Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
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14-08-2013, 06:11 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
In response to Chas (comment #59):
I did quote you accurately, that is, I cut and pasted from your comment. I also explained the equivalence I was assuming, so I can't see how you might think I was being unfair. The thrust of your argument is "I believe it's so unlikely that I'm justified in assuming it didn't happen." From the standpoint of argumentation this claim is much the same a much briefer "I think it's impossible." So your comment (#59) strikes me as niggling.
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14-08-2013, 06:21 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
On the other hand... a long period of common exposure to the same retroviruses between human and pig could in principle allow gene flow to occur as if the two species were interbreeding, I suppose.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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14-08-2013, 06:27 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(14-08-2013 06:11 AM)koolokamba Wrote:  In response to Chas (comment #59):
I did quote you accurately, that is, I cut and pasted from your comment. I also explained the equivalence I was assuming, so I can't see how you might think I was being unfair. The thrust of your argument is "I believe it's so unlikely that I'm justified in assuming it didn't happen." From the standpoint of argumentation this claim is much the same a much briefer "I think it's impossible." So your comment (#59) strikes me as niggling.

As on your web site, you equate skepticism with denial. I didn't say impossible, I didn't imply impossible, I didn't mean impossible.

I said and meant unlikely. The more unlikely, the better the evidence needs to be.

You evidence is unconvincing.

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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14-08-2013, 06:28 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(14-08-2013 06:21 AM)Hafnof Wrote:  On the other hand... a long period of common exposure to the same retroviruses between human and pig could in principle allow gene flow to occur as if the two species were interbreeding, I suppose.

Interesting idea.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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14-08-2013, 06:58 AM (This post was last modified: 14-08-2013 07:01 AM by koolokamba.)
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
In answer to Chas (comment #63)
You say: "As on your web site, you equate skepticism with denial." Please cite where I say this on my website. If I say such a thing, I'd like to correct it.

You say, also: "I didn't say impossible, I didn't imply impossible, I didn't mean impossible. I said and meant unlikely. The more unlikely, the better the evidence needs to be."
People in conversation use "unlikely" in an offhand way to mean "I think the probability is low." Since you don't seem to be attaching any numerical value to the event in question, you can't be talking about probability in any formal sense. In fact, even if you were, you would not be able to attach any numerical value to the event (production of a pig-chimp hybrid), because no experimentation has been conducted (e.g., repeated trial inseminations of female chimpanzees with boar semen). So we cannot calculate how often an insemination trial results in such a hybrid. So, used in the offhand way that you're using it, "unlikely" or "probability of a human/pig zygote occurring is extremely low" are substantially equivalent to "I think it's impossible." Only if you could attach numbers to your likelihoods and probabilities would they take on any formal substance and differ in any essential way from possibility. In comment #20 of this thread you stated, "I have a decent understanding of hybridization. What is not present here is any convincing evidence of this hybridization or any credible mechanism for it." I'll leave aside "decent understanding of hybridization" though I'd like to know how much you actually do know about hybridization (for my own part, by now I've read more than 10,000 publications on the topic. How many have you read?), but I do want to point out that your use of "credible mechanism" is another intuitive reference to a hand-waving sort of probability that has no numerical underpinnings.
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14-08-2013, 07:19 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(14-08-2013 06:58 AM)koolokamba Wrote:  In answer to Chas (comment #63)
You say: "As on your web site, you equate skepticism with denial." Please cite where I say this on my website. If I say such a thing, I'd like to correct it.

You say, also: "I didn't say impossible, I didn't imply impossible, I didn't mean impossible. I said and meant unlikely. The more unlikely, the better the evidence needs to be."
People in conversation use "unlikely" in an offhand way to mean "I think the probability is low." Since you don't seem to be attaching any numerical value to the event in question, you can't be talking about probability in any formal sense. In fact, even if you were, you would not be able to attach any numerical value to the event (production of a pig-chimp hybrid), because no experimentation has been conducted (e.g., repeated trial inseminations of female chimpanzees with boar semen). So we cannot calculate how often an insemination trial results in such a hybrid. So, used in the offhand way that you're using it, "unlikely" or "probability of a human/pig zygote occurring is extremely low" are substantially equivalent to "I think it's impossible." Only if you could attach numbers to your likelihoods and probabilities would they take on any formal substance and differ in any essential way from possibility. In comment #20 of this thread you stated, "I have a decent understanding of hybridization. What is not present here is any convincing evidence of this hybridization or any credible mechanism for it." I'll leave aside "decent understanding of hybridization" though I'd like to know how much you actually do know about hybridization (for my own part, by now I've read more than 10,000 publications on the topic. How many have you read?), but I do want to point out that your use of "credible mechanism" is another intuitive reference to a hand-waving sort of probability that has no numerical underpinnings.

