RE: [asa] (fruit flies???) A Message from the RTB Scholar Team

From: Dehler, Bernie <>
Date: Mon Apr 21 2008 - 17:25:14 EDT

Hi Dennis-


 I believe that evolution happened but here's my stumbling block. Since
nature does evolution with mutation (chance) and natural selection, we
should be able to considerably "speed things up" by applying
intelligence in a lab situation. Fruit flies breed quickly, so we can
do all kinds of things to them, over a few months which nature would
take eons to do. My understanding is that fruit flies have been exposed
to everything (temperatures, pressures, radiation, darkness, light, etc)
and still nothing "new" (useful) appears. Why can't we get these to
evolve? Devolution, useless mutations (such as non-working extra wings
or legs on the head), aren't impressive to me-I've seen the human baby
with 2 faces or 8 legs. It is no big deal to make monsters. Why can't
we get evolution in the lab to work, creating something new and better,
or at least different and still functional (just different colored eyes
isn't all that impressive)?


 The big picture: It seems to me that if evolution were true, we could
simulate it in the lab and speed it up with intelligence. It is
frustrating that it isn't happening. We don't really grasp evolution
yet, because I think when we do, we can do amazing things in the lab
with it, such as creating new creatures. Craig Venter is getting there
with his experiments in "writing" new DNA code, see his fascinating
speech here:




From: Dennis Venema []
Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 12:15 PM
To: Dehler, Bernie; ASA
Subject: Re: [asa] (fruit flies???) A Message from the RTB Scholar Team


That "new Drosophila geneticist" would be me. I am not an expert on
Drosophila speciation - I am a cell/developmental biologist - although I
am vaguely aware of studies where selection on various media led to
partial reproductive isolation within a small number of generations.

Thanks to Keith for the detailed reply. I just picked up Perspectives on
an Evolving Creation and will commence reading soon (once my marking is
done). My cursory scan of a few chapters indicates this will be a rich

I'm not sure why there is such a fascination with the notion of
"producing new species" in a lab in a short amount of time when there is
such excellent evidence for speciation in the wild - things like ring
species, adaptive radiation (for example, Hawaiian Drosophilids),
species exclusively occupying recently available niches (someone already
mentioned the apple maggot story), culex pipiens molestus is another
(species of mosquito that lives / breeds exclusively in the London
Underground). In my view, this evidence is better than lab evidence
(since it can't be hand-waved away by antievolutionists as so-called
"artificial selection").

Of course, the typical response is to merely move the goal posts (do I
hear a "But it's still just a mosquito!" somewhere?)

article on culex:


On 4/19/08 3:43 PM, "Dehler, Bernie" <> wrote:

David said:
"Several examples of new species being formed in lab and in the wild are
known, so it's not a tenable position for anyone knowledgeable in the
relevant aspects of biology"
What examples can you give to proof of new species made in the lab? My
understanding is that all these mutants are downward- devo, not upwards
in any way. Even fruit flies, as far as I know, can't be changed into
something better. Extra wings don't work, and extra legs on a head are
no good. If you have evidence- I'd like to know. It would help me.
We have a new fruit fly researcher that joined this ASA list- can't
remember the name. I asked him if there was any positive outcomes from
experts on fruit flies- no answer (that I saw). I believed evolution
happened, but would welcome the new evidence to bolster my position.
-----Original Message-----
From: []
<> On Behalf Of David Campbell
Sent: Friday, April 18, 2008 9:53 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] A Message from the RTB Scholar Team (fwd)
RTB, along with some other advocates of antievolutionary claims, has
stated that it's impossible for one species to arise from another
species without miraculous intervention. Several examples of new
species being formed in lab and in the wild are known, so it's not a
tenable position for anyone knowledgeable in the relevant aspects of
biology, and even some young earthers accept more extensive evolution
(not to mention folks like Behe). Thus, it's fairly clear that the
biological aspects are the focus of the present discussion.
However, in a way Gregory does have a point-much antievolutionary
material (apparently including Expelled) and paraevolutionary material
(to coin a term for stuff like Dawkins', Marx's, or Spencer's that
invokes evolution but does not actually line up with a current
biological understanding and/or a grasp of the difference between
science and scientism) automatically assumes that references relating
to biological evolution involve a bunch of social baggage as well.
Anyone reading the thread ought not to be confused; anyone whose
knowledge of evolution is derived from the DI, AIG, Dawkins, etc. will
be confused.


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Received on Mon Apr 21 17:26:19 2008

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