Are the Jews Genetically Different?

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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#421  Postby Agrippina » Feb 24, 2011 5:27 pm

natselrox wrote:
Agrippina wrote:
Shrunk wrote:

OK, I understand now. Sorry if I was belabouring an obvious point.


No prob. You're interesting to talk to.


Which is Aggie's way of saying you're kinda cute! :grin:


:rofl: Aw nats, you're still the cutest. How was that AB de Villers today. Cool hey??
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#422  Postby natselrox » Feb 24, 2011 5:31 pm

SAfrica is back in form! We might have something to worry! :lol:
When in perplexity, read on.

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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#423  Postby Shrunk » Feb 24, 2011 5:33 pm

natselrox wrote:
Agrippina wrote:No prob. You're interesting to talk to.


Which is Aggie's way of saying you're kinda cute! :grin:


8-)
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#424  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 24, 2011 10:06 pm

Federico wrote:I don't have access to the paper you mention in your post, however, I have read, and partially reproduce here, the abstracts of two of your papers which -- if I am not badly mistaken -- support my opinions.


You are badly mistaken. Douglas, the author of the paper, has explained how you have misunderstood the findings of his papers. I can understand you refusing to believe me when I tell you that you've misunderstood the papers you've been presenting, but now you have the actual author of the paper telling you that you are mistaken. Surely that causes you at least a moment's hesitation?

Basically, despite my attempts at teaching you the distinction between how the term 'environment' is used in learning theories and epigenetic theories, you still fail to understand the difference. I can't make it any simpler than this: the 'environment' in epigenetics is content-independent (as far as we're concerned). That is, assuming that stress from certain training can produce an epigenetic change, then whether we're talking about the stress from being in a violin-driven culture, or a basketball mad culture, or a religious culture, or being raised by an alien race, etc, it will all have the same effect on the genetic changes.

People won't have different epigenetic changes in those situations - people won't activate genes that make them better violinists, and basketballers, and more religious, or whatever. Instead the change is simply a reaction to the stress, which is constant across all those situations, not the particular activities. The "neo-Lamarckian" label that is applied to epigenetics is not that literal. It only refers to the fact that genetic changes occur over the lifespan of an individual and that these changes can be passed on.

It does not suggest that the stress as a result of violin lessons will make some a better violinist. That is plain Lamarkianism.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#425  Postby Federico » Feb 25, 2011 1:52 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote: You are badly mistaken. Douglas, the author of the paper, has explained how you have misunderstood the findings of his papers. I can understand you refusing to believe me when I tell you that you've misunderstood the papers you've been presenting, but now you have the actual author of the paper telling you that you are mistaken. Surely that causes you at least a moment's hesitation?


I really find it impossible to follow you. At the beginning of our discussion you were writing Epigenetics had no role to play in the effects of the environment on the genome. But now you accept that stress can change the phenotype of the fetus through the epigenome, and even add Douglas has explained how wrong I was in basically saying the same thing.
Actually, you are saying no matter what kind of environmental change the fetus is exposed to through the mother(diet, smoke, toxic agents, divorce, war, etc), the effects will be the same on the fetus because the mechanism (stress) is the same in every case. Something Douglas didn't say.
And then, you bring back the violin which is just an epiphenomenon.
I have written myself very clearly it's aptitude for music which is innate and probably the result of a combination of Darwinian and quasi-Lamarckian mechanisms of transmission. And, furthermore, I believed ludicrous the idea that without any musical aptitude (or Talent) anyone could become a Paganini just by picking up a Stradivarius and fiddling long enough.

And now you want me to accept that ".... people won't activate genes that make them better violinists, and basketballers, and more religious, or whatever. Instead the change is simply a reaction to the stress, which is constant across all those situations,"
, which doesn't make sense. IMO, psychological stress may modify the sex orientation of the fetus by a mechanism which will be different from that observed under nutritional stress.

