“Ham on Nye” Debate, Follow-up #2

Ken Ham spoke about the research in my lab at two points during the “Ham on Nye” science versus creation debate. The first segment also includes a video clip in which Dr. Andrew Fabich, a “biblical creationist” and microbiologist at Liberty University, talks about our work.

Dr. Zachary Blount is a postdoctoral researcher in my lab who performed most of the work that was discussed.  Zack produced these transcripts of Ham’s and Fabich’s presentations while preparing his response to their distortions and misrepresentations of our work.

First segment, beginning at ~44 minutes:

Ken Ham:

“Let me introduce you to another scientist, Richard Lenski of Michigan State University.  He’s a great scientist.  He’s known for culturing E. coli in the lab, and he found there were some E. coli that actually seemed to develop the ability to grow on substrate, um, on citrate substrate.  But, Richard Lenski is here mentioned in this book [Microbiology: An Evolving Science] and it’s called ‘Evolution in the Lab’.  So, the ability to grow on citrate is said to be evolution, and there are those who say, ‘Hey! This is, this is against the creationists.’  For instance, Jerry Coyne from the University of Chicago says, ‘Lenski’s experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists.’  He says, ‘The thing I like most is it says you can get these complex traits evolving by a combination of unlikely events.’  But is it a poke in the eye for anti-evolutionist?  Is it really seeing complex traits evolving?  What does it mean that some of these, uh, bacteria are able to grow on citrate?

Let me introduce you to another biblical creationist who is a scientist.”

[via video] Andrew Fabich:

“Hi, my name is Dr. Andrew Fabich.  I got my Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in Microbiology.  I teach at Liberty University, and I do research on E. coli in the intestine.  I’ve published in secular journals from the American Society for Microbiology, including Infection and Immunity, uh, and Applied and Environmental Microbiology, as well as several others.  My work has been cited even in the past year in the journals Nature, Science Translational Medicine, Public Library of Science, Public Library of Science Genetics.  I, um, it’s cited regularly in those journals, and while I was taught nothing but evolution, I don’t accept that position, and I do my research from a creation perspective.  When I look at the evidence people cite of the E. coli supposedly evolving over 30 years or over 30,000 generations in the lab, and people say that it is now able to grow on citrate.  I don’t deny that it grows on citrate, but it’s not any kind of new information. It’s …  The information’s already there, and it’s just a switch that gets turned on and off, and that’s what they reported in there.  There’s nothing new.”

Ken Ham: 

“See, students need to be told what’s really going on here.  Certainly there’s change, but it’s not change necessary for molecules to man.”

Second segment, beginning at ~2 hours, 30 minutes:

Ken Ham: 

“What Bill Nye needs to do for me is to show me example of something …uh, some new function that arose that was not previously possible from the genetic information that was there.  And I would claim and challenge you that there is no such example that you can give.  That’s why I brought up the example in, uh, my presentation of Lenski’s, uh, experiments in regard to E. coli.  And there were some that seemed to develop the ability to exist on citrate, but as Dr. Fabich said from looking at his research, he’s found that that information was already there.  It’s just a gene that’s switched on and off.  And so, uh, there is no example because, you know, information that’s there in, in the genetic information of different animals, plants, and so on.  There’s no new function that can be added.  Certainly great variation within a kind, and that’s what we look at, but you’d have to show an example of brand new function that never previously was possible.  There is no such example, uh, that you can give anywhere in the world.”

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5 responses to ““Ham on Nye” Debate, Follow-up #2

  1. Pingback: Zachary Blount on “Ham on Nye” Debate, Follow-up #3 | Telliamed Revisited

  2. Pier Alexandre Champagne

    I am new to this blog and to the LTEE, but it’s absolutely incredible that these creationists could have mispresented your work like that… I hope your answer to them will receive as much attention as the original debate!

  3. ratabago

    This was one of the things that leapt out at me while watching the debate. I wish that Nye had sufficient background in biological sciences that he could have called Fabich on this one.

    The other one that bugged me was letting pass the anonymous, unsubstantiated, anecdotal claim of 45,000 year old wood found in ancient lava flow. This reminds me of a lot of other controversial claims by Andrew Snelling. I’m wondering if he is the author of this claim.

    And a quick fan letter: I love your blog.

  4. Pingback: Debate postmordem III: BioLogos weighs in, but not helpfully « Why Evolution Is True

  5. Pingback: Who is Andrew Fabich? | Small Accidents of Evolution