Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

John A. Davison’s New Blog

Check out Davison’s new anti-Darwinian blog: http://prescribedevolution.blogspot.com.

Who Owns Cooption?

Nick Matzke, despite faulting ID proponents for quote-mining, is himself not averse to taking things out of context. At http://www.pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/11/coopting_coopti.html he purports to show how Scott Minnich, during his testimony in Kitzmiller v. Dover, gave away the store in regard to cooption and irreducible complexity. Not so. During the Dover trial, Minnich, as an expert witness, quoted from the Nature paper by Lenski (Pennock was a co-author) as well as Shapiro’s comment concerning the lack of a single phylogenetic history of a sub-cellular organelle or biochemical pathway. Read More ›

Derek Davis at Baylor

Derek Davis, the head of church-state studies at Baylor, is cited in today’s NYTimes story as a critic of ID (I blogged this NYTimes story here). Since Baylor was my previous employer, I have some interest in Davis’s comments about ID, especially since in the past he has published articles supporting the teaching of creationism in public schools. If the NYTimes reporter had done a minimal google of him, she would have found the piece. Here is what Davis says in the Journal of Church and State in 1999: Read More ›

ID Paraphernalia Sale

If you have delayed ordering your ID T-shirts and coffee mugs for Christmas (or you already ordered and want to order more) you are in luck.

Café Press just announced a two-day sale on December 7-8 which will save you 25% on your order. On those two days (this Wed & Thur) any Café Press orders will receive the following discounts: Read More ›

Question for George V. Coyne

According to George V. Coyne: “In the third paragraph of his op ed article in the NY Times, 7 July 2005, Card. Schoenborn mistakenly defines neo-Darwinian evolution as ‘an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection’ and then condemns it. If you arbitrarily define something in a condemning way and then condemn it, you make dialogue pretty difficult.” [From circulated email.] In neo-Darwinism, the raw material for innovation derives from changes in genetic material. According to the theory, those changes are NOT correlated with future benefit. Hence they are random, unguided, unplanned. Likewise, natural selection has no plan — it does not anticipate future functions that are not currently available. It can only take advantage of present function. Read More ›

“SETI and Intelligent Design”

Seth Shostak, at the SETI Institute, has an interesting online article criticizing ID here. His main charge is that ID has no business looking to SETI for support. Why? Because whereas ID looks for complexity in biology to detect design, SETI in fact looks for very simple signals to detect design, namely, radio signals with narrow bandwidth transmissions (not long, complex sequences of prime numbers as in Carl Sagan’s novel Contact).

But in fact, my criterion for design detection applies to the very signals that Shostak’s SETI Institute is looking for. Yes, as narrow bandwidth transmissions, the signals are simple to describe. But they are difficult for purely material processes to reproduce by chance. So we have simplicity of description combined with complexity in the sense of improbability of the outcome. That’s specified complexity and that’s my criterion for detecting design. It’s the same reason we detect design in the 1×4×9 monolith in 2001, A Space Odyssey. The structure is easily described; yet it is hard for natural processes to produce such rectangular solids by purely undirected material forces. Read More ›

ID Becomes a Global Phenomenon

. . . But the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Ronald Numbers viewed the phenomenon as a growing global issue, saying intelligent design had made significant inroads in Australia, throughout Latin America, in Korea and most surprisingly, Russian and even China, which remains a communist state. . . . MORE

Technological Evolution Prize Competition — ANNOUNCEMENT

Comment #2 is the winning entry. It’s the closest to what I was looking for, though it’s still a long way from the indirect Darwinian pathways that supposedly led to the highly integrated molecular machines of the sort described by Michael Behe. Most of the entries focused on evolving a structure to improve a given function. The point of this exercise, however, was to document evolutionary pathways in which functions and structures change over time. I awarded the winning entry $150.

Biological evolution is supposed to describe a gradual process that can produce marvelous adapations from simple precursors (e.g., the mammalian eye from a light-sensitive spot). But what about technological evolution? In the history of human technology, what is the longest chain of gradual changes that transforms one system into another. Read More ›

Darwinism and the Culture of Contempt

Here’s a quick note from a regular PT/talk.origins contributor. Let me encourage commenters on this blog to add to this thread their favorite contemptuous remarks by Darwinists. Look to the Brits for the best examples of snootiness. Read More ›

How’s that for an apology?

KU withdraws intelligent design course Thursday, December 1, 2005 . . . “It was not my intent when I wrote the e-mails, but I understand now that these words have offended many on this campus and beyond, and for that I take full responsibility. I made a mistake in not leading by example, in this student organization e-mail forum, the importance of discussing differing viewpoints in a civil and respectful manner.” . . . MORE

Meyer on ID, Dawkins on EV

Watch this 11 minute PBS interview with Dr Stephen C. Meyer explaining Intelligent Design Theory: http://www.discovery.org/scripts/viewDB/filesDB-download.php?command=download&id=545 Watch this 2 minute BBC interview with Dr. Richard Dawkins explaining Darwin’s Theory: http://www.arn.org/docs/dawkins.mpg

Ken Miller on Chromosomal Fusion in Humans

Here’s a report from a colleague on Ken Miller’s talk yesterday evening at Sacred Heart University (“Intelligent Design and the Battle for America’s Schools: Why Darwin Still Matters” — go here for the press release):

Earlier tonight I attended a presentation by Ken Miller at Sacred Heart University. It appears he got a pretty good turnout. I could only attend for about 45 min and I didn’t take any notes. Here are a few quick thoughts about the style and substance of his talk.

As far as style goes, Miller gave a good and entertaining presentation. It was very professional, slick, and colorful; he makes very effective use of various technological and visual aides; at times he was even funny. Indeed, on several occasions he had the audience cracking up. The only annoying part of his talk, in terms of style (more on substance momentarily), was his continual bragging about his credentials, how many books he has written, his qualifications, etc. I’ve never seen so many pictures and slides of the presenter! Overall I’d have to say he put on a darn good show. Read More ›