In any case, I'm waiting for Douglas response to my post which, hopefully, will settle our differences, otherwise lets agree to disagree.
BTW, I intend to reopen the thread on the Cognitive Brain to discuss about Musical Brain, Chess player Brain, Sexual Orientation Brain, and Memory Lane Brain, since these would be off topic if discussed in this thread.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#426  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 26, 2011 1:31 am

Federico wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote: You are badly mistaken. Douglas, the author of the paper, has explained how you have misunderstood the findings of his papers. I can understand you refusing to believe me when I tell you that you've misunderstood the papers you've been presenting, but now you have the actual author of the paper telling you that you are mistaken. Surely that causes you at least a moment's hesitation?


I really find it impossible to follow you. At the beginning of our discussion you were writing Epigenetics had no role to play in the effects of the environment on the genome.


Seriously Federico - if you misrepresent me one more time, I'm going to report you.

But just one last time I'll repeat it: Of course I fucking accept that the environment has effects on the genome, that's the fucking definition of epigenetics.

What I don't accept is your useless understanding of the term 'environment'. Read a fucking book already.

Federico wrote:But now you accept that stress can change the phenotype of the fetus through the epigenome, and even add Douglas has explained how wrong I was in basically saying the same thing.


Yes I've always accepted that and he did explain how you were wrong. Specifically:

Back to the violin playing parents, unless this is very stressful (which it appears to be in Tiger Mom's home!), it is unlikely that the kids will inherit this trait. If it is stressful (the child could not eat nor use the restroom until the piece was perfect!) then the tortured violinist's children could be epigenetically disrupted. I suppose that rare epigenetic disruptions could affect behavior, such as violin playing, but it would be very rare and would have to be selected.


If you don't understand how this contradicts your position, then you're beyond help.

Federico wrote:Actually, you are saying no matter what kind of environmental change the fetus is exposed to through the mother(diet, smoke, toxic agents, divorce, war, etc), the effects will be the same on the fetus because the mechanism (stress) is the same in every case. Something Douglas didn't say.


WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?

I never said that. Point me to where I've said that - and if you refer to my claim about violinists, basketballers, etc, then I'll report you for misrepresentation. So either find an actual quote that supports that position you've attributed it to me, or retract your claim, or be reported.

Federico wrote:And then, you bring back the violin which is just an epiphenomenon.


Yes, violin ability is an epiphenomenon. This is the first sensible thing you've said in this entire thread. However, my spidey senses are telling me that you're misusing the term epiphenomenon, and you think it has something to do with epigenetics.

Federico wrote:I have written myself very clearly it's aptitude for music which is innate and probably the result of a combination of Darwinian and quasi-Lamarckian mechanisms of transmission. And, furthermore, I believed ludicrous the idea that without any musical aptitude (or Talent) anyone could become a Paganini just by picking up a Stradivarius and fiddling long enough.


Fortunately nobody in this thread has ever said that without a proper genetic base that anyone could become an international musician. But having a genetic base for something, and having a genetic "musical aptitude", are two different positions. The former has an evidential base, the latter does not.

Federico wrote:And now you want me to accept that ".... people won't activate genes that make them better violinists, and basketballers, and more religious, or whatever. Instead the change is simply a reaction to the stress, which is constant across all those situations,"
, which doesn't make sense. IMO, psychological stress may modify the sex orientation of the fetus by a mechanism which will be different from that observed under nutritional stress.


:doh: Jesus christ, I don't know why I keep trying to discuss this with you. In situations like this it's usually a case of a person not being on the same page as everyone else, but you're reading a completely different book.

Federico wrote:In any case, I'm waiting for Douglas response to my post which, hopefully, will settle our differences, otherwise lets agree to disagree.


Why are you waiting for a response? Do you think he'll completely contradict what he said earlier and retract his comments which refuted your position? It seems unlikely to me - I think you'd better accept that you know absolutely nothing about this subject and start learning again from scratch.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#427  Postby Federico » Feb 26, 2011 3:01 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:
Seriously Federico - if you misrepresent me one more time, I'm going to report you.


Mr. Samsa,
You know the expression "You can't beat City Hall". So, go ahead and report me, and to make your task easier, I'll even suggest two good reasons for reporting me: 1) For steadfastly sustaining my opinions, and 2) For insubordination.

