December 2010 Quarterly Review of Biology

| 45 Comments

Apparently Behe has been mentioning this in his England tour:

Volume 85 Number 4 December 2010 Major Articles

Current Perspectives on the Biological Study of Play: Signs of Progress Kerrie Lewis Graham and Gordon M. Burghardt

Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations, and “The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution” Michael J. Behe

What is an Individual Organism?: A Multilevel Selection Perspective Henri J. Folse III and Joan Roughgarden

Irreducible Incoherence and Intelligent Design: A Look into the Conceptual Toolbox of a Pseudoscience Maarten Boudry, Stefaan Blancke, and Johan Braeckman

The Boudry article is online here and is quite good, catching points that most commentators on the IC argument miss. (Part of the goodness is that it cites Pete Dunkleberg’s 2003 “IC Demystified” at talkdesign.org, which is one of the better discussions out there.)

If past experience is any guide, Behe’s article will make abstract arguments about the improbability of adaptations *if* many simultaneous events are required, but will present no evidence that many simultaneous events are likely to be necessary for the sorts of adaptations we actually see in biology. Positive evidence for ID will not be provided at all, but the article will be trumpeted as such by the usual ID propagandists. But the article isn’t out yet, so we’ll see, I suppose.

45 Comments

Judging by the title, I’m going to guess that he may be arguing for some sort of difference between “beneficial” mutations and “constructive” mutations. He’s done this before, in response to Lenski’s work:

It’s critical to distinguish between “beneficial” mutations and “constructive” mutations. It can be “beneficial” to an organism in some circumstances to render a gene nonfunctional by degrading it. If that is the case, then any of a very large number of change to its amino acid sequence will do the job, and so the rate of “beneficial” mutations will be very high. I discuss this in The Edge of Evolution. For example, it is beneficial in malaria-ridden territory for humans to degrade the functioning of an enzyme abbreviated G6PD. A very large number of separate mutations to that gene have been isolated, all of which are “helpful” because they all mess up the protein’s activity. In his long term evolution experiment with E. coli Richard Lenski has identified about a half dozen “beneficial” mutations — they *all* appear to be degradative mutations. It seems very likely that the report below is just identifying beneficial-but-degradative mutations. That’s interesting, but degradative mutations tell us nothing about how molecular systems can be constructed.

http://www.uncommondescent.com/inte[…]distinction/

and also in response to the Perfeito, “Adaptive mutations in bacteria: high rate and small effects” paper:

While the result is interesting, readers of The Edge of Evolution will not be very surprised by it. As I showed for mutations that help in the human fight against malaria, many beneficial mutations actually are the result of breaking or degrading a gene. Since there are so many ways to break or degrade a gene, those sorts of beneficial mutations can happen relatively quickly. For example, there are hundreds of different mutations that degrade an enzyme abbreviated G6PD, which actually confers some resistance to malaria. Those certainly are beneficial in the circumstances. The big problem for evolution, however, is not to degrade genes (Darwinian random mutations can do that very well!) but to make the coherent, constructive changes needed to build new systems. The bottom line is that the beneficial mutations reported in the new Science paper most likely are degradatory mutations, and so don’t address the challenges outlined in The Edge of Evolution.

http://behe.uncommondescent.com/200[…]tion-part-1/

Also, on the subject of simultaneous mutations, apparently Michael Lynch kind of sort of agrees with Behe in his recent paper:

Lynch, M. et al. (2010) Scaling expectations for the time to establishment of complex adaptations. PNAS, 107, 16577-16582.

from the paper:

Nevertheless, a broad subset of adaptations cannot be accommodated by the sequential model, most notably those in which multiple mutations must be acquired to confer a benefit. Such traits, here referred to as complex adaptations, include the origin of new protein functions involving multiresidue interactions, the emergence of multimeric enzymes, the assembly of molecular machines, the colonization and refinement of introns, and the establishment of interactions between transcription factors and their binding sites, etc. The routes by which such evolutionary novelties can be procured include sojourns through one or more deleterious intermediate states. Because such intermediate haplotypes are expected to be kept at low frequencies by selection, evolutionary progress would be impeded in large populations were sequential fixation the only path to adaptation. However, in all but very small populations, complex adaptations appear to be achieved by the fortuitous appearance of combinations of mutations within single individuals before fixation of any intermediate steps at the population level (e.g., refs. 17–26).

