John Lynch reviews the year in ID

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Here. The highlight:

[I]t does give me an excuse to post my (now annual) list of things we didn’t see from the main players of the ID movement:

* A peer-reviewed paper by Dembski, Wells, Nelson, Meyer …

* Or for that matter, a single peer-reviewed article offering either a) evidence for design, b) a method to unambiguously detect design, or c) a theory of how the Designer did the designing, by any fellow of the DI.

* An exposition of Nelson’s theory of “ontogenetic depth” (promised in March 2004)

* An article by Nelson & Dembski on problems with common descent (promised in April 2005).

* Nelson’s monograph on common descent (currently MIA since the late 90’s).

In addition to how the Designer did the designing, I’d like to see something about the manufacturing process too. How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

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Over at the Panda’s Thumb, Dave Wisker has (correctly) pointed out that members of the DI-funded Biologic Institute produced four papers in 2008: D’Andrea-Winslow L, Novitski AK (2008) Active bleb formation is abated in Lytechinus variegatus red spheru... Read More

42 Comments

I can sum up all of the Discovery Institute’s research and publications in peer-reviewed scientific literature quite easily:

**chirp … chirp …chirp . … . … . … . “

how the Designer did the designing … How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed

The Designer moves in mysterious ways.

jose said:

how the Designer did the designing … How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed

The Designer moves in mysterious ways.

Addendum: The Designer moves in mysterious ways that puny, mortal scientists will never, ever hope to understand even if they tried, so they should stop trying to understand.

Apparently they figured their politics of pseudo-science could trump real science. But unfortunately for them their pseudo-science has no traction in this universe.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell with these guys, but apparently they never did understand the real science and still haven’t figured that out.

The only thing that seems to keep them going is the lucrative market for their wares among the sectarian home-schooling crowd. Most of the local anti-evolution agitation seems to be coming from the rubes at this point.

The real thing missing for the ID “research” is a PREDICTION. Without a prediction, they aren’t making science. All the other missing things are just secondary to this main point.

Any peer reviewed articles on how 6 billion items of DNA evolved in 10 billion cells? 60 billion billion bits of info? Magic, de seguro.

Wanna check out the controversy on peer reviewing on Wikipedia?

I suppose the Pope’s encyclicals are peer reviewed. OK, you pedants, near-peer. (I.e. archcardinal archbishop cardinals, but not other Popes.)

No school board or legislator got any ID science to teach this year or any previous year.

No ID lesson plan or switch scam public school lesson plan was written up and distributed by the Discovery Institute this year or any previous year. You have to wonder how long the rubes are going to accept that it is their part of the dishonest scam to write up any bogus lesson plan and take the fall for it. The Ohio model lesson plan was a public fiasco. The Discovery Institute’s ID perps are obviously not willing to take that fall no matter what they claim to be able to teach.

Someone should make an annual list of the guys that claimed that they were going to teach the science of intelligent design, and once the bait and switch went down, whether they took the switch scam or dropped the issue. The bait and switch has been run on every single school board or legislator that has wanted to teach the science of intelligent design since Ohio in 2002-2003. The only ones that have not dropped the issue or taken the switch scam has been Dover and we all know what happened there.

We had Florida yammering about teaching intelligent design, and wasn’t it this year that some guy in Utah wanted to teach “devine design?” Most of the action has been trailing off into the switch scam as more of the creationist rubes get clued into the reality that there ain’t no ID science worth teaching.

Well, there arethe 4 publications from the Biologic Institute (http://biologicinstitute.org/research/), which is funded by the DI:

D’Andrea-Winslow L, Novitski AK (2008) Active bleb formation is abated in Lytechinus variegatus red spherule coelomocytes after disruption of acto-myosin contractility. Integrative Zoology 3: 106-113. doi:10.1111/j.1749-4877.2008.00086.x

Axe DD, Dixon BW, Lu P (2008) Stylus: A system for evolutionary experimentation based on a protein/proteome model with non-arbitrary functional constraints. PLoS ONE 3: e2246. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0002246

Sternberg RV (2008) DNA codes and information: Formal structures and relational causes. Acta Biotheoretica doi:10.1007/s10441-008-9049-6. PMID: 18465197

Gonzalez G (2008) Parent stars of extrasolar planets - IX. Lithium abundances. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Online Early Articles doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13067.x

Not that any of these was a smoking gun for ID, though.

The important thing to remember is that no data in support of ID (or refuting evolution) has been presented in peer-reviwed scientific research papers. You don’t want give ID supporters the chance to retort, “But look at these papers in PLoS ONE and Chaos, Solitons & Fractals!”

