Scott Turner gave a presentation at Binghamton University’s EvoS speaker’s series in December 2007. He outlined the argument for biological design that is developed more fully in his book. You can watch the narrated Power Point version of this talk here: Agents of Biological Design.
The presentation is 42 minutes long and well worth watching. I especially enjoyed the section starting with slide 16. If you watch it, it might help you better visualize what I was saying in this blog entry:
This study does not in any way indicate a fundamental flaw in Darwin’s Theory. Nor does it demonstrate that bacteria can target the specific genes needed to survive the environmental insult. What it does do is help us understand that life takes control of its fate. Living things are not passive participants of the interplay between stochastic events and environmental pressures, where mutations that just happened to exist are favored in an environment that just happened to exist. Instead, environmental challenges are met with a truly biotic response. First, the cells try to repair themselves. But if this fails, then they seek out an adaptation by maximizing their chances of finding an adaptation. Evolution is, at least, partially controlled by properties intrinsic to life.
While the teleological echo is faint, it is nevertheless there. We can begin to catch a glimpse of evolution as homeostasis. The integrity of the genome is threatened. Standard small scale feedback responses ensue as the cell attempts to reverse the change through repair and recombination mechanisms. But if the insult is too severe or too common, the next level of feedback response is…..evolution itself. The antibiotic is the stress that perturbs the homeostasis of the cells and evolution is the effector that reverses the effects of the change. Life fights back.
I also enjoyed his physiological perspective on cognition toward the end of the presentation.