“In 1988, geneticist John Cairns published what has since become a revolutionary paper entitled On the Origin Of Mutants (Nature 335:142, 1988). Cairns recognized that gene mutations were not solely the result of random chemical events as is currently perceived. Cairns placed bacteria, possessing a defective gene for the enzyme lactase, in Petri dishes that contained only lactose as a food source. The mutant bacteria were not able to metabolize the substrate. After a short period, the stressed, non-replicating bacteria began to thrive and proliferate. Upon examination, it was found that the bacteria specifically mutated the unresponsive lactase gene and repaired its function. Cairn’s research revealed that, in response to environmental stresses, organisms can actively induce genetic mutations in selected genes in an effort to survive. These mutations would represent mechanical “adaptations” that are induced by the organism’s response to life experiences.”
The video is here:
Immediately, the bureaucracy of science went to work. Cairns called it, Directed Mutation. That terminology was unacceptable to his peers. A paper to put this new information in proper scientific context was soon published.
Copyright 1998 by the Genetics Society of America
Adaptive Mutation: Has the Unicorn Landed?
Patricia L. Foster
In the second paragraph…
“Early in the project, we established that the mutational process was not “directed” toward specific targets (i.e., there was no reverse information flow) (Foster and Cairns 1992), and we renamed the phenomenon “adaptive mutation” (Foster 1993). We then pursued the alternative hypothesis that during selection a random mutational process affecting the whole genome might occur; the process would be adaptive if the variants (or the cells bearing them) were transient unless or until a variant arose that allowed the cell to grow (Cairns et al. 1988; Stahl 1988; Boe 1990; Hall 1990). Although less efficient than a directed mechanism, “trial and error” would have equivalent implications. With such a mechanism, a population could increase its genetic variability under stress yet maintain its genes more or less intact.”
So, right from the start they had adopted Crick’s “Central Dogma”, as a given: “there was no reverse information flow”. The truth is, they never even looked at the flow of information. Just as in the laws of thermodynamics, where energy doesn’t come out of nowhere, neither does information. Information is the result of process, and follows pathways that ALWAYS loop back to their source.
Anyway, “We then pursued the alternative hypothesis…” This is how they do it in science. They fudge their results with the unlimited power of “jargonese”. But it is language that gives them away. Words like, selection and adaptation infer that choices are made. In fact, the details of these experiments show that information is being processed. Information processes(like choosing) are firmly in the domain of intelligence.
Mutations, changes in DNA sequences, follow the same pattern of information processing as would a team of scientists trying to solve the same problem. The inability to metabolize lactose would be met by several proposed solutions, with only the best one, selected. In it’s simplest form, analyzing a situation, proposing options and processing one to a successful outcome, is very intelligent action. To ignore that possibility because of preconceived bias, is not very smart.
Directed or adaptive, doesn’t make much difference; a mutation that successfully accomplished a targeted goal, certainly cannot be seen as a random process. There was no cell division, no opportunity for random errors to participate, no natural selection at play, only reorganization of process in order to adapt to an environmental situation. The attempt to “explain away” the implications with mountains of jargonese shows that they just don’t get it. They assume from the start that, “…there was no reverse information flow”, just as did Crick and Watson. This is where the information processing model exposes the blind spot of central dogma. There is no reverse flow of information, but it loops back through the system, where choices are made about what information completes the circuit. It walks and quacks like a very smart duck.