Home » Intelligent Design » Thinkquote of the day: How do animals and plants become species, as in Darwin’s “Origin of Species”?

Thinkquote of the day: How do animals and plants become species, as in Darwin’s “Origin of Species”?

University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton went looking for direct evidence of speciation and concluded in 2001:

“None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another. Bacteria, the simplest form of independent life, are ideal for this kind of study, with generation times of twenty to thirty minutes, and populations achieved after eighteen hours. But throughout 150 years of the science of bacteriology, there is no evidence that one species of bacteria has changed into another … Since there is no evidence for species changes between the simplest forms of unicellular life, it is not surprising that there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [i.e., bacterial] to eukaryotic [i.e. plant and animal] cells, let alone throughout the whole array of higher multicellular organisms.” (Alan Linton, “Scant Search for the Maker,” Times Higher Education Supplement, April 20, 2001, Book section, 29.)

– from Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution, who has just published The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism (p. 59), updating the intelligent design controversy.
Remember that when a supercilious person informs you that there is overwhelming evidence for Darwin’s theory about how life originates*, grows, and changes and why people are what they are.

(*Yes, yes, I know Darwin didn’t try to explain the origin of life, only the origin of species, but most of his materialist followers are more sure of their dogmas than was the Master.)

The question is not whether species originate (they surely do) or whether Darwin’s favorite process of natural selection ever influences the course of events (surely it often does), but whether it is really the engine of the vast complexity of life that we see around us.

That last proposition is believed - and ordered to be taught in tax-funded schools - not because it is plausible but because it upholds materialism.

When asked about these matters, I usually say at this point, “Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the intelligent design controversy. Now you know why there is a controversy and why it cannot go away.” 

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47 Responses to Thinkquote of the day: How do animals and plants become species, as in Darwin’s “Origin of Species”?

  1. 1

    Just wondering-was the nylonase bacteria classified as a seperate species?

  2. If you accept that species arise and that natural selection operates in nature and that genomes do get mutated, are we to take it that Intelligent Design posits a series of creation events whereby the created organisms can then change to some extent due to evolutionary processes?

  3. This is why the “3-Hour ID Challenge” is key. In “Unlocking the Mystery of Life” it is made clear that although variation culled by natural selection can explain the finch beak, it does not explain birds.

    And the truth of the matter is we don’t even know how the varying beak sizes arose- Just that beak sizes do vary and we believe we understand the “reason” why certain beak sizes proliferate during certain environmental pressures.

    For anyone unfamiliar with the 3-Hour ID Challenge:

    Watch two videos- “The Privileged Planet” and “Unlocking the Mystery of Life”, and then, if you can without lying, tell us why ID is not based on observation and scientific research, but is based on religious doctrines and faith.

    To me this is the easiest way to demonstrate the core of Intelligent Design to those outside of the debate.

  4. “To me this is the easiest way to demonstrate the core of Intelligent Design to those outside of the debate.”

    Agree, and I think that the worst nightmare for hard NDEers would be dreming those two videos are actually accessible through the major broadcast TVs. With 3-hours vision vs years of ND education the percentage of ID supporters would rise dramatically

    Kairos

  5. Grasse made this same point back in the 70’s:

    “In sum, the mutations of bacteria and viruses are merely hereditary fluctuations around a median position; a swing to the right, a swing to the left, but no final evolutionary effect . . . It is important to note that relict species mutate as much as others do, but do not evolve, not even when they live in conditions favorable to change (diversity of environments, cosmopolitianism, large populations) . . . Bacteria, the study of which has formed a great part of the foundation of genetics and molecular biology, are the organisms which, because of their huge numbers, produce the most mutants. This is why they gave rise to an infinite variety of species, called strains, which can be revealed by breeding or tests. Like Erophila verna, bacteria, despite their great production of intraspecific varieties, exhibit a great fidelity to their species. The bacillus Escherichia coli, whose mutants have been studied very carefully, is the best example. The reader will agree that it is surprising, to say the least, to want to prove evolution and to discover its mechanisms and then to choose as a material for this study a being which practically stabilized a billion years ago!”