The Biologic Institute lists the publications of anyone formally associated with it regardless of whether or not the publication contains biological experiments or addresses intelligent design (or, for that matter, evolution). For example, the Sternberg paper is not an experimental paper and the Axe et al. paper describes a computer program (and if you read the comments section at PLoS ONE, the paper’s editor explicitly states that the paper does not provide results supporting ID, although this hasn’t stopped ID supporters for hailing it as ID reserach).

It’s not impossible for scientists associated with the ID movement to do useful scientific research (see, for example, Scott Minnich’s work on Yersinia pestis) but the layman can be easily misled into thinking that this is ID research, a misconception actively promoted by the DI.

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

In addition to how the Designer did the designing, I’d like to see something about the manufacturing process too. How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

Heck, I’d even like to hear a simple statement of “what and when”. The silence on that is especially deafening since Behe himself offered a starting point way back in 1996. Specifically that the designer might have insterted all the IC required for all descendants in an ancertral cell ~4 billion years ago. That simple hypotheses offered lots of opportunity for testing, all of which has been steadfastly avoided these last 13 years.

BTW, what’s with this the designer thing? Couldn’t there have been many? Or does Behe’s admission at Dover that the designer(s) might no longer exist suggest that only one remains. ;-)

John Lynch Wrote:

The “high point” for the IDists has to have been “Expelled”.

There is no louder way of admitting that one has no promise of an alternate scientific explanation than to produce a (non-peer reviewed) movie for the “masses” that whines about a nonexistent “conspiracy” against them and links the prevailing explanation to Nazism (validating Godwin’s Law).

novparl said:

Any peer reviewed articles on how 6 billion items of DNA evolved in 10 billion cells? 60 billion billion bits of info?

Orkun S. Soyer and Sebastian Bonhoeffer, “Evolution of complexity in signaling pathways,” PNAS 2006; 103; 16337-16342

Mike Elzinga said:

Apparently they figured their politics of pseudo-science could trump real science. But unfortunately for them their pseudo-science has no traction in this universe.

Richard Feynman: “reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled.”

Frank J said:

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

In addition to how the Designer did the designing, I’d like to see something about the manufacturing process too. How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

Heck, I’d even like to hear a simple statement of “what and when”. The silence on that is especially deafening since Behe himself offered a starting point way back in 1996.

Well, In The Edge of Evolution Behe does claim that malaria was designed. I don’t recall him saying when, though.

How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

Most likely the manufacturing was subcontracted out, probably in China (the Designer, of course, is an American Designer).

Any peer reviewed articles on how 6 billion items of DNA evolved in 10 billion cells?

Picking up the nearest copy of Science magazine, I find a report by T.J Pollin and others, “A null mutation in Human APOC3 confers a favorable plasma lipid profile and apparent cardioprotection.”

mark said:

Picking up the nearest copy of Science magazine, I find a report by T.J Pollin and others, “A null mutation in Human APOC3 confers a favorable plasma lipid profile and apparent cardioprotection.”

Ahhhhh … what we have here is: SHOW ME HOW THE BIG PICTURE WORKS.

“Well, here’s an article that discusses the details.”

NO. I WANT THE BIG PICTURE.

“OK, here’s a general overview of the subject.”

IT DOESN’T SHOW THE DETAILS.

I think of Maxwell Smart: “It’s the old ‘playing the big picture off against the details’ trick again!” A hurray for the late great Don Adams: “… and LOVING it!”

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

RBH said:

Frank J said:

Richard B. Hoppe Wrote:

In addition to how the Designer did the designing, I’d like to see something about the manufacturing process too. How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

Heck, I’d even like to hear a simple statement of “what and when”. The silence on that is especially deafening since Behe himself offered a starting point way back in 1996.

Well, In The Edge of Evolution Behe does claim that malaria was designed. I don’t recall him saying when, though.

The whole thing, or just the original plasmodium? How did it cope with the rise of human immunity and resistance over time? Was it constantly going in for a pit-stop to refresh its arsenal, to deal with the new challenges of the human immune system?

Dear mark,

As an American of Chinese-American descent, I strongly object to your assertion that the “stuff” was “subcontracted out” to the Chinese:

mark said:

How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

Most likely the manufacturing was subcontracted out, probably in China (the Designer, of course, is an American Designer).

Any peer reviewed articles on how 6 billion items of DNA evolved in 10 billion cells?

Picking up the nearest copy of Science magazine, I find a report by T.J Pollin and others, “A null mutation in Human APOC3 confers a favorable plasma lipid profile and apparent cardioprotection.”

