Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Aryan invasion theory questioned

Dr. Metzenberg read he read to the committee, from a 1999 paper by Kivisild, et al. (Current Biology, vol 9 pp.1331-1334):
"A commonly held hypothesis, albeit not the only one, suggests a massive Indo-Aryan invasion to India some 4,000 years ago [1]. Recent limited analysis of maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of Indian populations has been interpreted as supporting this concept [2 and 3]. Here, this interpretation is questioned. We found an extensive deep late Pleistocene genetic link between contemporary Europeans and Indians, provided by the mtDNA haplogroup U, which encompasses roughly a fifth of mtDNA lineages of both populations.Our estimate for this split is close to the suggested time for the peopling of Asia and the first expansion of anatomically modern humans in Eurasia [4, 5, 6, 7 and 8] and likely pre-dates their spread to Europe. Only a small fraction of the �Caucasoid-specific� mtDNA lineages found in Indian populations can be ascribed to a relatively recent admixture...
Thus, we have shown that the overwhelming majority of the so-called western-Eurasian-specific mtDNA lineages in Indian populations, estimated here to be carried by more than a hundred million contemporary Indians, belong in fact to an Indian-specific variety of haplogroup U of a late Pleistocene origin. The latter exhibits a direct common phylogenetic origin with its sister groups found in western Eurasia (Figure 1), but it should not be interpreted in terms of a recent admixture of western Caucasoids with Indians caused by a putative Indo-Aryan invasion 3,000 �4,000 years BP. From the deep time depth of the split between the predominant Indian and European haplogroup U varieties, it could be speculated that haplogroup U arose in neither of the two regions. This split could have already happened in Africa, for example, in Ethiopia, where haplogroup U was recently described [21]."
The author is Director, Sarasvati Research Centre. Email: kalyan97@gmail.com Dr. S. Kalyanaraman www.ivarta.com

Monday, October 22, 2007

Scientists haven’t worked out abiogenesis

Responses
Well, he’s right about evolution being intrinsically atheistic. It is also anti-Christian.
The chance encounters of various chemicals in a long ago warm pool could never have created even the simplest of life forms. Those who might think it possible, know nothing about how living things are assembled. Or, they love the evolution lie. The complexity of living things are beyond comprehension. Scientists all over the world are still studying desperately to understand it all.
But: If evolutionists want to end the arguments all they have to do is, get their brilliant heads together and assemble a ’simple’ living cell. ‘Surely they have a very great amount of knowledge about what is inside the ’simple’ cell.
And after all, shouldn’t all the combined Intelligence of all the worlds scientist be able the do what chance encounters with random chemical collisions, without an instruction manual, accomplished about 4 billion years ago,according to the evolutionists estimation. Without any intelligence at all available to help them these ’simple ‘ cells miraculously created themselves into a living entity. Surely then today’s evolutionists scientists should be able to make us a ’simple’ cell.
If it weren’t so pitiful it would be humorous, that intelligent people have swallowed the evolution mythology.
Beyond doubt, the main reason people believe in evolution is that sources they admire, say it is so. It would pay for these people to do a thorough examination of the flood of evidence CONTRARY to evolution which is readily available: Try answersingenesis.org. The evolutionists should honestly examine the SUPPOSED evidence ‘FOR’ evolution for THEMSELVES.
Build us a cell, from scratch, with the required raw material, that is with NO cell material, just the ‘raw’ stuff, and the argument is over. But if the scientists are unsuccessful, perhaps they should try Mother Earth’s recipe, you know, the one they claim worked the first time about 4 billion years ago, so they say. All they need to do is to gather all the chemicals that we know are essential for life, pour them into a large clay pot and stir vigorously for a few billion years, and EUREKA, LIFE!
Oh, you don’t believe the ‘original’ Mother Earth recipe will work? You are NOT alone, Neither do I, and MILLIONS of others!Please don’t swallow the lies they tell about the ‘first life’ problem, scientists are falling all over themselves to make a living cell. Many have admitted publicly that it is a monumental problem. And, is many years away from happening, if ever. Logical people understand this problem and have rightly concluded that an Intelligent Designer was absolutely necessary. Think of it this way, if all the brilliant scientists on earth can’t do it, how on earth can anyone believe that it happened by accident????? By: Jim on October 8th, 2007 at 9:02 pm

