Experiment Falsifies A Major Evolutionary Assumption

In evolution, organisms happen to change in various forms by an unthinking process through the means of mutations. These later generations according to evolutionary thinking get better. So this prediction was put to the test. An experiment was conducted that used a plant which has been studied quite often by scientists,  it goes by the name, Arabidopsis thaliana.

The objective was to find out how plants adapt to different temperatures. Two plants were exposed to mildly hot temperatures while others were exposed to normal temperatures but in the final generation they raised the temperature. The results were very interesting, in only two generations, the plants exposed to the warmer temperatures outperformed those plants which were exposed to colder temperatures…One science writer put it this way…

“Because the chance of accumulating mutations within just two generations that led the heat-conditioned plants to thrive in hotter conditions was essentially nil, the authors conclude that inherited epigenetic factors affecting flower production and early-stage seed survival in those plants had to be at play.”

The research defies the story of evolution which needs a lot of time for natural selection to work in order for things like a plant to adapt while learning that these designed plants have the ability to adapt much quicker. What researchers were looking for was slight modifications in mutations that would eventually lead to adaptation in future generations.

Rapid adaptation in variants is a design rather than evolution. As scientists observed, there was no natural selection detection being made in the plants to use random mutations to build new information from an existing source that would allow two generations to adapt in various temperatures. The bacteria example cannot rescue this theory either! Without mutations be able to accomplish the impossible, it’s not evolution.

While the experiment teaches nothing about hypothesis of evolution other than the fact it’s prediction is wrong, it does have interesting implications in the way we understand variation in agronomic productivity! Could new experiments be on the way? I hope so!


34 thoughts on “Experiment Falsifies A Major Evolutionary Assumption

  1. Hi Michael !

    you still haven’t answered ‘The Three Questions’ yet (see last and earlier posts). Come on, the questions are not very hard !

  2. Eelco,

    Did you titled it, “The Three Questions” in your previous comment? If not, then your buddy’s version of your questions was answered. My attention span with you is going to end soon, so you better list them.

  3. You did NOT answer the three questions in your last post, as I made clear. Obviously my use of the capitals was a little joke, but the questions themselves, and you very well know what they are, remain open.

  4. Eelco,

    I know you like this sudden attention from me but since you are unwilling to comply with my request, you know what happens…You have to confirm that you work at European Southern Observatory!

  5. Well, here they are *again*:

    The questions are:

    (1) Blog readership numbers in response to my February challenge that your readership asymptotically approaches zero’

    (2) Your qualifications to discuss any scientific subject, in response to Olorin’s February accusation of towering ignorance and gynormous falsehoods in your posts.

    (3) A substantive review of Signature in the Cell, promised for August 2009.

    You have answered no. 3, by making a promise to do this, but you have not answered questions no. 1 and 2.

  6. And yes, I work at the European Southern Observatory.

    And you ? Where do you work ?

    No backtracking now !!

  7. Eelco,

    First question you ask, the information is not accessible to you so in reality the comment was more like an insult to me therefore an answer is not needed. Second question, back in the 1960s the majority of scientists rejected the discovery of reverse transcription. So with all their qualifications, they didn’t get it right even with physical evidence. Falsified your implication there and lastly, I don’t post huge falsehoods, the vast majority of my posts comes from research papers in major publications that I quote and then comment a bit on.

  8. Michael:

    I can actually count, and I commented on the number of people posting comments here. There are very, very few. You do have access to the exact numbers, and could post them to show that perhaps lots and lots of people read this blog, but do not comment. You do not do that, so my guess (not an insult) is still that your readership is very small indeed.

    Secondly, you completely fail to answer Olorin’s question on your scientific credibility.

    Finally, and most importantly, you fail to answer my question were you work. I gave up my anonymity, but you are still hiding yourself.

    So: where do YOU work, Michael ?

  9. Michael:

    I was a university lecturer for many years, but moved to a pure research job, as I did not get a lot of research done at the university. I do now !

    So, even more about me. What about you now !?

  10. Eelco,

    No you can’t count, let’s take the biggest blog for atheism, PZ’s blog. I have read he gets over a million hits a month. How many actually post? It doesn’t come close to over a million posting. The bulk of his traffic comes from people who visit his site more than once. If it wasn’t for the movie Expelled, I would have never been aware of his site or him for that matter. Eelco, you comment on things way outside your own field so don’t give me this speech about scientific credibility. Did you ever wonder why a person like Olorin has to comment in various screen names?

    No you didn’t give up I gave up “anonymity” because I already had something that could verify it anyway.