It’s a very interesting paper.

Lynch‘s arguments fall into a pattern I commented on in the previous thread – it is interesting that there are ways for (near-) simultaneous mutations to happen, but there aren‘t a lot of reasons to think that this is a common requirement for e.g. binding sites, acquiring new substrate metabolism ability, multiprotein machines, etc. There is lots of evidence (eg in vitro evolution) that the simpler features (eg) binding sites) are often reachable by accumulation of single mutations, and the more complex things by a circuitous route involving one or more changes of function, but without deleterious intermediates.

Yes, and English is ‘degraded’ Old Frisian, and French is ‘degraded’ Latin.

FFS.

Lynch‘s arguments fall into a pattern I commented on in the previous thread – it is interesting that there are ways for (near-) simultaneous mutations to happen, but there aren‘t a lot of reasons to think that this is a common requirement

Well, to be fair he isn’t just pulling this suggestion out of thin air - he provides references for the statement that “in all but very small populations, complex adaptations appear to be achieved by the fortuitous appearance of combinations of mutations within single individuals before fixation of any intermediate steps at the population level”. I have read some of these references in the past, but can’t really remember how they bear upon this particular issue, so I can’t say if he’s right or not. One is the Durrett and Schmidt attack on Behe.

more complex things by a circuitous route involving one or more changes of function, but without deleterious intermediates.

I read an interesting paper recently that suggests that deleterious intermediates may not always necessarily be a problem:

Meer, M.V. et al. (2010) Compensatory evolution in mitochondrial tRNAs navigates valleys of low fitness. Nature, 464, 279-282.

they conclude:

Taken together, the data on the rates of AU↔GC switches, on the frequencies of segregating GU and AC intermediate alleles and on the clustering of substitutions involved in a Watson–Crick switch demonstrate that evolving mt-tRNAs often cross fitness valleys of a substantial depth of about 10-3 or even about 10-2. This selection against intermediate alleles is due to the impact of altered tRNAs both on the fitness of the organism and on the rate of propagation of a mitochondrion within the germ line25 and characterizes the efficiency of transmission of a mitochondrial genotype between generations. Alleles with such low fitnesses cannot be fixed in a population, and crossing the deep valleys must occur without the assistance of genetic drift2, 3. Instead, compensatory evolution in mt-tRNAs involves a compensatory substitution emerging in the rare genotype carrying a segregating strongly deleterious allele, making their simultaneous fixation possible2, 3. Thus, strongly deleterious alleles can serve as evolutionary stepping stones by providing access to isolated fitness peaks. Whether or not such stepping stones can be used to cross wider fitness valleys remains an open question.

So where has Dr. Behe been speaking? I can’t imagine a college inviting him.

Karen S. said:

So where has Dr. Behe been speaking? I can’t imagine a college inviting him.

Yeah, it seems like we haven’t heard much from him since he got his tush handed to him in Dover. I also would think him a persona non grata in academic circles. Maybe he’s touring churches?

There’s a list of where he’s been speaking here:

http://www.darwinordesign.org.uk/in[…]mp;Itemid=28

Fascinating that like many of his recent American lectures, he is speaking at churches or similar religious houses of worship:

SteveF said:

There’s a list of where he’s been speaking here:

http://www.darwinordesign.org.uk/in[…]mp;Itemid=28

There’s a list of where he’s been speaking here:

http://www.darwinordesign.org.uk/in[…]mp;Itemid=28

Thanks for the link. It says,

Prof Michael Behe combines the skill of careful research scientist with that of popular communicator. His lectures are informative, entertaining, lavishly-illustrated and entirely accessible to the layman. He is also at ease with questions from his audience.

I’d agree with the part about being entertaining.

Would be more so if heeded Ken Miller’s advice to write a textbook on Klingon biochemisty (I can’t take credit for this. Ken suggested it after we had dinner a few years ago in Midtown following a talk he gave at the American Museum of Natural History.):

Karen S. said:

There’s a list of where he’s been speaking here:

http://www.darwinordesign.org.uk/in[…]mp;Itemid=28

Thanks for the link. It says,

Prof Michael Behe combines the skill of careful research scientist with that of popular communicator. His lectures are informative, entertaining, lavishly-illustrated and entirely accessible to the layman. He is also at ease with questions from his audience.

I’d agree with the part about being entertaining.

