escherichia coli bacteria

Hitting the Brakes on ‘Rapid Evolution’

ID the Future
Eric H. Anderson
Scott Minnich
Audio File (12.44M)

Evolutionary biologist Richard Lenski hopes to demonstrate Darwinian evolution in action. But one humble scientist from Northern Idaho says not so fast! On this episode of ID The Future, host Eric Anderson concludes his Why It Matters interview with microbiologist Dr. Scott Minnich.

In Part 2, Dr. Minnich critiques Lenski’s famous Long Term Evolutionary Experiments. Through experiments of his own, Minnich has shown how the practical results of Lenski’s project on E. coli are easily repeatable under different conditions, and how some key changes to E. coli are even reversible, both of which speak more to an organism’s pre-existing capabilities than to a Darwinian explanation. “Overall, [Lenski’s] E. coli haven’t generated anything new,” observes Minnich. “They’re getting rid of stuff they don’t need…they have hyper mutational rates…but in the long run, that’s not an advantage, because you’re just going to acquire too many mutations, and that’s the road to extinction.”

Dr. Minnich also cautions that the authority of science can be abused, sharing his personal experience of being tasked by the Defense Intelligence Agency to look for biochemical weapons in Iraq. In the end, one of the things that most fascinates him about design in nature is DNA, with E. coli’s code-like logic that reminds us of the logical system operations programmed by human engineers.

This is the second of a two-part conversation. Listen to Part 1, wherein Dr. Minnich shared his personal journey to intelligent desgin and why it matters to him to continue sharing the evidence for design in the world.

Dig Deeper

Why It Matters is an occasional interview series hosted by Eric Anderson spotlighting leading intelligent design researchers and exploring how they got into intelligent design, why they believe ID matters to our culture, and why it matters to them personally.

Listen to previous episodes in the Why It Matters interview series:

Ann Gauger: A Scientist’s Circuitous Journey to Faith

Astrophysicist Bijan Nemati on Why Intelligent Design Matters (Part 1)

Bijan Nemati on Another Big Space Telescope, and The Privileged Planet (Part 2)