In the meanwhile, I have summarized your comments on my opinions about why (e.g.) some people are born with an innate talent for music while others are not, and about the respective roles of the genome, the Epigenome, and the Environment.
Here they are:


Mr.Samsa » Feb 05, 2011 7:15 am
….your complete failure in defining "environment" as used in learning theories and epigenetic theories, and explaining how they differ

Mr.Samsa » Feb 08, 2011 1:30 am
I was asking if you understood the difference between the two kinds of environment, and you simply copied and pasted an article which vaguely referred to the environment as used in epigenetic research, without any evidence or hint that you understood what you had copied and no comment on how it differs from learning environments.

Mr.Samsa » Feb 08, 2011 5:49 am
….if there are environmental commonalities, then similar behaviors can be produced without a genetic link. So if we keep in mind that in learning and behavior literature, "environment" refers to the interaction between the organism and the physical surroundings, then we can easily understand how having two organisms that are identical (twins) will share some common environmental variables (i.e. the "organism" half of the equation of "environment")

Federico wrote:
Through this study comes information about how our environment and genes work together to influence everything from attitudes, talents and abilities, to job selection, to falling in love, to aging and health. Research so far indicates that characteristics like personality are primarily related to genes.

Mr.Samsa » Feb 11, 2011 12:00 am
…..stop linking to articles explaining the basics of epigenetics. I fucking understand it, I've worked with epigenetic experts, I've helped them write their papers and do their research, I understand what epigenetics is and it would be ridiculous of me to reject it.
What I reject is your cartoon version of epigenetics.

Federico wrote:The presence and interaction of both genetic and epigenetic traits within an individual, might result in a very gifted or even genial musician.

Mr.Samsa » Feb 16, 2011 12:34 am
It might, certainly. Obviously not without an influence from "nurture" though.


by Mr.Samsa » Feb 22, 2011 4:54 pm
Simple question for you: Do you accept that the brain can grow and connect neurons in different formations, and grow entire brain structures, without any change at all in the genetic structure?
And if so, why are you arguing that this basic, well-understood, process is better understood in epigenetic terms when no scientist agrees with you?

Federico » Feb 22, 2011 10:41 pm
[Under normal conditions] The neurones will differentiate into specialized cells such as visual, auditory, for taste, for smell, for Hypothalamic Rfs, for movement, for balance, but also for memory, for pleasure, for making music, etc and migrate to form specific brain structures without the need for changes in the baggage of instructions carried in the Genome+Epigenome functional machinery.

However, if something happens during the two crucial periods of fast brain growth and differentiation (In utero and during infancy) such as environmental alterations (lack of food, stress, exposure to smoke, alcohol, toxic substances, during pregnancy, and mainly lack of proteins in infancy), these may interfere with genes' function not by a genetic mutation, but by an alteration of the epigenetic control of genes' function, and thus result in some brain dysfunction.

Mr.Samsa » Feb 23, 2011 8:10 am

No, it doesn't "depend". The answer is "yes"; unequivocally, absolutely, without any morsel of doubt, "yes". Without any environmental factors which could produce an epigenetic change (like stress, malnutrition, toxic substances, etc), the structure of our brains can change simply as a response to experiences. That is; there is absolutely no change in the genetic structure.

Douglasr@wayne.edu wrote
Back to the violin playing parents, unless this is very stressful (which it appears to be in Tiger Mom's home!), it is unlikely that the kids will inherit this trait. If it is stressful (the child could not eat nor use the restroom until the piece was perfect!) then the tortured violinist's children could be epigenetically disrupted. I suppose that rare epigenetic disruptions could affect behavior, such as violin playing, but it would be very rare and would have to be selected.

Mr.Samsa » Feb 24, 2011 10:01 am
Indeed, your single paragraph has essentially summed up what I've been trying to say for quite a few pages now (except more clearer and without my exclamations of frustration).. .


Mr.Samsa » Feb 24, 2011 11:06 pm
….the 'environment' in epigenetics is content-independent (as far as we're concerned). That is, assuming that stress from certain training can produce an epigenetic change, then whether we're talking about the stress from being in a violin-driven culture, or a basketball mad culture, or a religious culture, or being raised by an alien race, etc, it will all have the same effect on the genetic changes. .


