Monthly Archives: July 2013

DNA Only Explains 5% (or 13%) of Inherited Traits – The Missing Heritability Problem

I like reading Rupert Sheldrake essays.  He does such a direct exposé of the weaknesses of science.  Oh, I am not a science basher.  That is not the reason I like him.  I wish the very best for science.  And I know he does, too.  At the same time I know that in many ways science is on the wrong track, and I am glad that, in Sheldrake, I have such a fellow frank-speaking well-wisher.

The latest new thing for me that Sheldrake points out is something called the “missing heritability problem.”  Ever heard of it?  Not me.

Wiki has only a VERY short article, which I can post in full here:

The “missing heritability” problem[1][2][3][4][5] can be defined as the fact that individual genes cannot account for much of the heritability of diseases, behaviors, and other phenotypes. This is a problem that has significant implications for medicine, since a person’s susceptibility to disease may depend more on “the combined effect of all the genes in the background than on the disease genes in the foreground”.

A model has been introduced that takes into account epigenetic inheritance on the risk and recurrence risk of a complex disease.[4]

The limiting pathway (LP) model has been introduced in which a trait depends on the value of k inputs that can have rate limitations due to stoichiometric ratios, reactants required in a biochemical pathway, or proteins required for transcription of a gene. Each of these k inputs is a strictly additive trait that depends on a set of common or rare variants. When k = 1, the LP model is simply a standard additive trait.[2]

First of all, this is A BIG DEAL.

Secondly, as with all unsolved mysteries of science (the ones they cannot sweep under the carpet), the solution is “just round the corner.”  Like fusion, dark matter, dark energy, the Younger Dryas stadial (climate), the “divergence problem” in climate proxies (which no longer show any correlation between tree rings and global temperatures), and also the origin of life.  The solutions to all of those are just around the corner. Continue reading

Are All Computer Models Wrong?

Steven Mosher (commenting at Climate Etc., Dr. Judith Curry’s non-partisan climate blog): “The problem is that all models, I repeat all models are wrong.”

I disagree.

While all climate models are wrong, in applied science (called engineering) models are NOT wrong, or even modestly wrong. Why not? Because the science behind them is based on KNOWNS – knowns measured in times past and archived (by many now unknown people whose jobs and industries required it to be known). Because of those efforts – and the standardization of, say, basic materials production and off-the-shelf products – a lay person with only a reasonable amount of “skills” can design a structure that will not fall and injure people; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist. Or a climate scientist.

The reason climate models all “are wrong” is because the underlying concepts and quantifications have not been done yet. If we engineered bridges and buildings with the unknowns allowed in climate science, we’d have a populace afraid to enter buildings or cross over running water. As it is, we have alarmed people to the extent that they are afraid the seas will boil (James Hansen) or the planet dying – afraid like hell for their grandkids. What level of ignorance permits such irresponsibility? Continue reading

A Belated Welcome

The following is the current text of my ABOUT page.  In editing it just now I thought it had some good enough stuff in it to make a post of it…

…First of all, posts are welcome, by any and all of you.  If you want to post, contact me at

My name is Steve Garcia.  I have perhaps as much curiosity as any person you will meet, online or in real life.  Like a lot of you, I do not draw the line on inquiry where establishment science and historians do.  I’ve seen them be wrong too many times.  So often, in fact, that I often wonder if anything accepted as fact today will remain the operative paradigm a century from now.  Very little besides math from 100 years ago is still accepted as it was then.  So why should we expect today’s memes to hold for long or prove to be permanent additions to science?  So I personally doubt much of what they conclude.  And when I do agree, I know why I agree.  When I don’t know one way or the other,  I accept their conclusions tentatively, intending to look into it more thoroughly, later.  I also approach alternative explanations the same way.  Nobody gets a free pass, I guess.  Ha ha ha!  Ask the UEA CRU people involved in Climategate about free passes.  Their Get Out of Jail Free card has been rescinded.

How does one get off  saying such things?  Geez, if at some time in life I don’t get to trusting my own judgement what have I been doing with my mind?  I decide what I agree with and what doesn’t makes sense to me.  At the same time, that is a curse, believe me… Continue reading