Field of Science

Human genome tests intelligent design

During my 40 years in the biology business, creationism has gone through several different guises the latest of which is intelligent design (ID) a molecular recasting of the old classic “argument by design”. ID posits that “various molecular apparatuses within cells are “irreducibly complex” and therefore could only have been designed purposefully by a higher intelligence.” As an explanation ID is just as useless as uncomplicated old religious creationism in that the explanation is always the same“that is the way it was designed/created.” Such an explanation is useless for doing science, but this matters little to ID/creationist proponents who don’t want to do science but rather want their particular religious beliefs to be on an equal footing with science in our classrooms.
Science functions by putting ideas to nature, which basically means comparing what is expected based on a particular explanation to what is actually observed in nature. In other words, biologists use data to settle arguments. So in the case of ID do you find purposefully designed organization in the basic genetic material of humans? John Avise’s recent publication argues you find no such design or organization, and instead you find lots of junk, lots of disorganization, lots of things consistent with the idea that the human genome is the product of a nonsentient process, evolution, working with the only raw material on hand, accumulated variations in the genetic material. The article is quite readable although you may not understand the specifics of the diverse genomic details described. Finding this out won’t affect ID/creationists who have never let data alter their thinking.


Anonymous said...

So Joe, I guess you won't be visiting the Creation Museum in Kentucky where ..."children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden's Rivers".

The walk through biblical history only takes 2-3 hours—not bad for explaining the arc of evolutionary history.

Sorry, I couldn't help myself.


The Phytophactor said...

Joe? You must have the Phactor confused with someone else?

Creation Museum? Is that located somewhere near the Eternal Damnation theme park, the one where the holy roller coaster plunges you into the pit of fire?

Anonymous said...

By the expressions made in this article it sounds like we have all the answers. WOW that's great. Although I would have to pose the question: If you took a man from, say 1800s, and presented him with technologies of our day, is it possible that his lack of understanding would deem certain necessities as junk... to him? Junk or not it seems the best thing to do is keep comments like " who needs an appendix, just cut it out". It really seems short sighted to me. We are still working to understand the human body and what makes it up. A prideful individual in the field of science will only get so far before he finds himself writing retraction after retraction because he spoke without understanding fully. Maybe it would have shown a better degree of professionalism to work towards understanding why they are there, as opposed to they shouldn't be there. Comment on the things we have been able to discern. Otherwise, for me it just doesn't sound like the scientific method was used in a case where the resulting comments are, "it's full of junk."