Archive for January, 2008

Bridge that gap

Posted: January 5, 2008 in Intelligent Design
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Using my new Nano iPod (thank you Santa) I was listening to the podcast of Intelligent design the future –get yours here.

In the current podcast Dr Ralph Seelke is interviewed, he is involved in experimental evolution and has been looking at the capabilities and limitations of evolution.Currently he is looking at genetic changes in a population of bacteria over many generations, currently at 2000 generations and climbing- check out the podcast for more details.

He has an interesting brief definition of micro and macro evolution; Microevolution he defines as having the characteristic of having been observed; where as Macroevolution has never been seen –but is inferred from the fossil record etc.

The inferred bridge between Micro and Macro evolution is  stepwise beneficial  change, the problem comes  when many things need to change all at the same time, much like Behe’s edge of evolution argument.

Dr Seelke  looks  at what evolution can do –the point I find interesting  is that so few scientist have asked and designed experiments that tackle the question of what evolution can and cannot do –it is just assumed that’s the issue is settled.Dr Seelke:‘There hasn’t been an intense effort by scientist to find the limits of evolution in the evolutionary community; because they are convinced it is true.’ There are different levels of certainty within science, some phenomena, for instance are singularities and so cannot be observed and as such remain as inferences only, whereas other phenomena can be observed again and again and so the relationship between cause and effect is more certain.  

The bridge between the observed microevolution and the unobserved macroevolution looks to be flimsy and may need some empirical  shoring up if it is to manage the weight of one species turning into another using microevolution over many generations.For instance at some point some changes are required that are major –can a cell go from a single celled fully functioning organism to a multi-celled single organism in stepwise fashion? That is in one step?

With the advent of multicellular organisms comes the question of the origin of distinctive cellular function, multicelled organism have cells that are distinctive in function if not in form, the origin of intra cellular communication to name a few challenges to a exclusively stepwise walk across the bridge from micro to macro evolution.