July 31, 2009 | David F. Coppedge

Does Evolution Need a Helping Hand?

New Scientist didn’t think about that question, because reporter Ewen Galloway he said, “If humans want to persuade microbes to produce vast quantities of fuels or pharmaceuticals, we may need to give evolution a helping hand.
    His article was about researchers at Harvard Medical School using computers to do “rapid evolution.”  How this can be called evolution is strange when they spent 20 years and hundreds of millions of dollars on a rapid genome-sequencing technique called MAGE – “multiplex automated genome engineering.”  One would think any engineers would like to hear that their work was intelligently designed, but then if an intelligent designer oversaw their evolution, would not the NCSE complain?  Anyway, they can “create hundreds or thousands of mutations in a few days” and search through them for variations that increase the production of desirable substances.
    Presumably they use the term evolution because it has something to do with mutations and selection.  But the selectors are humans who have an outcome in mind, even if they don’t know the way to get there except through a speeded-up random search.  “There might be cells out there that may have these properties, but what we’re trying to do is accelerate this process to find the specific traits we’re interested in,” a team member explained. 

Folks, we’re not laughing loud enough yet.  They still say these things in public.  Enough laughter should make it dawn on them that these silly statements are self-refuting nonsense.  It is not a loving thing to leave them clueless.  So show them some tough love: laugh loud and long.

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Categories: Dumb Ideas

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