genetic facts [was: Ashby, botanical facts

Peter Ashby p-ashby at
Tue Oct 13 16:53:31 EST 1998

In article <6vtlt8$1ir$1 at>, yuku at
(Yuri Kuchinsky) wrote:

> It seems to me like Peter Ashby's general ability to deal with issues in
> science is suspect. In another discussion he demonstrated clearly once
> again that he could not grasp the complex issues at stake in this debate.

Yuri, (wearily) instead of calling other people's competence into question
in order to cover up your own why don't you address some issues properly
for a change? If you stopped trying to twist everything you would see that
the so called cmplexities are really quite simple. BTW I sense victory
here, you usually only bring out complexity when you are losing an
argument. In terms of my competence in science Yuri, keep an eye out for
my name in Nature in the next few months.
> Peter Ashby (p-ashby at wrote on Wed, 07 Oct 1998
18:19:43 +0000:
> : In article <6vdl79$fdd$1 at>, yuku at
> : (Yuri Kuchinsky) wrote:
> : Yuri, yet again, in order to use the absence of a genetic feature as
> : evidence for relatedness between two geographically separate populations
> Yes, this is what I'm doing.
> : it is necessary to show that some thing operated which precludes at least
> : one of the events being due to some (any) form of genetic drift. 
> I accept that genetic drift is relevant. And yet this does not address the
> question of likelihood of this being the cause of the phenomenon in
> question -- of the lack of group B both among the Polynesians and among
> Americans.

The likelihood is not really the issue now is it? You finally admit that
genetic drift could have played a role, yet you want to diminish it so you
bring up this hoary old chestnut. I reply again, unless you can show that
NEITHER population was exposed to genetic drift, using blood groups is
unreliable since you cannot rule out convergent evolution. 
> : See J.R.
> : Pelmont's excellent post earlier today or yesterday for a detailed
> : explanation of how easy it is to change blood groups by genetic drift.
> You incompetence is very clear now. I have just reread Pelmont's post. In
> his post he says NOTHING about the "ease" of such a change. OTOH, he
> merely suggests a mechanism which _could be_ at work for such a change to
> take place. In other words, Pelmont suggests that such a disappearance of
> group B is possible, and outlines a mechanism for this. He says nothing
> about it being "easy" or even probable in this case. His mechanism, as
> outlined by him, was purely hypothetical, and he said nothing about it
> being adequate to clarify our problem.
> Understand now?
> : How about on this one you admit defeat Yuri.
> Get yourself a clue.

Wake up to reality Yuri, you are very nearly there. One further point,
even if the blood groups are the same I would want to see the sequence
data underlying the genes responsible since it is perfectly possible for
two independent mutations at the DNA level to result in the same
phenotype. Any more comments on blood groups?
> : Yuri, that was the study you think supports Heyeredahl.
> You're confused.

more incisive and witty argument from Yuri 'the unscientist' Kuchinsky

> : Although if Thor
> : is right you would expect a much higher level of south american features
> : which we don't find.
> We have plenty of evidence.

This is really tedious: maybe, but not very much of it is good evidence.

> [Ashby:]
> : > : Yuri, what you have proposed is untestable as I have explained to you as
> : > : blood groups do not survive in the fossil record.
> : > This is questionable. I believe old mummies can be tested for blood groups
> : > to some extent. You seem to be wrong about this.
> : Belief is not evidence Yuri. References please for reliable blood group
> : data from mummies.
> No, Peter, this is not how science works. You've made an assertion that
> blood group evidence does not survive in archaeological remains. I've
> challenged you on this, because I believe you're wrong. So it is now up to
> you to show why your assertion is correct. Good luck.

I made no such assertion as anyone who can read can tell. You said you
'believed' that mummies could be tested for blood groups, I ask you for
evidence and then I am expected to provide it? what planet are you living
> What's there for me to show? Your assertion seems nonsensical on the
> surface of it. You mean like only new blood or tissue can be tested? Like
> dried up blood or tissue from last year cannot be tested for blood group
> identity? Where is your basic science?

Where is your evidence? All this obfuscation leads me to the inescapable
conclusion that you don't have any. Until you present some I will conclude
that you were talking nonsense.
> : yuri, I hate to pull rank on you but I have very good credentials in this
> : field
> Credentials don't equal ability.

One doesn't tend to come without the other, but then since you have
deomosntrated neither I shouldn't be too surprised at your failure to
grasp that.
> : and you apparently have no credentials in any field. So if you want
> : to imply that I am incompetent in the field of DNA you had better be able
> : to prove that your own is better. I am waiting, MISTER Kuchinsky.
> I consider you an incompetent scientist, yes. I have your posts to prove
> it.

I don't consider replying to you to be shit hot science Yuri. I consider
it to be light relief from a stressful day trying to produce final drafts
of four papers before I leave.
> No, friend, this is not evidence. This is merely a ref. I along with Dr.
> Cann do not consider this research as evidence that really contradicts
> Heyerdahl.

Yuri the reference reported results, data, this is evidence which is
admissible in court unless you can find some fatal flaw (apart from 'I
don't believe it'). You are however providing wonderful evidence for your
not understanding the nature of scientific evidence.
> : Your reaction to
> : it is a classic example of the fact that you don't understand the nature
> : of scientific evidence.
> Yammer, yammer.

more incisive and witty argument from Yuri 'the unscientist' Kuchinsky
> : The data I discuss earlier in
> : this post contradicts it.
> Not really.

more incisive and witty argument from Yuri 'the unscientist' Kuchinsky  
> : The point is that is evidence against heyerdahl,
> Not really.

more incisive and witty argument from Yuri 'the unscientist' Kuchinsky  
> : that is however all it is. Maybe one day you will understand the
> : difference between evidence and proof. 
> Yammer, yammer.

more incisive and witty argument from Yuri 'the unscientist' Kuchinsky  
> And also, I've already asked Peter to clarify some of the terribly
> uninformed (and perhaps even arguably racist) things he said or implied
> about Native Americans. Peter dismissed out of hand the navigational
> abilities of Native Americans -- the abilities that are so amply attested
> in the archaeological record. For some reason he declined to provide an
> explanation...

I have never stated or implied anything about the navigational abilities
of Native americans. I have however said that I do not consider the
evidence you have provided to be sufficient to show same. Those are two
completely different things. I don't believe that Native Americans flew to
Mars in pre colombian times. Is this racist? stop throwing epithets and
learn to debate the issues in hand.

(reposting old posts is so clever Yuri, I am bowled over by your brilliance)


Peter Ashby
Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics
Nat. Inst. Med. Res.

Reverse the spam and remove to email me.

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