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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Debunking the 'There's Been No Real ID Research' Myth

Casey Luskin schools journalist Lauri Lebo of who appears to be towing the Strictly Materialist party line of the aptly named "zero concession policy" when it comes to reporting on Intelligent Design...

"in March 2011, journalist Lauri Lebo, a science writer who covers the debate over evolution for anti-ID outlets like Scientific American, blithely declared that "as we all know, there is no such thing as ID research."1 In the last issue of Salvo, my article provided ample documentation to refute Ms. Lebo's claim. Let's add some more weight to this pile.

Natural Selection Breaks Down

In his Origin of Species, Darwin admitted that if "any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down." My previous article discussed work by Douglas Axe and Michael Behe that confirms that many complex structures in biology are beyond the reach of natural selection. These theoretical studies found that Darwinian processes would be unlikely to produce "multi-mutation features" that require multiple mutations to function.

In 2010, research published by molecular biologist Ann Gauger of the Biologic Institute, Ralph Seelke at the University of Wisconsin–Superior, and two other biologists provided empirical backing to the claims of Axe and Behe.2 Their team started by breaking a gene in the bacterium Escherichia coli required for synthesizing the amino acid tryptophan. When broken in just one place, random mutations in the bacteria's genome were capable of "fixing" the gene. But when two mutations were required to restore function, Darwinian evolution could not do the job.

Such results show that it is extremely unlikely for blind and unguided Darwinian processes to find rare amino acid sequences that yield functional proteins...

[William] Dembski, [Robert] Marks, and their team have identified sources of active information in programs such as "Avida" and "Ev"—two programs that are widely touted by Darwin theorists as refuting ID. The work of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab shows that these evolutionary algorithms do not model truly blind and unguided Darwinian processes. Instead, the simulations "cheat" in the sense that they were pre-programmed by their designers to achieve their digital evolutionary goals.

Just as the lab's website predicted, research shows that even the best efforts of ID critics cannot escape the fact that intelligence is required to generate new information."

I've posted this before, but should anyone start spouting off that there have been no "peer reviewed ID research papers", then simply refer them to this link and watch as they slink out of the discussion.


Justin Vacula said...

JD: ID is just a huge argument from ignorance akin to, "I can't explain it, therefore God did it." Again and again, these claims of "too complex" for evolution have been discredited.

Again, World Net Daily is not a credible source.
Discovery Institute is also not a credible source.

I believe you're also strawmanning your opponents. I don't hear 'there are no peer-reviewed ID papers,' but rather 'all of the ID papers are methodologically flawed and have other serious problems.'

Jquip said...

JV: DE is just a huge argument from ignorance akin to, "I can't explain it, therefore it was an accident." Again and again, these claims of "too simple" for a designer have been discredited.

Which is what the Tortoise said to Achilles. Both ways about, mind you. This precise nonsense is the exact reason why stating your priors and being falsifiable matter so dearly to science. Doubly so here with evolution as the pro tries to prove what cannot be proven. (You already know the flaw there.) And the anti camp tries to falsify evolution. Which is not falsifiable.

Though that's not really particular to evolution as the broad swath of modern science is to produce sweeping pablum of the same sort as a matter of due course.

All things aside the claim that there are no peer reviewed papers is entirely valid though I still fail to see what Saintly Taint like-minded spellcheckers can give beyond very quiet echo chambers. It's something of a Medieval and positively Inquisitorial notion that a panel of like minded Judges are the surest grant of a fair hearing rather than stout advocacy for and against.

Of course, there's nothing unique about methodological flaws as I've yet to see a pro-evolution paper -- spell-checked by the proper Clerics or no -- that even bothers with a proper methodology at all. Perhaps you could be a sport and show the piece from Watson and Crick about the reproducible experiment that allows us to derive grass-fed organically grown Biplanes from Bacteria.

We may disagree on this subject but I'd scarcely believe you'd file with the government for a waiver from empiricism.

Justin Vacula said...

Here's a way to falsify evolution: fossil bunnies in the pre-cambrian.

JD Curtis said...

Here's a way to falsify evolution: fossil bunnies in the pre-cambrian

"..as we all know, when rabbit fossils are eventually discovered in (Pre)Cambrian rocks,.. scientists will trample each other in the stampede to claim that a) the fossils are not rabbits, b) the rocks are not Precambrian, and c) evolution is "a large package of ideas, including: that life on Earth has evolved over billions of years; that this evolution is driven by certain mechanisms; and that these mechanisms have produced a specific "family tree" that defines the relationships among species and the order in which they appeared" and therefore a single impossible anachronism should not be sufficient to destroy such an important and glorious edifice constructed over so many years by so many famous scientists." Link

Jquip said...

JV: "Here's a way to falsify evolution: fossil bunnies in the pre-cambrian."

It does nothing of the sort. Numerous fossils have been found all manner of places and quite outside to "appropriate" strata. So if that's your metric then evolution has been falsified numerous times. Or, you can do the responsible thing that archeologists and paleontologists do with such anachronisms and adjust the date ranges for this or that thing.

I grant you the Darwinian Doom-Bunny is a fun quip. But certainly you're not trying to establish some bizarre historico-religious cult over bone shaped rocks. After all, given our knowledge of DNA and our ability to inspect it, any given theory of evolution is -- nowadays -- a mere engineering problem rather than some cult of the revealed pre-cambrian.

Or at least one would hope, eh?