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Creationist Perspective On The Lenski Experiment


JadedAtheist
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I've been reading up on the Lenski Experiment and have been fascinated with it. This evening however, I decided to read into the creationist's perspective on this experiment and see what, if anything they could say to refute it or at least attack its credibility. Surprisingly, what they said, I found intriguing.

 

The article may be found here.

 

Does anyone other than me find it hard to understand the difference between creationist "adaption" to evolution propagated by natural selection? Also, I find it interesting that they admit to change in "information", but not to increase of "information". In other words, unless a creature evolves from a petri dish before their very eyes, no "increase of information" will ever occur according to them.

 

Anyways, in saying that, I did find their point about citrate utilization interesting.

 

Thoughts, anyone?

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Does anyone other than me find it hard to understand the difference between creationist "adaption" to evolution propagated by natural selection? Also, I find it interesting that they admit to change in "information", but not to increase of "information". In other words, unless a creature evolves from a petri dish before their very eyes, no "increase of information" will ever occur according to them.

 

Anyways, in saying that, I did find their point about citrate utilization interesting.

 

Thoughts, anyone?

Since I'm not an evolutionary biologist I am ill-equipped to judge either side of this debate. I have never found evolutionary arguments compelling or intuitive but have generally taken that as a sign that (1) like a lot of things in the natural world, it doesn't work in a way that I would expect it to and/or (2) we just haven't been able to definitively determine / prove the mechanism of evolution as yet, although I still accept that it is highly likely that natural selection is responsible for the origin of species even if we don't fully understand it as yet. In other words it's a good theory and far more likely to be true, or at least close to the truth, vs the alternatives.

 

The Lenski experiment strikes me as worth doing but a bit of a long shot. I doubt we can see definitive "proof" of natural selection in just thirty years, even with a simple organism. It seems logical to me that there will be a tendency to jump to conclusions, to see anything that looks like an actual beneficial mutation as more than it really is. In this case they probably can't disprove the creationist assertion that it's merely an adaptation, and a half-assed one at that. This may (or may not) be an adaptation that would fizzle in the wild, to be (very eventually) superseded by a better adaptation a zillion generations down the road, perhaps after several more failed ones.

 

Much more impressive would be a strain of e.coli that became symbiotic with other e.coli or even different species (e.g., a biofilm) and eventually became a multicellular organism. The holy grail is, as the Creationist gleefully point out, is for new kinds to arise from existing ones, for a more complex and capable organism to evolve toward a new branch of the inheritance tree - a new species or phylum or class. That is something that will take a lot more time and is basically unprovable in any reasonable time frame. Creationists take advantage of this fact, but then make the leap that this either proves Creationism or disproves evolution. All it really means is that the time frames are so vast that it's not truly subject to the scientific method, which is, controlled experiments that can be verified via reproducible results.

 

Which brings us to the question of how much faith it takes to be an evolutionist. Some things are a matter of belief or best guesses. To my mind where Creationism fails is not so much in being unscientific -- since strictly speaking any talk of the origin of species or the origin of the universe itself can't be experimentally verified or observed, evolution really fails in this regard as well. The failure of Creationism is that it fails Occam's Razor by multiplying entities and making too many assumptions. Evolution wins not via being objectively and definitively provable but by being the simplest explanation that fits the known facts.

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Even when they accept the Lenski experiment as plausible, they will still somehow find a way to squeeze gawd in there.

 

DNA has not been around that long and they already claim such a complex code has to be designed and have claimed it as their own. The problem is that creationists are not known for scientific acumen and based on other discussions here, it appears the US schooling system is to thank for this. You need only look at they type of questions the teens ask on YahooAnswers and other sites concerning simple reproduction facets.

 

College grads and Uni grads have access to more detailed data and then tend to embrace the facts of evolution and abiogenesis.

 

What I use as a point of contention is that the bible has not even been updated to reflect the now known contribution of the female portion to the procreation event. The bible makes no distinction except that the menses is seen as something secret or unclean. The ovum was only discovered by Karl Ernst von Baer in the 19th century. The concept of the seed of man is still there is all its glory and also the texts that are still used to make women feel inferior/insignificant religiously speaking.

 

They use texts of being knitted together in the womb from Psalms to suggest that the goatherders knew how the fetus grew etc.

 

They will use any excuse and mental gymnastics to make their shit fit with the new facts but will not update the bible as that will defeat their claim of inerrancy and divine inspiration.

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Also, I find it interesting that they admit to change in "information", but not to increase of "information".

 

What do these creationists mean by "information?" Do evolutionary biologists use these terms in their literature on the subject? It seems to me that he creationists' use of the word "information" is a vague, ambiguous word much like their word "kind." There is no rigorous definition of the word and no way to prevent equivocation - because one never really knows what special sense of the word they are talking about.

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Also, I find it interesting that they admit to change in "information", but not to increase of "information".