  11. “Eelco, you comment on things way outside your own field so don’t give me this speech about scientific credibility. ”

    As it is, I have spent a lot of time learning biology as well – it is not the field I work in on a daily basis.
    Now, you are trying to use the “argument from authority” here, or rather that I have no authority.

    Even if this were the right thing to do (which I think isn’t), then you have completely disqualified yourself: what kind of authority are YOU to comment on biology, astronomy, physics, etc. ? What are YOUR qualifications, which you continue to hide ?

    Also note that in the past I mostly commented on your astronomy blogs, where I do know a thing or two in great detail !

    So again: what is your scientific credibility to comment on scientific subjects, and: where do you work ?!?

  12. Eelco,

    I seen you and Dom debate back and forth. I have studied biology for over 18 years. Other branches have popped up that I studied too. Astronomy is one of my favorite subjects as you might know or should know already, using the observatory would be more like fun to me not a job, but that doesn’t mean I don’t see your job as serious unless your working on trying to contact aliens if that were so, then I believe that’s a waste of time…My ideas of space exploration far exceeds what America is trying to accomplish. The space program has been gutted in my opinion. Everyone has an strong views about something, you are no different. It’s hard to describe my job because I do so many different things…Also, the fact that I mentioned something very controversial that happened at my workplace.

  13. Michael, you are being very vague …

    “I have studied biology for over 18 years. ”
    Where ? At university ?

    “It’s hard to describe my job because I do so many different things…”
    But you surely work somewhere – so, again, where do you work ? What is your job title (most people have one), and what is ‘your workplace’ ?

  14. Well, Michael, where do YOU work, and what do you do ? I’ve answered your questions, now it is your turn.

  15. Wow! Fifteen comments before I even get a foot in the door!

    Eelco’s right, Michael. You haven’t presented a cogent answer to any of the questions. Just the usual creationist slider.

    Back on the previous post, astrostu206265 noted (2010-0504-1250) that WordPress does make available to you the statistics that Eelco requested. Is he lying about that?

    I presented my qualifications in a single comment, all together, not vague dribs and drabs: “studied biology for 18 years.” Horsepuckey. You make stupid mistakes that a high-school sophomore would blush at. Remember the most recent one, about one protein creating another protein? Huh?

    And no response as to Signature in the Cell. I even offered you a simple way to start, by reviewing Meyer’s predictions one at a time.

    The period of evasion has passed, Michael. We’re getting into Ninth Commandment violations here.


    A substantive review of this post will follow. Right now I”m up against call time for a performance this evening, and I haven’t even looked at the music yet today. Where does the time go when you’re having fun?

  16. Wow! Michael! You’re in luck! God has actually been observed designing better plants! What a breakthrough!

    Now creationists can tell us exactly how design occurs—something that has been hidden from creationists for … well, since 4004 BCE, I guess.. So this is your next task, Michael. Give us all a precise, detailed, physical description of the method by which God directly imparted this design to a bunch of lowly A. thaliana. We’ll be waiting.

    But hold. If this is truly the long-sought direct observation of design, the proof of the existence of God, the downfall of naturalistic evolution, one would think that it would be in 72-point headlines throughout the civilized world. How did TheScientist manage to scoop the planet?

    And why should their article be entitled “Should Evolutionary Theory Evolve”? Why should they present it as an advance in evolution rather than, as you characterize it, a tocsin for design? Why did the scientists conducting the experiment not fall on their knees in amazement?

    Could it be, could it possibly be, Michael, that they do not share your belief, your yearning hope, that “[t]he research defies the story of evolution which needs a lot of time for natural selection to work in order for things like a plant to adapt.

    Could it be that there are adaptive mechanisms other than natural selection through genetic mutations? Has Michael missed the entire field of epigenetics, the study of phenotype or expression changes caused by mechanisms other than DNA mutation? Granted, this field only started to gain traction in the 1990s, and some early investigators dismissed it as Lamarckism redux. But now we know, for example, that DNA methylation patterns can appear suddenly in one generation, and be inherited in following generations. These patterns may determine the expression of genes in the next generations for—for example—heat tolerance. Some patterns persist for a long time; others may disappear when environmental conditions change. It has been known for a few years that epigenetics may play a role in short-term adaptation, by allowing reversible structural variability. The modification of epigenetic features associated with a region of DNA allows organisms, in just a few generations, to switch between phenotypes that express and repress a particular gene.[1] Epigenetic phenotypic changes have also been previously observed in response to environmental factors. In one experiment, mice given a dietary supplements showed epigenetic changes affecting expression of the agouti gene, which affects their fur color, weight, and propensity to develop cancer—all in a couple of generations.[2] Apparently this research has not penetrated the armor of creationists as yet. Or at least not Michael’s anonymous source, who puts out this scurrilous stuff and then lets Michael take the heat[3] for it.

