Feb 142006

Jeremy Manier at the Chicago Tribune has written a very misleading article to hype up Darwinism.

Biologists are beginning to solve the riddles on which intelligent-design advocates have relied

By Jeremy Manier
Tribune staff reporter
Published February 13, 2006
To advocates of intelligent design, the human sperm’s tiny tail bears potent evidence that Charles Darwin was wrong–it is, they say, a molecular machine so complex that only God could have produced it.

But biologists now are starting to piece together how such intricate bits of biochemistry evolved. Although the basic research was not meant as a response to intelligent design, it is unraveling the very riddles that proponents said could not be solved.

In contrast, intelligent design advocates admit they still lack any way of using hard evidence to test their theories, which many biologists find revealing.

What caught my attention about this article is the usual Darwinian buzzwords, wave of new research, new genome data, testable theories, evaluating new ideas against the evidence and solved the riddles of evolution. I was intrigue by his claim because I know that ID has not proposed a riddle, which is just a Darwinian contrivance. So when he uses these buzzwords, which are antithetical to evolution, I was curious to see what he came up with. When you read the rest of this post please compare his buzzwords to real science.

The most forceful rebuttal of ID has come from Kenneth Miller, a professor of cell biology at Brown University whose pro-evolution testimony helped guide the Dover court decision.

Miller happily concedes the ID movement’s point that biologists have not fully explained how structures like the sperm’s tail, or flagellum, evolved.

But science works by exploring such puzzles with testable theories, experts say. It is a slow process of evaluating new ideas against the evidence, gradually leading to new discoveries.

What is that “forceful rebuttal”? How new is his research? Is there any research?

Critics of ID say its proponents have ignored the scientific method, offering no testable ideas about how the sperm flagellum or anything else came to be. Instead they simply leap to the conclusion that a designer made complex biochemistry.

Wrong, this is a strawman argument from willful ignorance. See here, here and here.

Opponents of evolution made similar arguments in the past based on complex organs such as the eye, though these have largely been discredited. They still cling to the flagellum, which ID proponent William Dembski has described as “the mascot of the intelligent design movement.”

The design of the eye have largely been discredited? Where is the evidence for that? The Darwinian fairy tale of some precursor eye spot is not science Jeremy.

In the last several years Miller and other evolutionary researchers noticed that the flagellum resembled a needle-like structure that bacteria such as salmonella use to inject toxins into living cells. The needle’s base has many elements in common with the flagellum, but it’s missing most of the proteins that make a flagellum work.

The system seems to negate the claim that taking away any of the flagellum’s parts would render it useless. It also suggests how the marvelously complex flagellum could have evolved from simpler forms.

“The parts of this supposedly irreducibly complex system actually have functions of their own,” Miller said.

Is this suppose to be news? Miller has been pushing this fairy tale with his book “Finding Darwin’s God (2000)”. Miller is engaged in misdirection when he compares the needle-like structure with the flagellum. That is not direct evidence of how the flagellum evolved through RM&NS. It is equivalent to saying that the evidence for the evolution of a Corvette is a wheel barrel. Just because you see some similar parts function in another system it does not mean that those same parts can be assembled and de novo parts created to form a completely new system. On the contrary, this fairy tale has been shot down long ago by Behe and Minnich if Jeremy would only objectively look at both side of the argument.

Evolutionary studies also have shed more light on blood clotting, another pillar of Behe’s intelligent design ideas.

To stop bleeding from an injury requires an elaborate cascade of proteins and compounds that chop up other molecules. The “Rube Goldberg machine” that makes clots is too complex to have evolved piece-by-piece, Behe says.

Yet studies over the last 10 years have shown that many animals lack some of the steps humans use for blood clotting–a sign that the system is not irreducibly complex.

Figuring out how the blood-clotting system evolved has been a 45-year mission for biologist Russell Doolittle of the University of California at San Diego.

In 2003, Doolittle’s team made a key discovery by analyzing the newly decoded genome of the sea squirt, which is related to the ancient ancestors of animals with backbones, including humans. They found that the sea squirt, which cannot clot blood, nevertheless has most of the chemical parts needed to build a clotting system.

Another example not mentioned in this article is the jawless fish blood clotting system. It is hailed as the precursor to mammalian blood clotting cascade. The jawless fish blood clotting system lacks some of the key components described in Behe’s IC. But the jawless fish hemoglobin is simpler than the mammalian hemoglobin. This is nothing more than Darwinian Fizzbin. They want to use the pit of an apple as evidence of an orange. The components of an IC system are only applicable to the system that it is pertinent to. So it the hemoglobin are different then the IC parts would be different.

The misdirection of the jawless fish is similar to Jeremy’s example of sea squirt. Just because there are similar parts it doesn’t mean that the parts can be assembled into a complex system, let alone an IC system. What is even worst is that Doolittle’s sea squirt doesn’t even clot blood. It helps more to authenticate an IC system than as support for a mythical evolutionary precursor.

So far Jeremy has not provided a single shred of evidence to support his claim of refuting ID. If critics of ID say its proponents have ignored the scientific method, then evolution proponents have thrown the scientific method into the abyss. All they have managed to do is pick out certain homologous traits from disparate species and make the Darwinian leap of magical transformation.