Hi, Jim. There are many evolutionists who believe in God. There are some examples at wiki. So evolution cannot be intrinsically atheistic.
As far as creating life is concerned, that is abiogenesis. Evolution is a phenomenon observed in populations. I recognise the importance of your argument (what evolves if there is no life?) but I just want to get the terminology right. By the way, I made an earlier post: explaining evolution.
You might also be interested in: First synthetic virus (2002)
The team from the University of New York at Stony Brook constructed the virus from scratch using the genetic blueprint of the polio agent. They followed a “recipe” they downloaded from the internet and used gene sequences from a mail-order supplier.
And Craig Venter may be close to a larger breakthrough — making the DNA of a bacterium, though not the cell itself.
These are milestones on the road to making artificial life. I see no reason why it should be easy. Just the sheer bulk of infomation makes it a daunting task.
And A Genetic Alogorithms Demo — evolution in action in a simulated world. Mathematically, the theory is sound. By: misterlister on October 9th, 2007 at 7:15 pm
Sir, it is not from scratch unless the builder starts with the Amino Acids and go on from there. Also, they needed to assemble the DNA too.
Yes they are making strides, but just knowing how long and hard these scientists have been exploring cell life and yet there is much more to learn.
I’m flabbergasted that anyone that could get a doctorate in biology can believe that life came about by chance. It’s impossible, why can’t they see that?
Here’s my guess: They have been mesmerized by THEIR professor, who ‘certainly’ wouldn’t teach them anything false. Who himself was taught, and was mesmerized by the same mythology.
Yes there are evolutionists who believe in God, but mostly because the have taken the words of the scientists. And have not studied it themselves.
I graduated from NC State Univ. nearly 50 years ago. I know something of science. My professors had me convinced that evolution was a scientific fact. I stuck to the idea for another decade, plus. I then decided to learn more biology and what I found convinced that I had believed a lie for a very long time, too long.
And, no-one has ever observed macro-evolution. We ARE observing micro-evolution. But it (micro) can never change one kind into another kind. God provided micro-evolution so that you and I and ever other living male doesn’t look EXACTLY alike. Imagine the confusion if God hadn’t taken this important step. By: Jim on October 10th, 2007 at 3:49 pm

Hi Jim, Scientists haven’t worked out abiogenesis. I admit that. But they are making progress.
The reason biologists believe in evolution is because very little makes sense without it. How do you explain the route of the recurrent laryngeal nerve? Why does it take such a round-about route? — even in Giraffes. And here’s an article on the retina in human eyes being wired backwards. Such things are difficult to explain in terms of design. But such results are to be expected from evolution, which modifies what is available.
I’m willing to consider, in principle, that our current theory of evolution is incorrect. But what is the alternative theory? I can see none that comes close. Evolution itself is an observed phenomenon — as beyond doubt as gravity.
Can you please explain to me why you think the theory of evolution rules out any kind of God?
And as for speciation: Two new species of goatsbeard, observed about 50 years after 3 species of the plant were introduced into North America. By: misterlister on October 10th, 2007 at 8:34 pm
Hi Misterlister:
About the goatsbeard, a goatsbeaard is a goatsbeard and will remain a goatsbeard forever. These are minor changes within the various kinds of all life forms, including humans. Without this ability, all humans would be carbon copies. Chaos would reign. So, in all actuality evolution is NOT an observed phenomenon.
There are many good reasons to reject evolution as the means of creating life. One of them is that it requires extremely long time periods. Much longer than the 6000 years of earth.
Also, evolution relies on life and death, over and over trillions upon trillions of times. God is a God of love and the Bible says that DEATH is the last enemy He will expunge from His universe.
Also, I have studied the prophecies and they definitely prove that a supreme being inspired them.
The last great prophecy is rushing toward us and increasing in speed. Many elements that set the stage for the end times are already in place.
And there is a very good scientific reason to reject the theory of evolution. It is totally illogical. Life is nearly infinitely complex, even in the ’simplest’ cells.
IF you would study the intricacies of biology, apart from the influence of prejudiced professors you will find that the complexity is beyond, far beyond what is ‘apparent’ to most people.
For example: To make a protein the 20 amino acids must be linked together into a long chain, a very long chain of the various acids. The ‘easiest’ one for a cell to make has about 1000 amino acids linked together exactly according to the instructions of the DNA. Just one mistake will usually kill the cell. A so called simple cell has hundreds of proteins made this way. But we are not finished the complexity part, just barely started.The protein is useless if it is not folded into a precise complex pattern. This act too is orchestrated by another machine within the cell.
I should be able to stop right here and you would be convinced that evolution is a farce. But because it is believed by people with doctorates in science and presented to the public as a known fact. You will most likely still believe in evolution.
People have presented the following scenario: How likely is it for a tornado in a junk yard to construct a jumbo jet? In very fact it would be thousands of times (perhaps millions) more likely to produce the airplane than for nature to produce life by chance.
Study carefully the whys and wherefores of cellular life and their complexity, then call in Mr. Common logic. By: Jim on October 18th, 2007 at 7:49 pm

