Re: [GRG] Rebuttal — was RE: NewAbs: TC-2153 for AD (in Mouse Model) STEP Inhibitor

Dear Steve, (I only use that salutation when I intend its full
meaning)
Thanks muchly for this response. I have not taken any part in the
debate on “natural” because that was not my main and most important
point, even though I think that its use also is highly destructive
to scientific communication and understanding. See a couple more
comments inline below.
On 14-08-11 12:01 AM, L. Stephen Coles
M.D. Ph.D. wrote:

Paul: I just this moment read your well-constructed
E-mail.  I’ve been very sick with the side effects
of chemo for the last week, so typing with more than one finger
is
painful secondary to neuropathy.

You have my profound sympathy here. Are you taking
lots of anti inflammatory supplements for this? There is
reasonable evidence in the scientific literature that curcumin,
EGCG (from green tea extract), fish oil, LOX-5, and several others
should help your finger pain at the least. Yes, it is possible
that these will reduce the effects of the chemo, but then
several of them also have good evidence of being anti-cancer as
well.
Thank you for your concerns.  It will
take me a long time to
overcome the temptation to personify Nature,
even though we all know better.  This has been  my habit for
many decades.

Yes, I fully understand that. Perhaps a friendly
“prod” now and then would help?

BTW, I believe that
this particular molecule with five consecutive sulfurs attached
to a
benzene ring is synthetic and not
found in Nature.  Can someone read the paper from the Yale folks
and
verify this  point?  — Steve Coles

Just to clarify, I never suggested that this molecule
might be already known to be in Nature or even that it might be as
yet unknown but still exist in Nature on Earth. My point was
simply that Nature (meaning the entire Universe) is so vast and so
much time has passed that I think it likely that almost every
molecule that can exist has already occurred at some time
and at some place in the Universe.
–Paul Wakfer
 
At 01:08 PM 8/8/2014, you wrote:

Important
note to all list
members re this off-topic message:
     I sincerely apologize for this interruptive set
of posts which Johnny has instigated in response to my
intentionally very
brief request of Steve to curb his anthropomorphic habits of
language.

Johnny first contacted me by E-mail asking for a phone
conversation
without any hint of the subject matter of such a conversation.

I replied that I prefer always to have written conversations,
so that
everything stated is documented and can be carefully
considered.
He rejected that suggestion and went directly to the list thus
causing
this unnecessary interruptive harm to all the list members.
   Herewith my response to him (with additional profuse
apologies for wasting the precious time of others not
interested).
 
On 14-08-08 12:46 PM, John M. “Johnny” Adams wrote:
Dear GRG Member,
As a GRG discussion list member – as well as co-admin and
list co-creator
(assisting Dr. Coles in the original “Majordomo†list
installation back
in 2003) I will chime in on the post below.
1. Re. Steve’s “Would Nature ever think to make such a small
molecule
that looked like this? 🙂 “
Note the emoticon “:-)†at the end.  Clearly the intent of
the
phrase is light-hearted, and taking an intentional
liberty.

Steve could have just as light-heartedly written: “Would such
a
small molecule that looks like this ever have occurred in
Nature?
:-)”
There is no such thing as an “innocent” false
anthropomorphism.
Every one of them distorts the scientific use of language and
has the
potential to do harm to the subconscious thought processes of
the writer
and his readers, to warp the thoughts of those large numbers
of
misunderstanding public who might read it and to aid and abet
the large
anti-science groups within society.
Of course natural
selection is
mechanical, and dispassionate.  We know that.

Then why *ever* write or think words that say otherwise? Doing
so simply
distorts clear thinking and leads to similar phrasings when
talking/writing to people who do not “know that” and may well
get confused and/or become disdainful of the speaker/writer.
In an informal
professional
discussion such as our GRG list, I personally feel use of
such phrase IS
appropriate

But I obviously do not. Particularly after I spent some of my
precious
time some weeks ago rewriting some text of Steve’s just to
show him how
easy it is to avoid such unscientific anthropomorphisms, I
found it very
annoying to see on the list.
— and sometimes
even brings
color and life to the discussion.

