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

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.

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