For quite a while I really thought you and me were talking in two different languages which explained the difficulties in understanding each other. Then, finally, it dawned on me: "We were indeed speaking different languages. I was speaking in Chemicalese and you in Behavioralese. The same words like epigenetic and environment had entirely different meaning depending on which language one used. Example:

Eriksson’s psychosocial development theory
Eriksson believed that his psychosocial principle is genetically inevitable in shaping human development. It occurs in all people.
He also referred to his theory as 'epigenesis' and the 'epigenetic principle', which signified the concept's relevance to evolution (past and future) and genetics.
Eriksson explained his use of the word 'epigenesis' thus: "...epi can mean 'above' in space as well as 'before' in time, and in connection with genesis can well represent the space-time nature of all development..." (from Vital Involvement in Old Age, 1989).
In Eriksson’s theory, Epigenetic therefore does not refer to individual genetic make-up and its influence on individual development.
Psychological Theories
A summary of psychological theories focusing on environmental versus epigenetic theories.

Mr. Samsa, you should have told me before. Actually you gave me a few hints, but it takes more for waking me up.
But, in the end, it makes everything much easier: No reason to fight because we just have read two different books on human development and, as they say, "The twain shall never meet."
In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.(Martin Luther King Jr)
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#428  Postby Zwaarddijk » Feb 26, 2011 3:32 pm

Federico,
misrepresenting someone is against the FUA, and you keep putting words in other people's mouths here.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#429  Postby Federico » Feb 26, 2011 4:07 pm

Zwaarddijk wrote:Federico,
misrepresenting someone is against the FUA, and you keep putting words in other people's mouths here.


Such as?
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#430  Postby Someone » Feb 26, 2011 4:48 pm

There's a whole other world out there. Algeria just opened up after 19 years yesterday, and it's blah-blah like you really should care about how this thread settles matters. It won't. This is not a science journal, and interpretations here are non-authoritative ones.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#431  Postby Federico » Feb 26, 2011 6:34 pm

Someone wrote:There's a whole other world out there. Algeria just opened up after 19 years yesterday, and it's blah-blah like you really should care about how this thread settles matters. It won't. This is not a science journal, and interpretations here are non-authoritative ones.


I agree 1000% about both counts.
However, lets not forget we have a Science and the Humanities section to which contribute a fair number of scientifically competent members of RS, as well as a Competition for the best scientific essay.
Having written that, I also agree with you many members of RS may not have a scientific background but may be interested in the topic being discussed, thus the importance not to become too abstruse.
If you give a peek at some of my threads (The Cognitive Mind; Genetic markers in Jewish people; etc, you'll find I strived to accomplish that, unless forced to provide more detailed proof.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#432  Postby aspire1670 » Feb 26, 2011 6:58 pm

Someone wrote:There's a whole other world out there. Algeria just opened up after 19 years yesterday, and it's blah-blah like you really should care about how this thread settles matters. It won't. This is not a science journal, and interpretations here are non-authoritative ones.


Indeed, a point you should bear in mind when posting your non-authoritative blah. :thumbup:
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#433  Postby aspire1670 » Feb 26, 2011 7:00 pm

Federico wrote:
Someone wrote:There's a whole other world out there. Algeria just opened up after 19 years yesterday, and it's blah-blah like you really should care about how this thread settles matters. It won't. This is not a science journal, and interpretations here are non-authoritative ones.


I agree 1000% about both counts.
However, lets not forget we have a Science and the Humanities section to which contribute a fair number of scientifically competent members of RS, as well as a Competition for the best scientific essay.
Having written that, I also agree with you many members of RS may not have a scientific background but may be interested in the topic being discussed, thus the importance not to become too abstruse.
If you give a peek at some of my threads (The Cognitive Mind; Genetic markers in Jewish people; etc, you'll find I strived to accomplish that, unless forced to but failed to provide more detailed proof evidence.


FIFY
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#434  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 26, 2011 11:02 pm

Federico wrote:
Mr.Samsa wrote:
Seriously Federico - if you misrepresent me one more time, I'm going to report you.


