PT posters in Nature Immunology

| 24 Comments | 3 TrackBacks

The Game PlanHere in the pounding-nails-into-the-ID-coffin department of the Panda’s Thumb, we are still hard at work. Longtime PT posters Andrea Bottaro, Matt Inlay, and I have just published a “Commentary” essay in May 2006 issue of Nature Immunology. (Update: Subscription no longer required. Thanks to NI.) See the NCSE announcement and more background at the NCSE Evolution Education and the Law website.

The article is:

Bottaro, Andrea, Inlay, Matt A., and Matzke, Nicholas J. (2006). “Immunology in the spotlight at the Dover ‘Intelligent Design’ trial.” Nature Immunology. 7(5), 433-435. May 2005. (Subscription no longer required: DOI | Journal | Google Scholar | PubMed | Supplementary Material)

Therein, we review the now-notorious episode in the Kitzmiller case where, during Eric Rothschild’s dissection of Michael Behe, Rothschild challenged Behe’s claims about the scientific literature on the evolutionary origin of the immune system by piling up on Behe’s podium a stack of books and articles on the evolution of the immune system. Behe responded that he had not read most of it, but dismissed it out of hand, and this cavalier attitude seems to have been one (of many) factors that impressed Judge Jones and persuaded him to issue the thorough, detailed ruling that he did.

The article also reviews two sets of events that led up to this courtroom confrontation: first, the publication of various important pieces of evidence for the transposon model for the origin of rearranging antibodies in the immune system. Second, the article also reviews previous internet encounters between ID advocates and the immunology evidence, for example with Matt Inlay’s TalkDesign article Evolving Immunity, or Andrea Bottaro’s PT posts “The Revenge of Calvin and Hobbes” and “Behe’s meaningless complexity.” All of these helped me realize just how vulnerable Behe was on the immune system, and this led to the assembly of a collection of articles and books on the topic; this impressed Eric Rothschild, and the rest is history.

If you are disappointed that you don’t have a subscription to Nature Immunology, never fear, the Supplementary Material, containing a list of the publications used in the case, is online in the exhibits folder of NCSE’s online Kitzmiller archive. Also online are two webpages I have put together: first, an Annotated Bibliography on the Evolution of the Immune System that is meant to show people some of what is actually in these articles, and just how remarkable the evidence is and how even more remarkable it is that the ID movement has been able to snow so many people for so long. Second, a longer, unannotated bibliography shows that even the 60+ articles and books in the Annotated Bibliography are just a fraction of what is available in the libraries on this topic – 342 references are included in the longer bibliography, and some simple statistical descriptions are also included. I do take some time to point out the implications for some of Behe’s claims.

We are quite tickled that this story – and it is a great story – was interesting enough to the editors of Nature Immunology to be published. We felt it was important to let the immunology community know that someone is calling the pseudoscientists to account, and that the immunology community’s hard work over many decades cannot be forever ignored by the ID movement.

As the Nature Immunology article links to the Panda’s Thumb, I would like to welcome any new visitors we might have. Please see our Welcome Message for some background. Several great posts have been put up in the last few days and are available from our front page. You might also be interested in previous blogposts on evolutionary immunology, the Kitzmiller case, and the Evolution of Creationism into “Intelligent Design.”

For an explanation of the picture at the top of the post, please see here.

Update: Complete links collection

The editors of Nature Immunology have put up the Bottaro et al. article for free on their website.

Nature Immunology article Bottaro, Andrea, Inlay, Matt A., and Matzke, Nicholas J. (2006). “Immunology in the spotlight at the Dover ‘Intelligent Design’ trial.” Nature Immunology. 7(5), 433-435. May 2005. (Subscription no longer required: DOI | Journal | Google Scholar | PubMed | Supplementary Material)

NCSE Homepage: Immunology in the spotlight at the Dover ID Trial http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/ne[…]_21_2006.asp

NCSE Education & Law website: Evolutionary Immunology in the Kitzmiller Case http://www2.ncseweb.org/wp/?p=124

Panda’s Thumb: PT posters in Nature Immunology http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives[…]rs_in_n.html

NCSE: Supplementary Material http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibit[…]e/index.html