Hi, Jim. Why do you move the goalposts? I gave you an example of speciation. It was what you asked for. Helen Curtis: “Evolution can be precisely defined as any change in the frequency of alleles within a gene pool from one generation to the next.”
As goatsbeard spread in the USA, change occured generation after generation. Some traits became more common, some less common. That is evolution. Mutations brought about new traits — some of them beneficial, some of them not.
Some populations got seperated. The changes in one could not spread to another. Enough change occured to make one group of descendents unable to breed with another group of descendents.
And all that in about 50 years. Imagine the changes that could now build up over the next million years. Then 100 million years.
There are many good reasons to reject evolution as the means of creating life.
I agree. Evolution requires a population. By definition.
The creation of life is abiogenesis — a different phenomenon.
Much longer than the 6000 years of earth.
Now I know you’re joking. The evidence for the age of the Earth is over-whelming. If you believe that God created the Earth 6000 years ago, then you believe that God is a liar. By: misterlister on October 20th, 2007 at 10:21 am

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mathematical analysis of linguistic evolution

The Evolution of Language
Posted by samzenpus on Wednesday October 10, @10:54PM from the everything-can-be-measured dept.
TaeKwonDood writes "We all know language has evolved but mathematicians are trying to take how it has changed in the past to predict what it will be like in the future." From the article:
"Mathematical analysis of this linguistic evolution reveals that irregular verb conjugations behave in an extremely regular way -- one that can yield predictions and insights into the future stages of a verb's evolutionary trajectory," says Lieberman, a graduate student in applied mathematics in Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and in the Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, and an affiliate of Harvard's Program for Evolutionary Dynamics. "We measured something no one really thought could be measured, and got a striking and beautiful result.""

Like genes, words can be compared to one another and scrutinized with phylogenetic analysis to understand their origins

Thursday, October 11th, 2007...7:56 am On the Evolution of Language
Both Nature and PNAS have put out two fascinating papers on the evolution of language. Nature’s “Quantifying the evolutionary dynamics of language,” studies how grammatical rules change over time, a term the authors call regularization. The authors specifically studied the regularization of English verbs over the past 1,200 years. Here’s a summary of what they concluded from the abstract,
“We have generated a data set of verbs whose conjugations have been evolving for more than a millennium, tracking inflectional changes to 177 Old-English irregular verbs. Of these irregular verbs, 145 remained irregular in Middle English and 98 are still irregular today. We study how the rate of regularization depends on the frequency of word usage. The half-life of an irregular verb scales as the square root of its usage frequency: a verb that is 100 times less frequent regularizes 10 times as fast. Our study provides a quantitative analysis of the regularization process by which ancestral forms gradually yield to an emerging linguistic rule.”
I’ve bolded what I consider important because this conclusion has some tangents to protein evolution as well. Often proteins that are less vital are mutated much more frequently than vital proteins. It is remarkable to see the authors quantified a similar phenomenon in language evolution.
On that note, PNAS ran this paper about a week ago, “Coevolution of languages and genes on the island of Sumba, eastern Indonesia.” Here’s the abstract,
“Numerous studies indicate strong associations between languages and genes among human populations at the global scale, but all broader scale genetic and linguistic patterns must arise from processes originating at the community level. We examine linguistic and genetic variation in a contact zone on the eastern Indonesian island of Sumba, where Neolithic Austronesian farming communities settled and began interacting with aboriginal foraging societies ~3,500 years ago. Phylogenetic reconstruction based on a 200-word Swadesh list sampled from 29 localities supports the hypothesis that Sumbanese languages derive from a single ancestral Austronesian language. However, the proportion of cognates (words with a common origin) traceable to Proto-Austronesian (PAn) varies among language subgroups distributed across the island. Interestingly, a positive correlation was found between the percentage of Y chromosome lineages that derive from Austronesian (as opposed to aboriginal) ancestors and the retention of PAn cognates. We also find a striking correlation between the percentage of PAn cognates and geographic distance from the site where many Sumbanese believe their ancestors arrived on the island. These language–gene–geography correlations, unprecedented at such a fine scale, imply that historical patterns of social interaction between expanding farmers and resident hunter-gatherers largely explain community-level language evolution on Sumba. We propose a model to explain linguistic and demographic coevolution at fine spatial and temporal scales.”
Like genes, words can be compared to one another and scrutinized with phylogenetic analysis to understand their origins. In this situation the authors found a correlation within individuals with similar Y chromosome lineages and cognates, words so similar from one language to the next that they suggest both are variants of a single ancestral prototype.