    Pierre Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms: Evidence for a New Theory of Transformation (New York: Academic Press, 1977) 87.

  6. In deed, Kairos. Information is the nightmare of falsehood, and the unwillingness of Darwinists to allow people to see the other side is revealing.

  7. 7

    Here is a list of factors that now, as in the past, have nothing to do with either true speciation or the formation of any of the higher taxonomic categories.

    1. Bisexual reproduction.
    2. Allelic mutation.
    3. Mendelian inheritance.
    4. Selection either natural or artificial.
    5. Populations including population genetics.
    6. Chance

    The first four were essential in preventing change thus promoting extinction without which progressive evolution would have been impossible.

    In short there is absolutely nothing in the Darwinian fairy tale that ever had anything to do with creative progressive evolution. All that has ever been demonstrated is the production of intraspecific varieties in some but certainly not all organisms.

    Darwinian evolution is a delusion based on the assumption that evolution had an exogenous, testable, identifiable cause. Such a cause has not been found because it never existed. Phylogeny, exactly like ontogeny, was driven entirely from within the relatively few organisms that were competent to produce offspring radically and progressively different from themselves. Their numbers have steadily decreased over geological time until today they are no longer present. In my opinion they will never reappear.

    The entire scenario was preprogrammed exactly as is the development of the unique individual from a single cell, the egg. Ontogeny remains the perfect model for phylogeny. Ontogeny and phylogeny are expressions of the same original reproductive continuum of which there may have been more than one. Only ontogeny remains. The extinction of the species is the counterpart to the death of the individual.

    In 1984 I presented the Semi-meiotic hypothesis (SMH)as an alternatve to the Darwinian fable. Like all hypotheses, it remains viable until proven to be erroneous, a fate the Darwinian hypothesis met long ago.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  8. After all Someone said some time ago: “… the truth shall make you free” !

    K.

  9. “Just wondering-was the nylonase bacteria classified as a seperate species?”

    Not even remotely.

    What’s even more interesting, is that an E. Coli strain was detected which had, I believe, 46% NEW GENES. This isn’t 46% changes, but 46% NEW GENES. And it _still_ wasn’t a new species.

    We actually _do_ know what is most often responsible for new species currently, but biologists hate to admit it, because it has NOTHING to do with random mutation and natural selection.

    Anybody got a guess?

    SYMBIOSES

    My guess is that also community-induced traits plus genetic assimilation will also be found to be a significant creator of new species.

    Of course, what’s really interesting is the number of “species” that are readily hybridable between each other. For a searchable database of some hybrids (work is ongoing to make this more complete), see HybriDatabase.

  10. 10

    “All great truths begin as blasphemies.”
    George Bernard Shaw

    ergo “Prescribed Evolution.”

    A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  11. 11

    “Meine Zeit wird schon kommen!”
    Gregor Mendel

  12. OK, I volunteer to translate “Johnspeak.” That means “my time will yet come.”

  13. University of Bristol (England) bacteriologist Alan H. Linton went looking for direct evidence of speciation and concluded in 2001:

    “None exists in the literature claiming that one species has been shown to evolve into another.”

    Just for the record, in this rather uninformed opinion, Dr. Linton finds himself somewhere to the more extreme Creationist side of the YEC outfit Answers in Genesis, which in its list of “Arguments we think Creationsists should not use”, states:
    “No new species have been produced.”
    This is not true — new species have been observed to form.

    http://www.answersingenesis.or.....nt_use.asp

  14. Andrea: Ad hominem… -1.

    Now, provide published evidence which demonstrates that Darwiniam mechanisms were responsible for speciation. Direct me to confirmed examples with detailed accounts of how NS + RM acheived biological novelty (i.e. bacteria-to-baboons). Just-So stories will not be permitted. Neither will \”any port in a storm\” tactics like in your previous post.