NCSE: Annotated Bibliography on the Evolution of the Immune System http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibit[…]ted_bib.html

NCSE: Longer, Unannotated Bibliography on the Evolution of the Immune System http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibit[…]ib_long.html

3 TrackBacks

There’s an article in the latest Nature Immunology by three of my Panda’s Thumb colleagues: Nature Immunology 7, 433 - 435 (2006) doi:10.1038/ni0506-433 Immunology in the spotlight at the Dover ‘Intelligent Design’ trial A... Read More

This post contains my commentary on the Annotated Bibliography on the Evolution of the Immune System, now online in the NCSE Kitzmiller archive. The Annotated Bibliography describes the significance of each publication listed in the Supplementary Mater... Read More

Whipping the Flagellum in the Quote-Mine Read More

24 Comments

The annotated bibliography is killer all by itself. What a piece of work!

RBH

As one of those new visitors you mentioned (okay, new poster–I’ve been looking at Panda’s Thumb for a while now), I’d like to say: “Well done.”

As a former archaeologist and paleoanthro guy, I sometimes read the garbage posted on ID sites and feel overwhelmingly dismayed at the sheer depth and breadth of their fallacies and utter disregard for open, honest exchange – But, then, I can read this site and feel comforted that the world has not yet gone to the neo-luddites.

Onwards and upwards, as one of my favorite profs used to say.

Excellent work dudes… Another victory for science. Man what a dedication to science to gather all these data.

Pim [Disclaimer: I am a regular contributor to Pandasthumb]

Nicely done, gentlemen. Very nicely done.

We felt it was important to let the immunology community know that someone is calling the pseudoscientists to account, and that the immunology community’s hard work over many decades cannot be forever ignored by the ID movement.

Sure it can. Heck, Behe could ignore it while it was sitting directly in front of his chair in the witness stand. These guys are world champions at ignoring things.

Nonetheless, congratulations!

For an alternative view, see this new essay by Dembski, “Christian Theodicy in Light of Genesis and Modern Science (PDF)” which I think was posted on Dembski’s website in the last few days:

Moreover, in responding preemptively to the Fall, God does not merely bring about natural evil but also, as a matter of common grace, stems its influence. Yes, pathogenic microbes constitute a natural evil brought on by God in response to the Fall. But God doesn’t just leave us at the mercy of these microbes. Our immune system is an amazing work of common grace by which God, acting preemptively, mitigates the harm these microbes would otherwise cause us. [59]

[…]

59. For a fascinating and accessible introduction to immunology, see Lauren Sompayrac, How the Immune System Works, 2nd ed. (Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2003).

Re “Rothschild challenged Behe’s claims about the scientific literature on the evolutionary origin of the immune system by piling up on Behe’s podium a stack of books and articles on the evolution of the immune system.”

That was mean of Rothschild, wasn’t it? LOL

Henry

You guys rock! Whooo Hooowww!

But I got to actually read my name in Behe’s cross X, even if I didn’t get to actually be there like some very lucky people.

Yeah! We won!!!

Really, I get this great happy feeling every time I think about it.

And, “get it on” to those “youngsters” who will gain from resulting publications. The creationists have whined for years that they can’t get published, but it has been true that the opponents of antiscience mystisim have not been able to claim space in journals.

PS: Sorry Andrea, you are just a geezer like me. ;-)

PPS: I was able to download the paper even though I let my Nature subscription lapse.

Good work!

Well done, by jove! (It’s a British journal, I can do a bit of Bertie Wooster)

PPPS: Cool cites to TalkDesign.org (our original goal, saddly forgotten by many) and Panda’s Thumb. Yippy!

This just so much bears repeating, I have to quote it.

Thankfully, there are scientists who do search for answers to the question of the origin of the immune system. It’s the immune system. It’s our defense against debilitating and fatal diseases. The scientists who wrote those books and articles toil in obscurity, without book royalties or speaking engagements. Their efforts help us combat and cure serious medical conditions. By contrast, Professor Behe and the entire intelligent design movement are doing nothing to advance scientific or medical knowledge and are telling future generations of scientists, don’t bother.

Some Lehigh professor writes: Still lacking a mutation-by-mutation account with all selective pressures, population sizes, etc., I see. Let immunologists continue in their deluded little subculture. Still Towering Supreme is my *puff of smoke*… or preemptive common grace for those with cravings for more detail.

