“Endless diversity” in bacterial genomes?

| 83 Comments

It’s always nice when there’s a groundbreaking article in the literature, and the subject just happens to be your baby. My current research focuses on Streptococcus agalactiae (group B streptococcus, GBS), a bacterium that is the leading cause of neonatal meningitis in the United States. It also is a leading cause of invasive infection in the elderly, and can cause sepsis and toxic shock-like syndrome in healthy adults. No vaccine is currently available.

But what’s garnered attention recently hasn’t been any clinical presentations or new case reports of GBS disease; it’s the bacterium’s DNA. Specifically, the whole genomic sequences of 8 different strains of GBS, and the conclusions the authors have come to regarding bacterial genetic diversity–that it may be “endless.”

Continue reading (at Aetiology).

83 Comments

”…the conclusions the authors have come to regarding bacterial genetic diversity—that it may be ‘endless.’”

Oh my gawd! There really are a couple billion monkeys typing away for a few billion years… but the typerwriter only has four keys, A, C, G and T.

It’s time to say, “Thanks, Tara!” for a series of great posts over the last several days.

How clever of the Designer not to paint himself into a corner…

Where’s NS in all of this? If there is an infinite diversity, then obviously NS is not operative–or else it would pick one over the other. Now if NS cannot act on bacteria, then how did bacteria evolve?

I await enlightened responses.

Where’s NS in all of this?

I can only assume you mean noodle specificity. Evidence of His Noodly Appendage is all around us.

Blastfromthepast Wrote:

Where’s NS in all of this? If there is an infinite diversity, then obviously NS is not operative—or else it would pick one over the other. Now if NS cannot act on bacteria, then how did bacteria evolve?

I await enlightened responses.

Huh. I’m not really sure where to begin. First, I have no idea how you came to the conclusion that if there is “infinite diversity,” then “obviously NS is not operative.” NS is one of the factors that would lead to that very diversity, as isolates pick up new genes in the environment that give them a selective advantage in their local population. However, what may give one isolate an advantage at a particular time in a particular environment may be detrimental to another isolate in another time in a different environment–therefore, a great deal of diversity will be seen in the global GBS population, although obviously only limited diversity may be seen locally. Does that clarify it at all?

I have no idea how you go from your first statement to your conclusion that NS can’t act on bacteria. Either I’m not seeing several steps in your logic, or you’ve bypassed them.

Blast, Blast, Blast. When will you learn that you need to invest the time and energy to actually gain some rudimentary understanding of this stuff before you launch once more into your open mouth, insert foot routine.

Mutatation generates variation. The diversity of life-forms is the expected result. Within any given amount of time, natural selection begins to winnow that diversity within any given niche of any given prevailing environment, but those niches and environments don’t simply stand still as time marches on. Because both the variation generated by the life-forms and the variation-winnowing environment are moving targets, the fitness match between life-form and environment never reaches perfection.

Otherwise we wouldn’t have a diverse biome in the first place, just one not-very-interesting species of slime covering one not-very-interesting ball of rock (if that; one suspects that overly-boring “environments” most likely don’t give rise competing replicators in the first place).

Reality is messier than you might like. You can get used to it, or you can keep wishing that it will turn out to conform to your rather simplistic and boring fantasies, but you can’t do both.

Tara Smith Wrote:

I have no idea how you go from your first statement to your conclusion that NS can’t act on bacteria. Either I’m not seeing several steps in your logic, or you’ve bypassed them.

I may be able to help you with that.

See, if there’s “infinite diversity”, that means that every possible permutation of sequence exists within the world’s population of S. agalactiae. So, if the genome is, say 4x10^6 basepairs, there are at least 4^(4x10^6) different versions of S. agalactiae out there. And, while that’s a pretty large number, it’s not quite infinite, so we have to allow for the fact that there’s really no hard and fast limit to the genome size, thus extending our very large number to infinity.

And, of course, an unspoken assumption in Blast’s devastatingly incisive query is that all of these infinite sequences are equally represented in the population of S. agalactiae; in other words its genome is entirely random! Don’t you see? Blast has just disproved evolution… again!

That and the fact that Blast is a committed creationist should clear things up.

Hope that helps.