  15. 15

    this canard of speciation has been observed has spread among NDEist’s primarily due to the bogus talk origins faq..
    See it here
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....ation.html

    The detailed debunking of this mythical “proof” is here
    http://www.alternativescience......ations.htm

    The NDE’s have been postulating that the numerous varieties in a single species are different species due to their “reproductive isolation”( observed not via fertilization in lab but in nature)

    the debunking of supposed evolution of bacteria ( purportedly due to their resistance to anti-biotics) has also been done by the same science author Richard Milton..
    http://www.alternativescience......biotic.htm

  16. 16

    Andrea,
    the full context was this…
    “This is not true—new species have been observed to form. In fact, rapid speciation is an important part of the creation model. But this speciation is within the “kind,” and involves no new genetic information. See Q&A: Speciation.”

  17. You may want to check what ad hominem means, Scott. I just noted that Linton’s position, as quoted by Wells, is not even shared anymore by one of the main young-earth creationist organizations. That’s a fact. If you have a problem with that, AiG’s contact page is here: http://www.answersingenesis.org/feedback/ .

  18. “Just wondering-was the nylonase bacteria classified as a seperate species?”

    “Not even remotely.”

    I would think that a bacteria that was able to digest nylon would qualify as a new species. If that’s not enough, then what does a bacteria have to do to be considered a new species?

  19. O’Leary: “Remember that when a supercilious person informs you that there is overwhelming evidence for Darwin’s theory about how life originates*, grows, and changes and why people are what they are.

    (*Yes, yes, I know Darwin didn’t try to explain the origin of life, only the origin of species, but most of his materialist followers are more sure of their dogmas than was the Master.)”

    What was “Darwin’s theory about how life originates”? I didn’t know he had one. To the best of my knowledge, the closest he ever came to such a theory were speculations about a warm pond in a private letter.

    And could you provide a few citations to anybody (except Biblical literalists) who claims that there is “overwhelming evidence … about how life originates”?

  20. From moderator Denyse: Andrea, if you know that Linton was even remotely interested in what young earth creationists think, let us all know, eh? Otherwise, quit changing the subject. Either there is evidnece of speciation or there isn’t.

    Houdin, you know perfectly well what a species is. If you can eat a pair of pantihose and live, that does not make you a new species. Also, you know as well as I do that many supercilious but badly informed persons assume that Darwin explained the origin of life. Quit twisting my words. My finger is close to the delete key, but I actually hate to use it. Don’t force me.

  21. 21

    Thanks jonnyb,

    I was over at New Mexicans for Science and Reason (www.nmsr.org/nylon.htm) and their statement “The DNA nucleotides appear in the middle for both the old species and the new(one T inserted)”-re the frame shift for the nylonase bacteria made me think otherwise and wondered if it had been declared a new species.

  22. IIRC, the frame shifts in the bacterial strains to acquire nylonase occur in 2 and 3 genes respectively, and can be induced within 9 days of culturing. (I am wondering if it is also reversible – anyone know?)
    Compare this to the 46% intra-specific genetic difference referred by johnnyB.
    Note also that the shifts occur exclusively on plasmids and not in the actual genome of the bacteria.
    If you google “what makes a bacterial species” or any such search you will see there is no concensus for criteria, but many systems rely on comparing combination rates of split DNA and percentage of genetic differences. A difference between 2-3 genes, on plasmids, would not qualify.

  23. 23

    Andrea, just in case you didn’t get the message..

    the speciation claims from NDE’s & accepted by AiG is
    “speciation is within the “kind,””

    meaning varieties of dogs or cats or humans & no one disputes them… but they are varieties, not new species..

  24. oops, chromosome, not genome

  25. Denyse, the only definition of a species that I know of is that if two organisms are capable of breeding and producing fertile offspring, then they are of the same species. This obviously doesn’t apply to single celled organisms that reproduce asexually, so I’d like to know just how scientists do define “species” when it comes to bacteria.

    I assume that there are many species of bacteria existing today, whether they were created or evolved, but how does an observer tell that they are different species? Different shapes? Different colors? Different internal chemistry? What does a bacteria have to do to be considered a new species?

    And no, I don’t know that many “supercilious but badly informed persons assume that Darwin explained the origin of life”. I’ve never heard or read anybody say that and I follow this field pretty closely. If there are people out there that believe such a thing, I’d like to read or hear what they have to say about it, but I need citations to find them.

  26. Hmmmm… What constitutes a new species?

    http://scienceblogs.com/loom/2.....de_new.php

    Here’s a dog that died somewhere around 1000 years ago, but lives on as a parasitic, infectious organism in dogs today, with geographic variants living around the world. Is this still Canis familiaris? Is it a mammal? Is it a chordate?

  27. 27

    The vast majority of all organisms that ever existed were, from the moment of their origin, unable to further change and were thus doomed to extinction. The percentage of such creatures steadily increased over geologiocal time until today there seems to be no more “evolvers” left. Just as ontogeny proceeds with a steady loss of developmental potency, so evolution has done the same. Another model is ecological succession. All three are self-limiting processes which terminate in stasis followed by extinction. All three are irreversible. Ecological succession is the only one that can be repeated when the terminal products are removed. Britain is still recovering from sacrificing its mighty oaks for its merchant fleet.

    “Evolution, a unique, historical course of evets that TOOK PLACE IN THE PAST, is not repeatable experimentally and cannot be investigated in that way.”
    Otto Schindewolf, Basic Questions in Paleontology, page 311, my emphasis.

    “Darwinians of the world unite. You have nothing to lose but your natural selection.”
    after Karl Marx

    I love it so!

    “If you tell the truth, you can be certain, sooner or later, to be found out.”
    Oscar Wilde

    It looks like it is going to be later!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable,”
    John A. Davison

  28. 28

    Darwin was once described as being more Lamarckian than Lamarck and August Weismann as being more Darwinian than Darwin. Of course both were wrong.

    “Meine Zeit wird schon kommen!” Mendel’s prediction, which was fulfilled 32 years later, is translated – “My time will surely come.” It sure did and William Bateson, the father of modern Genetics was his champion.

    Unfortunately, Mendelian Genetics had absolutely nothing to do with creative evolution as Bateson finally realized and confided to his son Gregory shortly before he died -

    “that it was a mistake to have committed his life to Mendelism, that it was a blind alley which would not throw any light on the the differentiaton of species nor on evolution generally.”
    J.A. Davison, Is Evolution Finished?, Rivista di Biologia 97: 111-116, 2004.

    The Darwinians still “don’t get it.”

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable. ”
    John A. Davison

  29. 29

    If I had the time and money to research evidence of new speciation events I would look at the Great Lakes and Austraila. Both areas are replete with documented founder events including estimated date of occurrance. The Great Lakes states spend significant amounts of money trying to eradicate or control invasive species introduced by the dumping of bildge water. Austrailia suffers from intentional introduction of invasive species. Both places are isolated or relatively so and selection pressure is also increased in the native species-this would seem to increase the likelyhood of speciation or divergence in both the native and introduced species. Genomes could be could be compared with initial populations and we could also hook-up those austrailian rabbits with the English ones to see if they -well still breed like rabbits.

  30. Of course, really, the largest presently-acting cause of speciation is…. taxonomy conferences :)

  31. Ms. O’Leary, I don’t see why I am changing the subject – if there is enough evidence of speciation to convince Young Earth Creationists (who originally opposed the idea), that probably means something, doesn’t it? I could have added that even some ID advocates (granted, probably a minority), like Behe, have no real issues with speciation.

    For those who ask me to present evidence here: sorry, you’re on your own educating yourselves on the subject. Pardon the cynicism, but given the unsuccessful experience I had trying to start an actual discussion of the evidence for immune system evolution in other threads, I don’t think the effort would be worth the return.

    Also, the evidence for speciation is enormous (MUCH MUCH larger than the evidence for the evolution of the immune system, which is already substantial), so it’s crazy to even think to summarize it in a post. There are so many lines of evidence – zoologic (e.g. ring species), biogeographic (speciation due to geographic separation, e.g. on islands), direct empirical evidence of speciation in some organisms (e.g. the classical raphanobrassica) and examples of experimentally-induced reproductive isolation in others (e.g. drosophila), genetic/molecular (identification of reproductive isolation genes), etc. Then there is the bizarre example linked to by MikeFNQ above: a dog tumor cell (estimated to have arisen several centuries ago) which has become a transmissible parasitic organism (and there may be more similar examples in other species!) – freaky.