Steve F -

Such traits, here referred to as complex adaptations, include the origin of new protein functions involving multiresidue interactions, the emergence of multimeric enzymes, the assembly of molecular machines, the colonization and refinement of introns, and the establishment of interactions between transcription factors and their binding sites, etc

The paper is very mathematical, but to paraphrase it, it presents a model by which recombination events in diploid organisms can overcome a barrier when two beneficial alleles, are required simultaneously for a favorable adaptation that will experience positive selective pressure.

It is, thus, something of an “exact opposite of Behe” argument - but the model only works in diploid populations.

The text I’ve blockquoted above is a little vague - I don’t know what the definition of a “molecular machine” is - but it seems to describe adaptations that are not at all uncommon in haploid prokaryotes.

I guess that would be an interesting line of research. The model would predict that, if some adaptations require pretty much simultaneous acquisition of sets of more than one allele, such adaptations probably could and would occur in prokaryote populations (because there are so many prokaryote genomes reproducting out there - we’re talking about unimaginably huge numbers - and their generation time is so short). However, as a rate per individual reproductive event, the step in such adaptations requiring near simultaneous acquisition of a >1 relatively new mutation allele set would be much less frequent.

Would be more so if heeded Ken Miller’s advice to write a textbook on Klingon biochemisty

Peppered BeheMoths: A Biocomical Challenge to Evolution

From the Broudy article:

In 1974, Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research and father of the Creation-Science movement, argued in his influential book Scientific Creationism that “The problem is simply whether a complex system, in which many components function unitedly together, and in which each component is uniquely necessary to the efficient functioning of the whole, could ever arise by random processes” (Morris 1974, p. 59). In 1980, young-earth creationist Ariel Roth argued that “Creation and various other views can be supported by the scientific data that reveal that the spontaneous origin of the complex integrated biochemical systems of even the simplest organisms is, at best, a most improbable event” (Roth 1980, p. 83). Behe has simply adapted these creationist notions to his own ends. Consider his definition of IC in Darwin’s Black Box:

This is a very good article in it’s recognition of the genetic connection to Morris and the early arguments of “scientific” creationism.

I would also add, as I have mentioned on other threads, that Morris’s concocted “evolution versus the second law of thermodynamics” argument still lies at the heart of the irreducible complexity and complex specified information arguments of the ID crowd.

This constant moving of the goalposts in response to every demonstration of evolutionary pathways to a given biological structure has at its base that fundamental misconception introduced by Morris – and pushed aggressively by him and Gish – that living systems violate the laws of physics and chemistry.

This is ultimately where the ID/creationist crowd will have to stake their claim; namely that there is some fundamental physics barrier that prevents complex systems beyond a given level of complexity from forming. Not only will they have to pinpoint that level of complexity, they will have to elucidate that “barrier.” This is the problem they cannot face, and they will seek to change the subject whenever they can.

Discovering such a barrier would be one of the most significant discoveries in the history of science, yet they are afraid of pursuing it. And we know why.

I see I misspelled Maarten Boudry’s name. My apologies.

Oh, forgot to mention: I think pan-functional fragility would just be a generalization of the situation Pete Dunkelberg describes in the third section of his talkdesign article.

Oh, great: my correction comes out before the comment it was supposed to correct. Sigh. Anyhow:

Boudry et al write that according to a strong interpretation of IC,

2) the phrases “effectively ceases functioning” and “non-functional” include any function that the impaired system or one of its components may perform in other contexts… In fact, only an IC system in the second, strong sense would be an obstacle to evolutionary theory, because it would rule out evolutionary precursor systems and function shifts of the system’s components.

If I understand this claim correctly, it strikes me as poorly expressed. The fact that an impairment disrupts every current function of a complex system in no way implies that evolutionary precursors of the system did not have a function or functions. We could think of such strongly-IC systems (if there are any) as pan-functionally fragile. I’m no biologist, so am treading with caution, but my vaguely informed understanding is that a “redundant complex system” could become pan-functionally fragile over time simply by losing structural redundancies that it had in its former roles (which may have been quite different).

Which is what Boudry et al seem to suggest subsequently: “However, it is hard to see how Behe could even begin to demonstrate the existence of such a system without defaulting to the classical “argument from ignorance” (Pigliucci 2002, p. 67).”