One pictures colonies of bacteria each evolving like mad to adapt to a few somewhat different (and changing) square millimeters of environment, and being able to do so indefinitely. Given enough difference in territorities, the right rate of change, and an extensive enough buffet of mutations to choose from, and it would be astounding if something totally novel did NOT evolve from NS at work.

Thanks, Russell–it’s so much clearer now. :)

I’ll only remark that “infinite” and “endless” are not synonyms.

RBH

In the context of the paper under discussion, neither “endless” nor “infinite” are justified. From the abstract of the paper at issue:

Mathematical extrapolation of the data suggests that the gene reservoir available for inclusion in the S. agalactiae pan-genome is vast and that unique genes will continue to be identified even after sequencing hundreds of genomes. (Bolding added)

“Vast” is neither “endless” (in the sense that we’ll continue finding new ones no matter how long we look) nor “infinite” (in the sense that the number of existing unique genes is greater than any arbitrarily large number).

RBH

Very true. I think I cribbed “endless” from one of the write-ups about this paper. The authors consistently use “vast” throughout the manuscript.

Blast, I’m not sure how NS acts here, but I did notice that if you magnify the image really really big, you can see an extremely clear image of Bill Dembski in the pupil of the bacteria’s eye.

Russell Wrote:

And, of course, an unspoken assumption in Blast’s devastatingly incisive query is that all of these infinite sequences are equally represented in the population of S. agalactiae; in other words its genome is entirely random! Don’t you see? Blast has just disproved evolution… again!

I see you’ve finally seen the light. As I said before, I await an enlightened response. (Or, shall we see yet another ad hoc explanation?)

RBH Wrote:

“Vast” is neither “endless” (in the sense that we’ll continue finding new ones no matter how long we look) nor “infinite” (in the sense that the number of existing unique genes is greater than any arbitrarily large number).

I took a quick look at the article and didn’t see either the word “endless” nor “infinite.” Let this be a cautionary tale, though, that words do have repercussions. My argument still stand; it’s just that its merits are not as “vast” as they were before.

To “ben”, all I can say is that if you want to be snide, then go ahead and be snide. Nonetheless, there is plenty that science can’t explain. And if that annoys you, then maybe that’s a sign you’ve made science your god.

Nonetheless, there is plenty that science can’t explain. And if that annoys you, then maybe that’s a sign you’ve made science your god.

I hope we can distinguish between what science can not explain, and what science has not explained. It’s annoying for someone to imply that what science might explain someday can’t be explained at all. Since I have absolutely no idea where to draw the line, and just extrapolating from what science has done, I personally would feel very uncomfortable relying on the unexplainability of anything. Faith in our eternal ignorance is pretty empty, all in all.

Blast, why on earth should anyone care in the slightest about your uneducated uninformed opinions?

Nonetheless, there is plenty that science can’t explain.

No kidding. Maybe that’s why scientists still have jobs, and haven’t all retired to the Bahamas by now.

Alas for you (and other IDers) “can’t explain” isn’t the same as “will not EVER explain”. Every time people like you have made that bet, they have lost. Every single time.

How many times do you need to sit on a stove before learning that it burns your ass?

Flint Wrote:

It’s annoying for someone to imply that what science might explain someday can’t be explained at all.

Yes, science is an “all knowing” god.

Comment #51993

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 11, 2005 08:56 PM (e) (s)

Yes, science is an “all knowing” god.

Just a tool used by some clever apes. Unlike your non-existent religious icon that explains and does nothing.

BlastfromthePast asked: “Where’s NS in all of this? If there is an infinite diversity,…”

There’s not “infinite” diversity. You have to get used to the fact that sometimes biologists speak with a bit of poetic license. There is merely more diversity than they can get their heads around at the moment.

What it means is that for these bacteria is that the fitness landscape is not a lifeless desert with only a few oasis to survive in, but a raging jungle where many diverse gene sequences can survive. They can tolerate a lot of diversity and not get selected out. It means life is easy for them.

I get the sense that Blast is pretty young. He seems to just not be familiar with some common ideas. For instance

Comment #51929

Posted by BlastfromthePast on October 11, 2005 02:24 PM (e) (s)

Where’s NS in all of this? If there is an infinite diversity, then obviously NS is not operative—or else it would pick one over the other. Now if NS cannot act on bacteria, then how did bacteria evolve?