    For those who are really interested, I suggest reading Speciation by H Allen Orr and J Coyne ( http://www.sinauer.com/detail.php?id=0914 ), but beware – it’s very information-dense.

  32. 32

    Of course speciation WAS very real but it isn’t happening any more that’s all. Neither is the formation of any new genera, families, orders, classes, phyla or kingdoms. It is all over but the whining folks. That seems never to stop.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution udemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  33. “Its all over but the whining, folks.” LOL! I love it so, John Davison…

  34. “if there is enough evidence of speciation to convince Young Earth Creationists (who originally opposed the idea)”

    What idiocy. YECs have accepted speciation since at least the 1700s! Note that Pagans such as aristotle also opposed the idea of speciation. This line of argument only makes sense if you (a) ignore the fact that YECs have long-believed in speciation, and (b) assume that YECs are idiots and being able to convince them of something is useful as evidence.

    Certainly there have existed YECs who disagree with speciation, just as there have existed Pagans who disagree with speciation. But of what relevance are such facts?

    “I could have added that even some ID advocates (granted, probably a minority), like Behe, have no real issues with speciation.”

    Noone has an issue with speciation. O’Leary even stated that in the article. Has it come down to Darwinists making things up about their opponents to complain about?

    “Pardon the cynicism, but given the unsuccessful experience I had trying to start an actual discussion of the evidence for immune system evolution in other threads, I don’t think the effort would be worth the return.”

    We did have a discussion. There was no evidence that RM+NS had anything to do with the development. The only evidence was comparative anatomy, which says nothing whatsoever about mechanism of development.

    “Also, the evidence for speciation is enormous (MUCH MUCH larger than the evidence for the evolution of the immune system, which is already substantial), so it’s crazy to even think to summarize it in a post.”

    Are Darwinists completely incapable of even understanding what is being discussed? _No one_ here is asking “did speciation happen?” What is being asked are two things (1) how often has it been observed, and (2) what are the mechanism (both in observed and unobserved cases)? The answers as it turns out, is (1) not often at all — perhaps a handful of definitive examples, and (2) for observed cases — almost never by RM+NS, most often due to symbiosis (I guess hybridization would count, depending on the definition of species used).

    “There are so many lines of evidence – zoologic (e.g. ring species), biogeographic (speciation due to geographic separation, e.g. on islands), direct empirical evidence of speciation in some organisms (e.g. the classical raphanobrassica) and examples of experimentally-induced reproductive isolation in others (e.g. drosophila), genetic/molecular (identification of reproductive isolation genes), etc.”

    True but irrelevant. You are proving a case that no one is questioning. Is that because the question that was actually asked is a better one than you are implying?

    “Then there is the bizarre example linked to by MikeFNQ above: a dog tumor cell (estimated to have arisen several centuries ago) which has become a transmissible parasitic organism (and there may be more similar examples in other species!) – freaky.”

    Indeed freaky. Definitely worthy of further study. Probably the most interesting answer to the question so far. However, I find it amusing that best answer to something that developed via Darwinism is “cancer”. Doesn’t that go to evidence more in favor of Sanford’s thesis (RM+NS leads to degredation not development) than NDE?

    “For those who are really interested, I suggest reading Speciation by H Allen Orr and J Coyne ( http://www.sinauer.com/detail.php?id=0914 ), but beware – it’s very information-dense.”

    Thanks for the link! Going into my inter-library loan list now.

    I apologize for being a little testy. I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. It’s the only way I could find to be succinct.

    I suggest that you look at Davison’s papers. I find it interesting that under long-age assumptions, you have rampant phyla generation in the Cambrian over 10 million years, yet hardly any (if any at all) _genera_ being produced in the last 10 million years. Very interesting indeed.

