My animus for Jonathan Wells knows no bounds — he’s an appalling fraud who doesn’t understand the science he criticizes. Case in point: he recently smugly asserted that a recent study to characterize the molecular changes involved in the evolution of one kind of antibiotic resistance involved no necessary consideration of evolution at all. Well, yeah…like the modern concept of “door” requires no knowledge of carpentry or locksmithing for Wells to manage to open one, so Wells could blithely suggest we replace all the carpenters with Unification Church theologians and there would be no change in his daily interactions with doors. So sorry, Mr Wells: that you’re too stupid to see how the concept of evolution might guide research into the evolution of antibiotic resistance doesn’t mean the researchers are.
It helps me maintain my equanimity that Ian Musgrave has already ripped Wells a new one over his amazing demonstration of inanity.
Here’s a wonderful addition: the principal investigator of the paper in question has commented.
As principal investigator of the study under discussion, I’d like to strongly support the view advocated this page. In fact, I was completely amazed to see how our work has been misrepresented by M. Wells.
Actually, we did indeed use darwinian evolution within this work (something unusual in structural biology). In order to obtain an enzyme with increased stability (a critical point for structural studies), we used selective pressure to obtain mutants of the enzyme. We selected for bateria with increased aminiglycoside resistance, by plating them on antibiotic containing medium. It turned out that some bacteria evolved such stabler enzymes variants which made this whole study possible !
Finally, I would not consider myself as a chemist, I got my PhD in molecular microbiology. It seems that M. Wells finds it easier to portray us as non-biologists, and hence implicitly as non-evolutionists
Ow. That has to sting, if anything could ever penetrate the oblivious stupor that fogs Wells’ brain.