Genomics and the vacuity of Intelligent Design

On Uncommon Descent, Dembski quotes a ‘colleague’ on the recent scientific arguments about the link between the eukaryotes and prokaryotes.

Their title refers to the “Irreducible Nature of Eukaryote Cells,” which reads like an echo of Mike Behe. The logic of their argument confirms this: the structures and the genetics of eukaryotes mean that an evolutionary pathway from prokaryotes must be rejected.

Little explanation is given why this resembles the argument of Behe.

However, they do not again use the word “irreducible” in their paper. What is clear is that the “simple” pathway that the textbooks have proclaimed for years must now be abandoned. Surely there are lessons here about the way darwinism gives false leads in its appetite for a narrative about the origins of complexity.

Even if we assume for the moment that the study’s results will hold and that the ‘false leads’ should be blamed on Darwinism, one has to realize that doing science means getting things wrong occasionally.

The problem of Intelligent Design is that it has not even the luxury of being wrong since it fails to present any scientifically relevant explanation or hypothesis, other than ‘Darwinian theory cannot explain ‘X”. And although the latter is often argued to be evidence of design, it is clear that intelligent design is doomed to remain scientifically vacuous.

On Aetiology Tara Smith explores these new research findings, and the hype.

And for those who have not read the full article, the following statement may be of interest

Genomes evolve continuously through the interplay of unceasing mutation, unremitting competition, and ever-changing environments. Both sequence loss and sequence gain can result. In general, expanded genome size, along with augmented gene expression, increases the costs of cell propagation so the evolution of larger genomes and larger cells requires gains in fitness that compensate (15, 56, 57). Conversely, genome reduction is expected to lower the costs of propagation. There is an ever-present potential to improve the efficiency of cell propagation by reductive evolution.

In other words, why would ID even ‘predict’ a reduction in complexity in the genome? Assuming that it could even make any such prediction.

This abbreviated account of genome reduction illustrates the Darwinian view of evolution as a reversible process in the sense that “eyes can be acquired and eyes can be lost.” Genome evolution is a two-way street. This bidirectional sense of reversibility is important as an alternative to the view of evolution as a rigidly monotonic progression from simple to more complex states, a view with roots in the 18th-century theory of orthogenesis (71). Unfortunately, such a model has been tacitly favored by molecular biologists who appeared to view evolution as an irreversible march from simple prokaryotes to complex eukaryotes, from unicellular to multicellular. The many well-documented instances of genome reduction provide a necessary corrective measure to the often-unstated assumption that eukaryotes must have originated from prokaryotes.

Science can be wrong, ID cannot even be science.