 

What do these creationists mean by "information?" Do evolutionary biologists use these terms in their literature on the subject? It seems to me that he creationists' use of the word "information" is a vague, ambiguous word much like their word "kind." There is no rigorous definition of the word and no way to prevent equivocation - because one never really knows what special sense of the word they are talking about.

 

To go from a small simple life form to a complex one requires an increase in information.

IOW, the DNA chain has to be bigger to accommodate the increase in complexity.

 

The argument is, adaptation is the same DNA length but in a different combination. This is basically mutation or adaption.

Creationists accept this as normal. It would be a death blow to their stance if they did not since its common knowledge that bacteria adapt.

 

What they are arguing however is that there is no sign that there is an increase in information, i.e. the DNA length stays the same. If the DNA length stays the same we can calculate the relative complexity of the organism. For each increase in one unit length of DNA the complexity increases fourfold.

 

In this experiment the ecoli bacteria did not get more complex, it just adapted. So it did not evolve.

 

The distinction is quite obvious if we look at the human species. The racial differences is not evolution, it is adaption.

No race is more evolved than another. Basically we adapt but we have no evidence of evolution by the way of DNA increase verified scientifically.

Thus we did not evolve. God put us here and we merely adapted. No new life evolved. They were always variations of the same thing.

That is the creationist argument.

 

That works well on bacteria and replicating/dividing life forms. Its pretty hard to throw in four times more information just by splitting.

 

When it comes to reproducing lifeforms where male and female are required the issue becomes more complex.

Now the lifeform is more involved and already takes far longer to reproduce so is unpractical to perform the same experiment.

You can't get 50,000 generations in 20years for example.

Seeing it in action is far harder. The experiment would need to span several human life times to be likely to see such a change scientifically.

 

Thing is however the creationists seem to either avoid or ignore the abnormalities in life.

We see very rarely but we do see it when the DNA sequence is either a little longer or shorter than it should be.

This is regarded by the scientific community as an abnormality.

It is IMHO also proof that information can grow thus is confirmation of evolution itself.

The only thing that is required is that the abnormality takes hold and for this to happen it requires for that abnormality to be advantageous and fertile.

This is often not the case.

To see a case where a species actually changes and it takes hold would destroy the creationist argument but that would be a long time in the making since the events are extremely rare and then for them to be a functional change is even rarer still.

The alternative is to sample the DAN of all life forms regularly.

We just need to find one that has increased information to show evolution is in fact a reality.

 

Naturally at that point the creationists will claim the wisdom of the lord having devised such an incredible system of life and totally disregard that they have been wrong for ages.

Nothing new to this however. Christianity changes its mind regularly when people call bullshit and they have no leg to stand on.

See flat Earth for examples.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Changes of the number of bits of information in DNA happens through insertion and deletion copy errors. Then, at some time later, a duplicate gene can mutate and take on new function. That's how information increases. These processes are known to happen and are not conjectures.

 

My understanding is that this happened in Lenski's experiment. So information did increase.

 

nature08480-f12.jpg

 

(Green pins are insertion/mutation... i.e. new genes. I'm not sure what IS Insertion stands for.)

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Changes of the number of bits of information in DNA happens through insertion and deletion copy errors. Then, at some time later, a duplicate gene can mutate and take on new function. That's how information increases. These processes are known to happen and are not conjectures.

 

My understanding is that this happened in Lenski's experiment. So information did increase.

 

post-324-0-39119200-1313356757_thumb.jpg

 

(Green pins are insertion/mutation... i.e. new genes. I'm not sure what IS Insertion stands for.)

 

 

Everything I've read say's that there was no increase in DNA length.

What they described was shifts in the sequence but the length remained the same.

Do you have a source?

 

It would be positive proof of evolution if it was but I haven't heard or read anything that has suggested it has been observed other than what they consider abnormalities, e.g. Down's Syndrome where there is a little extra information but that basically reduces the quality of the genome rather than evolving in some way superior.

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Changes of the number of bits of information in DNA happens through insertion and deletion copy errors. Then, at some time later, a duplicate gene can mutate and take on new function. That's how information increases. These processes are known to happen and are not conjectures.

 

My understanding is that this happened in Lenski's experiment. So information did increase.

 

nature08480-f12.jpg

 

(Green pins are insertion/mutation... i.e. new genes. I'm not sure what IS Insertion stands for.)

 

 

Everything I've read say's that there was no increase in DNA length.

What they described was shifts in the sequence but the length remained the same.

Do you have a source?

 

It would be positive proof of evolution if it was but I haven't heard or read anything that has suggested it has been observed other than what they consider abnormalities, e.g. Down's Syndrome where there is a little extra information but that basically reduces the quality of the genome rather than evolving in some way superior.

The picture was from Lenski's website for the experiment: http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/genomicsdat.html

 

And if you open the supplemental table PDF, there are information in the table about insertion. Insertion is the term for a copy error when extra codons are added to a strand.

 

So they did not have only deletion or frame-shift. Deletion and frame-shift are not the same as insertion.

 

Creationists want it to be false, hence they claim there were no insertions but only synonymous point-mutations, frame-shifts, and deletions.