Mr. Samsa,
You know the expression "You can't beat City Hall". So, go ahead and report me, and to make your task easier, I'll even suggest two good reasons for reporting me: 1) For steadfastly sustaining my opinions, and 2) For insubordination.


No, I'd report you for misrepresentation.

What is so hard about understanding my position? I literally spelt it out to you in the largest font size available on this forum, in bold, multiple times. Yet you continue to make ridiculous claims about what you think I've said. Initially I assumed it was an inability to understand what I was saying, but given how many times I've clarified, explained, and summarised my position for you, I can only assume that further misrepresentation is done purposely.

Federico wrote:In the meanwhile, I have summarized your comments on my opinions about why (e.g.) some people are born with an innate talent for music while others are not, and about the respective roles of the genome, the Epigenome, and the Environment.


Really, Federico? This should be interesting, I don't remember making that claim.

Federico wrote:*snip*


Just as I thought, none of those quotes back up the claim you made. You're really testing my patience, Federico. Do you have any reading difficulties or disorders that I should be aware of before reporting you?

Federico wrote:For quite a while I really thought you and me were talking in two different languages which explained the difficulties in understanding each other. Then, finally, it dawned on me: "We were indeed speaking different languages. I was speaking in Chemicalese and you in Behavioralese. The same words like epigenetic and environment had entirely different meaning depending on which language one used. Example:

Eriksson’s psychosocial development theory
Eriksson believed that his psychosocial principle is genetically inevitable in shaping human development. It occurs in all people.
He also referred to his theory as 'epigenesis' and the 'epigenetic principle', which signified the concept's relevance to evolution (past and future) and genetics.
Eriksson explained his use of the word 'epigenesis' thus: "...epi can mean 'above' in space as well as 'before' in time, and in connection with genesis can well represent the space-time nature of all development..." (from Vital Involvement in Old Age, 1989).
In Eriksson’s theory, Epigenetic therefore does not refer to individual genetic make-up and its influence on individual development.
Psychological Theories
A summary of psychological theories focusing on environmental versus epigenetic theories.


No Federico, I wasn't fucking talking about Eriksson's psychosocial development theory. If you knew a single thing about epigenetics, you'd realise that I have never made a single comment that even vaguely hints at me discussing that model.

One last time, I will try to explain it in extremely simple terms so hopefully you'll understand.

Epigenetic environment: These are things in the physical location that can cause chemical changes, like stress, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc.

Learning environment: These are things which like culture, experience, and so on, like playing the violin, basketball, etc. Unless the violin or basketball is made of radioactive material, these activities will not change the genome.

The two might overlap, like where training extremely hard for basketball (and being locked in the gym without food and water for days on end) might produce enough stress for it to have epigenetic effects, however, as pointed out by Douglas, it is unlikely that these changes will have anything to do with basketball ability. This is because we live in the real world and not a cartoon world - a guy who gets bitten by a radioactive spider will not turn into Spiderman, he will develop cancer and die. The same applies to any epigenetic effects from absurdly abnormal learning environments (like violin playing at gun point), in that just because there is a violin present in the room where the stress affects their genome, it doesn't mean that they will grow longer fingers, or become more adept at playing the violin.

The fact that you think this is just absolutely ridiculous.

Federico wrote:Mr. Samsa, you should have told me before. Actually you gave me a few hints, but it takes more for waking me up.
But, in the end, it makes everything much easier: No reason to fight because we just have read two different books on human development and, as they say, "The twain shall never meet."


Well if you've only read a single book on the subject then that explains why you know fuck all about epigenetics. Try reading some more books, maybe some research articles too, and maybe after a few years of reading through the basics of this topic, you might be able to come back and stop making the most god awfully retarded claims that any high school biology student could refute.

Learn something about the subject you are discussing, stop misrepresenting my position, and then maybe come back and we'll discuss things when we are on more equal times - because currently I have forgotten more about epigenetics than you will ever know.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#435  Postby Federico » Feb 27, 2011 12:52 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:
What is so hard about understanding my position? I literally spelt it out to you in the largest font size available on this forum, in bold, multiple times. Yet you continue to make ridiculous claims about what you think I've said. Initially I assumed it was an inability to understand what I was saying, but given how many times I've clarified, explained, and summarised my position for you, I can only assume that further misrepresentation is done purposely.

