Evolution is evidence against evolution (?)


Intelligent Design blog Uncommon Descent thinks Betül Kacar’s microbial evolution experiments somehow support their agenda (“E coli hybrid copes with 700 mya engineered gene“). The post quotes extensively from a recent article in Quanta Magazine, which in turn reports on Dr. Kacar’s presentation at AbSciCon (which I briefly covered here).

I’m really not sure what the logic is here. The blog post quotes extensively from the Quanta article (really the post just is quotes from the article, with two short comments added), including sections that make clear that Dr. Kacar observed evolution in action in these experiments:

…Kacar has engineered that ancient protein into modern E. coli and tracked how the microbe adapted to it…Within a couple of months — about 500 generations — the hybrid E. coli were growing as well as their modern counterparts. These survivor strains must have evolved ways to overcome the problems caused by the outdated protein.

The post concludes, “Maybe they never got the memo that after 700 million years, they were just supposed to some how fail?” A strange thing to say after quoting,

The hybrid E. coli clearly suffered from the archaic component. The hybrids grew much more slowly than their normal counterparts, producing 25 percent fewer offspring.

So first of all, whose memo are we talking about? I’m aware of nothing in evolutionary theory that requires that the modern bacteria with the ancient gene are ‘supposed’ to fail . Second, they kind of did fail, suffering a clear decrease in fitness, which the author of the blog post obviously knew. Somehow, in the Bizarro World of intelligent design, an experiment that demonstrates evolution is evidence against evolution.

EDIT: replaced bad link with doi.

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