The new PNAS article “The descent of the antibody-based immune system by gradual evolution,” blogged by Carl Zimmer (“The Whale and the Antibody”) and Reed Cartwright at PT, brings to mind a famous old declaration by Michael Behe in his 1996 book Darwin’s Black Box:
“We can look high or we can look low, in books or in journals, but the result is the same. The scientific literature has no answers to the question of the origin of the immune system.” Darwin’s Black Box, p. 138
This wasn’t true in 1996, as was documented when PT contributor Matt Inlay reviewed Behe’s immune system argument in 2002 (see “Evolving Immunity” at TalkDesign.org and the hilarious response of ID advocates when challenged). It is even less true now, due to the new PNAS article and other evolutionary immunology research published in 2004 and before. In fact, the ID movement is in total denial about this body of literature, yet ID advocates continue to parade around as if they have some shred of scientific credibility behind their rhetoric. They even have the gall to claim that the scientific mainstream is dogmatically oppressing them – it’s rather like a geocentrist arguing for a stationary earth without considering Foucault’s Pendulum.
I’ll take the liberty of making some predictions for 2005: