10 August 2007

IDiot Rundown

Dacook of UncommonlyDense quote-mines a recent National Research Council report:
On Page 8 of a Report from the National Research Council there is an interesting admission:
“Natural selection based solely on mutation is probably not an adequate mechanism for evolving complexity.”
Of course the report itself supports the concept of Darwinian evolution. But I think the admission that mutation is an insufficient mechanism is significant. They invoke lateral transfer of genes as the alternate explanation:
“More important, lateral gene transfer and endosymbiosis are probably the most obvious mechanisms for creating complex genomes…”
Of course this begs the question; where did the genes come from that are being laterally transferred?
The genes come from mutation. The report admits that mutation alone is not sufficient for evolution (not a new revelation), but it's certainly necessary. The point is, you're not looking at one single genome being continuously mutated over time. You have a bunch of different genomes mutating, and then mixing and matching the parts that work to create entirely new genomes.

Meanwhile, turnabout is fair play. Several months ago, Time magazine made the insulting decision to have Michael (Fucking) Behe write Richard Dawkins' profile for their list of the year's 100 most influential people. Now, Bruce Chapman of the Discovery Institute is flustered because the New York Times Review of Books chose Dawkins to review Behe's The Edge of Evolution. Let me give it to you straight: Dawkins is respected in the scientific community. Behe is not. It's dishonest enough to pretend that they're equals without going further to say Behe is above Dawkins.

Next, the media made a hubbub over recent hominid fossils, and DI's Casey Luskin wasn't going to let the sensationalism go by untouched. Rather than write about everything that's wrong with his interpretation of the fossils, I'll just let you choose from a few other bloggers: 1 2 3 4 5. I'll just add that I found scordova's (UD) remark on the matter highly ironic:
It [sic] understandable that scientists make mistakes, but one would hope an entire scientific discipline could get at least one fact right once in a while.
Strong words, from someone who thinks ID counts as a scientific discipline.

We've got a transcript of a 2005 speech by creationist Don McLeroy, now head of the Texas State Board of Education. Texas is screwed. That might deserve a post of its own.

William Dembski apparently thinks animated .gifs and Beatles lyrics are accurate representations of evolutionary theory. This is a problem.

Finally, our old friend Michael Egnor still insists that questioning evolution in schools is a federal crime:
It’s a federal crime to violate a federal court ruling, such as the
ruling by federal judge John E. Jones banning criticism of Darwin’s
theory in the curriculum of biology classes in Dover, Pennsylvania
public schools.
There's just one problem with Egnor's logic: Judge Jones' ruling doesn't ban questioning of evolution. Questions are a good thing. It does, however, ban teaching of intelligent design, on the grounds that ID is rehashed creationism bent on sneaking religion into science curricula. (Don't believe that? Check out the Don McLeroy transcript.)

1 comment:

Ben Cox said...

questioning evolution in schools is a federal crime

Oh, if only. (Sarcasm. (Sort Of))