Friday, December 23, 2005

On design

This is an interesting article on the use of the design debate in school.

1 comment:

Andrew Staroscik said...

WARNING- this’ll be characterized as a rant by some, so those of you who already think I am full of it, may want to give this comment a pass… you have been warned.

Why don’t people like this try and find a sympathetic scientist to review their work??

In response to the first sentence of the second paragraph, I’d argue that many of the ideas put forward by ID proponents also do “not square with the abundant empirical evidence we have about the origin of life and the universe.”

At the end of that paragraph he says this: “There is no reason to debate people who hold this view, because they are not interested in looking at evidence in a reasonable way. They are only interested in maintaining their conclusion without letting any facts intrude.” He is speaking of the creationists but this statement applies equally well to the likes of Dembski, Behe and the author himself (see below).

Bold part of paragraph 11 : “What is not answered, nor necessarily even addressed by the theory of evolution itself, is how or why extremely complex mutations arise that can be of benefit”

Umm Mr. Garlikov, what part of your own previous paragraph did you not understand? Ok maybe this is a little unfair but in case no one was paying attention, Darwin published his work almost 150 years ago. Our understanding of the evolutionary process has advanced quite a bit since then. You want a real life example of how a mutation can be beneficial? Look into the story of the nylon bug. Want another? Antibiotic resistance in bacteria. Want another? The evolutionary history of the globin family of respiratory proteins.

The most egregious error in this essay for me is his treatment of the origins of hemoglobin. He is simply wrong. He is buying into Behe’s lie that evolution operates differently at the biomolecular level compared to the macroscopic world. Earlier in the essay he acknowledges that creationists “falsely characterize [evolution] as the view that fish grew lungs and legs, and man comes from monkeys.” This is exactly what he is doing with hemoglobin. The evolutionary history of hemoglobin and the globin family of molecules is extremely well described. Here is an example of the kind of work both Behe and this guy are forced to ignore in order to take the position they do.

Then he goes on and on about Paley, whose arguments remain refuted despite Behe’s best efforts to resurrect them.

Sorry if this is heavy handed. I am all for open and honest debate but the more I delve into these issues the less tolerance I have for this type of stuff. You want to know what my minimum requirement for something to be considered science? Honesty. Get that right then we can discuss the details.