Lenski experiment and falsifiability

(Tim) #61

On one hand we have a human conspiracy involving science. On the other hand we have a God conspiracy involving revelation. Or

On one hand we have science and the OT, and
On the other hand, we have personal interpretation issues. Science cannot rest and establish dogma, because it is in a constant state of change. The OT was given thousands of years ago, and does not evolve. Calling the results of empirical endeavor a truth, leads to misleading conclusions. Just because empirical evidence seems to be the most reliable, it does not nor cannot approach the whole of a reality that includes spiritual reality.

If you dismiss the OT as just a product of human endeavor with no spiritual connection at all, then most would bet on today’s empiricism. If you are going to include a spiritual side to reality, empiricism only gets you half of the picture.

(Christy Hemphill) #62

But Bible interpretations and theology certainly do.

Something can be true without speaking to the whole of reality. 2+2=4 even though it does not have a spiritual dimension. Science certainly can make true claims about reality, even though it lacks the tools to describe the spiritual dimension of reality.

(Tim) #63

Theology is the abstract work of figuring out the spiritual. Mathematics is the abstract work of figuring out the physical. But theology is the human interpretations of the spiritual not the authority. I think math is God’s work at figuring out the physical. God lets us use math as an authority, because God does not claim authority over math.

(Dennis Venema) #64

I’m wondering what your evidence is for this assertion. I’m not seeing it, but maybe I’m not understanding you correctly.

Take humans and “primitive primates” (whatever you mean by that). Would you accept the last human/chimp common ancestor as “primitive”? If so, we can directly look for the necessary changes by comparing the present-day human and chimp genomes.

When we do that analysis, we do not see evidence that much change is needed. Very little, in fact - and easily obtainable within the timescale (4-6 MY).

(Phil) #65

Indeed, I am sure you could do so, so long a boat picked you up every 2 miles for rest and refueling. After awhile, you might even make 3-4 miles daily.
The conversation sort of reminds of the now nearly iconic example of bacteria growing across a gradient of increasing antibiotic concentration

In the lab experiment, recall that the environment was a homogeneous agar plate with the only variable being antibiotic concentration, and each of the branches represent mutations. Now, expand the Petri dish to the size of primordial oceans, and the environmental changes to those of the whole earth, and imagine where the branches lead.

(Ronald Myers) #66

Going back to the original question, it might be good to review what the Lenski experiment did prove:

  1. All 12 lines evolved a fast glucose metabolism quickly
  2. 5 of 12 lines developed speciation the fast glucose metabolizers made a lot of anenergy rich waste product (acetate if I recall correctly) which some e coli developed a metabolic pathway to use
  3. One line exhibited a contingent mutation which with a second mutation vastly increased its population i.e success showing that contingent changes in evolution are possible.
  4. The e coli evolved in 3 discernibly different ways which show that the changes were not pre-programmed into the original e coli genes

So it showed evolutionary processes, It did not answer all questions but what experiment ever does that?

Could the Lenski experiment be considered meso-evolution?

(Chris) #67

The duck-billed platypus: part bird, part reptile, part mammal — and the genome to prove it.

(Chris) #68

Or another example for us non-swimmers.
I can walk from my house to the local shopping centre; about 1 mile. Hence I could walk from my house in Brisbane to Australia’s capital, Canberra, 745 miles. And if I can do that I could walk from Canberra to Wellington, New Zealand, 1446 miles, it’s only twice as far.

Well, you could try it …

(Laura) #69

You totally have that capability, with adequate rest and refueling. You probably walk that distance in an average year anyway. Not really sure what point this is trying to make.

(Daniel Fisher) #70

The basic idea is that, while any one small step is not improbable by itself, the cumulative effect is not so. If I came in my home and saw a 6-sided die on the floor with “6” showing on top, it being dropped that way randomly is a very reasonably hypothesis.

If I saw 20 6-sided dice all with 6 facing up, not so much. Someone was without any doubt at work.

