An alert reader, Robert Preisser, sends in some apt comments on this story:
The hybrid is what scientists call a human-animal chimera, a single organism that’s made up of two different sets of cells — in this case, a mouse embryo that has both mouse cells and human cells.
This human-mouse chimera has by far the highest number of human cells ever recorded in an animal, according to researchers. Their experiment suggests that many types of human cells can be generated in mouse embryos, and at a much faster rate than in human embryos.
And that, the scientists say, carries enormous potential for the treatment of human diseases, possibly even Covid-19.Harmeet Kaur, “Scientists made a mouse embryo that’s 4% human — the highest level of human cells in an animal yet” at CNN
This is one example of misreporting of science for public consumption:
First of all, scientists did not make a mouse embryo that is actually 4% human and 96% mouse. They merely incubated human cells within a developing mouse embryo. There is a difference because that embryo will likely never survive or fully develop into an adult mouse-human hybrid.
The article does not ever say that these developed into adulthood, and there is every reason to believe that at a certain developmental point (say, when the immune system becomes functional) these alien human cells would be rejected and the embryo would die.
But secondly, the author intentionally puts words into the scientist’s mouth to make a story that is really all about design from start to finish, in order to force fit it into the naturalistic evolutionary narrative.
Scientist’s words: The team’s experiment indicates that the “the genetic program embodied in a mouse embryo and the genetic program embodied in human stem cells can crosstalk pretty well,” Feng said.
Science writer’s (mis-)interpretation: In other words, there’s enough evolutionary compatibility between mice and humans that mouse embryos are a relatively good environment for cultivating human cells.
No, that’s not what Feng said. Feng said the genetic program (a hallmark of design) “can crosstalk pretty well.” The science writer twisted those words to fit into the standard evolutionary narrative instead. But this only highlights the point: common descent is only one possible explanation, while common design can equally (or even better) explain the same evidence.
The author goes on to quote Feng saying: “Life is a DNA-based software system that harnesses energy to produce information,” Feng wrote. “This experiment is kind of like emulating Windows in a Mac.”
Emulating Windows in a Mac environment is an example of two wholly designed systems being designed to work together. Not an example of two things that share a common ancestor. That only underscores the reality that design is a better explanation for why mouse embryo’s can produce the right signals at the right time to trigger the innate programming in the human stem cells to differentiate into human blood cells.
Actually, this experiment runs counter to what one ought to expect if the evolutionary paradigm were actually true. If the reason why this works is because humans and mice both inherited their genetic programs from a common ancestor, then one would expect the human stem cells to respond to the control signals of the mouse embryo and produce MOUSE cells wherever the mouse DNA instructs.
After all, both human and mouse DNA came from some most recent common ancestor, and only mutations that occurred later would differentiate them. But given the overarching genetic program is the mouse DNA (since the human stem cells were inserted into it), then all control signals would be to build mouse cells. It is actually not predicted by evolutionary theory that these cells would still be fully human cells developing in a mouse embryo. Instead, either those subsequent mutations to the human cell DNA would break them so no human cells would develop, or there would be enough residual inherited DNA so that the cells would become fully mouse cells.
In no way does naturalistic evolution from universal common descent predict fully human cells to develop following control signals from mouse DNA.
But that is what would be predicted if humans and mice were separately designed but share similar design features.
One last note, although the author puts evolutionary words into Feng’s mouth, here, even Feng’s own words reverse cause and effect, here: “Life is a DNA-based software system that harnesses energy to produce information…”
It is more accurate to say “Life is a DNA-based software system that uses information to harness energy to reproduce itself.” The information must already be present in DNA for DNA to harness energy in the first place. It reverses cause and effect to argue that DNA harnesses energy to produce the very information required for it to do anything at all.
And it is overly simplistic in any case, because DNA alone does not control or guide development of life.
Popular science writing often amounts to covering science energetically—with a pillow until it stops moving.