Posted by: jugglinbob | April 9, 2010

Intelligent Design equates Kitten Development to Evolution…

E-coli and the kitten


Richard Lenski started an amazing long-term experiment in 1988, by where a colony of e-coli was split into 12, and allowed to develop in isolation from each other.  Every 75 days a sample of each new population is stored in order to make a “living fossil record“.  Now just over 12 years later the colonies have had over 50,000 generations from their origins – and remember that in less than half this number of generations ago homo sapiens had not yet evolved!   

These strains of e-coli have evolved – importantly one colony (Ara-3) adapted to use citrate as a source of energy and so were able to increase their population density.   

The cell size has also increased over generations, as has the relative fitness.   

So – it is a meticulously performed experiment using data collected over the last 12 years (and 7 weeks, 2 days to be exact), and has had some amazing results.  Fantastic!  But get this.  This post:   

“What you CAN see with small, easily observed creatures like Lenski’s E. coli is evolution in action – new features evolving through random mutation and natural selection. Regardless of what you wish to state about the malaria plasmodia, the best example of evolution in action is the Lenski experiments because he retains the entire record of every genetic event that leads to every change. Now, Lenski’s E. coli changed shape, changed size, changed metabolism and changed food source. How much more MACRO do you expect an organism to evolve”   

resulted in this response:   

“I replied:   

So the claim is, “changed shape, changed size, changed metabolism and changed food source. How much more MACRO do you expect an organism to evolve?”   

Hmmmm. Kittens do this all the time.   

Change size? You bet. Goes from a couple of ounces to five lbs in half a year.   

Change shape? Sure. The average newborn kitten is just a little bag of mewing metabolism, blind and probably deaf, whose only real talent is using its sense of smell to get control of a teat.   

Changed metabolism? Sort of. Kittens must be weaned onto something other than cat milk after about six or seven weeks. I am not a vet, but surely some changes in metabolism accompany this transition.   

Changed food source? Yes! From mom cat to local rodents, birds, frogs, and eggs that can be cracked by being pushed off the branch or table. Or, if the cat is under human management, a science-based diet for growing felines. Or otherwise, scavenging a local dumpster. Or whatever an obligate carnivore* like the cat can stomach.   

Okay, so where are we now? We have explained how a kitten gets transformed into … a cat.   

And this is “evolution”?”   

There we have it.  A leading writer for ID completely misunderstanding the difference between the growth of an individual, and the evolution of a population.  And they wonder why ID isn’t taken seriously!



  1. […] fossils, DNA analysis, the distribution of similar life, and even lab work (for example Lenski (try… for a primer on how an ID proponent tried to discredit his amazing work).  Evolution has been […]

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