Nonsense statements are never a proper method by which to
bring
“color and life” to any discussion. Besides, since many very
strange, neat and cool molecules have been found in Nature, I
don’t even
agree with the intended statement. In fact, the universe is so
large and
complex and has been around so long that it is highly likely
that any
molecule that is man-made already exists or has existed
somewhere in it.
Just because humans have not yet found it on this small planet
does not
mean much.
  This can be
like a fresh
breeze compared to the dry scientific writing we spend much
of our lives
in.

I agree that some humor now and then is highly useful, but
unscientific
anthropomorphisms are not the way to achieve that,
particularly not when
science is under attack by large elements of the public as it
currently
is.
2. Re. the
criticism of Dr.
Coles’ statement, the anthropomorphic statement below “ . .
. this
molecule has actually been designed and made by nature.â€. 
I do not believe nature designs.  This implies intent, and
is
actually similar to “Would Nature ever think . . .â€.
See

http://ift.tt/XV6ovF

It seems that you misread my sentence (in my earlier post) and
have
quoted me out of context above, hopefully not intentionally.
My initial
conditional clause “since humans are part of nature” clearly
implied that design and production by humans was equivalent to
design and
production by nature. The correct term for molecules that are
not found
in nature on Earth and are then designed and made by humans is
“xenobiotic” not “unnatural” – i.e., not made by
Nature.
I am adamant that the proper use of such terms is critical in
scientific
conversation.
3. On the GRG
discussion list,
correction or criticism should be presented in a courteous
tone.

What was discourteous about my critique? I had already tried
to help
Steve curb his anthropomorphic language; I said “please” (I
did
not order him); and I also clearly stated that he is a very
intelligent
person whom I greatly admire and that is why I particularly do
not wish
him to appear to be less than he is.
This is not just
my personal
opinion.  In December of 2012 we did a survey of GRG email
discussion list members, asking for guidelines.  This was
high on
the list of requests by members.

I regret that I was not again reading the list yet at that
time (after
being put off by some constant bickering almost 10 years ago –
mainly
between Robert Young and Louis Epstein as I recall). For my
edification,
I would appreciate seeing a copy of those guideline requests.
Many criticisms
should be taken
up with the person directly, not on a public forum sent to
all 533
members.

At first thought that seems reasonable to me, but with further
thought it
has the problem that there is then no negative social
preferencing from
others to persuade the person to actually change. Far better
for many
people to publicly censure the person for unscientific
language, because
then s/he might actually be persuaded to change. In fact, it
is the
continuation of tolerant acceptance of such things that
ensures the
perpetrator has no incentive to bother changing his/her
ingrained
habits.
We all make
mistakes, so if a
member learns they have actually made a statement in error,
they will
likely acknowledge it.

That will likely be true for real mistakes and for any such
thing I would
only make a friendly correction post (as have many others on
the list for
such simple errors).
However, this was not any kind of “mistake” but rather one
more
use of an ingrained habit of language which Steve has and
needs to
eradicate from himself IMO.
And if a member
should in a
moment of haste write something that is rude or
mean-spirited, they
should apologize.

Fully agreed. And if what I write is in any manner taken as
“rude or
mean-spirited” then I sincerely apologize to all such
“receivers”, and please note that i do not have an
intentionally “rude or mean-spirited” bone in my body.
Everything that I say or write is and always has been meant to
be helpful
and/or informative. But then again as is so often the case to
mix
metaphors: “rudeness or mean-spiritedness is often in the eye
of the
beholder”.
4. I personally
feel it
inappropriate to scold even a novice in such a manner, let
alone a world
class emeritus member of our community who has been a
researcher,
teacher, mentor and friend, and selflessly gives so much of
his time
making great contributions to our shared mission.