    One might ask why the experiments on mice were not hailed as direct observations of design in 2002? Different coat colors in a matter of a couple of generations? Zounds!

    Face it, Michael. This experiment is yet another in a series that show the power of evolution. Natural selection it’s not. Natural selection is ot the whole megillah, as your 18 years[ of “studying biology”[4] should have informed you It’s yet another naturalistic mechanism that (a) adds to the stock of human knowledge, and (b) demonstrates your ignorance of the subjects you present in this blog.


    Oh, by the way, the performance went well tonight. Because our Symphony receives grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, we have a number of community outreach events–in this case, a series for seniors and shut-ins with a small group from the chorale (that would be me) and a half-dozen instrumentalists. Two selections were taken from John Leavitt’s Festival Mass, which Michael might enjoy. Or perhaps it’s too modern—1950s. You can check it out on YouTube, however.


    [1] O.J. Rando and K.J. Verstrepen (2007). “Timescales of Genetic and Epigenetic Inheritance”. Cell 128 (4): 655–668.

    [2] Cooney, CA, Dave, AA, and Wolff, GL (2002). “Maternal Methyl Supplements in Mice Affect Epigenetic Variation and DNA Methylation of Offspring”. Journal of Nutrition 132 (8 Suppl): 2393S–2400S; and Waterland RA and Jirtle RL (August 2003). “Transposable elements: Targets for early nutritional effects on epigenetic gene regulation”. Molecular and Cellular Biology 23 (15): 5293–5300.

    [3] Ho ho. A pun.. In case Michael hadn’t noticed. Creationists suffer from impaired humor as well as from inheritable gnosophobia.

    [4] Michael’s comment supra, May 4, 2010 at 4:34 am (2010-0504-0434 in Oloronic Bigendian notation).

  17. Michael, your turn !

    Where do YOU work, and what do you do ? I’ve answered your questions, you still haven’t answered mine …

  18. Olorin,

    You say, “Now creationists can tell us exactly how design occurs—something that has been hidden from creationists for … well, since 4004 BCE, I guess…” In answer to your question, how far can science speculate from what we cannot observe in the past? What’s more important to you, predictions or empirical observations?

    Evolution is more free-wheeling than ever before on this practice because many things that have been discovered have falsified predictions. I ask again, what’s more important to you, predictions from an unobservable past or empirical observations? Predictions are like trying to explain how burrowing organisms (blindsnakes) were distributed through oceanic dispersal around the world. It’s a story that can be studied for many years but contributes nothing to science nor does it explain how nature actually works.

    But what about God being the creator? It’s view of nature relies on the Bible while it’s scientific method relies more on empirical observations which verifies the Bible. The focus is not on creating something out from the past that is not verifiable, but rather focusing on how nature works in the present which expands knowledge in the future. Do you know what I mean? The present is what we learn the most as far as how nature works. One can assume junk DNA was meant for left over material for evolution to use to create new information but what empirical observations have showed cells use non-coding DNA which has been recently linked to building physical traits! We are learning not from trying to explain in storybook form or science fiction on how junk DNA works in an unobservable past! By the way, that term (junk DNA) should be dropped as it has important functions. I use it just for reference.

  19. The gravamen of Michael’s contention ion the above comment is that creationism has the Truth, because thus it was transmitted from God Himself 3,000 years ago to preliterate people who understood disease as possession by evil spirits and who believed that the earth was stationary and flat.. (Why didn’t God TELL them about that??)

    Michael does not believe that science can reconstruct the past from observations and experiments on conditions occurring in the present. He believes this, even though he himself does it every day. What caused the sound to quit on his computer? Formulate a hypothesis: the signal is transmitted by a couple of cables; cable connections are notoriously unreliable. Check cables. Nope, cables ok. Maybe the speakers quit. Experiment: Feed a known-good audio signal into the speakers. Ha! Still no sound. Experiment: Grab another set of speakers and feed in the computer sound output. Result: Sound. HISTORICAL FACT: The present lack of sound is explained by a failure of the speaker system at some point in the past. Now Michael might go on to investigate what historical fact caused the failure, even though no one observed the failure itself. A power surge, perhaps? Observe the state of the thermal overload switch. And so forth.

    So much for Michael’s “In answer to your question, how far can science speculate from what we cannot observe in the past?” Did we observe the power surge? No. Could we infer it and test it in the present? Yes. Could we take future action to repair the equipment based upon that inference? Yes.

