Here 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/news/2006/ZZ/968_immunology_in_the_spotlight_at_4_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 /archives/2006/04/pt-posters-in-n.html
NCSE: Supplementary Material http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibits/immune/index.html
NCSE: Annotated Bibliography on the Evolution of the Immune System http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibits/immune/immune_evo_annotated_bib.html
NCSE: Longer, Unannotated Bibliography on the Evolution of the Immune System http://www2.ncseweb.org/kvd/exhibits/immune/immune_evo_bib_long.html