One does not need to attach numerical probabilities when making comparisons of likelihood.

So show us your credible mechanisms for pig-ape hybridization.

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Science is not a subject, but a method.
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14-08-2013, 07:26 AM (This post was last modified: 14-08-2013 07:30 AM by koolokamba.)
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
The following is in response to Hafnof's comment (#62) "On the other hand... a long period of common exposure to the same retroviruses between human and pig could in principle allow gene flow to occur as if the two species were interbreeding, I suppose."
And to Chas's comment (#64) in response to Hafnof's comment #62.

I spent about ten years working in one of the leading laboratories studying retroviruses and their hereditary equivalents retrotransposons, that of Dr. John F. McDonald. (A retrovirus is called a retrotransposon after it enters the germ line and becomes hereditary.) I have also published various scientific papers about retroviruses and retrotransposons.

As I see it, there are three major problems with the idea of new types of organisms arising via retroviral infection:

(1) Due to the the fact that they must be packaged into a capsid to travel between cells and be infectious, retroviruses can carry only a very small amount of genetic information. The physical space inside the capsid is extremely limited. For a typical retrovirus the maximum number of nucleotides that could be transferred would be on the order of 20kb. Compare this with the volume of genetic information transferred in a single hybrid fertilization which would typically be measured in Gb, that is, a single transfer via sexual hybridization would carry over about a million times as much information as would a retrovirus. So sexual hybridization is potentially a much more powerful mechanism for bringing about evolutionary change.

(2) Sure, you might say, but you could have hundreds of thousands of retroviruses carrying across separate bits of genetic information. However, to be evolutionarily significant a retrovirus must become a retrotransposon. To do this it must become heritable, that is it must enter the germ line (sperm or eggs). The rate at which this event occurs is known and is on the order of one virus per human generation. So to carry over the same amount of information as one sexual hybridization on the order of one million generations would be required. Humans have been living in close contact with pigs for only about the last 6,000 years=240 generations. So the time available for this transfer that you suggest is far too small. Moreover, even the earliest hominids have, at least so far as can be judged from their bony remains, the piglike traits that distinguish us from nonhuman primates.

(3) Many new forms of life are actually known to be the products of hybridization (this fact is extensively documented on my website). So far as I know, not a single such case is known to have been the result of retroviral infection.

And, specifically with respect to our piglike traits, I might add a question. If we have been absorbing lots of traits from pigs via retroviruses, why haven't we absorbed even more traits from dogs? We've been living with them for much longer than we have with pigs. But all of the traits that distinguish us from nonhuman primates link us with pigs, not dogs.
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14-08-2013, 07:40 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
(14-08-2013 05:51 AM)koolokamba Wrote:  I've pasted in the quotations below in answer to comment #53 from Chas (i.e., "I don't think anyone here claimed they were impossible. Reference?"). BTW, this list is not exhaustive. And perhaps I should say that here I am equating "impossible" with such phrases as "extremely low probability" or "I ain't seeing it" or "not credible" or "wild leap" which amount to claims that such a cross cannot, or cannot plausibly occur. With regard to this topic, I agree Mark Twain: "Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isn't."

(14-08-2013 06:11 AM)koolokamba Wrote:  In response to Chas (comment #59):
I did quote you accurately, that is, I cut and pasted from your comment. I also explained the equivalence I was assuming, so I can't see how you might think I was being unfair. The thrust of your argument is "I believe it's so unlikely that I'm justified in assuming it didn't happen." From the standpoint of argumentation this claim is much the same a much briefer "I think it's impossible." So your comment (#59) strikes me as niggling.

A disingenuous false equivocation. But no matter; preferring likely explanations over unlikely ones is common sense. Evidence would suggest your theory is unlikely at best.

You did not address any of my questions:
(13-08-2013 09:39 PM)cjlr Wrote:  ... all of the morphological features in question do not emerge simultaneously in modern humans - which they would have to, if they were all introduced from specific hybridization events.

Well?

(13-08-2013 09:39 PM)cjlr Wrote:  [T]he supposed similarities are based on traits found in domestic pigs, a species whose ancestors (wild boar) did not coexist with ours.

Well?

(13-08-2013 09:39 PM)cjlr Wrote:  That is on top of the fact that no hybridization has ever been observed between such distantly related species.