Nor was the Intelligent Designer an “American”. Instead, I strongly suspect that the Klingons were involved somehow, and that, at least one of them, is the real Intelligent Designer (A “fact” which the Dishonesty Institute has yet to concede. Hmm, I wonder. Maybe that’s why my “pal” Bill Dembski hates Klingons.).

Cheers,

John

Hi James,

‘Tis yet another brilliant analysis of yours:

James F said:

The important thing to remember is that no data in support of ID (or refuting evolution) has been presented in peer-reviwed scientific research papers. You don’t want give ID supporters the chance to retort, “But look at these papers in PLoS ONE and Chaos, Solitons & Fractals!”

The Biologic Institute lists the publications of anyone formally associated with it regardless of whether or not the publication contains biological experiments or addresses intelligent design (or, for that matter, evolution). For example, the Sternberg paper is not an experimental paper and the Axe et al. paper describes a computer program (and if you read the comments section at PLoS ONE, the paper’s editor explicitly states that the paper does not provide results supporting ID, although this hasn’t stopped ID supporters for hailing it as ID reserach).

It’s not impossible for scientists associated with the ID movement to do useful scientific research (see, for example, Scott Minnich’s work on Yersinia pestis) but the layman can be easily misled into thinking that this is ID research, a misconception actively promoted by the DI.

Well done!

My best wishes to you for the new year.

Appreciatively yours,

John

RBH Wrote:

Well, In The Edge of Evolution Behe does claim that malaria was designed. I don’t recall him saying when, though.

Even though Behe has clearly conceded mainstream chronology, and thus clearly rejected that of YEC and “young life” OEC, for such events as origin of life, Cambrian, hominid fossils, etc., I doubt that was ever so politically incorrect to say when any post-origin-of-life design actuation occurred. Especially if it’s one that critics and YEC fans alike agree (though for radically different reasons) is relatively recent.

This thread appears to have 95% DNFTT compliance thus far. Admirable restraint!!

John Kwok said: I strongly suspect that the Klingons were involved somehow, and that, at least one of them, is the real Intelligent Designer (A “fact” which the Dishonesty Institute has yet to concede. Hmm, I wonder. Maybe that’s why my “pal” Bill Dembski hates Klingons.).

Cheers,

John

I respectfully disagree. The Klingons are doubtless aware of Vulcan/Romulan shared ancestry, so I’m thinking they lean more toward evolution.

This article feeds into the one on the fadeout of IDEA. One of plausible reasons that IDEA faltered was lack of funding. This suggests that the only thing that keeps the Discovery Institute and its agenda flying is funding, and if the funding dried up, so would the ID movement.

The change would be actually slight, since the traditional creationist movement would remain unaltered aside from some additions to their toolkit.

Cheers – MrG / http://www.vectorsite.net

Frank J said: BTW, what’s with this the designer thing? Couldn’t there have been many? Or does Behe’s admission at Dover that the designer(s) might no longer exist suggest that only one remains. ;-)

I hope that last statement of yours is not meant to imply that the designers went through some sort of “survival of the fittest.” :-)

eric said:

Frank J said: BTW, what’s with this the designer thing? Couldn’t there have been many? Or does Behe’s admission at Dover that the designer(s) might no longer exist suggest that only one remains. ;-)

I hope that last statement of yours is not meant to imply that the designers went through some sort of “survival of the fittest.” :-)

Perhaps in personal combat, with the loser being beheaded and the winner taking his power.

eric Wrote:

I hope that last statement of yours is not meant to imply that the designers went through some sort of “survival of the fittest.” :-)

No, but creationism has undergone a lot of mutation, natural selection and speciation over the decades. As with biological evolution, some “primitive” lineages remain, but the “fittest” species have evolved very “slippery” features, such as “don’t as, don’t tell who the designer(s) is/are/was/were, or what he/she/it/they did, when or how.”

ID’s only accomplishment last year was in the political arena. They got one of those “Academic Freedom” bills passed in Louisiana. Nothing’s happened with it yet, but in due course some creationist teacher will trigger the inevitable litigation. It’ll be Kitzmiller II, unless the school board settles fast.

James F said:

The important thing to remember is that no data in support of ID (or refuting evolution) has been presented in peer-reviwed scientific research papers. You don’t want give ID supporters the chance to retort, “But look at these papers in PLoS ONE and Chaos, Solitons & Fractals!“

Actually, I’d love to see ID supporters try and put together some kind of coherent argument weaving all of this “research” together. From what I’ve read, it looks far too scattershot, disjointed and in some cases completely irrelevant to enable such an effort. That may be why we see instead endless streams of books on IC and information “theory”.

