It doesn’t matter what stressors may or may not contribute …

Comment on Dr. Richard Lenski’s “Unicorns” by Sean Pitman.

It doesn’t matter what stressors may or may not contribute to protein biogenesis. The fact remains that whatever else might contribute to mutagenesis, novel proteins are dependent upon novel genetic mutations. In this particular Lenski experiment, no novel protein was produced. However, there was a novel genetic mutation that gave rise to the new functional abilities of the E. coli bacteria. This genetic mutation simply allowed a protein-coding gene to be turned on in a different type of environment by moving a gene to a different location within the genome. Statistically, this isn’t a problem given the number of bacteria in the steady-state population over the course of a few tens of thousands of generations. It’s very predictable in fact – statistically. What is not statistically tenable, however, is the evolution of a qualitatively novel protein-based system of function that requires more than 1000 specifically arranged residues. Such a feat is not statistically feasible – and Lenski should know better than to suggest otherwise.

Sean Pitman Also Commented

Dr. Richard Lenski’s “Unicorns”
There was no change in the citrate receptor or transport protein, or any other protein. No structural change took place at all. You simply don’t understand the Lenski experiment. All that happened was that the gene that codes for the citrate transport protein, which already existed and was active under anoxic conditions, was turned on in an oxygenated environment by being placed next to an active promotor. That’s it. There’s simply no new receptor being made here. No new gene or protein – olfactory or otherwise.

Dr. Richard Lenski’s “Unicorns”
I’ve read your blog about the Lenski experiment “Microbes: living in the past”. However, I think you’re mistaken. You wrote:

The adaptations arose [in the Lenski experiment] due to the de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes under conditions that would otherswise lead to death by starvation.

This simply isn’t true. No new receptor genes evolved at all – olfactory or otherwise. The very same genes stayed exactly the same. The only thing that changed is the location of the very same genes within the genome. Also, the bacteria were not starving. They simply started using citrate as an additional source of energy to the nutrients that they were already being provided with – over the course of the decades that Lenski has been running this particular experiment. I see no evidence for epigenetic factors in play here or thermodynamic instability before or after the changes in function.

Sean Pitman

Dr. Richard Lenski’s “Unicorns”
@Bob Helm:

Most of this information, in this particular article, has already been published by others in various journals. The only thing I contributed here of any uniqueness is the concept of changes in the ratio of beneficial vs. non-beneficial sequences in sequence space at various levels of functional complexity.

When I submitted the technical argument for sequence space to Origins (a few years ago), they told me that it was too technical for their readership to understand. I should probably try again to submit a toned down version for more general readership.

Recent Comments by Sean Pitman

Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
Come on now. The antigens were detected in very small amounts due to the “ultralow detection limits of the Simoa assays” that were used. Just because very small amounts of spike protein antigens end up in the plasma does not discount the “basic science” that the spike protein produced by the vaccines does in fact anchor itself, generally speaking, to the surfaces of the cells that produce it following vaccination.

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Again, this paper doesn’t present an actual mechanism for harming the human immune system as already explained to you. Let me know what the authors say – if they ever respond.

Mandates vs. Religious Exemptions
I thought you’d appreciate it – given the irony of it. After all, this is just basic science here. The authors here are not claiming something novel that has no mechanistic basis. There are many other places where you can read up on the mechanism of how the spike proteins are presented on the surfaces of the muscles cells where they are produced (Link, Link, Link, Link).

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The mRNA vaccine are now fully approved by the FDA (no longer under EUA). The technology itself is not “experimental” in any meaningful sense of the world since it has been around now for over 30 years with extensive use in other applications. The current use to produce a small part of the COVID-19 virus, the spike protein, to teach the human immune system how to fight the live virus better when exposed, functions in the very same way as traditional vaccines – and is highly effective as well as having very rare serious side effects. Those who cite VAERS don’t generally understand the purpose of the VEARS data system that is maintained by the CDC and the FDA. The VEARS system is not meant to establish causation, but rather to detect unusual patterns of correlation. This is a key misunderstanding for many people. As far as the human immune system is concerned, the fact is that the human immune system, while certainly amazing, isn’t perfect in this world and tends to degrade over time as we age. That is why vaccines have turned out to be such a God-given gift to humanity, having saved millions upon millions of lives. Also, historically, vaccine mandates are nothing new. Vaccines have long been required to work in various jobs, particularly as medical providers, and to attend schools around the country.

All that being said, I do agree that the current general mandates for the mRNA vaccines against COVID-19 will tend to be less effective compared to other methods… with the exception of those working in places like hospitals or nursing homes. Such medical providers working with the most vulnerable should be required to be vaccinated. For most other people, medical exceptions and even religious exemptions are still recognized and honored in this country.

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If the DNA of a person does not get altered by the mRNA vaccines, then, by definition, these vaccines are not “gene therapy”. This is what was noted by Bayer itself in their response to the comments of Oelrich:

The Bayer group tells 20 Minutes that this is “an obvious slip.” “At Bayer, [les vaccins à] mRNA does not come under gene therapy in the sense that is commonly attributed to this expression,” adds the company. (Link)