Yet later they again argue in defense of Behe’s critics who “object that the system’s components may well be able to perform other functions in other contexts.” Again, I think that appealing to the counterfactual virtues of the system’s current components gives even the “strong” sense of IC too much credit. The point is that the system’s current components may have acquired their very specific features since the point at which the system of which they are a part acquired its current specific function(s). So conjecture about the functions that those components might have in other contexts can easily be entirely beside the point. Precursor systems may have had (and ultimately must have had) different precursor components.

This may be so wrong that it’s not worth refuting, or so obvious that it wasn’t worth saying. Still, as I read this section of the Boudry et al article, it struck me as less precise on this point than a really devastating explanation would be.

Karen S. said:

… Prof Michael Behe[‘]s lectures are … lavishly-illustrated …

Anybody want to give me odds on whether Harun Yahya sues Behe for “sharing” pictures from his (Yahya’s) “textbook”?

Anybody want to give me odds on whether Harun Yahya sues Behe for “sharing” pictures from his (Yahya’s) “textbook”?

He shouldn’t, since Yaha copied at least one picture from a fly-fishing catalog.

Karen S. said:

Anybody want to give me odds on whether Harun Yahya sues Behe for “sharing” pictures from his (Yahya’s) “textbook”?

He shouldn’t, since Yaha copied at least one picture from a fly-fishing catalog.

And also stole numerous pictures from the Fossil Mall website.

Wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Dishonesty Institute or Howard Ahmanson Jr. is supporting Adnan Oktar. Makes sense IMHO because I can’t think of anyone in Turkey willing to pay lavishly for his great big book replete with such “lavish” illustrations:

Karen S. said:

Anybody want to give me odds on whether Harun Yahya sues Behe for “sharing” pictures from his (Yahya’s) “textbook”?

He shouldn’t, since Yaha copied at least one picture from a fly-fishing catalog.

Nick - Behe is not touring “England”. His tour includes Northern Ireland and Scotland and is on behalf of a Scottish outfit, the Centre for Intelligent Design.

The full sordid details of this tour can be found on our web site; access “Michael Behe in Britain” through our home page at www.bcseweb.org.uk

It’s entertaining s well as disturbing.

Roger – my bad!

Heh, just looked at the Centre for ID’s website:

Intelligent Design is definitely NOT Creationism

Dismissing Intelligent Design as ‘Creationism’ is the easy way of avoiding having to deal with the empirical evidence for design.

Bwa ha ha!

Dismissing Intelligent Design as ‘Creationism’ is the easy way of explaining why there is no empirical evidence for design.

There, all fixed.

Intelligent Design is definitely NOT Creationism

Dismissing Intelligent Design as ‘Creationism’ is the easy way of avoiding having to deal with the empirical evidence for design.

So, where is that empirical evidence? Asserting that something looks designed is not evidence! But it gets worse:

http://www.c4id.org.uk/index.php?op[…]rnr-articles

This article seeks to discuss “Scientific concensus” as it is understood today and how, in the past, scientific consensus has had to undergo seismic shifts. Intelligent Design is repeatedly dismissed by its critics as being unscientific. Many who make this assertion are not suggesting that it has no empirical data to support its claims but rather that it is completely outside the realm of science. This is because of a narrow definition of science that has been developed. What is scientific, according to this definition, is a matter of ongoing debate. Google “problem of demarcation” and you will get some idea of the extent of this discussion and the difficulty of determining where the parameters should be set.

Later.…

Galileo and scientific consensus

Scientific consensus sometimes get so entrenched that it becomes a hindrance rather than a help to the advancement of science. Galileo Galilei had a bit of a run in with the consensus and concluded, “In questions of science the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual”. His scepticism of consensus is understandable when you consider the way in which he was treated.

What a crock of $#it. Galileo was not hindered by any scientific consensus, but by bigoted church authorities who ignored the evidence in favor of their chosen dogmas at the time. If the IDiots start off lying outright like that, why go further?

Was Behe invited to write this “major article” by QRB? What possessed them? I’m pretty sure that Behe had an entire decade in which he had published something like three original research papers. Has this article surfaced yet? Will it be peer-reviewed?