He wouldn’t have said this if he knew that ‘infinite’ is not the same as ‘exhaustive’.

I estimate that Blast is about 18.

Norman Doerring Wrote:

What it means is that for these bacteria is that the fitness landscape is not a lifeless desert with only a few oasis to survive in, but a raging jungle where many diverse gene sequences can survive. They can tolerate a lot of diversity and not get selected out. It means life is easy for them.

Spoken like a true Darwinist—–all metaphor and no substance.

There’s an article out about missense mutations which points out that one missense mutation is almost the same as another missense mutation–outside the funtional sites. Again, mutations, sequences, permutations, all, basically outside the putative influence of NS.

I used to think that RM+NS actually had a role in biology. It now is starting to look as though there’s no such thing as a “random mutation”, and, hence, that there doesn’t appear to be much to NS to act on, meaning that NS is just some trite historical invention which will one day (very soon) be hoisted upon the dustheap of ideas.

Steve S Wrote:

I estimate that Blast is about 18.

I’m flattered. But since I have a degree in zoology, and a degree in engineering, you’ll agree that I’m just a little older than that.

Moses Wrote:

Unlike your non-existent religious icon that explains and does nothing.

Thanks for your very scientific analysis.

*************I’m still waiting for an enlightened response.************

Given how you talk, and what you don’t seem to know about, I don’t see any reason to believe that you have degrees in zoology and engineering. I’ll stick with my guess that you’re 18 until I see evidence otherwise.

Steve S Wrote:

Given how you talk, and what you don’t seem to know about, I don’t see any reason to believe that you have degrees in zoology and engineering. I’ll stick with my guess that you’re 18 until I see evidence otherwise.

I’m still waiting for an enlightened response. Why don’t you show me how much you know.

Yeah, well, given your loopy comments about Integrals and such, I don’t think it’s worth my time trying to educate you. I’ll let someone else waste his time trying to enlighten you.

BlastfromthePast “Spoken like a true Darwinist——-all metaphor and no substance.”

My words were metaphors, but things like “fitness landscapes” while being metaphoric are still genuine and precise mathematics used evolutionary programming and genetic algorithms, not just biology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitness_landscape

The term was coined by Sewall Wright: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sewall_Wright

BlastfromthePast “There’s an article out about missense mutations which points out that one missense mutation is almost the same as another missense mutation—outside the funtional sites.”

Link the article so people know what you’re talking about. What you’re saying just looks dead wrong. Missense mutations or nonsynonymous mutations is where a nucleotide is changed which results in a different amino acid. This in turn can cause diseases such as Epidermolysis bullosa and sickle-cell disease. How can that be “almost the same as another” if some cause disease and others don’t or different diseases.

What you’re saying makes no sense.

BlastfromthePast “Again, mutations, sequences, permutations, all, basically outside the putative influence of NS.”

That’s just dead wrong. The ID people are lying to you.

BlastfromthePast “I used to think that RM+NS actually had a role in biology.”

They do! Anyone who says different is lying to you or you have misunderstood.

BlastfromthePast “It now is starting to look as though there’s no such thing as a ‘random mutation,’”…

A better word would be unguided mutation, mutations have causes and there are other mechanisms at work changing the genome, but the randomness is seen in the pointless death and disease in organisms.

BlastfromthePast “… and, hence, that there doesn’t appear to be much to NS to act on, meaning that NS is just some trite historical invention which will one day (very soon) be hoisted upon the dustheap of ideas.”

Natural selection works outside of biology. It’s why buggy whips and model-T Fords are now pretty much extinct. Natural selection even works on things designed by intelligent agencies.

You have so little idea about what you’re talking about and you’re being lied to on top of that.

You very clearly represent the tragedy of education ID causes.

Nice post Tara Smith. This is an interesting finding. As a pathogen microbiologist, I’ve always felt that the “species” definition is only weakly applicable to bacteriology in general. This casts an interesting shadow on the evo-ID debate. The IDists are always saying there are no transitional forms, but in the microbial world where the “species” (or “kind” as creationists like to refer to it) are so blurred, the vast continuum of genetic diversity we observe, along with our continuing elucidation of the fitness advantages of certain genes in select environments leaves little need for conjecture and extrapolation to see evolution taking place.