One last time, I will try to explain it in extremely simple terms so hopefully you'll understand.

Epigenetic environment: These are things in the physical location that can cause chemical changes, like stress, cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, etc.

Learning environment: These are things which like culture, experience, and so on, like playing the violin, basketball, etc. Unless the violin or basketball is made of radioactive material, these activities will not change the genome.

Well if you've only read a single book on the subject then that explains why you know fuck all about epigenetics. Try reading some more books, .


Very well, Mr.Samsa, I give up. I must be a moron because I still think that, mechanistically, the two are the same.
But enough discussions and, please, give me the names of the books you believe I should read to learn something about epigenetics. I promise I'll read them all.
Indeed, what I have read up to now on the subject can be found in these books which, obviously, are not sufficient:

[*]Molecular Biology of the Cell - Fifth Edition, by Bruce Alberts et al.
[*]Molecular Biology of the Gene, Sixth Edition, by James D.Watson et al.
[*]Recombinant DNA: Genes and Genomes - A Short Course, Third Edition , by James D.Watson et al.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#436  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 28, 2011 12:48 am

Federico wrote:Very well, Mr.Samsa, I give up. I must be a moron because I still think that, mechanistically, the two are the same.
But enough discussions and, please, give me the names of the books you believe I should read to learn something about epigenetics. I promise I'll read them all.
Indeed, what I have read up to now on the subject can be found in these books which, obviously, are not sufficient:

[*]Molecular Biology of the Cell - Fifth Edition, by Bruce Alberts et al.
[*]Molecular Biology of the Gene, Sixth Edition, by James D.Watson et al.
[*]Recombinant DNA: Genes and Genomes - A Short Course, Third Edition , by James D.Watson et al.


Those books you've read should be sufficient - you need to read them again, but more carefully this time. You might also want to skim over these blog posts first:

Epigenetics is not magic
Ew... epigenetics in Seed

Basically, you need to realise that your current understanding of epigenetics is woefully and painfully wrong. I guarantee you that nowhere in those books, or in any article in a peer reviewed journal, would an epigenetics researcher claim that performing an activity (like playing the violin) would produce an epigenetic change - and even if they accepted such a possibility as a highly improbable freak coincidental occurrence, then they would point out that it's near impossible that this change would just happen to be one that increases someone's ability to play the violin.

There is nothing about playing a violin that will change your genetics to make you better at playing the violin. Full stop. If you think there is, then you are wrong - there is no debate that can take place on this point as it is undeniably, absolutely, wholly and completely wrong. You will never find an article or researcher who would support that claim.

Accept this and move on.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#437  Postby Federico » Feb 28, 2011 1:56 pm

Mr.Samsa wrote:
Basically, you need to realize that your current understanding of epigenetics is woefully and painfully wrong......

......There is nothing about playing a violin that will change your genetics to make you better at playing the violin. Full stop. If you think there is, then you are wrong - there is no debate that can take place on this point as it is undeniably, absolutely, wholly and completely wrong. You will never find an article or researcher who would support that claim.

Accept this and move on.


Well Mr.Samsa,
our problem was and remains one of misunderstanding, not misrepresenting.
In any case, I'll reproduce what I wrote just a few posts back, which summarizes pretty well my hypothesis about the origin of musical talent and its heritability.
If you believe it's pure BS, I'll accept your verdict and also your advice to move on to other topics.

Federico » Feb 15, 2011
……..it can be hypothesized that aptitude for music can be inherited through the combined effects of genomic and epigenomic mechanisms. The first one would have occurred several millions of years ago, and consisted in a random mutation in a gene (or genes) resulting in the development of musical talent (probably for singing, initially), which would have given the holder of the mutation and his descendants an evolutionary advantage.

In more recent, historical times, some favorable changes in the living environment of some tribes (long period of peace, great abundance of food, etc) may have resulted in free time for singing, dancing, and making some rudimentary musical instruments.
These novel activities, which partly replaced hunting and gathering, would result in modifications of the epigenomic control of genes which could be transmitted to the next generations.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#438  Postby Shrunk » Feb 28, 2011 3:36 pm

I tend to agree w/ Steven Pinker's succinct claim that music is "auditory cheesecake". I believe Daniel Levitin, author of This is Your Brain on Music disagrees with this. There's nothing in this video that I can see contradicts Pinker's position, but it's still an interesting talk (though the guy sitting in the front row doesn't seem to think so):

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bf_tJK-we2w[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDJH9ITlF9E[/youtube]

I think the vehement reaction that Pinker's "cheescake" comment has often elicited is not justified. Some of the greatest achievements of humankind, (Bernini's cathedrals, Shakespeare's tragedies, and Michelangelo's scuptures no less than Beethoven's symphonies) could aptly be called "cheesecake". The creation and consumption of cheesecake, in all its guises, is what makes us human.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#439  Postby Federico » Feb 28, 2011 4:12 pm

Shrunk wrote:
I think the vehement reaction that Pinker's "cheescake" comment has often elicited is not justified. Some of the greatest achievements of humankind, (Bernini's cathedrals, Shakespeare's tragedies, and Michelangelo's scuptures no less than Beethoven's symphonies) could aptly be called "cheesecake". The creation and consumption of cheesecake, in all its guises, is what makes us human.


I love cheesecake and agree with Pinker somewhat desacrating remark about music
.
A few posts back I quoted the results of an experiment performed at the MNI by Dr. Robert Zatorre and published in
Nature Neuroscience, which showed that listening to music releases the same brain chemicals as food, drugs, sex, and in particular the neurotransmitter dopamine.
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Re: Are the Jews Genetically Different?

#440  Postby Mr.Samsa » Feb 28, 2011 11:30 pm

Federico wrote:Well Mr.Samsa,
our problem was and remains one of misunderstanding, not misrepresenting.


Well let me know what part of my posts you need me to re-explain for you and I'll do my best to make it clearer for you. For what it's worth, I understand your position perfectly and I've never misunderstood any part of your hypothesis.

Federico wrote:In any case, I'll reproduce what I wrote just a few posts back, which summarizes pretty well my hypothesis about the origin of musical talent and its heritability.
If you believe it's pure BS, I'll accept your verdict and also your advice to move on to other topics.

Federico » Feb 15, 2011
……..it can be hypothesized that aptitude for music can be inherited through the combined effects of genomic and epigenomic mechanisms. The first one would have occurred several millions of years ago, and consisted in a random mutation in a gene (or genes) resulting in the development of musical talent (probably for singing, initially), which would have given the holder of the mutation and his descendants an evolutionary advantage.


There is nothing very wrong with this, it's possible and plausible. I'm not personally convinced of it, but there's nothing inherently wrong with it.

Federico wrote:In more recent, historical times, some favorable changes in the living environment of some tribes (long period of peace, great abundance of food, etc) may have resulted in free time for singing, dancing, and making some rudimentary musical instruments.
These novel activities, which partly replaced hunting and gathering, would result in modifications of the epigenomic control of genes which could be transmitted to the next generations.


This is the problematic part. What you're suggesting is this:

1) Musical activities produced epigenetic changes that hunting and other similar work did not - i.e. it exposed them to more chemicals or caused them higher levels of stress.
2) These epigenetic changes, for no reason at all, just happened to affect the people in ways that coincided with the activities they were doing at the time - i.e. playing the violin, even though no epigenetic theory has ever suggested this is likely or possible (in other words, Peter Parker gets bitten by a spider and now he can climb walls).
3) These changes were inheritable
4) There was a selection pressure for these changes.

The level of impossibility increases with each link in your thought process. #1 is conceivably possible, but #2 is so insanely wrong that it's not even worth considering. And since #3 and #4 rely on the truth of the previous premises, then they are at the same level of impossibility.

At the end of the day you need to understand this:

Epigenetic changes caused by playing the violin, if possible, would be a result of something like stress or consistent contact with some kind of chemicals. As such, the epigenetic changes will be similar to all kinds of epigenetic changes caused by stress - that is, there is no reason to think that the epigenetic change in this situation would be consistent with an improvement in violin playing ability.
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