Presumably it’s a literature review on the origin of adaptations. I have yet to see Behe do a really thorough review of the literature on any topic (where thorough = I couldn’t find important stuff that he missed). It is somewhat conceivable that Behe could do a really thorough job reviewing all major cases of adaptation to antibiotics etc., and he will conclude that these are usually “degrading” mutations and not “constructive” or something. I would think that a competent review would have to mention the many cases where

(a) antiobiotic resistance is gained without “breaking” anything – e.g. transporting the antibiotic molecules out of the cell, breaking down the molecules, etc.; and the role of duplication in allowing the maintenance of the original function of the genes ancestral to the new adaptation.

(b) compensatory mutations can often pretty thoroughly and rapidly “fix” whatever was “broken” in cases where there was a fitness cost to the intitial adaptation

(c) the dubiousness of extrapolation from adaptation to a very simple environment (e.g. Lenski’s cultures), where many things might be lost, to adaptation in a complex environment, where breaking things will much less often be beneficial.

Actually, though, it’s pretty inconceivable to me that Behe has the capacity to exhibit this kind of sophistication ahead of time, so likely we’ll just see a review of something narrow, like Lenski’s work, and then grand conclusions (selection can’t do anything!) hidden behind mild phrases so as to get by the reviewers.

Dismissing Intelligent Design as ‘Creationism’ is the easy way of avoiding having to deal with the empirical evidence for design.

Okay, what is the empirical evidence FOR intelligent design?

Let’s start with some objective, testable answers to these question…

Who is the designer? What did the designer design? When? How? What is an example of something that might not have been intelligently designed?

harold said:

Dismissing Intelligent Design as ‘Creationism’ is the easy way of avoiding having to deal with the empirical evidence for design.

Okay, what is the empirical evidence FOR intelligent design?

Let’s start with some objective, testable answers to these question…

Who is the designer? What did the designer design? When? How? What is an example of something that might not have been intelligently designed?

Like you would honestly find an Intelligent Design proponent who is too guileless to make an attempt to provide positive evidence or attempt to answer questions for and about the Intelligent Designer.

You might as well spin gold out of pig’s ears.

Many who make this assertion are not suggesting that it has no empirical data to support its claims but rather that it is completely outside the realm of science.

Actually scientists are suggesting both:

a) no empirical data

b) outside the realm of science


But if you have real empirical data we’d like to see it

Nick (Matzke) said:

Roger – my bad!

Heh, just looked at the Centre for ID’s website:

Intelligent Design is definitely NOT Creationism

Dismissing Intelligent Design as ‘Creationism’ is the easy way of avoiding having to deal with the empirical evidence for design.

Bwa ha ha!

Disgraceful Nick. I would never say that!

Just worse!

Some Christian radio station Premier has adopted the tour - and doesn’t like the feedback

Hey Nick, Thanks, but you know the old saying “I don’t care what you say about me as long as you spell my name right.” :)

Signed Pete Dunkelberg

Nick (Matzke) said:

Presumably it’s a literature review on the origin of adaptations. I have yet to see Behe do a really thorough review of the literature on any topic (where thorough = I couldn’t find important stuff that he missed). It is somewhat conceivable that Behe could do a really thorough job reviewing all major cases of adaptation to antibiotics etc., and he will conclude that these are usually “degrading” mutations and not “constructive” or something. I would think that a competent review would have to mention the many cases where

(a) antiobiotic resistance is gained without “breaking” anything – e.g. transporting the antibiotic molecules out of the cell, breaking down the molecules, etc.; and the role of duplication in allowing the maintenance of the original function of the genes ancestral to the new adaptation.

(b) compensatory mutations can often pretty thoroughly and rapidly “fix” whatever was “broken” in cases where there was a fitness cost to the intitial adaptation

(c) the dubiousness of extrapolation from adaptation to a very simple environment (e.g. Lenski’s cultures), where many things might be lost, to adaptation in a complex environment, where breaking things will much less often be beneficial.

Actually, though, it’s pretty inconceivable to me that Behe has the capacity to exhibit this kind of sophistication ahead of time, so likely we’ll just see a review of something narrow, like Lenski’s work, and then grand conclusions (selection can’t do anything!) hidden behind mild phrases so as to get by the reviewers.