I don’t know much about GBS S. agalactiae, but if it is anything like GAS S. pyogenes, the observation of genetic instability is not too surprising. If I remember correctly (and I may be mixing up my recollections from my basic path micro class, so correct me if I’m wrong), the group A’s, which cause the well known strep throat, are individually extremely susceptible to the adaptive immune response. I’m not sure how Blast claims this is problematic for evolutionary thoery, but just as higher eukaryotes have evolved hypervariant proteins to recognize antigens, like antibodies and T-cell receptors, some pathogens have evolved hypervariant regions using different mechanisms. GAS M proteins, the outer surface that is presented the immune system, is a classic example of how genetic instabilit/hypervariance provide a selective advantage by preventing the mammalian herds from acquiring adaptive immunity to the organism. HIV is another example. It is likely that we will find many organisms that are susceptible to adaptive immunity in fact use extreme variance to evade the immune response.

Since Blast seems to have missed the implication of these findings I’ll spell it out: we are observing the processes of mutation and selection causing significant genetic changes in real time (over only the last few decades in both Strep and HIV), and we have a pretty plausible theory regarding the fitness advantage conferred by such changes.

I must say, you guys are very entertaining; all wet,.….but very entertaining.

Tara Wrote:

*slaps forehead*

I’ve had meetings all day and have another one to get to in an hour, but thanks to everyone else for dealing with Blast’s, um, “challenges.”

Don’t hurt yourself!

But I think you missed my point: neo-Darwinism insists that single-nucleotide mutations can eventually bring about macroevolution. Yet, a whole gene is imported, and a simple system–a single cell–doesn’t change phenotypically. So, then, what’s the hope of a single-nucleotide mutation doing this?

CJ O'Brien Wrote:

Blast, you know what “fitness” means, right? It’s an average over a population.

It is if you want it to be. But Darwin didn’t know about population genetics, and his was the “survival of the fittest.” So, obviously, fitness also applies to individuals.

Flint Wrote:

Except, of course, for the once-bacteria that over a couple billion years DID become gorillas. But we won’t count those. How about those bacteria that became eukaryotic at all? We won’t count those either. This is like arguing that nobody ever leaves Dallas, because those who do aren’t in Dallas anymore, and therefore don’t belong to the population under discussion!

We know that eukaryotes and gorillas exist, and that bacteria exist. What we don’t know is that RM+NS brought this about. To take the fact that all these exist as proof of RM+NS is simply to beg the question. It’s arguing in a circle: How did eukaryotes and gorillas come about from bacteria? By RM+NS. How do we know that RM+NS really works? Because bacteria became eukaryotes and gorillas. No one (except YEC’s) disputes that evolution occurred. It’s the mechanism of the evolution that is in dispute.

Flint Wrote:

Evolution by natural selection is a statistical phenomenon.

ID is a statistical argument refuting neo-Darwinism.

Flint Wrote:

And once more for the world! The bacteria that are still bacteria, are still bacteria. Those that were once bacteria but are no more would flat refute this repeated blind spot, which is probably why you simply refuse to credit this process. Nobody has EVER left Dallas, because 100% of the people in Dallas right now are STILL THERE! Absolute proof, according to Blast.

You’re missing my argument. If you think of the 20% of the genomes of this “species” of bacteria as tumblers, randomly tumbling from A to G to T to C, at each position, then you have an unimaginably large probability space. Dawkins effectively argues that this isn’t possible, and that it isn’t possible because preferences exist throughout this space, preferences–along the lines of your favorite analogy–allow organisms to “get out of Dodge.” This finding about this type bacteria challenges Dawkins views–and his arguments about such space.

Blast:

You are most amazingly hard of listening.

Darwin didn’t know about population genetics, and his was the “survival of the fittest.” So, obviously, fitness also applies to individuals.

