I mean it's a good idea. To have people with experience reviewing papers to make sure scientific method is followed and all. Problem is, human beings tend to integrate their complex aspects of life into everything. Nobody is completely professional so to speak.
In a research lab where let's say where you had guys paid proportional to how well they improved the performance of rubber for tires...and they were isolated from corrupting elements ...hey...there might not be any politics at play there.
But when you have hordes of people with lots of money who want to prove that there is no God to justify themselves.... I mean...c'mon...you spend your life being crooked and you wind up with millions because you lied and cheated and took advantage of people (I mean save the people who actually like invent something really unique...how else do you make millions? YOU SELL PEOPLE STUFF FOR WAY more than it's worth. You do little work and make LOTS of money. You let the poor sap dig the ditches and you go out and functionally lie to people and sell them something like a good used car salesman does.) and when you have PLENTY of money..what else is left? Well justify yourself is certainly on the list with many such people.
Now a lot of people certainly DO fund studies that work towards substantiating in their minds that there is no God. And from working in the field I can tell you that the people who wind up DOING the research often share the same passion for whatever reason.
ALLRIGHTY then...the study. I found this easily on a google search before but now I see other studies that sound like POSSIBLY someone has repeated the experiment and they have done it right!
But it was funny to see this peer reviewed paper that had just a ghastly oversight. A conclusion that random mutations caused this advancement in the E.coli's ability to cope with a harsh environment basically. Over 2000 generations a 10% improvement was seen.
Well...hooo-di hoo. A real scientist doesn't STOP there. Why? Because there is a way to lend credibility OR disprove the notion that it's random mutations that are causing this.
It has been proven in various cases that genetic code can actually contain information that lends to adaptations happening in certain circumstances. A brilliant design that the creator installed obviously. Because hey...you can't evolve that if it's a circumstance that has never happened before. Evolution requires painstaking repetition of something until something finally randomly gets reoriented right and says 'hey I can respond to this situation'...RIGHT? Well the whole notion of random mutations causing anything constructive is just freaking ludicrous anyway.
I mean back in the dark ages when Darwin wrote his crud, it sounded like a good idea. HOwever NOW we know that the genes of a human for instance have 4x10^1000 power combinations possible.
That number is no tinker toy. It is *very * safe to say that nothing with an odds scenario ranging above one in 10^100 has ever happened in the history of the universe. WHY? Because the shortest increment of relevant time is on the order of 10^-14 seconds or so. The age of the universe in it's useful state of being estimated at 10^10th years or so or 3 x 10^17th seconds.... so we're talking a ratio of 10^31 just to give some SCOPE of understanding of how huge and irrelevant a number like 10^100 is when talking about comparisons of things and so on. Total atoms in the universe? We don't know but we can talk about the known universe and it's again a comparable number far below the Gogol mark.
Anyway so when we talk about a RANDOM process mutating something that has that many combinations possible one has to ask 'what are the odds that it's going to do something productive?'
Well if you look up any health related page on the topic they'll tell you that 100% of all genetic mutations lead to bad stuff.
So that ought to be a hint. But think with me. The requirements for life forms are fairly specific. If something drifts too far off from the designs we see in action, they are non-viable. THey don't reproduce and / or function right and thus don't proliferate.
So hey there are 3 million species on this planet. A planet that doesn't have a history of developing any real new species. Oh sure variations of basically the same species with pretty much all the same vital organ systems etc. But no really *new* designs have popped up that we are aware of. More like different breeds within that design.
But anyway 3 x 10^6 known basic designs with something thousands to millions of variations within that design (thinks like hair color, eye color, and basic growth tendencies and so on.)
Look..we're still talking piddly numbers. And I mean the gene pool has diversified well on this planet and we just don't see a lot of major straying into new areas to say the least.
So it would lead one to think that maybe there are as few as 10^12th or less genetic states that would produce viable life. But let's be CRAZY and say it's more like...10^50th. What the heck. I don't care.
YOu know why? Because my point is the same whether it's 10^100th. The fact still remains that IF you do some major random thing to a gene, then
* it won't replicate in all likelihood, but even if it did
* the odds are STILL over 1:10^900th that it would produce anything viable!!!
So hopefully everyone understands that. This is a foundational thing to understand before you go around speculating what might or might not be possible. NO sheerly RANDOM orientation of a gene has EVER produced viable life in the HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I can BOLDLY say that because those are the most horrendous odds imaginable.
Now within a molecule, certainly more minor mutations can happen where something might fall into a form that is already within the bandwidth of what we call that species one would think. But hey how DOES it happen?
Well BACK to the E.coli....nobody is sitting there with an EM going "Hey I saw it mutate!" WRong. THey are seeing the results and assuming a mutation. But..maybe it was just code built right into the genetics like has been proven in other cases.Well how would we test one way or the other?
Simple. You run the experiment from the same strain in multiple parallel runs. At 2000 generations one might show the 10%. Another..12%. ANother 8%. If you see results like that you can be assured it's not the result of radom mutations. The frequency of such things being small, they are going to occur in RANDOM generations. So in one run it might happen very early and you might see a huge improvement! Where in another you might see ZERO! And so on.
However if it's a mechanism built into the genetics..you see....if you subject it to the same circumstances in all experiments, then there should be a relatively small variation in when the cells begin to respond.
Make sense? I believe articles like this get posted in this way simply because the people involved in the review process have an agenda. Once they have something to the point where it seems to lend support to what they want it to lend support to, they're done! Why go on!
Oh...that 'science' thing. Oh yuk. Well...if you insist.
NOW..since I was first told about this experiment and I laughed my guts out at the paper...LOOK what has happened!!
OH MY..big surprise! The results show for 12 different populations....a relatively TINY deviation between them. So it's once again not Random at all. It's code built right into the genetics which provides for a response mechanism.