Joined: Dec. 2007
In the ID tradition, Ann Gauger is telling lies and slander. Denyse reprints them on UD under the title, "Ann Gauger sets record straight on Wistar II".
|In June 2007, I attended a private conference in Boston, commemorating the famous Wistar Symposium of 1966. All participants were asked to keep the proceedings confidential – and all did. One participant, Daniel Brooks of the University of Toronto, later violated that agreement, however, and published his version of events on-line. That account can be found here.|
"Here" doesn't have an address attached to it, but Ann tells her little white lies at http://www.biologicinstitute.org/.................. Note that that address goes to their front page, so the article, "What Really Happened at Wistar II By Ann Gauger" will probably be moved soon and you'll have to hunt for it.
So, did Daniel Brooks actually violate an agreement by talking? Here's Dan Brookes talking about Wistar II:
|A few days after the meeting ended, we all received an email stating that the ID people considered the conference a private meeting, and did not want any of us to discuss it, blog it, or publish anything about it. They said they had no intention of posting anything from the conference on the Discovery Institute’s web site (the entire proceedings were recorded). They claimed they would have some announcement at the time of the publication of the edited volume of presentations, in about a year, and wanted all of us to wait until then to say anything.|
In other words, Brookes knew nothing of any "private meeting" until after it was over and he agreed to nothing. That's lie #1.
|Several times now, that erroneous account has been quoted against me in different venues. In the interests of truth, I am therefore setting the record straight. This exercise may shed some light on the way science is done.|
Well, it sheds some light on how ID is done. Here's what Dan said about her findings:
|The next presentation in this session was by Ann Gauger, a microbiologist and employee of the Biologic Institute, whose presentation was entitled, “Assessing the difficulty of pathway evolution: an experimental test.” Her presentation was remarkable in part because she performed experiments and reported original data. |
She was then prompted by one of her colleagues to regale us with some new experimental finds. She gave what amounted to a second presentation, during which she discussed “leaky growth,” in microbial colonies at high densities, leading to horizontal transfer of genetic information, and announced that under such conditions she had actually found a novel variant that seemed to lead to enhanced colony growth. Gunther Wagner said, “So, a beneficial mutation happened right in your lab?” at which point the moderator halted questioning. We shuffled off for a coffee break with the admission hanging in the air that natural processes could not only produce new information, they could produce beneficial new information.
It didn't just seem to "lead to enhanced colony growth," it did. Here's how she describes the experiment:
This sounds like the recent research trumpeted by Axe and Gauger where they found that one enzyme can't mutate into a different enzyme in a week or two, therefore Jesus.
|The work involved screening cells for their ability to grow on medium lacking biotin, an essential vitamin. Normally bacterial cells can either take up biotin from their environment, or make it themselves using a four-step dedicated pathway. The cells I worked with lacked the first enzyme in that pathway, called BioF, and thus could not make biotin. We were testing whether a structurally similar enzyme called Kbl could be mutated enough to allow it to substitute for the missing BioF, and thus allow the cells to grow.|
|I normally plated cells at a low density of 500 colonies or less per plate. But one experiment was plated at about 5000 colonies per plate, and left to grow over the weekend. When I checked the plates, I found that a few colonies had grown where none were expected. I isolated those colonies and checked their ability to grow on minimal medium again. It was reproducible.|
Colonies grew where none grew before. From none at all to a few is a whopping big growth enhancement!
| I was excited, because I thought I might have found a mutant strain that could now make biotin, either using Kbl or some other bypass mechanism to replace the missing BioF.|
But to Ann, it turned out not to be evolution after all because the cells didn't evolve the way she wanted them to.
Well, that's evolution in a nutshell right there. A mutation gave the cells the ability to scavage a necessary vitamin better than before, thus allowing them to grow. Too bad if it didn't happen exactly the way you were hoping, but the mutated cells still grow where the original cells died.
|Thus the mutation these cells carried, whatever it was, did not allow them to make biotin for themselves. It only allowed them to take up biotin from their environment more readily.|
This is the result I reported at the private meeting. No mistake—the mutated cells grew on medium without added biotin, but this ability was the result of increasing their ability to scavenge biotin from the medium, not because they could make biotin, as witnessed by their inability to grow on medium containing streptavidin. These cells had not found a way to replace BioF function, which was the whole point of the experiment.
I explained this to the group, and one participant, biologist Günter Wagner of Yale, said, smiling, “So, a beneficial mutation happened right in your lab?” I said, “Yes,” also smiling, and everyone laughed. Then the session ended.
Günter Wagner (and most of the other participants, I assume) knew that the mutant strain I found did not solve the problem I had posed— namely, how new enzyme functions, or the ability to make biotin, arise in the first place. It was beneficial only in the sense that the mutant cells could scavenge biotin from the medium better than before, which allowed them to grow better.
That's Evolution in Action.
I score Ann with two lies and a slander here:
Lie 1: Implying that the meeting was supposed to be confidential when the announcement was apparently made via email several days after the conference.
Lie 2: Saying that the mutation she discovered didn't enhance colony growth when it clearly did.
The Slander: Implying that Brookes violated a confidentiality agreement that he never made.
That's ID in Action!
If Pvt. Gordon of the Montseratt Highlanders Reinactment and Chowder Society reads this, I'm sure he will copy it to UD. NOT!
P.S. Here's a
permanent link to Ann's article.
Edited to add permanent link and generally spiff things up a bit.
Edited by CeilingCat on July 27 2012,04:39
Like every other academic field, philosophy of religion has its share of hacks and mediocrities. Edward Feser