How is Darwin’s knowledge of population genetics relevant? Certainly fitness applies to individuals. But fitness is only one factor influencing reproduction. Plain chance plays a very large role as well. So what? How many times does anyone need to repeat that even a TINY reproductive advantage quickly spreads through a population, before you realize that this truth isn’t going to go away no matter how determinedly you ignore it. As you just did again.

We know that eukaryotes and gorillas exist, and that bacteria exist. What we don’t know is that RM+NS brought this about.

You are playing word games here. In an absolutist sense, we don’t “know” anything. We might have been created 10 seconds ago - we cannot “know” this is not true! Instead, what we have is probably the best-attested, most robust and solid scientific explanation mankind has ever developed. Yes, we’re all aware that if conflicts with your faith, so nothing short of absolute (and hence impossible) knowledge will satisfy you. Which your general approach strongly indicates you’d deny even if it were presented. I pointed out earlier that you are perfectly satisfied with ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE less confidence, where your faith is not challenged. You can pretend you don’t notice this either, but nobody is fooled.

ID is a statistical argument refuting neo-Darwinism.

No, it’s not a statistical argument. It is based on no data, no research, nothing but the Will To Believe. What some ID people do is ASSUME goddidit, dismiss a couple of truly vacuous strawmen, and conclude that their assumption is correct after all. This isn’t a statistical argument except in the desperate imaginations of those unable to admit even to themselves that maybe reality matters. Your claim here is flat dishonest. Your other arguments risk not being taken seriously when some of your arguments are outright lies. ID in its pure form simply says “My faith says my particular god did stuff science explains differently. Therefore science is wrong.” Everything else is just window dressing.

Dawkins effectively argues that this isn’t possible, and that it isn’t possible because preferences exist throughout this space, preferences—along the lines of your favorite analogy—allow organisms to “get out of Dodge.” This finding about this type bacteria challenges Dawkins views—and his arguments about such space.

No, you are once again determinedly ignoring the point that everyone else has made in every way they can think of to communicate it to you. The process you describe produces WILDLY DIFFERENT organisms. Indeed, the prokaryotic “Dodge” is being left wholesale, creating endless new Dodges, which in turn are left wholesale.

To pretend you can’t see this, you keep saying “but they are still bacteria”. But the category bacteria is mucking HUGE. FAR larger in DNA space than the entire animal kingdom. As I wrote earlier, you tried to duck this question by lumping the entire universe of bacteria together as being a single “kind”. But if this is true, there are really only two “kinds” of life: those of one cell, and those of more than one. Otherwise, you are simply selecting an arbitrary category you make up to suit your needs, that serves no purpose OTHER than to defend you against the facts.

Just where do you draw the boundaries of Dodge, then? At two cells? At some aspect of the description of any given cell? How do you categorize the archaea?

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 1, column 263, byte 263 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

(oops.)

neo-Darwinism insists that single-nucleotide mutations can eventually bring about macroevolution

Where did you get that idea?

Russell beat me to it. Where on earth did Blast get that notion? It belies any tenuous claim he might have had that he knows something about the theory he criticizes. But as Casey Luskin and his leaders teach us, that’s not a necessary qualification to shoot off one’s mouth about evolution.

RBH

No, it’s not a problem at all—it’s “one” kind, i.e., bacteria, under many different forms.

How do you know?

And why, then, isn’t ALL LIFE one “kind” — i.e., under many different forms?

And anyway, why areyou bringing up all this creationist “kinds” crapola, Blast —– I thought ID and creationism were supposed to be like oil and water.

Or are IDers just lying to us when they claim that?

Are you aware that “evolution only within kinds” is one of the defining charatceristics given for creation “science”? Are you telling us now that ID and creationism are, after all, the same thing?

No *WONDER* none of your fellow IDers ever comes to your defense, Blast. I’m sure they all cringe every time you post anything. But at least you haven’t (yet) reached the level of Appleton and Jabriol, who still remain the only creationists I’ve ever seen who OTHER CREATIONISTS told to shut up because they made creationism look bad.

Something for you to aspire to, Blast.

Where in Genesis does it say God made bacterial kind? Genesis only talks about two groups (two kingdoms), plants and animals.

Where do you draw the line between bacterial kind and some other kind that’s not bacterial? What makes this “kind” a kind distinct from another kind?

