Life knows all about Darwinism. That's why it is intelligently designed to resist it.
The authors believe that mutations are the source of "beneficial adaptive variation," but cannot deny they also produce "deleterious genetic load." When a cell invades a novel environment, it is able to switch on a "mutator phenotype" with a 10- to 100-fold increase in mutation rate. The fact that this "mutator allele" switches on is an indication that there's a functional purpose behind it. It's risky, because mutational load is likely to drive many of the cells extinct.
The authors did not give any examples of a beneficial mutation. All they proved is that populations tend to "evolve" a decreased mutation rate, thereby cutting off the source of "beneficial adaptive variation" while saving themselves from "deleterious genetic load."
Neo-Darwinian theory teaches that mutations are random, then a process of "selection" chooses which ones to preserve (Darwin himself was bothered by the implicit personification in "natural selection"). Some mutations are random, for sure. No cell can anticipate where a cosmic ray will hit. How, then, can cells regulate mutations, turning on a "low mutation rate phenotype" under stress? In Current Biology, McDonald and team
experimented with E. coli
response to mutations. Their paper featured these 4 highlights:
Defensive Block and Tackle
Needless to say, "evolution" without "time-consuming mutations" is not the neo-Darwinian way. By picking up existing genetic information from the environment through horizontal gene transfer, the bacteria give evidence of design for surviving storms of misfortune:
Michael Behe described in The Edge of Evolution how a cell under stress, like a city under siege, will do whatever it can to survive, throwing whatever is available at the enemy or accepting weapons from allies. If it survives, it has not become something better. It just avoided dying. The ability of a cell to accept or reject existing foreign DNA shows evidence of design for disaster preparedness.
"Researchers demonstrate how 'interfering' RNA can block bacterial evolution
" is the headline of a news release from Rockefeller University
. As expected, the pro-Darwin press release speaks of "evolutionary tricks" and "instant evolution," but a close reading shows a designed mechanism for surviving under stress:
Epistasis and Stasis
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