Moreover, in responding preemptively to the Fall, God does not merely bring about natural evil but also, as a matter of common grace, stems its influence. Yes, pathogenic microbes constitute a natural evil brought on by God in response to the Fall. But God doesn’t just leave us at the mercy of these microbes. Our immune system is an amazing work of common grace by which God, acting preemptively, mitigates the harm these microbes would otherwise cause us.

But ID isn’t about religion. No sirree Bob, It’s just those lying atheist darwinists (like Barbara Forrest) who say so.

Surreal. These morons STILL have no idea why they lost in Dover.

Moreover, in responding preemptively to the Fall

This reminds me of Intelligent Falling.

PPS: I was able to download the paper even though I let my Nature subscription lapse

A pdf of the commentary is available here.

“This commentary is meant to acknowledge their contribution on behalf of the Dover families, their lawyers and all the activists for rigorous science education who have participated in these proceedings.”

I think it’s appropriate to recognize the contribution of the segment of the scientific community that played a role in bringing down ID at Dover, despite Behe’s attempts to to rewrite history.

“Now more than ever, the participation of scientists is essential for the crafting of rational policies on scientific research and science education.”

The majority of working scientists will have the greatest impact at the local levels. This means involvement with local school boards where the DI has had the most impact. It is also where the DI is most vulnerable, local school boards are the most uninformed about evolutionary theory and have been swayed by the public relations approach to science of the DI. Once challenged in federal courts, the public relations campaign falls apart and science wins, but at a cost to the taxpayers and in this case the Dover taxpayers. The DI will continue the PR spin over the loss in Dover (LiD), hopefully the courts will continue use the LiD to cap further attempts at inserting ID into the schools.

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Nick says Demski wrote:

Yes, pathogenic microbes constitute a natural evil brought on by God in response to the Fall.

But ID is not religion. Nope. No way. Uh-Uh.

Moreover, in responding preemptively to the Fall, God does not merely bring about natural evil but also, as a matter of common grace, stems its influence. Yes, pathogenic microbes constitute a natural evil brought on by God in response to the Fall. But God doesn’t just leave us at the mercy of these microbes. Our immune system is an amazing work of common grace by which God, acting preemptively, mitigates the harm these microbes would otherwise cause us.

I do hope that makes it into the latest edition of “Of Pandas and ‘Pologetics”

I have updated the post to reflect the fact that the editors of Nature Immunology have kindly put the article up for free on their website. It looks like both the HTML and PDF versions are accessible.

I do hope that makes it into the latest edition of “Of Pandas and ‘Pologetics”

Which, did you know, is going to be renamed for the next edition? According to the very interesting Wikipedia page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Of_Pandas_and_People

God does not merely bring about natural evil but also, as a matter of common grace, stems its influence. Yes, pathogenic microbes constitute a natural evil brought on by God in response to the Fall. But God doesn’t just leave us at the mercy of these microbes. Our immune system is an amazing work of common grace by which God, acting preemptively, mitigates the harm these microbes would otherwise cause us.

So Islamic terrorists, who want to infect us Americans with deadly pathogens (e.g. anthrax) to punish us for our sins, are really doing the will of God?

And what about blood flukes? According to Carl Zimmer, author of Parasite Rex, they can “steal substances out of our own blood to camouflage themselves from the immune system.” Let me get this straight: designer god punishes us with pathogens, changes his mind and gives us an immune system, and then changes his mind yet again by infecting us with nasty blood flukes that can bypass this designed immune system. Sounds like a very conflicted guy.

And isn’t it strange how designer god arranged things so that wealthier people, who can afford medical care, can buy their way out of his punishment?

I believe in God, but not in this designer god. What a nasty dude.

Good article, thanks. My only complaint is that you missed out this reference:

Watterson, B. (1991) Scientific Progress Goes “Boink”. Time Warner Paperbacks, N.Y., U.S.A.

Bob

This is very interesting site

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Nick Matzke published on April 22, 2006 5:46 PM.

Barbara Forrest’s role in Kitzmiller was the previous entry in this blog.

Of Storks and babies: Teach the controversy is the next entry in this blog.

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