According to Casey Luskin who started a three part series on Behe’s new opus Behe will introduce the new term FCT (Functional Coded ElemenT). Luskin describes FCT as

an FCT is defined as “a discrete but not necessarily contiguous region of a gene that, by means of its nucleotide sequence, influences the production, processing, or biological activity of a particular nucleic acid or protein, or its specific binding to another molecule.” FCTs are an extremely broad category of DNA and they include:

# promoters; # enhancers; # insulators; # Shine-Dalgarno sequences; # tRNA genes; # miRNA genes; # protein coding sequences; # organellar targeting- or localizationsignals; # intron/extron splice sites; # codons specifying the binding site of a protein for another molecule (such as its substrate, another protein, or a small allosteric regulator); # codons specifying a processing site of a protein (such as a cleavage, myristoylation, or phosphorylation site); # polyadenylation signals; and # transcription and translation termination signals

(Michael J. Behe, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Vol. 85(4) (December, 2010).)

Behe argues that we do not generally observe the evolution of new adaptive FCTs in the laboratory. Rather, when we observe adaptive evolutionary changes in the laboratory, they typically involve loss of function or modification of FCTs. This leads to the question, How do new adaptive FCTs arise? In two subsequent posts, I will discuss Behe’s review of FCT evolution in bacteria and viruses, as well as the implications he draws from that data.

Though the definition includes elements not found in eubacteria the last paragraph indicates, as you already suggested, that the paper will likely deal with evolution in bacteria again.

Thanks sparc. Sounds like I got my prediction of the paper in the first comment basically right :-)

Kudos to Dr. Behe for his latest peer-reviewed publication. Between it, his tour of the U.K. and his recent scintillating article in The Guardian, he’s been on quite the role as of late.

Perhaps those here who wish to criticize this modern-day Galileo’s work will up your critiques by taking them beyond this pseudoscientific blog and stepping into the realm of the peer-reviewed world.

Jared Jammer said:

Perhaps those here who wish to criticize this modern-day Galileo’s work will up your critiques by taking them beyond this pseudoscientific blog and stepping into the realm of the peer-reviewed world.

You mean like this?

Pallen MJ & NJ Matzke (2006). From The Origin of Species to the origin of bacterial flagella. Nature Reviews Microbiology 4:784-790.

Jared Jammer said:

Kudos to Dr. Behe for his latest peer-reviewed publication. Between it, his tour of the U.K. and his recent scintillating article in The Guardian, he’s been on quite the role as of late.

Perhaps those here who wish to criticize this modern-day Galileo’s work will up your critiques by taking them beyond this pseudoscientific blog and stepping into the realm of the peer-reviewed world.

Before Dr Behe can be compared to Galileo, first, his statements must have reality-based facts supporting them. Second, his reality-supported claims must be suppressed and publicly retracted, and he, himself, be placed under house arrest while facing the threat of a potentially fatal interview with the Inquisition by the Roman Catholic Church on the grounds his claims contradict the Church’s current preferred interpretation of the Bible.

Since none of these things apply to Behe, he can not be compared to Galileo. Especially since unlike Galileo, Behe has absolutely no ability or desire to do research.

I admit I enjoyed the article in the Guardian. Behe basically says “I know a priori that stuff was intelligently designed, thus when I look at it, I see exactly what I knew was there before I looked, therefore it’s design all along.” Yep, scintillating.

As others have noted, the Designer must be as busy Designing unique snowflakes in the winter as Santa Claus is on Christmas Eve. No question every snowflake is designed, and you just gotta be impressed with the endless creativity produced in such enormous volume.

Flint said:

I admit I enjoyed the article in the Guardian. Behe basically says “I know a priori that stuff was intelligently designed, thus when I look at it, I see exactly what I knew was there before I looked, therefore it’s design all along.” Yep, scintillating.

And yet, Intelligent Design proponents insist that we’re the blind ones because we don’t worship them whenever they pontify “GODDESIGNERDIDIT”

thanks you süper blog

Behe has claimed that all of the beneficial mutations observed in Richard Lenski’s E Coli experiment were “degradative”. What does he mean by that? Does he mean that the mutations were not beneficial overall? If so, is it true?

When Lenski labels mutation “beneficial”, does he take into account the “degradative” factor that Behe refers to? Do the beneficial mutations have the highest fitness?

Jared Jammer said:

Kudos to Dr. Behe .. (and) .. his recent scintillating article in The Guardian,

“Scintillating”?

Judging from the article, the British use of this term apparently means “five paragraphs of fact free musings on the op-ed page”.

Encouragingly, from the comments, it seems that the Brits are well and thoroughly over the whole creationist thing.

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This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on November 25, 2010 1:56 PM.

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