Patience is older than fairness

Science & Technology Evolution Oct 4th 2007 From The Economist print edition
Patience, fairness and the human condition
Apes are patient, but only people are fair. That may help explain why people came out on top
PEOPLE love to catalogue the traits they think characteristic of their species. Some, such as language, are obvious. Others, such as patience and a sense of fairness, are more subtle. These traits, however, did not spring into existence fully formed. They evolved—and to understand human evolution it would help to know their genetic underpinnings and the order in which they evolved.
One way of looking at these questions is to compare people with their closest relatives, great apes such as chimpanzees. Another is to compare them with each other. Three studies published this week, which take one or other of these approaches, have cast light on the evolution of both patience and fairness. It turns out that patience is older than fairness. It also turns out that although the propensity to be fair varies a good deal from one person to the next, that variation is rooted in genetics rather than culture.
The origin of virtues
The essence of patience is the ability to delay the gratification of an appetite in favour of a greater ultimate reward. Past tests of the degree to which animals other than people can delay their gratification have focused on birds and monkeys. Both groups can delay gratification if a bigger reward is on offer, but only for a few seconds.
Birds, however, are remotely related to humans, and even monkeys are not as close as apes. In Current Biology, Marc Hauser of Harvard University and his colleagues compare chimpanzees and humans directly. Both, it turns out, can be patient to a high degree. In fact chimps are more patient than people.
The human participants in Dr Hauser's experiment were allowed to choose a preferred food, such as raisins or chocolate. The chimpanzees were simply offered grapes—which they usually like. Otherwise the experimental conditions were identical. The choice was between one unit of goodies immediately and three after two minutes. Chimpanzees were nearly four times more likely to wait for the big reward than humans were. This suggests not only that the trait of patience predates the split between humans and chimpanzees, some 4m years ago, but that the trait seems more characteristic of chimps than people.
When it comes to fairness, though, it is a different story. Economic theory has contrived a species it calls Homo economicus—a “rational maximiser” who grabs what he can for himself. But, curiously, he makes no appearance in the ultimatum game, a classic economics experiment.
In this game, two players, a proposer and a responder, divide a reward. It could be a cake. It could be cash. It could even be a bunch of grapes. The game is so named because the proposition is an ultimatum. The responder can either accept the division or reject it. If he rejects it, both players receive nothing.
Homo economicus would accept any division in which his share was not zero. But that is not what happens. Scores of studies have run the ultimatum game across cultures and ages. Universally, people reject any share lower than 20%—apparently to punish the greed of the proposer. People do not act like Homo economicus. Instead, they are the arbiters of fairness.
To find out if chimpanzees share this sense of fairness, Keith Jensen and his colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, in Leipzig, designed a way for chimps to play the ultimatum game. Their version started with a pair of trays far from the players' cages. Each tray had ten raisins divided in different ways between two pots—say eight and two, or five and five. One chimp was allotted the role of proposer. He could choose one of the trays, pulling it by way of a rope just halfway to the cage. The other, the responder, could then choose to pull on a rod, bringing the tray close enough for both to get the raisins, one pot for each. If the responder chose not to pull the tray closer within a minute, the offer was considered rejected, and the game concluded.
The result, which Dr Jensen reports in Science, is that chimps are simply rational maximisers—Pan economicus, if you like. Though proposers consistently chose the highest possible number of raisins for themselves, responders rarely rejected even the stingiest offers.
This is a telling outcome. A number of researchers in the field of human evolution think that a sense of fairness—and a willingness to punish the unfair even at some cost to oneself—is humanity's “killer app”. It is what allows large social groups to form. Without it, free-riders would ruin such groups, because playing fair would cease to have any value. Dr Jensen's previous experiments have shown that chimpanzees are willing to punish actual thieves. But his new data add weight to the theory that the more sophisticated idea of fair shares, which underpins collaborative behaviour, appeared in the hominid line only after the ancestors of the two species split from one another.
Nor, according to the third of this convenient trilogy of papers, is a sense of fairness rooted in culture. Rather, it is genetic—as it would have to be in order to evolve. Paradoxically, discovering this relies on the fact that not everyone possesses it to the same degree.
As they write in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Bjorn Wallace of the Stockholm School of Economics and his colleagues have shown this by playing the ultimatum game with twins. They used the classic trick of neutralising the effect of upbringing and exposing that of genetics by comparing identical twins (who share all their genes) with fraternal twins (who share half).
Each twin of a pair played the ultimatum game, both as proposer and as responder. Dr Wallace found, in the case of identical twins, a striking correlation between the average division that each member of a pair proposed and also between what they were willing to accept. In other words, their senses of what was fair were similar. No such correlations were seen in the behaviour of fraternal twins.
Besides showing that a sense of fairness has a genetic basis, this result also raises a question: why should the sense of what is fair be so variable? It may be that in a population of the fair, the unfair prosper while amongst the unfair, the fair are better off. The result would be an equilibrium in which various attitudes to fairness do just as well as each other. But why, exactly, that should be the case is a subject for another day's research project.

