An important scientific discovery once revealing compelling evidence in favor of evolution has been discovered to require reinterpretation, according to a growing number of scientists and researchers.
Biologist Richard Lenski (Michigan State University) announced in 2008 that he had witnessed a “major evolutionary innovation.” Lenski was part of the Long-Term Experimental Evolution project, and had been observing Escherichia coli (popularly known as E. coli.) which was reproduced in a lab. After twenty years, and 31,000 E. coli generations, he noticed that one of the bacteria populations had mutated and was processing the chemical known as citrate when oxygen was present.
Lenski’s discovery was outlined in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and touted that the development of E. coli was a “fascinating case of evolution in action.” Others were equally impressed with Lenski’s findings.
NewScientist.com reports, “Lenski’s experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists,” reported the website NewScientist.com.
Jerry Coyne, who is an evolutionary promoter, remarked, “The thing I like most is it says you can get these complex traits evolving by a combination of unlikely events. That’s just what creationists say can’t happen.”
In an article by Microbe Magazine published in 2011, Lenski wrote a salute to Charles Darwin claiming that his LTEE project indeed confirmed Darwin’s theories of evolution. Another article published in Nature also gave credit to evolution.
Presently, scientists are now questioning the findings. A study conducted from the American Society for Microbiology which was conducted by biologists from the University of Idaho refuted Lenski’s central claims.
The biologists apparently discovered that the E.coli populations tested by the University quickly acquired the ability to process citrate when oxygen was present. They concluded that it was not a rare evolutionary event, but resulted in the bacteria adapting to its environment. The team wrote that “no new genetic information evolved”.
Dr. Jay Wile posted on May 16 that these recent findings aren’t surprising. He noted that a Christian molecular geneticists, Dr. Georgia Purdom (Answers in Genesis), did indeed predict that the E.coli in LTEE didn’t mutate, but adapted in order to improve functionality.
The recent findings did indeed confirm Dr. Georgia Purdom’s hypothesis- not Lenski’s- which debunked the evolutionary myth.
Dr. Wile wrote the new evidence have “specifically confirmed a creationist prediction while, at the same time, falsifying an evolutionary one.”