  35. Don’t underestimate the amount of variation that YECs have always promoted.
    While the majority insisted on the monophyletic source of all human diversity from a single breeding pair there were Darwinists suggesting that the different races of man each had to have evolved from a separate genus of apes.

  36. Question about speciation:

    Would you consider the SIV and HIV virus separate species? There is pretty good evidence now that HIV split off SIV less than 100 years ago.

  37. MikeFNQ,

    “Here’s a dog that died somewhere around 1000 years ago, but lives on as a parasitic, infectious organism in dogs today, with geographic variants living around the world. Is this still Canis familiaris? Is it a mammal? Is it a chordate?”

    It is a cancer tumor Mike. No it is not a new species of dog.

    That is about as bad as the claims that a handicap family in Turkey who could not walk properly was evidence of evolution.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/sci.....782492.stm

  38. Jehu:
    This is a cancer tumour that is not a cancer of the host. The host does not have cancer, it has another organism’s cancer cells. The cells that are cancerous, and the DNA within them, are not those of the dog with the lump but of a dog that has been dead for centuries. The lump has its own DNA, reproduces, has now spread around the world.

    To pass such an entity of as “a cancer tumour” completely misses the point that these cells have escaped from their life as a dog, and now have a life as a parasitic, infectious organism that continues to evolve. It has its own family history.

    Oh, I never claimed it was a new species of dog. I asked if it was still Canis familiaris. If so, we now have a dog that will never pee on the carpet. :)

    These cells are definitely still alive. They are definitely infectious and parasitic. They do not bark, pant, slobber, or shag your houseguest’s legs. I don’t think it can be called a dog. I also don’t believe “cancer” is appropriate. What is it?

    Ofro:
    Please bear in mind that evolution doesn’t care whether humans regard it as degradation or development. As long as the mutations allow the genes to copy themselves into ongoing generations it will be selected for. Here we have mutations in a cell line that have most definitely been beneficial for that cell line, and for the genes within.

    There are of course many other examples of what we would regard degradation which are evolutionarily advantageous (“parasitic” males in some fish for example, where the just latch onto the female and suck blood while acting as a sperm source). Evolution doesn’t care about forward or upward, it just cares about survival and reproduction. These cells are succeeding in that.
    _____________
    Smeg! Work beckons.

    M

  39. MikeFNQ

    There are of course many other examples of what we would regard degradation which are evolutionarily advantageous (”parasitic” males in some fish for example, where the just latch onto the female and suck blood while acting as a sperm source). Evolution doesn’t care about forward or upward, it just cares about survival and reproduction. These cells are succeeding in that.

    Understood. IDists are concerned with the origination of information. ID argues that RM+NS does not account for origination of information and complexity in biology. While Darwinists might see degredation as evidence of evolution, an IDists just sees degredation of previouslty existing information, an event that sheds no light on where the information came from.

  40. “Please bear in mind that evolution doesn’t care whether humans regard it as degradation or development.”

    This is true if you are talking about RM+NS. And, as ID’ers have long said, if RM+NS was the primary force behind evolution, this is just about all you would get. The cells lose control and just go their own way. They don’t get more coordinated, they get less coordinated.

    There’s nothing wrong with this. There’s only something wrong with imagining that a process that is known to cause cumulative disorganization and degredation to be the primary cause of cumulative organization.

    It’s like claiming that because you can flip one bit in a computer program, and get it to fail spectacularly, you should likewise be able to flip one bit, and have it do new things never thought of by the author!

  41. 41

    #34 by johnnyb

    Thanks for the plug. While my papers are no longer here on the side board, most of them are available over at “brainstorms” and elsewhere on the web.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  42. johnnyb: “…if RM+NS was the primary force behind evolution, this [degradation] is just about all you would get. The cells lose control and just go their own way. They don’t get more coordinated, they get less coordinated.”

