Steve LaBonne and Mitochondrial genetic codes

HPYockey hpyockey at aol.com
Wed Sep 6 11:04:42 EST 1995

Subject: Re: Steve LaBonne and Mitochondrial genetic codes
From:  Hubert P. Yockey

Note to lurkers: The opinions of someone who refuses to read what he is
criticizing should be disregarded.

Steve LaBonne [labonnes at csc.albany.edu wrote; [Date: 30 Aug 1995 21:43:13
GMT] (or had written for him): 
>> As Ludwig Wittgenstein was oft heard to say: "Wovon man nicht sprechen
>> kann, darueber man muss schweigen. Steve: "Schweigen sie bitte bis sie
>> Buch gelesen und verstanden haben." If you were multicultural you could
>> read that!
>I always thought the use of other languages was to express meaning
>that one couldn't otherwise.  This serves only to obfuscate. 
>Just remember that your ability to express yourself in multiple
>languages could also allow you to communicate your ignorance to
>a larger audience.
(Now comes the confession!)
In case anybody who doesn't understand German (I have just a
smattering) really _was_ wondering what Hubert was saying, herewith a
translation: " 'Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must remain
silent'.  Steve: 'Please shut up until you have read and understood my
book'".  To which I reply, in the spirit of "multiculturalism": "Allez
au diable, vieux farceur, meme si j'etais riche jamais je ne donnerais
pas un sou pour votre fichu livre." ;-)

By the way, thanks for an enlightening post.  I hadn't read Hubert's
"account" of the origin of mitochondria carefully enough to fully
register how seriously weird it really is. I wonder if he'd like to
present some evidence for this scenario and/or against the widely
accepted relationship of mitochondria to the purple bacteria.
Of course, he'll probably just reiterate that he doesn't believe in
phylogeny. ;-)

Dear Steve LaBonne: 
Not even clever or original: Translation: "Go to the devil, old joker, I
shall never be so rich as to give a sou for your pitiful book." Indeed you
will never be rich; one of the injustices of this age is that a house-maid
makes more money than a post-doc in molecular biology. Being a house-maid
is an honorable occupation, but it doesn't require much education.
Certainly it doesn't require knowledge of more than one language. 

I do indeed tell jokes and refer to literary allusions in my voluminous
writings. My daughter tells me that they are over the heads of some
readers who are not as well-read. Steve seems to agree. Obviously, he is
ignorant of Aesop's fables. I'll give you a hint: it has to do with sour

When I got my Ph.D in physics at Berkeley one had to pass a test in
reading French and German. Russian has been included at some universities.
Although one of the results of World War II is that English has become a
lingua franca, as Latin was in Sir Isaac Newton's time,  nevertheless, a
knowledge of other languages is a mark of the educated person. By the same
token, ignorance thereof is the mark of the uneducated. It is astonishing
to me that one who represents himself as a post-doc is proud of his
ignorance of languages other than English. 

 Steve LaBonne is described perfectly by the philosopher-longshoreman Eric
Hoffer [The True Believer Harper and Rowe 1951] page 79 " We can be
absolutely certain only about things we do not understand." Thus Steve is
protected by a fact-proof screen and refuses to read what he is
criticizing. Perhaps that is just as well. I introduce the reader to the
mysteries of matrix algebra in order to understand the evolution by a
Markov chain of Cys and Trp codons to an absorbing state such as UGA.
Perhaps matix algebra is over his head. 
"Thought would destroy their paradise. No more;-where ignorance is bliss,
'Tis folly to be wise." (Thomas Gray, Ode on a Distant Prospect of Eton

Back to the technical question of the hypothesis that the genetic code may
have evolved from a doublet code in which the third nucleotide was silent.
This was first proposed by Professor Thomas Jukes, Biochemical and
Biophysical Research Communications v19, 391-396 (1965). He suggested
codon reassignment in Microbiological Reviews v56 p229-264 (1992).  His
proposed primitive doublet code in Cellular and Molecular Biology v39 p
685-688 (1994) is identical to that in my Table 7.2. 
I remember J. Robert Oppenheimer saying that theoreticians experiment with
ideas. Every experiment in the laboratory is not successful and neither is
every idea advanced and explored by theoreticians.  Progress can only be
made by exploring various ideas; but each must be explored. Whether the
non-standard genetic codes evolved from a primitive doublet code by a
Markov process or by reassigning codons is a technical matter. Perhaps
some of both occurred. This question doesn't deserve a tantrum. 

This exchange of compliments obscures the purpose of this newsgroup to
discuss technical matters. I suggest that further exchange of compliments
be conducted in talk.origins where average I.Q is much lower on the

Avez vous la bonne chance, Hubert P. Yockey

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