Similarly, I know that I can swim, unaided, without stopping, for 3 miles. But I would not accept the claim that someone swam, unaided, without stopping, from Hawaii to California, even though the latter is simply the cumulative effect of the former, repeated many times.

(Chris Falter) #71

Hi Daniel,

You should be thinking of swimming whales, not swimming humans. A whale swims maybe 100 miles in a day, but it can swim a distance of many thousands of miles over a period of months.


(Chris Falter) #72

With a little bit of robotics and computer vision, I could design a machine that rolled the dice, then selected for whatever number I thought appropriate. It would be a simple random variation + selection algorithm, also known as an evolutionary algorithm.

Likewise, I believe that evolution, like everything else in the universe, has a Designer. If we see evidence of an evolutionary algorithm being carried out by robotic arms and computer vision, though, why not just follow that evidence to its logical conclusion? This is what biologists are doing; they see evidence of the evolutionary algorithm at work, and they see the forces involved. Unfortunately, IMO, not all of them perceive the Designer.


(Chris) #73

To walk from Canberra, Australia, to Wellington, New Zealand? No I totally do not have the capability to hold my breath that long.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #74

We can dicker about the “swimmability” or “walkability” of this or that, but to do so is still to accept a bad analogy. It’s encouraging the relapse back into thinking that evolution has to accomplish things nearly all at once. Or that hundreds of mutations all need to be nearly simultaneous to make an eye ball (or some other appendage) suddenly pop out where none was before. But it doesn’t work like that.

A better analogy would be to note that ancient people in boats were able to traverse several hundred miles of ocean to reach such-and-such island. If they could do that, then their boating descendents may spread out even farther … (and they do; spreading Polynesian populations around the South Pacific). But it almost certainly wasn’t one early heroic adventurer that made the entire journey to all these islands the moment their boating skills became sea-worthy. It unfolded most likely over many generations.

(Phil) #75

Reminds me of the game of Yatzee. The highest point is achieved when all the dice are the same. You roll the dice, keep what you want and roll again. Ultimately, you get all 6s but it is achieved by randomness along with selection.

(Chris) #76

I think it’s quite a good analogy. Mutation + Natural Selection will allow an organism to explore the island of its population gene pool but to get to another island requires a leap beyond the capability of that mechanism.

That’s why we can observe rapid adaptation such as Trinidad guppies, beaks on Darwin’s finches, nylonase, Cit+, etc, but have a dearth of observation of real novelty.

(Phil) #77

I think that is a valid observation, and indeed is the struggle we have in visualizing how things came about. It is easy to see how all cats are related, but to follow the process further and further back to where there was a common ancestor with an elephant and with us is difficult. Yet, that is where the fossil record takes us, and it is confirmed with genetics, and is consistent with the measures of deep time.

(Dennis Venema) #78

What stops this process (over longer timescales)? What (for example) was “unreachable” when it came to humans and chimpanzees diverging from a common ancestor?

(Matthew Pevarnik) #79

I think that the process tends to stop within the accepted limits of certain types of evangelical hermeneutics. That generally seems to be how God works, within the boundaries of our understanding at various times.

(Daniel Fisher) #80

Appreciate the thought, but this does not mimic natural selection, but rather teleological design. This would be “selection” with teleology, wherein someone preprogrammed a specific endstate, that the selection process was aiming toward and comparing outcomes against.

It is perhaps easier to see if I said I saw building bricks with letters that spelled “welcome home.” If you were to program your computer and robot, somewhere within the code you would have to hide the words “welcome home” for the system to compare results against if there was any hope of your machine arriving at those letters.

It has the same issue as Richard Dawkins “simulation” of evolution turning random letters into “Methinks it is like a weasel.” Somewhere hidden in the code, the programmer had to hide those words, otherwise such a simulation could never have come up with that specific phrase.

So sure, if within a bacteria’s DNA were somehow programmed the endstate of a human being, such that it would only pass on those genes that got it closer to that preprogrammed goal, one small step at a time, it would be a process wherein I would not take significant issue.