Uncommon Descent

17 January 2010

Top ten ID science stories of the year


Well, here are three of the top ten winner stories, and I have inserted some comments, with further stories to follow if you click on the link:

1. Authors William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II use computer simulations and information theory to challenge the ability of Darwinian processes to create new functional genetic information. This paper is in many ways a validation of Dembski’s core No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without intelligence, which argued that some intelligent input is required to produce novel complex and specified information.

[About time someone said the obvious. Darwinism does not work, Never has, never will. Kept alive by a taxpayer-funded, court-supported Darwin industry that is nearly a century old. A shame and a scandal, and a waste of tax money. For the moment, I will set aside the completely ridiculous quasi-religious obsequies paid to Darwin. It got so bad that Darwin was compared to Lincoln. And while we are here, Dawkins claims he cannot produce an original statement of his big no-design theory - though professionals associated with the goals of this site reconstructed it - and it doesn't work. 

Like I said at the time - I own Highway 400 all the way up to the TransCanada - but I don't have the documents and don't know what I can tell you - which is what Dawkins said in response to their enquiries.

Note: I do not claim to personally own any part of the highway systems of Canada. It was only a jest in my case. I don't know what it was in Dawkins's case. That's the trouble. Does he have the goods or not?]

2. June of this year. Dan Peterson, in a review of Signature in the Cell (Harper One, 2009) in the September 2009 issue of Spectator question of whether life is a product of unthinking matter or of an intelligent mind” and “this book is an engaging, eye-opening, and often eye-popping read”. In a series of university lectures and debates in the second half of the year Meyer defended his thesis that the information content in DNA and the biological machinery that processes that information is positive evidence for intelligent design. A companion three-minute animated video, visual illustration of Meyer’s points.

(Again, about time someone said the obvious.  About the vid, you can see it here at UD. It comes up regularly in the queue.)

3. The Collectivist Revolution in Biology. An essay by Mark Buchanan in the August issue of Nature announced the breaking with “many of the presuppositions of traditional evolutionary thinking.”

He highlighted its message with these words: “A coming revolution may go so far as to unseat Darwinian evolution as the key explanatory process in biology.” The essay is a contribution to crossdisciplinary thinking starting with an awareness of collective phenomena in modern physics.

[Well, you'd hope so, right?  There are underlying principles of life, and they are based on design.  If some profs need another job or could just retire on a pension, whose fault is that?

Look, we all pay for the Darwin rubbish whether it is about why men cheat on their wives or why women cheat on their husbands (because apes did it, supposedly, at some point? Who knows?).  We pay for it anyway, and we read the resulting nonsense in the Sunday papers.

That is the one single point of which I am reasonably, absolutely sure: We pay for it.

I cannot see a bit of good it has ever done anyone.

And I do not claim to know where this collapsing heap of nonsense will finally descend - that'd be useful info because it is where we can begin the rescue efforts. 

Go here for more. ]

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5 Responses




5:17 pm


Just a minor correction. For those looking for it, Mark Buchanan contributes to Nature Physics, not nature. Same press. He article is not pro-design per se, but argues other non-Darwinian mechanisms like Horizontal Gene Transfer might contribute. Generally, it seems like these mechanisms are considered “add-ons” to classic Darwinism, for instance, the PNAS paper he cites sees HGT dominating “early and small” (my words), with vertical descent dominating later and in multicellular animals.

Though, in a really fantastic HGT story, check out photosynthetic sea-slugs:

I wonder if anyone has a design perspective on how to incorporate these mechanisms? Maybe design such that genes are interchangeable blocks? Frontloading of the seaslug to accept cholorplasts?




7:24 pm

Hi Denyse.

The link at the bottom of the post (”Go here for more”) takes you to a new page ( http://www.arn.org/blogs/index....._science_n ) which features the top story and then links to another Web site ( http://www.arn.org/top10. ) for the rest. However, this link doesn’t work, because of the dot at the end. Just thought I’d let you know.

By the way, the complete list of stories can be found at http://www.arn.org/top10/2009newsstories.pdf or at http://arn.org/top10/2009newsstories.pdf .




7:27 pm

Mrs O’Leary,

I agree that the Dembski and Marks paper was the top ID event of 2009, with Signature in the Cell a close second. I’m sorry that I haven’t finished the book, I was hoping AussieID and I could do a kind of joint review of it for UD.

The publication of the Dembski and Marks paper emphasizes a point also very much at the center of Dr Meyer’s book – that the study of evolution can be detatched from the biological context in which it was originally popularized, in order to better study its limits. We can and must understand evolution in the abstract, as well as the particulars of real world biology.




7:38 pm

There is a BBC program here in the UK at the moment called “The Secret Life of Chaos”, where the presenter makes a case for Biological order arising by Natural Selection as a purely Self-Organising process. Chaos is brought in to excuse the inability of this theory to predict anything. [Its fatal flaw is that Self-Organisation produces basically simple order and repetition. Even self-similarity in fractals is basically simple: a new and subtle kind of repetitiveness.]

Re. the HGT example, I am not a biologist, but I work with computers a lot, so I would not be surprised to discover that genes are designed for plug-and-play use.

This example is in the context of an unusual complex system where the animal is capable of stripping out whole organelles for use without destroying them. I have never heard of anything like this before before, and that is quite spectacular. I follow biology but I dont practice it, so I dont understand all the subtleties of PCR and sequencing, but even if the sequence turns out to be exactly the same one, that does not automatically imply natural HGT: it could be designed HGT. To show that natural HGT is even plausible, a truly neutral (amaterialistic) science would require justified numerical estimates for the probability of the transfer happening via natural processes.

Yes, designed HGT is a possibility. In computing we call it ‘not reinventing the wheel’.


of O'Leary


9:24 pm

I can’t imagine anything I would like better in the whole wide world than self-organization – but it does not really happen.

There is a big mess of cans in my library, due to the fact that I was using a bust fridge as a storage compartment. Recently, a handyman suggested that he might know how it might become a working fridge again, if he can find a capacitor that works for that fridge.

So I cleared the cans out – and does anyone imagine that that the current “can mess” in my library is going to organize itself? I just hope it doesn’t become a trip hazard.

There is another huge mess in my office, this time of periodicals from which I need to razor articles I have written and then file. Given where I live, I never know what I might be charged for.

Anyone who has a reasonable proposition for how those articles will self-organize all by themselves should get in touch with me real soon.

Forget the cans. I can give them to the food bank if I can lug them all that way.

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