Monday, October 15, 2007

The same programme of Physical Education is prescribed for both boys and girls

The Department of Physical Education (P.E.D.) looks after the physical education in the Ashram. The P.E.D. is run by its Director who is aided by a number of Group captains, instructors and workers.
The present membership of the P.E.D. is 1087, 589 men & boys and 498 women & girls. The members are divided into twelve Groups according to age and capacity. And a programme of physical education is provided to suit each Group. Those not in regular Groups can practice their activities of choice, this Group is called Non-Group. There are people who are closely connected with the Ashram but are not Ashramites, these people are allowed by the department to practice their individual activity of choice and they are classified as casual members.
Programme
The same programme of Physical Education is prescribed for both boys and girls. The year in our Physical Education is divided into eight sessions: In the four competition seasons each Group has different activities. The programme for the competition season is as follows: (Corresponding respectively to the age groups listed)...
During the normal programme the weekly schedule for the age group between twelve to twenty five includes two days of games, two days of gymnastics, one day of athletics, one day of swimming and one day of combative sports. There are three main grounds where the most of the activities are carried out. They are: the Play Ground, the Tennis Ground and the Sports Ground; the oldest being the Play Ground. Location: Home > The Ashram > Departments > Ped > Organisation
The Ayurvedic Section

The Ayurvedic Section was opened on 22nd February 1957. This Section has a three fold activity:

1. to rejuvenate and develop the Ayurvedic Science and to train students in the science and practice of the Ayurvedic Science;
2. to prepare completely genuine and yet less expensive drugs on Ayurvedic line; and
3. to run a medical clinic.
One of the aims of the Centre of Education is to promote a new synthesis of knowledge, and in this attempt a synthesis of various systems of medicine forms an important part. The Ayurvedic Section is devoted to an experiment in this direction. Mother India, p. 200, December 1968
Phone : +91-413-233-4498 Location: Home > The Ashram > Departments > The Ayurvedic Section

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

A day of the elephants at Nandankanan

KalingaTimes Correspondent Bhubaneswar, Oct 8: It was virtually a day of the elephants at the Nandankanan Zoological Park on the outskirts of the city when the zoo authorities celebrated Elephant Day in the presence of hundreds of school children on Sunday. The elephants were decorated with the specially designed appliqué apparel from Pipili. It was a unique sight when the proud mahouts were seen with their pets at their best. A big hoarding depicting "Elephant Day" was fixed at the Sambar Square of the zoo. The elephants received a special treat of coconut and banana by Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (Wildlife) Suresh Chandra Mohanty. The mahouts were also felicitated by Mohanty.
The prime attraction of the ceremony was the three month old orphaned elephant calf that was brought the zoo recently after it was injured in a train accident in Barbil area of Keonjhar district. The school children were found quite busy in choosing the name for the calf elephant. Finally, a Class IX student named the calf elephant as Amar with the reasoning that it had survived the train accident that claimed its mother and aunt. A special awareness programme was organised for the school children on the occasion. More than 2000 school children were given free entry into the zoo. The children were told about the growing human elephant conflict due to habitat degradation. They were also apprised about the status of elephant in the State, their conservation need, their role in the ecosystem and what people can do to save elephants. A special education material in Oriya and English depicting these issues was distributed among the children.
Two state-of-the-art aviaries - one for the highly threatened White Backed Vulture and another for the Brahminy Kite - were also dedicated to the public on during the celebrations. The Elephant Day celebrations, which coincided with the celebration of the Wildlife Week, was organised by the zoo authorities in collaboration with the Chandaka Wildlife Division; Nature and Wildlife Conservation Society, Orissa; WWF Orissa; and CEE-Eastern Regional Cell, Orissa.