"...I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me..." [Deuteronomy 5:8-10]

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

ID for faithful, evolution for scientists

Panda's Thumb put me on to this article by a microbiologist, which has some interesting comments on ID (emphasis added):

ID proponents claim that some traits are too complex, 'irreducibly complex,' to have emerged by the processes of random mutation and natural selection.

For example, the flagellum is an appendage some bacteria have sticking out that allows them to swim. It is sort of like a microscopic rotating paddle. Flagella are composed of around 30 protein subunits from different genes that work together like a machine to create motion.

If we delete just one of the genes for a subunit, the whole thing can stop working. This is how they determine it is 'irreducible.'

Since the parts don't work separately, ID proponents say, for Darwinian evolution have created the system, there would have to have been numerous mutations all at one time, because natural selection wouldn't select an incomplete system that doesn't yet work. But, since the system has so many parts, it simply couldn't have evolved from mutation all at once.

Do you understand that so far? No, I didn't think so. Unless you have some background in genetics, the concepts of evolution are pretty technical. The ID proponents are relying on the general public to not understand, because that is the only way people will believe them.

The scientific community, composed of the actual experts who understand the vagaries of evolution like bootstrap values and homologous recombination, was so incredulous about this matter that it boycotted the Kansas hearings. They concluded, probably correctly, that a school board biased or dumb enough to give intelligent design a hearing would not really listen to their expert refutations of ID's gobbledygook logic.

Nevertheless, it is important for scientists to try to convey the severe deficiencies in ID to the public. This is a democracy...

ID for faithful, evolution for scientists, Sanjai Tripathi, Oregon State Daily Barometer Online, 12 May 2005
The trouble is that many ID supporters (such as Darrick Dean and Bonnie Alba) don't seem to know or even care what "Intelligent Design" says and what it doesn't. All that matters to them is that evolution is somehow "wrong".

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