Behe on Darwin: polar bear discussion (Introduction)

by dhw, Sunday, March 17, 2019, 14:39 (99 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: I have now read a Behe section on bacteria in glucose lactose culture. The bacteria always automatically eat all the glucose first and the automatically switch to lactose when the glucose is used up. All molecular steps are known. The bacteria have no independent thought to switch.

dhw: Maybe I've misunderstood the significance of this experiment, but why should they switch? Firstly, if they prefer glucose, it seems quite natural to me that they should gobble up their favourite first and only gobble lactose when there’s no glucose left. Secondly, how does this prove that there is no intelligence involved when they are confronted with new threats to their existence but, after millions of deaths, find a solution to the new problem?
DAVID: The 'daft' study won the Nobel prize. I've left out the complicated details. The bacteria are naturally programmed to prefer glucose. When it is gone, a series of molecular reactions automatically and immediately activate the lactose use mechanism in the DNA. The switch in metabolism is automatic. The lack of glucose triggers the next steps. I'm sorry I wasn't clearer to you, but I think I was. You are of a mindset to not trust my original description of the study bolded above which to me says what I have said here. Buy the Behe book and read the long description of the automatic molecular steps for yourself. This is not at the same level that Shapiro describes where bacteria can reprogram DNA. Our debate is about automaticity at the reprogramming DNA level. All bacterial reactions to stimuli are automatic and are seen that way when fully studied as I've stated before.

As I said earlier, I can only comment on what you present. Our debate is about whether bacteria are intelligent enough to do their own reprogramming when confronted with new conditions. According to you, this experiment shows that they are not. According to Shapiro, other experiments show that they are. You admit that this experiment is not at the same level as Shapiro’s, so why should I believe your minority view and not that of Shapiro plus all the other scientists in the field who believe that bacteria create their own instructions “on the hoof”, “de novo”? Are you really claiming that only your minority have “fully studied” the subject, and the majority haven’t?

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