John Kwok said:

Hi James,

‘Tis yet another brilliant analysis of yours:

Well done!

My best wishes to you for the new year.

Appreciatively yours,

John

Thank you, John, and a Happy New Year to you too!

The only other point I have to add with respect to Dr. Lynch’s list is that, if I recall correctly, Bill Dembski said at UD that he and Robert Marks had gotten a manuscript through peer review, although he didn’t say where and didn’t say what the paper was about. Given the DI’s notoriously loose definition of peer review, it will be interesting to see when and where this paper surfaces.

Whatever it is, it won’t be a probabilistic affirmation of the Explanatory Filter:

James F said:

John Kwok said:

Hi James,

‘Tis yet another brilliant analysis of yours:

Well done!

My best wishes to you for the new year.

Appreciatively yours,

John

Thank you, John, and a Happy New Year to you too!

The only other point I have to add with respect to Dr. Lynch’s list is that, if I recall correctly, Bill Dembski said at UD that he and Robert Marks had gotten a manuscript through peer review, although he didn’t say where and didn’t say what the paper was about. Given the DI’s notoriously loose definition of peer review, it will be interesting to see when and where this paper surfaces.

I am willing to guess that it’s probably some incomprehensible aspect of Number Theory as seen through the unique prisms of Dembski and Marks.

John Lynch said: In addition to how the Designer did the designing, I’d like to see something about the manufacturing process too. How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

How do we know the Designer actually did any of the manufacturing of the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

When the creationists lost a certain 1987 US Supreme Court case, they came up with the term “intelligent designer” because the term “intelligent creator” might give away too much information away on their ulterior motives.

There is nothing in the intelligent design creationists’ canon that specifically says the Designer is also the Creator…er, manufacturer. For all we know the Designer contracted out the actual creation to some other entity, much as Solomon contracted with Hiram of Tyre to build the Temple in Jerusalem, or NASA contracted with Boeing to build the Space Shuttle.

Sternberg RV (2008) DNA codes and information: Formal structures and relational causes. Acta Biotheoretica doi:10.1007/s10441-008-9049-6. PMID: 18465197

Gonzalez G (2008) Parent stars of extrasolar planets - IX. Lithium abundances. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Online Early Articles doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13067.x

Wait a minute. I thought these guys had been silenced and had their careers destroyed by the Evolutionist Conspiracy. How can they be publishing?

Richard said:

Wait a minute. I thought these guys had been silenced and had their careers destroyed by the Evolutionist Conspiracy. How can they be publishing?

Because of a counter-conspiracy conspiracy, duh.

Paul Burnett said:

John Lynch said: In addition to how the Designer did the designing, I’d like to see something about the manufacturing process too. How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

FYI - I didn’t say that. Richard did.

John -

As I have noted earlier in this thread, the Designer was most likely a Klingon, probably working via some permutation of the panspermia hypothesis of Hoyle et al. With any luck we may yet see a textbook on Klingon biochemistry courtesy of the ever “brilliant” Mike Behe (which would make sense since his publisher also publishes the “Star Trek” books. Alas I can’t claim credit for this wish, since it was suggested originally by none other than Ken Miller.):

John Lynch said:

Paul Burnett said:

John Lynch said: In addition to how the Designer did the designing, I’d like to see something about the manufacturing process too. How did the Designer manufacture the stuff that’s purportedly designed?

FYI - I didn’t say that. Richard did.

On a more serious note, I didn’t realize Paul Nelson was interested in common descent at all. Thought he believed everything could be explained by “kinds”.

A Merry Kitzmas, a Happy Monkey to you and a Happy New Year.

Appreciatively yours,

John

Richard said:

Sternberg RV (2008) DNA codes and information: Formal structures and relational causes. Acta Biotheoretica doi:10.1007/s10441-008-9049-6. PMID: 18465197

Gonzalez G (2008) Parent stars of extrasolar planets - IX. Lithium abundances. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Online Early Articles doi:10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13067.x

Wait a minute. I thought these guys had been silenced and had their careers destroyed by the Evolutionist Conspiracy. How can they be publishing?

Because the entire movement is based on intellectual dishonesty and phony martyrdom.

John Kwok said:

Whatever it is, it won’t be a probabilistic affirmation of the Explanatory Filter:

James F said:

John Kwok said:

Hi James, ‘Tis yet another brilliant analysis of yours: Well done! My best wishes to you for the new year.

Appreciatively yours, John

Thank you, John, and a Happy New Year to you too!