Ever wonder where the moniker “BlastFromThePast” might come from? My current hypothesis: It’s Dave Cerutti (sp?) again, reliving the fun he had with “Admonitus”.

OK, Dave. “Blast” has run his course. We’ve got to that Phil Hendrie moment where the fake assertions can’t get any more absurd, and the audience either gets the joke, or it doesn’t.

Just picked up on this thread, and in my haste to post a comment perhaps I’ve missed where this has been addressed.…

Anyway, going back to Blast’s original post:

The degree of genetic diversity is a problem for evolutionary theory how???

Did evolutionary theory ever claim to place an upper limit on the amount of diversity? Or does ID, um, “Theory” make a prediction as to how much diversity should be present? And if so, does it provide a better explanation of the phenonenon than does evolutionary theory?

Did it ever occur to you that the amount of diversity observed may be a consequence of the local variation in selective pressures operating at any given time? I guess not - BAM! It’s instantly evidence for design, right?

It’s obvious, Blast, that you didn’t learn much in your school days, that is, if you indeed hold the degrees you claim. Possession of impressive-sounding credentials does not necesarily make for good thinking. Look at Duane Gish, my personal favorite poster child for Well-Credentialed Nincompoop.

As for the snideness of the comments, I (we) make no apologies. You are a moron and you deserve them.

Oh, and by the way, Blast:

Just how the hell do you define a “kind”?

What is the metric for deciding how far apart, genetically, two organisms must be before they are considered different “kinds”???

Or don’t you bother with such a “pathetic level” of detail?

Spin this one, Blast:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9686843/ Reuters 10/23/2005: Mysterious microbe retrofits itself with plant One-celled organisms capture algae, perhaps taking evolutionary leap

Fondly, SP.

Oh, and a side note to Michael Behe, this new little beasty is–guess what!– a flagellate! In fact, both the new bacteria and its algal symbiote are flagellates, and when one engulfs the other, the latter loses its marvelous little tail. How very odd!

Yes, this indeed appears to be your very, very most favorite “unevolvable” biological mechanism, captured in the midst of, um, evolving.

Of course, Mr. Behe, I’m sure the well-funded DI will now divert a little of its cashflow from PR and lawsuits, and will send you off pronto to do some actual scientific research into this interesting new development. Right?

Do keep us here at Panda’s Thumb posted on the progress of the funding and outfitting of your research expedition (heck, I’m sure you wouold have already told us about this yourself, but you’re probably too busy getting geared up–hey, we understand, this must be a pretty exciting moment for you!).

Of course, Blast, we here at PT realize that this newly-discovered bacteria–strange and novel as it seems at first glance–is still just one of that large and varied, but basically unitary, bacterial “kind”. I mean, we certainly realize that, struggle as they might to evolve into something different and novel, bacteria are destined forever to remain just bacteria.

…However much this particular bacteria may enjoy giving its impression of simultaneously being a member of the, um, algal “kind”.

But, what the heck, algae, bacteria, they’re probably all members of that well-known super-“kind”: bALGteria. Or is it bactALGAEia?

Well, anyway, I’m sure you know the kind I’m talking about.

Steviepinhead wrote: “Spin this one, Blast:…One-celled organisms capture algae, perhaps taking evolutionary leap.”

If there ever is a new theory that accounts for the diversity of life and replaces Darwinism it won’t be called “Intelligent Design,” it will be called Margulism, after Lynn Margulis.

Figure out what that means, Blast - if you haven’t run off.

Mysterious microbe retrofits itself with plant One-celled organisms capture algae, perhaps taking evolutionary leap

Oh my god, that’s so cool. I dig the microphotographs.

I must admit that, as a geologist/mostly geochemist/hard rock type, my biology is pretty basic, but I did take a biological oceanography class in grad school. We got one class period on whales and fish. I was shocked — shocked! — to find out that 90% of the class was about little planktons and bacteria because most of the biology in the oceans is about the tiny guys (not just eubacteria and archea but also the eukaryotic phytoplankton, and, well, we do have to count in the multicellular zooplankton). I recall getting very confused about how biologists can divide bacteria into species at all once I learned that they “share” genetic information back and forth within generations, i.e. that a bacterium could change its genome by snugging up to another bacterium and swapping some DNA. The new genome, then, is not the result of mutation but is passed to future generations. Am I recalling this correctly? Does this make the definition of species sort of irrelevant for bacteria?