Perhaps the strongest rebuke to ID in the Dover case concerned the claim by Behe and others that it would be impossible for evolution to produce the immune system. Miller testified that since Behe wrote his 1996 book, evolutionary biologists have built a rich account of the immune system–a point Judge Jones highlighted in his ruling.

“[Behe] was presented with fifty-eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system,” Jones wrote, “however, he simply insisted … that it was not `good enough.'”

So the strongest rebuke to ID is an argument from authority? 😀 Can Darwinists get any more lame? Using this logic we would all still believe in a flat earth. However, I will let Dr. Behe who does a much better job of defending of this charge.

(11) In fact, on cross-examination, Professor Behe was questioned concerning his 1996 claim that science would never find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system. He was presented with fifty eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system; however, he simply insisted that this was still not sufficient evidence of evolution, and that it was not “good enough.” (23:19 (Behe)).
Several points:
1) Although the opinion’s phrasing makes it seem to come from my mouth, the remark about the studies being “not good enough” was the cross-examining attorney’s, not mine.
2) I was given no chance to read them, and at the time considered the dumping of a stack of papers and books on the witness stand to be just a stunt, simply bad courtroom theater. Yet the Court treats it seriously.
3) The Court here speaks of “evidence for evolution”. Throughout the trial I carefully distinguished between the various meanings of the word “evolution”, and I made it abundantly clear that I was challenging Darwin’s proposed mechanism of random mutation coupled to natural selection. Unfortunately, the Court here, as in many other places in its opinion, ignores the distinction between evolution and Darwinism.
I said in my testimony that the studies may have been fine as far as they went, but that they certainly did not present detailed, rigorous explanations for the evolution of the immune system by random mutation and natural selection — if they had, that knowledge would be reflected in more recent studies that I had had a chance to read (see below).
4) This is the most blatant example of the Court’s simply accepting the Plaintiffs’ say-so on the state of the science and disregarding the opinions of the defendants’ experts. I strongly suspect the Court did not itself read the “fifty eight peer-reviewed publications, nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters about the evolution of the immune system” and determine from its own expertise that they demonstrated Darwinian claims. How can the Court declare that a stack of publications shows anything at all if the defense expert disputes it and the Court has not itself read and understood them?
In my own direct testimony I went through the papers referenced by Professor Miller in his testimony and showed they didn’t even contain the phrase “random mutation”; that is, they assumed Darwinian evolution by random mutation and natural selection was true — they did not even try to demonstrate it. I further showed in particular that several very recent immunology papers cited by Miller were highly speculative, in other words, that there is no current rigorous Darwinian explanation for the immune system. The Court does not mention this testimony.

There is no question that Jeremy Manier is hyping the achievements of Darwinian evolution. He could have easily found the answers to his glorified fairy tale, if he just spend a little bit of time with an open mind to understand the science. Why would an otherwise intelligent reporter be so blinded by such poor science (if we can even call Darwinian evolution science)? The driving force behind the Darwinian blindness is their blind allegiance to Atheism. Dr. Weinberg gives us an insight to why Darwinists react the way they do.

Steve Weinberg who’s a physicist and notably anti-religious have said “Science does not make it impossible to believe in God, it just makes it possible to not believe in God”

Also take into account the rabid Darwinists like Barbara Forrest, William Provine, Richard Dawkins and PZ Myers who thinks religion is a disease and should be defeated with brass knuckles. Darwinists are committed to a religious faith that no amount of evidence can dissuade. This is the reason IMHO why Jeremy Manier has to trump up Darwinian evolution as actual science, when Darwinists have long abandoned the scientific methods.

P.S. read Dr. Behe’s rebuttal to the Tribune article here.

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16 years ago

Mainer might do well to consider this piece by Biophysicist Cornelius Hunter:

Curious Molecular Signatures

Darwin’s worthless theory keeps going down the tubes.

16 years ago

Good to see you again Sal. Dr. Hunter is great. I think he is probably the most cogent and articulate author since Phil Johnson. He can cut through all the fluff and deliver a devastating argument against the Darwinian quagmire.

16 years ago

Pure propaganda article by Mr. Manier. By the way, have you noticed how he/they use negative theology as their argument. Straw man in this case is “straw god”. Clearly this is NOT scientific debate, but religious one.

16 years ago

I am much more impressed with his liberal use of scientific buzzwords. i.e. “biologists are beginning to solve” , “wave of new research” , “new genome data” , “testable theories” , “evaluating new ideas against the evidence” Although he uses all these buzzwords, but none of them have been employed by Darwinian scientists. It is premeditated deception.

16 years ago

Haha, human sperm’s tail. Morons.

16 years ago
16 years ago

Welcome Guts. Would you like to elaborate on that comment?

16 years ago

The author of the article mistook the sperm’s flagellum for the bacterial flagellum as the example that ID theorists hold up for irreducible complexity. Obviously , the author didn’t put much thought into this piece.

16 years ago

Or rather, mistook the bacterial flagellum for the human sperm’s flagellum.

16 years ago

I can help with the formatting of this site if you need any.

16 years ago

the author didn’t put much thought into this piece

I agree. I would also add that he didn’t want to, for the reason I gave in the OP. It seems he wants to swallow everything that Miller was feeding him. Miller is notorious for misrepresenting Behe. The sperm referred to by Jeremy was most likely swallowed whole from Miller’s eel sperm example.