I am sincerely sorry that you (or any others) were offended by
my post,
particularly when its purpose was purely to help Steve be even
more
estimable than he currently is.
–Paul Wakfer

Johnny
John M. “Johnny†Adams
GRG Co-AdminFrom:
grg-bounces@lists.ucla.edu
[mailto:grg-bounces@lists.ucla.edu]
On Behalf Of Paul WakferSent: Thursday, August 07, 2014 6:56 PMTo:
grg@lists.ucla.eduSubject: Re: [GRG] NewAbs: TC-2153 for AD (in Mouse
Model) STEP
Inhibitor
On 14-08-07 04:19 PM, L. Stephen Coles M.D. Ph.D. wrote:

Would Nature ever think to make such a small
molecule that looked
like this? 🙂 — Steve Coles

Steve, Nature doesn’t think!
    Please refrain from such anthropomorphic language
which makes you look extremely unprofessional and even
unscientific (if
not actually brainless – but I know you’re not).
Finally, since humans are part of nature, this molecule has
actually been
designed and made by nature. The whole idea of humans being
apart from
nature is a highly mischievous fundamentally invalid notion.
Please stop promoting these damaging ideas and phrases.
–Paul

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About Johnny Adams

My full-time commitment is to slow and ultimately reverse age related functional decline to increase healthy years of life. I’ve been active in this area since the 1970s, steadily building skills and accomplishments. I have a good basic understanding of the science of aging, and have many skills that complement those of scientists so they can focus on science to advance our shared mission. Broad experience Top skills: administration, management, information technology (data and programming), communications, writing, marketing, market research and analysis, public speaking, forging ethical win-win outcomes among stakeholders (i.e. high level "selling"). Knowledge in grant writing, fundraising, finance. Like most skilled professionals, I’m best described as a guy who defines an end point, then figures out how to get there. I enjoy the conception, design, execution and successful completion of a grand plan. Executive Director Gerontology Research Group (GRG). Manages Email discussion forum, web site, meetings and oversees supercentenarian (oldest humans, 110+ years) research. CEO / Executive Director Carl I. Bourhenne Medical Research Foundation (Aging Intervention Foundation), an IRS approved 501(c)(3) nonprofit. http://www.AgingIntervention.org Early contributor to Supercentenarian Research Foundation. Co-Founder Geroscience Healthspan Forum. Active contributor to numerous initiatives to increase healthy years of life. Co-authored book on conventional, practical methods available today to slow the processes of aging – nutrition, exercise, behavior modification and motivation, stress reduction, proper supplementation, damage caused by improper programs, risk reduction and others. Fundamental understanding of, and experience in the genomics of longevity (internship analyzing and curating longevity gene papers). Biological and technical includes information technology, software development and computer programming, bioinformatics and protein informatics, online education, training programs, regulatory, clinical trials software, medical devices (CAT scanners and related), hospital electrical equipment testing program. Interpersonal skills – good communication, honest, well liked, works well in teams or alone. Real world experience collaborating in interdisciplinary teams in fast paced organizations. Uses technology to advance our shared mission. Education: MBA 1985 University of Southern California -- Deans List, Albert Quon Community Service Award (for volunteering with the American Longevity Association and helping an elderly lady every other week), George S. May Scholarship, CA State Fellowship. BA psychology, psychobiology emphasis 1983 California State University Fullerton Physiological courses as well as core courses (developmental, abnormal etc). UCLA Psychobiology 1978, one brief but fast moving and fulfilling quarter. Main interest was the electrochemical basis of consciousness. Also seminars at the NeuroPsychiatric Institute. Other: Ongoing conferences, meetings and continuing education. Aging, computer software and information technology. Some molecular biology, biotech, bio and protein informatics, computer aided drug design, clinical medical devices, electronics, HIPAA, fundraising through the Assoc. of Fundraising Professionals. Previous careers include: Marketing Increasing skill set and successes in virtually all phases, with valuable experience in locating people and companies with the greatest need and interest in a product or service, and sitting across the table with decision makers and working out agreements favorable to all. Information Technology: Management, data analysis and programming in commercial and clinical trials systems, and bioinformatics and protein informatics. As IT Director at Newport Beach, CA based technology organization Success Family of Continuing Education Companies, provided online software solutions for insurance and financial professionals in small to Fortune 500 size companies. We were successful with lean team organization (the slower moving competition was unable to create similar software systems). Medical devices: At Omnimedical in Paramount CA developed and managed quality assurance dept. and training depts. for engineers, physicians and technicians. Designed hospital equipment testing program for hospital services division. In my early 20’s I was a musician, and studied psychology and music. Interned with the intention of becoming a music therapist. These experiences helped develop valuable skills used today to advance our shared mission of creating aging solutions.
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