Lonnig’s “Dynamic Genomes” paper: A quick critique.


In the comments section of my most recent post on the Discovery Institute’s publication track record, Spike made the following suggestion:

Here is the only scientific paper that one can link from the Discovery Institute’s list of “Peer-Reviewed, Peer-Edited, and other Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design (Annotated)” http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/index.ph… . (The rest you have to pay the publishers for, I suppose):


1. Can you, dear reader, understand it? If so, could you explain it to us lay people?

2. Is it science?

Caveat Poster I have no special allegiance to “Darwinsists” (whatever those are), evolutionists, scientists or the people who feel they represent the Truth of Evolution. So don’t play into OSC’s hand and don’t use logical fallacies.

If you want to dismember this paper, do so on rational, scientific grounds. Por favor.

I started out intending to examine the entire paper, but it’s taken me a while to thoroughly respond to (or dismember, if you prefer) just one of the claims. I do have other things to do, so I’m going to restrict my response to addressing his claims about the lack of differences seen between organisms. This doesn’t mean I agree with the rest of the paper - it just means that I only have so much time available for this right now.

Read More (at The Questionable Authority):


Mike, the link you provide comes up with a 404 page not found.

Thanks for the heads up. It was a blogger problem of some sort. Republishing the entire blog seems to have fixed it.

Bit of a side issue: do the adh’s of those two drosophilae have similar enzymatic properties? Somehow, I have a hunch that the itty-bitty flies may have more issues with ethanol toxicity than those huge honking Molokai flies.

And, while we’re at it, do we have any evolutionary explanations (or ID explanations… just kidding for why those Molokai mothers are so huge? What do they eat?

(Mike lives somewhere in the Hawaii, IIRC)

(oops. “the Hawaii” :

I was going to write “the Hawaiian Islands” but then I realized I didn’t know how to spell it.)

Spike’s questions arose after some dicussion concerning the importance of publishing in peer-reviewed journals to the scientific process, so I want to answer what I think was his implied-from-context question. This is a book chapter, not an article in the peer-reviewed scientific literature. This fact that it is in a book does not, of course, necessarily mean that the ideas are any less valid. However, it does mean that it has no presence yet in true scientific dialogue, which takes place in peer-reviewed journals. Thus (again, not as a consequence of the quality or lack thereof of the ideas), it does not really qualify as ‘science’ yet because it is not subject to formal scientific critique. The quality of the scholarship is an entirely different issue.

Nor has a testable naturalistic theory been advanced for the basic features of the fossil record (abrupt appearance of most life forms, stasis, and later often also abrupt disappearance).

Test: can evidence of environmental change sufficient to either destroy a species or provide unique selective pressures be found that coincides with the the dates and locations of sudden appearance or disappearance of species?

Hmmm. I wonder if anyone has done that kind of research. Wink, wink.


Thanks again for your running start.


You are correct. When I looked again at the citation, i see that it is to a book called , “Dynamical Genetics.” I wonder what “Dynamical” means?

I think Mike’s efforts deal a blow to the ID and OSC claim that scientists don’t bother explaining what’s going on to non-scientists.

…not that there was much to that claim in the first place…

…as to the candidates of irreducibly complex systems mentioned above (the cilium, bacterial flagellum, blood clotting, traps of Utricularia and some other carnivorous plant genera, joints, echo location, deceptive flowers as displayed by Coryanthes and Catasetum etc.), it can be confidently stated that up to now, none of these synorganized systems has been satisfactorily explained by the modern synthesis or any other evolutionary theory”

This author simply refuses to accept the evidence that evolutionary therory offers, evidence that satisfactorily explains away the whole faux-problem of Irreducible Complexity by explaining how these systems could have arisen. Thus this paper falls to the same objections and refutations that defeat Behe.

Based on discussion over at TQA, here is what The Bilogical Society of Washington had to say about a paper they published in 2004:


The paper by Stephen C. Meyer, “The origin of biological information and the higher taxonomic categories,” in vol. 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239 of the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, was published at the discretion of the former editor, Richard v. Sternberg. Contrary to typical editorial practices, the paper was published without review by any associate editor; Sternberg handled the entire review process. The Council, which includes officers, elected councilors, and past presidents, and the associate editors would have deemed the paper inappropriate for the pages of the Proceedings because the subject matter represents such a significant departure from the nearly purely systematic content for which this journal has been known throughout its 122-year history. For the same reason, the journal will not publish a rebuttal to the thesis of the paper, the superiority of intelligent design (ID) over evolution as an explanation of the emergence of Cambrian body-plan diversity. The Council endorses a resolution on ID published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2[…]106id2.shtml), which observes that there is no credible scientific evidence supporting ID as a testable hypothesis to explain the origin of organic diversity. Accordingly, the Meyer paper does not meet the scientific standards of the Proceedings.

And yet, the DI still lists that paper among their “Articles Supportive of Intelligent Design Published in Peer-Reviewed Scientific Journals” (You notice they don’t say the paper was peer-reviewed.)

But I think I’m going over something that was covered earlier. I’ll double-check previous posts in Panda and see what discussion there had been, as well as looking at Meyer’s paper, Dr. Sternberg’s site and Klinghoffer’s “Branding of a Heretic” op-ed.

I’m still waiting for some IDer to point to a scientific theory of ID that is presented in any of these much-vaunted “peer-reviewed papers about design”.

Oddly, they never seem to get around to THAT part.

It’s almost enough to make one think that they are … well … just lying to us.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Mike Dunford published on January 27, 2006 3:50 AM.

The Discovery Institute says it, they believe it, that settles it was the previous entry in this blog.

The Ruse - Woodward debate: an introduction to political creationism is the next entry in this blog.

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