The phrase Not Even Wrong is attributed to the physicist Wolfgang Pauli. According to the story “a friend showed Pauli the paper of a young physicist which he suspected was not of great value but on which he wanted Pauli’s views. Pauli remarked sadly, ‘It is not even wrong’.”
Today I became aware of AronRa’s views on the human genome. He’s gone from a solid anti-creationist/skeptic to being a unhinged zealot, right up there with Greg Laden the the radical feminists he pretends don’t exist, in distorting reality to make cheap (and incorrect) points for radical feminism.
I knew the second I heard what he to say that he was just so far from the shore of reality that it was the water of silliness to every horizon. But just to make sure, I went over this with my wife (the developmental biologist) so I wouldn’t make a glaring (and embarrassing) mistake.
The short of it is, we have 46 chromosomes. They are arranged in 23 pairs. 22 pairs are always identical. One pair is not. Those are the X & Y chromosomes and this is true for males and females. In women (simplifying) one X chromosome is inactivated and one is active. In men, the Y chromosome is mostly inactive (it controls just a few things ‘male’) and the X chromosome is the one that does the heavy lifting. This is part of something called X-inactivation.
X-inactivation (also called lyonization) is a process by which one of the two copies of the X chromosome present in female mammals is inactivated. The inactive X chromosome is silenced by it being packaged in such a way that it has a transcriptionally inactive structure called heterochromatin. As female mammals have two X chromosomes, X-inactivation prevents them from having twice as many X chromosome gene products as males, which only possess a single copy of the X chromosome (see dosage compensation). The choice of which X chromosome will be inactivated is random in placental mammals such as humans, but once an X chromosome is inactivated it will remain inactive throughout the lifetime of the cell and its descendants in the organism. Unlike the random X-inactivation in placental mammals, inactivation in marsupials applies exclusively to the paternally derived X chromosome.
So, here we have someone who knows nothing of a subject, like the creationists he’s famous for fighting, yet is telling his, from his profound ignorance, how the universe works. Even though the briefest thought on the matter should lead someone who purports to love science, genetics, etc., to the obvious conclusion that men and women (from a genomic perspective) are close to identical. Not 50% woman/50% man or some other rubbish!
In fact, I’d think he’d be less vulnerable since he’s been such an effective anti-creationist who knows we share 99% of our DNA with chimps and are closely related to the other great apes to a far greater extent than a mere ‘50%’ that he asserts between men and women.
At this point in time, from where I stand, Myers, AronRa, Skepchick and the rest of FtB act more like Ray Comfort, Ken Ham or any other tin-pot creationist than any skeptic I know and respect. It’s the crazy train of denying reality to make emotional points in a childish war against others who don’t believe their fairy-tales. Perhaps he, along with Myers, should have taken Nietzsche’s warning seriously:
He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.