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Changes of the number of bits of information in DNA happens through insertion and deletion copy errors. Then, at some time later, a duplicate gene can mutate and take on new function. That's how information increases. These processes are known to happen and are not conjectures.

 

My understanding is that this happened in Lenski's experiment. So information did increase.

 

post-324-0-39119200-1313356757_thumb.jpg

 

(Green pins are insertion/mutation... i.e. new genes. I'm not sure what IS Insertion stands for.)

 

 

Everything I've read say's that there was no increase in DNA length.

What they described was shifts in the sequence but the length remained the same.

Do you have a source?

 

It would be positive proof of evolution if it was but I haven't heard or read anything that has suggested it has been observed other than what they consider abnormalities, e.g. Down's Syndrome where there is a little extra information but that basically reduces the quality of the genome rather than evolving in some way superior.

The picture was from Lenski's website for the experiment: http://myxo.css.msu....enomicsdat.html

 

And if you open the supplemental table PDF, there are information in the table about insertion. Insertion is the term for a copy error when extra codons are added to a strand.

 

So they did not have only deletion or frame-shift. Deletion and frame-shift are not the same as insertion.

 

Creationists want it to be false, hence they claim there were no insertions but only synonymous point-mutations, frame-shifts, and deletions.

 

 

ha. cool. thanks.

off to read it now.

 

 

 

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ha. cool. thanks.

off to read it now.

I'm trying to find anything written that explains that Lenski's experiment shows that information was added, but the problem is that I have never heard (or read) any biologist (or physical anthropologist) use that term when it comes to DNA or mutations. It's a straw-man argument from Creationists to throw in the face because they don't understand how it works. It's like the argument that atheists are wrong because they're immoral (or evil).

 

And I tried to find any good comparison of the base-pair size changes, which did happen, but it's a bit confusing from the document (bp size).

 

All in all, Creationists are wrong about "new information". It does happen. Unless they're just simply talking about changes in the actual nucleotides. DNA will not change from the four basic building blocks to nine or ten different ones. It's like saying that computers can't store more information on larger harddisks because there are only two values to a bit and that can never get bigger.

 

The fascinating part of the nucleotides is that a sequence of codons expresses all possible proteins. Just like "0" and "1" in sequence can represent all human characters in language, and sequence of letters all words, and sequence of words represents all written literature in the past, current, and for all future. Even video, sound, color, 3D media, cell phones, etc, are dealt with using digits (zeros and ones). So far, we don't need more. And it seems like a gazillion combination of proteins don't need anything more than four kinds of nucleotides.

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Pretty much though every time you add a new "unit" into the sequence the information capacity increases by four.

 

After reading that the sequence has increased from the base that is all that is required to show evolution happening by way of increase in information.

 

That says right there the creationists are either ignoring the DNA sequence increases or they are lying by denying them and claiming there was none.

 

It is really hard to find anyone that is credible rebutting the creationist argument with something that is worthwhile.

Prior to you providing that link all I found was lots of scientists/atheists trying to prove creationists wrong by trying to show that changes in the sequence was an increase in information. That's technically not correct. Had they simply stated that the DNA sequence was shown to increase then its very conclusive.

there is no creationist argument as its simply n^4 where n = the increase in the sequence.

 

I'll remember this one the next time someone pulls that argument out. Correct them just like you did me. Thank you.

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This is one of the reasons I love this forum. Thanks Ouroboros! That information is quite handy; looking at the article again after reading that makes AiG seem far more dishonest than I first expected silverpenny013Hmmm.gif

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I do not use lenskies experiment as I am too lazy to read up on it but enough co atheists have.

 

I started a thread to ask creationists what they would teach HS students. *crickets* and the only respondent had a fucking preach attack and nothing to do with a contrary to evolution, it si all just a "theory" in their eyes.

 

At 53 and b/c DNA is still a "new" science, when I was at school, we were "told" we share a common ancestor and we had the "wrong" evolution posters like this

 

evolution.png

 

And then we got into the nitty gritties of biology as it stands today. I am sure a HS student does not get into DNA and RNA mapping etc.

 

Before DNA, the woos had nothing to really challenge their fairy tales but now they do, so it becomes a guided evolution and wow is gawd not great, meanwhile they know fuck all of DNA and the intricacies and I do not pretend to either.

 

Evolution is NOT sequentially linear. We did cover other species as the human genome was a "sacred" cow.

gs411-milestones_of_evolution_poster.jpg

 

This is the type of stuff we were more focused on as we all know of dino fossils and had them in museums etc. We were kind of left to piece together 1+1=2.

 

New species being discovered were reported on even back then as science spread its wings. So how could gawd have created all this, the extinctions, the pairs on the ark etc. Hence the babble version defeated itself based on scientific evidence.

 

It appears for US kids, dirt men and spare ribs are easier as that requires no lurnin' 'cause that is hard. Certainly in the ACE system which I read through, there was no mention of evolution, just magic skyman instapoofing it all into existence 6k years ago.

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