    Can you give us some more information on how this happens. For example, if you have a population of, say, 100 billion bacteria and a newly split off bacteria has a mutation that makes it unable to digest food, how is this degradation passed on to the other 100 billion bacteria? In Darwinian evolution, it’s not. Instead, the new defective bacteria dies and the other 100 billion continue on as they were, with their genetic code intact.

    You seem to be saying that this doesn’t happen, that instead of dropping dead, the defective bacteria somehow passes his defect on to every other bacteria. How does this happen?

    If your theory is true, this could be the key to a whole new range of medicines. Find some way to give a single bacteria a fatal mutation and every other bacteria drops dead too. You could get rich.

  43. johnnyb: ““Just wondering-was the nylonase bacteria classified as a seperate species?”

    Not even remotely.”

    Why not? If it breeds true (and being non-sexual, I’m sure it does), then we appear to have a bacteria that is significantly different from all other species of bacteria and it should be classified as a new species. It could make a lot of difference to a sport parachutist if his canopy had been contaminated with an ordinary bacteria or one that can digest his parachute.

    Remember petroleum eating bacteria? When the first one was discovered, it was classified as a new species solely because it could digest jet fuel. Since they could multiply and clog fuel filters in airplanes, it was very important to know if the bacteria in your fuel were “ordinary” bacteria or the new type that could consume jet fuel and bring your plane down in the process. I believe several dozen similar bacteria have been discovered since and they have all been given species names and classified.

  44. This thread seems to be dying, so I’ll use this opportunity to point out something that everybody seems to have missed: We have no “good” definition of species. The “best” one, ‘if two organisms cannot produce fertile offspring then they are separate species’ doesn’t work at all for asexual organisms, such as bacteria. Since asexual organisms account for the vast majority of life on earth, both by numbers, numbers of species and sheer weight of all the organisms, that definition is sorely lacking.

    But what’s really significant is that if the life we see today arrived via Darwinian evolution, where each species splits off from an ancestral species, then this is exactly what we should expect. You can call it a successful prediction of Darwinian Evolution.

  45. One more thing before the thread dies: Does anybody know anything about this Allen H Linton? I know he’s listed as a bacteriologist at the University of Bristol, but one of the comments he made makes me wonder about him: “…there is no evidence for evolution from prokaryotic [i.e., bacterial] to eukaryotic [i.e. plant and animal] cells…”

    I was under the impression that there was quite a bit of evidence for the evolution of eukaryotic cells by engulfing bacteria and blue-green algae to produce present day mitochondria and chloroplasts. In fact, since the DNA in those two organelles turned out to be so similar to bacterial and algae DNA, Lynn Margulis is widely believed to be on the short list for a Nobel prize for proposing the symbiosis theory of eukaryotic evolution.

    I wonder if perhaps professor Linton isn’t ready to be added to JAD’s pantheon of quirky scientists.

  46. 46

    The trouble with the endosymbiotic hypothesis is that it can’t be verified experimentally. The similarities between bacteria and mitochondria find an alternative explanation with the PEH as do those between chloroplasts and algae. During their evolution these various life forms were simply reading the same “prescribed” blueprints. There is also no evidence that any prokaryote ever evolved into a eukaryote. There are not and cannot be any intermediates for a nuclear membrane or, for that matter, any other subcellular organelle.

    As a bench scientist I have great faith in the experimental method and when it fails to support an hypotheis that should be noted and freely acknowledged. The Darwinians, and I suspect that Margulis is one, have always been loathe to do experiments or, when they have, do not report the results. Frankly, I think they are afraid to do experiments because deep down they know they are through. Darwinians in particular suffer from that cardinal sin known as pride. It takes a great deal of humility to admit that you have dedicated your life to a phantom. Bateson had that wonderful humility and admitted that Mendelism had nothing to do with evolution as I have documented elsewhere here at UD and in publication. Imagine, the father of Mendelian Genetics admitted that it had absolutely nothing to do with evolution. Of course he was absoluely right, my kind of scientist!

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

  47. 47

    Houdin

    The sources which led me to the PEH are “quirky?”

    Thanks for revealing yourself.

    “A past evolution is undeniable, a present evolution is undemonstrable.”
    John A. Davison

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