as I despise anti-Semitism (whether directed against Jewish people in isolation, or against other people who have Semitic language, history, or cultural traits, such as self-identified “Arabs”), and much as I love seeing the a$$holes who spew it getting into trouble, I actually have some issues about whether or not it should be illegal. (But I’m not German, so it’s not really my business how they do things in the autonomous nation of Germany, where they make their own laws.)

Of course, where actual physical or economic harm to other people is clearly a deliberate result, other laws clearly apply.

Furthermore, most anti-Semitist expressions make false claims about the actions and intentions of the people they victimize, and thus constitute libel or slander.

However, I do believe that there can be isolated instances of “pure” bigoted expression, free from considerations of in which the $hithead who does the spewing merely expresses his own unreasonable hatred for some group of human beings, on the basis of some arbitrary characteristic which has no impact on them, without going far enough to actually incite violence or make libelous statements. In the case of some types of ethnic bigotry, this is common, although in the case of anti-Semitism, historically, nutjobs have been driven by frenzy to go beyond this level. “Harmless” statements of vile bigotry are probably protected in the US, and the best response to them is probably disdain.

Comment #185439

Posted by harold on July 1, 2007 7:06 PM (e)

One final post, firstly to apologize for the many typos in my post immediately above.

Secondly, to point out what did NOT happen on this thread.

I opened the thread by saying, in essence, “Yes, of course, we all understand that an anti-semitic wingnut a$$hole is going to be a supporter of ID, and vice versa“.

One thing that did NOT happen, was any creationist rebuttal, or even modification, of that statement.

Creationists posted, and a fascinating discussion of speciation insued.

But creationists, once again, stared at their shuffling feet in silence when I called them out on the fact that it’s largely about right wing politics in the end.

Don’t you want to contradict me, Cheezy Chunk? Don’t you want to jump up and say that you’re a liberal, but your “belief” in ID is solely because of the “evidence”?

It’s worth remembering this because it gives us insight into the complexities of reality. We’re not dealing with Ned Flanders.

Comment #185462

Posted by Alan Bird on July 1, 2007 10:43 PM (e)

If IDers won’t accept speciation as a process occurring through small changes over a long time, would they accept speciation as a result of small changes over a long distance? The ring species that starts as a lesser-black backed gull in the UK ends up back in the UK as a herring gull.
IDists can only say that speciation has not occurred by claiming either that the changes are not microscopic or that the 2 birds are not different species, both of which statements can be scientifically determined (I would have thought - I’m no expert).

Comment #185591

Posted by Frank J on July 3, 2007 5:02 AM (e)

Perhaps this has been said above, but I notice that the title of Dembski’s rant is “Teaching ID = A Crime Against Humanity.” But the DI’s position for the last ~5 years has been not to advocate teaching ID, but teaching “the controversy” (i.e. just misrepresenting evolution and letting students fill in the blanks with their favorite fairy tales). So the DI advocates “censoring” the teaching of ID (& classic creationism) just as much as their “Darwinist” critics. Even more so, because the “teach the controversy” scam insulates ID and creationism from any critical analysis.

Comment #186204

Posted by Anna on July 6, 2007 12:28 PM (e)

What we can do to help dr Lerle get out of prison?

Comment #186205

Posted by Anna on July 6, 2007 12:28 PM (e)

What we can do to help dr Lerle get out of prison?

Comment #186218

Posted by ben on July 6, 2007 1:10 PM (e)

You could move to Germany, become a citizen, and vote for politicians who will repeal the holocaust denial law. That wouldn’t help Lerle, but it would give him and others future latitude to tell deeply hurtful lies about one of history’s most despicable crimes, if that would cheer you up.

As for Dr Lerle, he knew he was breaking the law when he broke it, and seems to be a contemptible, fanatic, racist scumbag in general, so even though I have my misgivings about the law per se, I’m happy to see him rot.

Comment #187280

Posted by ctunie on July 12, 2007 9:02 AM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'kwickxml'

Comment #187281

Posted by Gary Jones on July 12, 2007 9:05 AM (e)

“With all the inbreeding of dogs, why haven’t they morphed into another species by now?

And all canines are still canines, so far. They have not turned into other species, so please, do not try to use that argument.”

Comment #187284

Posted by ctunie on July 12, 2007 9:14 AM (e)

“Why haven’t dogs formed into other species yet, then? For almost as long as man has known, we have bred dogs into different sizes, and to perform specialty tasks inherent to their breed.

Yes, dogs of different sizes usually don’t breed because of their sizes, but they will sure try, and a sucessful coupling of the egg and sperm will creating a viable living creature that will be able to procreate itself.

Through our efforts we have inbred special qualities into canines that are beneficial to ourselves in some ways. However, the isolation and inbred effects have lead to purebred breeds that have more structural problems (like hip displasia), breeds that don’t live as long on the average, and breeds that might win medals at shows; however, in Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” category their blue ribbons would turn into last place losers. Their inbreeding has lead to many more harmful mutations, as far as surviv-ability goes.

But I digress; with the selective breeding that has gone on so long, and that has become so specialized in purebred cases, why hasn’t even one of the breeds at least changed in chromosomal number, even a little.”

Comment #187680

Posted by Henry J on July 13, 2007 3:52 PM (e)

Why would anybody think that breeding would cause a change in chromosome number? Breeding only picks which combinations reproduce; it can’t cause spreading of a mutation that hasn’t occurred.

Henry

Comment #187685

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 13, 2007 4:30 PM (e)

Gary Jones/ctunie: Do the quote marks around your posts mean that you’re typing stuff you read elsewhere but don’t understand? It seems that way.

“With all the inbreeding of dogs” – wait, don’t forget the interbreeding too. Duh.

“However, the isolation and inbred effects have lead to purebred breeds that have more structural problems (like hip displasia), breeds that don’t live as long on the average, and breeds that might win medals at shows; however, in Darwin’s “survival of the fittest” category their blue ribbons would turn into last place losers.”

Uh, fitness is equated to winning medals at dog shows?

“Their inbreeding has lead to many more harmful mutations, as far as surviv-ability goes.”

Uh, you just said “that don’t live as long on the average”. Sounds rather Darwinian, so what the heck is your point?

Comment #187686

Posted by Popper's Ghost on July 13, 2007 4:34 PM (e)

why hasn’t even one of the breeds at least changed in chromosomal number, even a little?

Uh, like from 38 to 38.000001?

I can understand why you resist getting an education, because it might lead you to realize just how incredibly foolish you sound.

Comment #190766

Posted by Puck on July 28, 2007 6:41 AM (e)

Actually it is the unsavory, unpopular, and marginal opinions that most need protection. That’s because most people are sheep and will take the easy, safe path.

Simply speaking against the universal relgion of the holocaust has become an act of courage - an act that increasingly is bringing esteem on the speaker.

This is as it should be.