    The rest of Michael’s sentiment, “What’s more important to you, predictions or empirical observations? “ demonstrates a profound lack of understanding of science in general. Because he is totally unacquainted with the scientific process, Michael apparently believers that scientists sit around the lab laughing about who can make up the most outrageous story, while the only purpose of the lab rats is to provide conversation on their level—and, oh yes, the pungent not quite musk of damp fur.

    We’ve explained this all before, Michael That you don’t believe it is your problem, not ours. It is a conscious refusal to understand, neither more nor less.

    On what basis do scientists make up these stories, these confabulations about the history of life? We OBSERVE facts in the present. We SPECULATE as to how these facts might have come about. We PREDICT that, if our speculation is correct, then certain other facts should be found as well. We EXPERIMENT to determine whether those other facts are found or not.

    The process is iterative, for several reasons. (1) The experiment might have falsified the hypothesis; go back to square one. (2) The experimental result might have been not quite what was expected; modify it and try again. (3) The result might have arisen from other, extraneous factors; duplicate the experiment in another lab to confirm. (4) The hypothesis is confirmed, but it leaves certain questions unanswered; formulate a sub-hypothesis, make new predictions therefrom, perform new observations or experiments, an so forth.

    Michael 2010-0505-0421 (Did you pull an all-nighter there, Michael?)

    But what about God being the creator? It’s [sic] view of nature relies on the Bible while it’s [sic] scientific method relies more on empirical observations which verifies [sic] the Bible. The focus is not on creating something out from [sic] the past that is not verifiable, but rather focusing on how nature works in the present [sic] which expands knowledge in the future. Do you know what I mean?

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean. You will not allow science to use the same process for inferring the past that juries routinely use to convict criminals on circumstantial evidence, that repairmen use to infer the cause of a breakdown, and that you yourself use every day in ordinary living.

    You force yourself to believe that scientific theories about the past result from throwing darts at the laboratory wall, with no reliance upon observation or experiment in the present.

    But the truth or falsity of creationism, of which story represents the past, is not the most important reason for preferring one story over the other. The real point is, as Michael himself notes, is to “expand[s] knowledge in the future.”

    Let’s look at the (present) evidence. The evolution story has consistently expanded our knowledge of living organisms, and has provided numerous applications that benefit mankind. Some recent examples have been related here. Meanwhile, how much knowledge of living organisms have we accumulated from the creationist story? How much `more do we know now than we did, oh, say, two thousand years ago about why there are no large mammals on Madagascar, or how antibiotics should be combined in order to minimize drug resistance?

    In view of the blatant misconceptions about science in your comment, it becomes more important to assess your qualifications to discuss any aspect of this subject. That is, we wish to know whether you mislead your readers from reckless ignorance, or whether you are outright lying to them.

    In this post, for example, were you stone deaf to the whole field of epigenetics when you commented on an advance in that field, or did you know of the research and decide to bury it, because your readers wouldn’t know the difference?

    Some of them do know the difference. We have the facts that the stuff you put out is a load of dingo kidneys So we try to infer the past, the cause of these observations. We have evidence that you wouldn’t know a gene from a protein (“a protein creating another protein” above). We engage in experiments, such as asking simple questions, which you have never deigned to answer. We analyze stylistic differences between your comments and the more technical posts. So we try to confirm which hypothesis is correct, which one explains the falsehoods that fulminate from this blog.

    Once again, the object of this is not to crumble your religious belief. You may believe as you wish. The object is to dampen your propensity to publish falsehoods about science in order to preserve this belief.

    Fair enough?

  20. Michael (May 4, 2010 at 4:03 am): “Did you ever wonder why a person like Olorin has to comment in various screen names?”

    yeah, I wondered about that too. “Socrates Puppette” is obviously a sock puppet for Olorin. Note that Soc very seldom comments on substantive stuff, but rather points out the groaners in Michael’s posts.

    Me, I was originally just a diversion, a change of pace, a little joke. Then the thought was to be Simplicio to Olorin’s Profundo. But that didn’t work out. So now I’m just a dialog helper.

    The others are readers only. Backan Forth and Cy Dways are backups. Helen Brimstone may suddenly burst forth to flame Michael on theological points—so watch it, Buster. Chick & Gordon Bleu—well, they’re for dinner tonight.

    In 15 years of e-mail at IBM, I used more than 800 pseudonyms. Olorin was the first, in 1981. (It’s also now the name of my little IP-law education company.)

    There’s no attempt to fool Michael, because he knows all the addresses of his commenters—those statistics are part of what Eelco requested, so don’t deny it, Michael. I think any readers more astute than a fried shrimp are also aware of who is who in the zoo around here.


