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Why microbiologist Scott Minnich decided to openly acknowledge design in nature


Behe visible cover.jpg From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views, in connection with the documentary Revolutionary, about biochemist and design theorist Michael Behe, recounts:

As one paleontologist recounts here, after his own mind was opened to the cogency of design arguments, he met ID scientists and scholars and was surprised to find they bore little resemblance to what he expected based on media caricatures. The shy (as he describes himself), self-effacing, yet stubborn Dr. Behe may also come as a revelation to those who don’t know him but assume he must be a cartoon “creationist.”

Revolutionary is unlike other ID films I’m familiar with in the way it offers personal stories. One of the most startling concerns University of Idaho microbiologist Scott Minnich, who like Behe, testified at Dover and was censured for it by officials at his university. When contemplating the career perils of coming out for ID and publishing a journal article with Stephen Meyer on the bacterial flagellum, Dr. Minnich happened to be participating as a member of the Iraq Survey Group, assisting the U.S. government in a search for biological and chemical weapons hidden in the country.

Scott Minnich

He was taking shelter, in fact, in Saddam Hussein’s Perfume Palace, under approaching mortar fire, as a critical submission deadline loomed. Minnich recalls reflecting that “I may not be here tomorrow morning,” as he finally hit the button on his computer to send the file. Now that’s a kind of story from the scientific world that you don’t hear every day. More.

One way of looking at it is this: If he knew for sure after he had pressed the Send button that he would not be alive tomorrow, would he still be glad he had pressed it?

See also: Trailer for new film on biochemist Michael Behe: Revolutionary Note: Sometimes being a revolutionary just means not being intimidated by trolls, mediocrities, ‘crats, and sellouts. That is, if one knows that what one is saying is correct, the decision to persist is what makes all the difference.

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Amazing Flagellum - Scott Minnich & Stephen Meyer - video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNR48hUd-Hw bornagain77
Swedish Researchers Find Common Swifts Stay Airborne for 10 Months - Oct. 28, 2016 Excerpt: A group of Swedish researchers has found that small brown birds know as common swifts can stay airborne for a record 10 months,,, The birds typically spend two months a year at breeding sites in Sweden. The rest of the year, they fly to and from their overwintering sites in sub-Saharan Africa where they never touch down. “They are extremely well adapted with crescent wings and a long streamlined body shape to minimize the drag,”,,,“They are the Formula One car of the bird world.”,,, The aves’ extraordinary ability to stay aloft relies on an ability to eat in the air as well as rest there, but researchers don’t yet know whether the birds sleep on the wing.,, MAVs (drones) can only stay airborne for a matter of hours at best, Prof. Hedenström said. “Their (a drone's) performance is ridiculous compared with these birds,” he said.,,, despite living such an intensely active life, still live longer than many birds of its size. Swifts normally live for five to six years but some individuals can survive for 20 years, Prof. Hedenström said. “We often say those who live fast die young but the swifts seem to have beaten that trade off.” http://www.wsj.com/articles/swedish-researchers-find-common-swifts-stay-airborne-for-10-months-1477673791
Besides being an unsung hero, Minnich is not too shabby of a scientist either:
Rapid Evolution of Citrate Utilization by Escherichia coli by Direct Selection Requires citT and dctA. - Minnich - Feb. 2016 The isolation of aerobic citrate-utilizing Escherichia coli (Cit(+)) in long-term evolution experiments (LTEE) has been termed a rare, innovative, presumptive speciation event. We hypothesized that direct selection would rapidly yield the same class of E. coli Cit(+) mutants and follow the same genetic trajectory: potentiation, actualization, and refinement. This hypothesis was tested,,, Potentiation/actualization mutations occurred within as few as 12 generations, and refinement mutations occurred within 100 generations.,,, E. coli cannot use citrate aerobically. Long-term evolution experiments (LTEE) performed by Blount et al. (Z. D. Blount, J. E. Barrick, C. J. Davidson, and R. E. Lenski, Nature 489:513-518, 2012, http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11514 ) found a single aerobic, citrate-utilizing E. coli strain after 33,000 generations (15 years). This was interpreted as a speciation event. Here we show why it probably was not a speciation event. Using similar media, 46 independent citrate-utilizing mutants were isolated in as few as 12 to 100 generations. Genomic DNA sequencing revealed an amplification of the citT and dctA loci and DNA rearrangements to capture a promoter to express CitT, aerobically. These are members of the same class of mutations identified by the LTEE. We conclude that the rarity of the LTEE mutant was an artifact of the experimental conditions and not a unique evolutionary event. No new genetic information (novel gene function) evolved. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26833416 Richard Lenski and Citrate Hype -- Now Deflated - Michael Behe - May 12, 2016 Excerpt: ,,, for more than 25 years Lenski's lab has continuously grown a dozen lines of the bacterium E. coli in small culture flasks, letting them replicate for six or seven generations per day and then transferring a portion to fresh flasks for another round of growth. The carefully monitored cells have now gone through more than 60,000 generations, which is equivalent to over a million years for a large animal such as humans.,,, In 2008 Lenski's group reported that after more than 15 years and 30,000 generations of growth one of the E. coli cell lines suddenly developed the ability to consume citrate,,, the authors argued it might be pretty important.,,, They also remarked that,,, perhaps the mutation marked the beginning of the evolution of a brand new species.,, One scientist who thought the results were seriously overblown was Scott Minnich, professor of microbiology at the University of Idaho ,,, So Minnich's lab re-did the work under conditions he thought would be more effective. The bottom line is that they were able to repeatedly isolate the same mutants Lenski's lab did as easily as falling off a log -- within weeks, not decades.,,, Richard Lenski was not pleased.,,, In a disgraceful move, Lenski impugned Scott Minnich's character. Since he's a "fellow of the Discovery Institute" sympathetic with intelligent design,,, (Regardless of the ad hominem) With regard to citrate evolution, the Minnich lab's results have revealed E. coli to be a one-trick pony.,,, The take-home lesson is that,,, (Lenski's overinflated) hype surrounding the (implications of the citrate adaptation) has seriously misled the public and the scientific community. It's far past time that a pin was stuck in its (Lenski's citrate) balloon. http://www.evolutionnews.org/2016/05/richard_lenski102839.html

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