Well?

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14-08-2013, 07:41 AM
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
In response to Chas's comment #66 ("One does not need to attach numerical probabilities when making comparisons of likelihood"):
You do if you want to speak of probability in a formal sense. In the loose way that you are using them "probability" and "possibility" are essentially equivalent. I'm not talking about mathematics here. I'm talking about ordinary conversational usage of the words.

As to the second part of your comment ("So show us your credible mechanisms for pig-ape hybridization. "), it's the same mechanism that's been documented in thousands of other animal crosses: the male injects semen into the reproductive tract of the female and a hybrid zygote forms, the hybrid then develops into a mature organism. What is incredible about that?
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14-08-2013, 08:05 AM (This post was last modified: 14-08-2013 08:14 AM by koolokamba.)
RE: Human Chimp-Pig Hybrid Theory
Here I address objections raised by cjlr in comment #68:

But first let me say that you're talking about my character when you say "A disingenuous false equivocation." I don't understand your point, and I don't appreciate the insult. So far as I can see, everything I said in the comment you refer to is correct. If in some respect it isn't, then I'd appreciate your explaining how it is incorrect instead of simply accusing me of lying. Smile

Objection 1: "Evidence would suggest your theory is unlikely at best." What evidence? Are you just expressing an opinion here? Many, many people have said that the evidence on my site is extremely convincing. Even DeepThought here on this site seems largely convinced, at least to the point of taking the idea seriously and wanting to investigate it further, which is my own position. But other people have gone much further after reading my evidence. They say they are totally convinced and that their lives have been changed forever. I think that's going too far, but clearly if we take other people's opinions into account, and not just yours, the evidence I give must carry some weight.

Objection 2: "all of the morphological features in question do not emerge simultaneously in modern humans - which they would have to, if they were all introduced from specific hybridization events." This is not correct, I've already mentioned it in this thread, but to the extent that we can judge from bony remains, the traits that distinguish us from nonhuman primates were also present in ancient hominids (e.g., ungual tuberosities, elliptical femoral condyles, etc.). So we have no indication that they were gradually acquired.

Objection 3: "the supposed similarities are based on traits found in domestic pigs, a species whose ancestors (wild boar) did not coexist with ours." This comment makes me think that you have not as yet carefully read what I have to say on my website, but for your convenience, I'll paste in here what I say there (http://www.macroevolution.net/hybrid-hyp...ion-1.html ):

"When a pig escapes from a farm and starts living in the woods it does not suddenly become a hairy animal. It's descendants can, if they interbreed with hairy wild animals, but not otherwise. True, the Eurasian wild boar is hairy (though its hair is nowhere near as dense as that of a cow or sheep, say). But we do not know the history of the domestic pig. It's usually treated as conspecific with the Eurasian wild boar, but the two differ in chromosome counts (domestic 2n=38, and wild boar 2n=36). So it may be that they are not the same animal and that relatively hairless pigs similar to the domestic pig existed anciently. It may well be that the two have been treated as the same species merely because it has long been known that they can produce fertile offspring together. But these offspring may simply represent hybrids (this is one of many examples, by the way, of animals with differing chromosome counts producing fertile offspring together). The domestic pig has also hybridized with a variety of other types of pigs, but that does not imply that they are the same animal. For example, in addition to the wild boar, the domestic pig has hybridized with the Babirusa, Babyrousa babyrussa (pictures); Bush Pig, Potamochoerus larvatus (pictures); Bearded Pig, Sus barbatus (pictures); Visayan Warty Pig, Sus cebifrons (pictures); Sulawesi Wild Boar, Sus celebensis (pictures); and probably Sus oliveri and Sus philippensis. So why assume that the domestic pig and wild boar are the "same" animal? Relatively naked animals similar to the domestic pig might have existed anciently. We don't really know what pigs looked like thousands of years ago, but a prehistoric painting in Altamira Cave in Spain shows a pig (pictures) that looks fairly naked to me (except for what looks like a beard and hair at the top of the head, neck, and shoulders)."

The foregoing quoted material contained a lot of documenting links. Being a newbie to this site I haven't figure out how to make links work here, but you can access those links if you go to the original text on my site. It appears in a green sidebar near the top of the page.

Objection 4: "That is on top of the fact that no hybridization has ever been observed between such distantly related species." There have actually been many reports of equivalently strange hybrids. I've collected a lot of information about such reports on my website (see this page: http://www.macroevolution.net/mammalian-hybrids.html )
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