Uncommon Descent

Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

31 January 2012

One Small Step Sideways, Two Huge Steps Back

Michael J Behe

Recently a new paper by Richard Lenski and colleagues (Meyer et al 2012) appeared in Science (http://www.sciencemag.org/content/335/6067/428.short )with, as usual, commentary in the New York Times. (http://tinyurl.com/7xthu7q ) (Lenski’s lab must own a red phone with a direct line to The Gray Lady.) The gist of the paper is that a certain bacteriophage (a virus that infects […]

24 January 2012

More Darwinian Degradation

Michael J Behe

Recently a paper appeared by Ratcliff et al. (2012) entitled “Experimental evolution of mulitcellularity” and received a fair amount of press attention, including a story in the New York Times. (http://tinyurl.com/6va4fpp ) The authors discuss their results in terms of the origin of multicellularity on earth. The senior author of the paper is Michael Travisano […]

11 January 2012

A Blind Man Carrying a Legless Man Can Safely Cross the Street

Michael J Behe

I never thought it would happen but, in my estimation, Richard Lenski has acquired a challenger for the title of “Best Experimental Evolutionary Scientist.” Lenski, of course, is the well-known fellow who has been growing E. coli in his lab at Michigan State for 50,000 generations in order to follow its evolutionary progress. His rival […]

5 October 2011

New Work by Thornton’s Group Supports Time-Symmetric Dollo’s Law

Michael J Behe

In the June 2011 issue of PLOS Genetics the laboratory of University of Oregon evolutionary biologist Joseph Thornton published ( http://tinyurl.com/3dsorzm ) “Mechanisms for the Evolution of a Derived Function in the Ancestral Glucocorticoid Receptor”, the latest in their series of papers concerning the evolution of proteins that bind steroid hormones. (Carroll et al, 2011) […]

19 August 2011

“Irremediable Complexity”

Michael J Behe

An intriguing ‘hypothesis’ paper entitled “How a neutral evolutionary ratchet can build cellular complexity” (1), where the authors speculate about a possible solution to a possible problem, recently appeared in the journalIUBMB Life. It is an expanded version of a short essay called “Irremediable Complexity?” (2) published last year in Science. The authors of the […]

15 April 2011

Richard Lenski, “evolvability”, and tortuous Darwinian pathways

Michael J Behe

Several papers on the topic of “evolvability” have been published relatively recently by the laboratory of Richard Lenski. (1, 2) Most readers of this site will quickly recognize Lenski as the Michigan State microbiologist who has been growing cultures of E. coli for over twenty years in order to see how they would evolve, patiently […]

12 January 2011

Even more from Jerry Coyne

Michael J Behe

In my last post I reported that University of Chicago evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who had critiqued (http://tinyurl.com/2fjenlt) my recent Quarterly Review of Biology article (http://tinyurl.com/25c422s) concerning laboratory evolution studies of the last four decades and what they show us about evolution, had asked several other prominent scientists for comments (http://tinyurl.com/2cyetm7). I replied (http://tinyurl.com/4lq8sre) to […]

24 December 2010

More from Jerry Coyne

Michael J Behe

At his blog (http://tinyurl.com/2cyetm7) University of Chicago professor of evolutionary biology Jerry Coyne has commented on my reply (http://tinyurl.com/383zqm7) to his analysis ((http://tinyurl.com/2fjenlt) of my new review (http://tinyurl.com/25c422s) in the Quarterly Review of Biology. This time he has involved two other prominent scientists in the conversation. I’ll discuss the comments of one of them in […]

17 December 2010

The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution: A reply to Jerry Coyne

Michael J Behe

At his blog, Why Evolution is True (http://tinyurl.com/2fjenlt), Jerry Coyne, professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Chicago, has been analyzing my recent paper, “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations, and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’” (http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/pdf/Behe/QRB_paper.pdf), which appears in the latest issue of the Quarterly Review of Biology. Although I usually don’t respond to […]

13 December 2010

“The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution”: Break or blunt any functional coded element whose loss would yield a net fitness gain

Michael J Behe

In its most recent issue The Quarterly Review of Biology has published a review by myself of laboratory evolution experiments of microbes going back four decades. The paper (entitled “Experimental Evolution, Loss-of-Function Mutations, and ‘The First Rule of Adaptive Evolution’”) is available as a free pdf on my Lehigh University website (http://www.lehigh.edu/~inbios/pdf/Behe/QRB_paper.pdf). The chief question […]