    Happy Cinco de Mayo, by the way.

    Another performance this evening. The folks at the assisted-living homes like to start earlier than normal concert times. Probably so they can stay awake for bingo afterwords.

  21. Indeed, Michael, you have access to the IP addresses of your visitors, and the viewing statistics.

    And you have access to that part of your brain that stores these simple facts: where you work, and what you do. Your scientific credentials are also stored in there somewhere.

    Come on, Michael: I gave you my bio, and now refuse to give yours. So … what are you trying to hide then ???

  22. I’d also like to know Michael’s sources—the people who write the less illiterate of Michael’s posts for him. And then cast him adrift to fight off us bloodthirsty sharks.

    But good luck on that question!

  23. Speaking of which, not a peep from Michael as to my substantive refutations of his claims as to evidence for design in this post.

    Please tell us, Michael, why you think that epigenetics is ptoof–or even evidence–in favor of design? Just because it’s fast, and your 18-year study of biology has told you that evolution can’t be fast?

  24. Eelco, quoting Michael (2010-0504-0411);

    “Eelco, you comment on things way outside your own field so don’t give me this speech about scientific credibility.”

    As it is, I have spent a lot of time learning biology as well – it is not the field I work in on a daily basis.

    For an astronomer to pick up biology is a lot easier than for an illiterate in science in general to pick up his first science of any kind. Because the illiterate has first to acquire the scientific method, to understand the nature of evidence, to learn how to search the literature—that is, to acquire the tools of the trade for science in general. Becoming literate in another science then involves only learning the new content; one need not acquire the tools all over again.

    Michael has not reached the first level of acquiring the tools for the first time in any science. Therefore he overestimates the effort required for an astronomer to become literate in biology.

  25. Indeed, biology is part of the faculty of natural sciences, and the tools and methods in biology are surprisingly similar to those in astronomy (or chemistry, or physics, for that matter).

    On the other hand, I will certainly not pretend to be literate in psychology, sociology, and other such fields.

    In any case, we are still waiting for Michael’s scientific credentials, his place of work, and his line of work.

    It is pretty lame to still hide this basic info. And remember, we are not asking for address details, your full name, or stuff like that !

  26. Well, Eelco, we are in fact asking only for reciprocity on matters in which Michael had first challenged us.

    Michael claimed a vast readership, and you asked him to verify that.

    Michael accused me of having no science creds. So I set them out and asked him to reciprocate.

    Michael is the one who promised the review of Meyer’s book, not us. So we’re merely holding him to what he had already committed to.


    Michael’s response is, of course, typical of creationists. Make big claims, offer challenges. Then duck and run when called out by someone more knowledgeable.

    Perhaps this is a cultural difference. The response to a scientific challenge is evidence and debate. The response to a challenge about theology tends to be sword and cannon. However, these tools of theology are not available on the internet. So flight is the only alternative.

  27. So tonight I get to listen rather than perform. One of the pieces on the St Paul Chamber orchestra’s program is a Beethoven fugue for a string quintet.

    Fugues seem to be liked among scientists—the intricacy of the interweaving parts. All these astounding when one realized that, in J.S. Bach’s day, each of the 4 (or 5, or maybe even 6) parts was written on separate sheets of music. The organist or harpsichord player had to grab a measure or so for the first voice, simultaneously grab a measure from the second part, then the third, etc. and play them all simultaneously, Then do it all over again. OMG!

    For all the talk about complexity by creationists, they do not actually understand complexity. In fact, they love simplicity. They only understand simple, literal stories. .They are not nearly as sophisticated as the people iof two millenia ago, who understood the deeper layers of the stories that they heard.

  28. Michael,
    I still find it remarkable how you put up with these pompus twits.

    And by the way, I really enjoy your blog, lots of food for thought. Please keep up the great work!

  29. Michael, you are simply ignoring the three questions: you do have the answers, but are refusing to provide them.

    You definitely have something to hide.

  30. Dom: “Michael,
    I still find it remarkable how you put up with these pompus [sic] twits.”

    I agree.

    Dom, mcoville, creationbydesign—all they offer is supercilious righteousness. Not a shred of actual support—evidence, logic, facts. Nothing helpful, in other words.

  31. No wait—Dom did once offer a Karl Popper quote in support of an argument that Michael made about evolution using circular logic..

    Too bad the quote turned out to be bogus, eh, Dominic?

  32. If anyone is still interested, look up Dunoye at al., “Small RNA Duplexes Function as Mobile Silencing Signals between Plant Cells,” Science 328:912-916 (14 May 2010) for the actual science of this topic.

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