The only other point I have to add with respect to Dr. Lynch’s list is that, if I recall correctly, Bill Dembski said at UD that he and Robert Marks had gotten a manuscript through peer review, although he didn’t say where and didn’t say what the paper was about. Given the DI’s notoriously loose definition of peer review, it will be interesting to see when and where this paper surfaces.

I am willing to guess that it’s probably some incomprehensible aspect of Number Theory as seen through the unique prisms of Dembski and Marks.

AFAIK they’ve been focusing on search algorithms, and are arguing in some (so far) unpublished stuff a line similar to Dembski’s displacement problem hobby horse (see here for a discussion) that he’s been riding for a while.

RBH said:

AFAIK they’ve been focusing on search algorithms, and are arguing in some (so far) unpublished stuff a line similar to Dembski’s displacement problem hobby horse…that he’s been riding for a while.

Apologies for not providing a citation. This from UD via Ed Brayton:

Robert Marks and I continue to crank away at papers and have finally cracked the peer-review barrier in the information sciences with a paper on conservation of information (stay tuned at www.EvoInfo.org for a formal announcement).

You know, even if the ID advocates put forth any semblance of a peer-reviewed article, it would never make it through revision. The scientists reviewing it would tear their ideas apart! Of course, if you never submit one, you’re never proven wrong…

What’s particularly aggravating about Dembski’s refusal to publish is that math is a field where different descriptions of the same phenomenon can flourish. There are already multiple, inconsistent attempts to grapple with the idea of information (i.e. Shannon and Kolmogorov). The thing about math is, there’s room for both…and there’s room for more. Unlike in science where one idea is usually proven right at the expense of another, Dembski’s idea only has to be self-consistent and useful to the community to be acceptable - it doesn’t have to refute anything.

Yet he still doesn’t publish. That “only…” statement is the rub.

Terrapin said:

You know, even if the ID advocates put forth any semblance of a peer-reviewed article, it would never make it through revision. The scientists reviewing it would tear their ideas apart! Of course, if you never submit one, you’re never proven wrong…

eric said: Unlike in science where one idea is usually proven right at the expense of another, Dembski’s idea only has to be self-consistent and useful to the community to be acceptable - it doesn’t have to refute anything.

Yet he still doesn’t publish. That “only…” statement is the rub.

What’s even worse for Dembski is that the ideas in ID are not useful, it’s just a matter of saying “I can’t explain this right now, the Designer did it!”. They’re not consistent either, since he’s told religious audiences that Intelligent Design is the “Logos theology of John’s Gospel restated in the idiom of information theory,” but told court rooms that his ideas are not religiously motivated.

However, looking back on my comment, I think I’m still arguing from a scientific perspective. How would Intelligent Design’s concepts be useful in a mathematical setting?

AN HYPOTHESIS AS TO HOW DESIGNS ARE MANUFACTURED! [Tongue firmly in cheek]

1) Naturally occuring mutagens are found both outside and inside the cell–from random cosmic rays penetrating the cell and mutating the DNA, to random chemical mutagens inside the cell, and random genetic collusions or tears in a gene or chromosome.

2) The Designer simply nudges these naturally occuring mutagens ever so slightly and miraculously either this way or that inside the cell, taking great care to direct them to the precise points in the gene or genome that He wishes to tinker with.

3) The Designer ALSO has to watch out that no other naturally occuring mutagens alter any of His handywork, especially when He’s just effected a change in one area of one animal’s genome that he wants to be passed along to the next generation. So the Designer then has to protectively shield the rest of that genome from any naturally occuring mutagens that might hinder his plan of passing along this newly designed change in the genome. This includes making sure that aforementioned animal does not perish prematurely due to a disease or predator, natural disaster, or accidental fall or choking or drowning.

So the Designer is kept quite busy manuevering a host of tiny mutagens, marshalling them, pointing them this way and that, and also kept quite busy protecting the animal in which he has made such changes, shielding its genome from any changes elsewhere that might make it unsuitable for being passed on, and protecting the animal itself from all harm from nature until it has sexually reproduced and passed along the new changes.

Quite busy indeed!

Though of course this doesn’t explain why a Designer would take such GREAT CARE moving cosmic rays and chemical mutagens around for a couple billion years, simply fiddling with single-celled species for so very long before venturing to design multi-cellular species. Nor does it explain why such care was taken for so long to design so many species, and then rain down six major extinction events upon the majority of them.

Perhaps the Designer was shaking his Etch-I-Sketch? “Let’s start over with these and see how that works out.”

~~~~~~~~~~

To test my hypothesis above, can I get a grant from the D.I. to search for miraculously bent cosmic rays and chemical mutagens that swim upstream inside cells?

Ed [Edward T. Babinski]

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on January 1, 2009 8:55 PM.

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