Commentary on the so-called Creation/Evolution/Intelligent Design Debate and Right-Wing nuttery in general - and please ignore the typos (I make lots!)

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, by Jon 'Draft Dodger' Wells

Jon Wells, of 10-years-to-get-a-PhD-with-only-2-coauthored-papers-to-show-for-it and a 'mission to destroy Darwinism' fame has recently written The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, published by standard 'anything goes as long as it is pro-Conservative' Regnery Publishing.

It is standard right-wing creationist propaganda - misleading, false, idiotic, and inflammatory to its core, like the other PIG books (like this one on U.S. history, for example) , as they have become known.

The Panda's Thumb, a 'pro-evolution' website/blog, has been posting deconstructions and demolitions of Wells' latest pulp fiction.

They are good reads, and each installation demonstrates the depths to which this member of the Intelligent Design movement, and members of right-wing movements in general, will go to in order to promote their preferred ideology. It should give honest conservatives pause...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I guess I was wrong - the concept of "Intelligent Design" really is useful...

I guess I was just plain wrong about this.

The ID paradigm really is an amazingly useful tool for scientific endeavors, and therefore by extension, naturalistic evolution really is false. How could I have been so wrong all this time? I just thought that ID was a way to sneak religion into public school science classes - how wrong I was!

Here is how I now know this.

Yesterday, I had some time to kill and did a little intellectual autoflagellation at Dembski's den of sycophantic simpletons (i.e., Bill Dembski's blog), and I ended up following a couple of links to "Mike Gene's" most recent blog, The Design Matrix.

Its main purpose seems to be publicity for his upcoming book of the same title*, but what intrigued me was this page, and specifically, the entry titled Example of Design Detection.

Now let me inform you what the entry page to this blog said re: Gene's new book:

"What clues might lead to a suspicion that Life was intelligently designed? Is it possible to move beyond the suspicion?..."

So, MY suspicion was that Mike Gene may have actually produced - for the very first time - evidence that a 'design' paradigm actually produced results - maybe he actually came up with some concrete evidence for 'design in nature' - evidence that Life really was the product of Intelligence! How exciting!!

Imagine how I felt when, upon clicking the link for the entry, and seeing only a link.
I was a bit suspicious, but what the heck.

Then imagine my surprise when I saw that the link that Gene provided as an example of design detection was on a political blog, in an article titled:

Reuters Doctoring Photos from Beirut?

An article about how it was discovered that a photographer had doctored photos.

Color me impressed! Color me astonished! Color me converted!

I mean, if it was only via an Intelligent Design paradigm, as Gene implies in the title, that this act of photoshopping was discovered, what other biologically relevant discoveries will adopting metaphorical terminology and relying on analogies as evidence provide for humanity!?!?

And Mike Gene is no slouch - why, anti-Darwinian theologian William 'Isaac Newton of Information Theory' Dembski says of him " Mike Gene is the pseudonym of one of the most insightful individuals in the ID/evolution debate."


I guess he would know...

Let's get this new book in public schools immediately!


*a book wherein Gene apparently talks about his 'suspicion' of design....

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

How to make wild, ridiculous extrapolations

Step 1: be a creationist

Step 2: be a creationist with no relevant background, training, experience, or education in any field related to evolution or biology

Step 3: Be 1 and 2 above and have a background in something like computer programming

Step 4: Convince yourself that because of your true background, you have some sort of unique and special insight into things that you have no background in

Step 5: Read some news releases on highly technical issues related to things you have no background in. For example, read an interesting article about 'jumping genes' - an idea that has been around for awhile, but for which there was little supporing evidence.

Step 6: take the information in an article like the one above, and make broad, wild, unsupportable sweeping generalizations like this:

"Also to point out, ALL phylogenies based on homology are based on the idea of random mutations (if organism X has the exact same pattern (tissue, bone structure, etc.) as organism Y it must be because of a shared common ancestor with that pattern. If random mutation is not correct, then it is very possible that two children could “evolve” the _exact same_ organ independently. Thus, if random mutations are found to be directed, then pretty much all phylogenetic trees need to be re-examined, and perhaps even the notion of morphological tree-building would be called into question. "


Toss everything out the window because of one unique discovery? Hypothetically possible. Of course, in this case, one will have to ignore the fact that the methods questioned have been tested on knowns and found to be pretty darn accurate and reliable.

But should 'jumping genes' really be considered on the same level as synapomorphic mutations?

Should we discount paternity testing because a computer programmer implies that 'jumping genes' calls into question every aspect of genomics?


If anything, the comment above merely shows the extent to which an unyielding allegiance to biblical literalism can distort one's perception of reality.