Intelligent Design

New Axe paper at BIO-Complexity: The Limits of Complex Adaptation

Available here. Axe’s analysis was motivated in part by the recent flurry of papers dealing with the problem of the waiting time for multiple independent mutations. Here is Doug’s abstract: To explain life’s current level of complexity, we must first explain genetic innovation. Recognition of this fact has generated interest in the evolutionary feasibility of Read More…

Intelligent Design

Goldenfeld and Woese, paradigm-busting even more (with added goodies for ID front-loaders)

Some scientists grow more conservative with age; others, more radical. Carl Woese (age 82) represents a vivid example of the latter group. His latest paper, “Life is physics: evolution as a collective phenomenon far from equilibrium,” co-authored with fellow U of Illinois scientist and frequent collaborator Nigel Goldenfeld, includes more heterodox ideas per page than Read More…

Intelligent Design

It doesn’t matter what we name them…

…the “machines” of the cell will still be what they are: complex, sophisticated molecular systems, essential for the living state. Like the proteasome on the right, a sub-cellular machine that degrades proteins, among its other functions. Oops, there I went and did it — used the “machinery” language that Massimo Pigliucci (CUNY) and Maarten Boudry Read More…

Intelligent Design

Why Kissing the Wall is the Worst Possible Heuristic for Biological Discovery

And would be the worst, whether one is an ID proponent or not. Many UD readers know the Australian molecular biologist John Mattick as a leader in thinking about functional roles for so-called ‘junk DNA.’ Mattick has earned the implacable ire of ID critics such as Larry Moran and T. Ryan Gregory, although not because Read More…

Intelligent Design

Martin Gardner, Fundamentalism, and Adam’s Navel

The enormously influential mathematics and science writer, skeptic, and encourager of many, Martin Gardner, has died at the age of 95. I came to know Gardner through a mutual friend, the late science writer and skeptic Bob Schadewald (1943-2000), who occasionally visited Gardner at the latter’s home in North Carolina. [Here’s a tiny but relevant Read More…

Intelligent Design

Insane Clown Posse Channels Francis Bacon

Specifically, Bacon’s essay on atheism: God never wrought miracle to convince atheism, because his ordinary works convince it. This is an obsolete, but still relevant, sense of “convince.” It means “to overcome or vanquish.” “‘Convince me!’ said the atheist.” In the original sense, this would mean, “Come on — defeat me.” Anyway, their video is Read More…

Intelligent Design

Massimo Says It’s Become a Religion

Not that Massimo — this one. And “it,” of course, is neo-Darwinism, or the Modern Synthesis: textbook evolutionary theory. There’s nothing especially novel in saying that evolutionary theory can function as a secular religion, which is Piattelli-Palmarini’s main point in his new article. Michael Ruse has said as much for years. What has changed within Read More…

Intelligent Design

Just Whose Science Is Todd Wood Stopping?

Yours? His? Theirs? Anyone’s? I’ve known Todd since we were graduate students in the 1990s, and have a hardbound copy of his UVA dissertation (Theory and Application of Protein Homology, 1999) sitting on my office shelves. Todd knows more evolutionary biology than many evolutionary biologists. Yet, perversely, or inexplicably, in the eyes of his critics Read More…

Intelligent Design

Who Performed the Surgery?

Stephen Barr misunderstands the place of natural laws and regularities in design inferences. Barr writes: …whereas the advance of science continually strengthens the broader and more traditional version of the design argument, the ID movement’s version is hostage to every advance in biological science. Science must fail for ID to succeed. In the famous “explanatory Read More…