I was also really horrified to find out that viruses leave their disgusting DNA in other people’s cells (people being used in the sense of “kind”, i.e. an arbitrarily sized grouping of organisms, in this case all cellular life).

Hanging around with biological oceanography types I have also over-heard them say things like “We’ve found more unknown bacteria in the last five years than all known marine bacteria, and we have no idea what they’re doing out there.” If I recall correctly, this is because hunting the wily bacterium is truly hit-and-miss as far as reproducing populations. Instead what they do is pull up a jug of water and look at all the DNA. Huge numbers of DNA sequences are recognizable as belonging to bacteria, but not known bacteria, and are sufficiently different from one another to be considered different species. Any general comments from the biologists?

Norman Doerring Wrote:

If there ever is a new theory that accounts for the diversity of life and replaces Darwinism it won’t be called “Intelligent Design,” it will be called Margulism, after Lynn Margulis.

Norman, would you like to read my copy of Acquired Genomes?

In fact, the kind of scenarios that Margulis talks about are fully consistent with ID. It will be interesting to see how wide-spread a phenomena symbiosis is. Remember, ID doesn’t say evolution didn’t happen; it says that Darwin didn’t get it right.

Norman, would you like to read my copy of Acquired Genomes?

He’d probably prefer that YOU read it, junior, and then have an educated person explain it all to you.

Or do *I* have to teach you more basic biology, after I’ve already taught you such things that you never heard of as Waddington, Baldwin, Pakicetus and Caudipteryx.

I charge $50/hour for science tutoring, Blast. You’ll get my bill.

Of course, you could always continue to get your, uh, “science” information from websites run by “ecological visionaries”. (snicker) (giggle)

In fact, the kind of scenarios that Margulis talks about are fully consistent with ID.

Of *course* they are. *EVERYTHING* is fully consistent with ID. That’s mostly because ID doesn’t, well, actually *SAY* anything. (shrug)

ID doesn’t say evolution didn’t happen; it says that Darwin didn’t get it right.

Duuuhhhhhhhhhh. We already KNEW that Darwin didn’t get it right. After all, Darwin didn’t even know what a “gene” is.

In case you didn’t notice, Blast, Darwin is … well … dead. Has been. For an awfully long time now.

Also, in case you didn’t notice, science has advanced a wee bit in the 100-plus years since Darwin’s death.

Do try and keep up, would you? (sigh)

Lenny – I should have guessed! This really is one of your favorite haunts, isn’t it?

Norman wrote:

If there ever is a new theory that accounts for the diversity of life and replaces Darwinism it won’t be called “Intelligent Design,” it will be called Margulism, after Lynn Margulis.

Figure out what that means, Blast - if you haven’t run off.

No, Norman. It will be called just what it is called today – the science of evolutionary biology. No individual is equal to everything which has been contributed, whether in terms of various Lamarckian mechanisms, lateral gene transfer, endosymbiosis, our understanding of the roles of retroelements, regulatory DNA, polyploidy, punctuated equilibria, etc.. Are you beginning to get the picture? Or should I use smaller words?

Woops! Sorry. Misunderstood the conversation. Many apologies, Norman!

I guess that is what I get for coming-in in the middle.

Timothy Chase wrote: “It will be called just what it is called today — the science of evolutionary biology.”

Of course, I didn’t replace that term – I said Margulism would replace Darwinism. Mostly because Lynn Margulis might deserve an equal place of honor.

Question for all of you – Is Darwin’s “Origin of Species” even worth reading these days as a biology text (granting its an important historical text). Darwin was arguing without a lot of the information we now have and we can all point to more evidence that Darwin ever had. Don’t we have better books now?

How far has the modern synthesis moved away from Darwin?

Lenny — I should have guessed! This really is one of your favorite haunts, isn’t it?

I enjoy de-balling ID/creationists, wherever they are. :>

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This page contains a single entry by Tara Smith published on October 11, 2005 12:45 PM.

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