Intelligent Design

Every day biology is looking more and more designed.

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We are often told that “there is no ID research published in peer reviewed journals“. I receive Nature E-Alerts in a number of biological research fields. Almost every time I read the abstracts and even the titles, or spend more time delving into the detail, I hear “Intelligent Design” silently screamed from the pages. Am I deluded, or do others hear it too? Here is a recent example.

Sharp boundaries of Dpp signalling trigger local cell death required for Drosophila leg morphogenesis Nature Cell Biology – 9, 57 – 63 (2006) http://www.nature.com/ncb/journal/v9/n1/abs/ncb1518.html

Morphogens are secreted signalling molecules that govern many developmental processes. In the Drosophila (fruit fly) wing disc, a specific transforming growth factor (Dpp) forms a smooth gradient and specifies cell fate. Neighbouring cells have similar amounts of Dpp protein, and if a sharp discontinuity in Dpp activity is generated between these cells, cell death is triggered to restore graded positional information. To date, it has been assumed that this selective cell death process is only activated when normal signalling is distorted.

We now show that a similar process occurs during normal development: rupture in Dpp activity occurs during normal segmentation of the distal legs of Drosophila. The sharp boundary of Dpp is the signal that induces the selective cell death required for the morphogenesis (crafting) of a particular structure of the leg, the joint.

Our results show that Dpp could induce a developmental programme not only in a concentration dependent manner, but also by the creation of a sharp boundary of Dpp activity. Furthermore, the same process could be used either to restore a normal pattern in response to artificial disturbance or to direct a morphogenetic process.

19 Replies to “Every day biology is looking more and more designed.

  1. 1
    sagebrush gardener says:

    All good research is ID research. There is a near-daily dose of it over at http://creationsafaris.com/crevnews.htm. Some of the researchers don’t realize it themselves yet but it seems more apparent to me all the time.

  2. 2
    apollo230 says:

    This state of affairs in Drosophila fairly shouts design. However, once we affirm design, then what’s next? How would asserting design aid in furthering the knowledge of this fruit fly’s development?

    My instinct tells me that we have to go beyond asserting design to actually trying to find the designer, and catching them in the act of re-morphing a genome. Apprehending the specifics of a designer actually re-casting a fruit fly’s genes (or that of any other species) would clearly tell us more than a mere assertion of design would.

    Asserting design is solving a relatively simple problem. Finding the designer would be far more challenging. The only solution I can think of is petitioning the designer to reveal their presence. “Ask and it will be given, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened” comes to mind here.

    Best regards,
    apollo230

  3. 3
    Mats says:

    Clearly, those biological structures are religiously motivated.
    ……..
    There is one thing that I saw a few days back, that I’d like to share. It’s a bit off topic, but then again, I think that this is yet another evidence for ID.

  4. 4
    russ says:

    Apollo230, are you actually a troll, or do you only “give the appearance of being a troll”?

  5. 5
    idnet.com.au says:

    Apollo230

    We are often told that the acceptance of ID will stop research. They say that if one admits the possibility of Design, then people will not be interested in how the system works. As with many of the anti ID propaganda, this is very silly.

    The identity of the Designer is not necessary for agreeing that something is designed.

    If things are designed we approach research with assumptions that are different from thinking things are the results of NDE. Junk DNA would never have been so labelled if ID was the prevailing paradigm.

  6. 6
    PaV says:

    Apollo 230:

    “This state of affairs in Drosophila fairly shouts design. However, once we affirm design, then what’s next? How would asserting design aid in furthering the knowledge of this fruit fly’s development?”

    The answer to that is: it wouldn’t. Only research can uncover deeper understandings of nature. However, and listen carefully please, it would make for more rigorous experimental programs. What design does is eliminate all the easy answers. The presumption in most experimental programs is that “evolution-did-it”. So, in getting from A to B, you simply invoke evolution. When you assert design, then it forces you to think through problems with more depth. The end result will more rigorous, but much more fruitful, cooperative research programs.

    Maybe that’s why evolutionists are so attached to Darwinism–nothing but easy answers. But is that the way science ought to operate? I think not.

  7. 7
    russ says:

    “My instinct tells me that we have to go beyond asserting design to actually trying to find the designer, and catching them in the act of re-morphing a genome.”

    This is about as likely as our being able to observe speciation by NDE. That’s not going to happen either.

  8. 8
    shaner74 says:

    “My instinct tells me that we have to go beyond asserting design to actually trying to find the designer, and catching them in the act of re-morphing a genome. Apprehending the specifics of a designer actually re-casting a fruit fly’s genes (or that of any other species) would clearly tell us more than a mere assertion of design would.”

    Don’t want to whip a dead horse here, but we’ve never had this problem before, why would it be a problem now? Why do we need to know the designer, or see him in action? We don’t know who designed the “Antikythera Device”, but that hasn’t stopped us from studying it, rebuilding it, and even making a pretty darn good guess at its purpose. Now ask yourself, if a Darwinist mindset/worldview looked upon that device when it was discovered, and concluded it was a chance product of natural law, what type of work would have been done on it? The actual device itself probably wouldn’t have been reconstructed or a function found for it, but rather millions in research dollars would have gone to finding some way it could have been created without a designer. Atheist authors would be writing books about the “appearance” of design in the Antikythera Device, and presenting computer simulations that seem to create a device randomly as evidence for its non-design. Those who believed the Antikythera Device was designed would be scorned, ridiculed, and forced out of the universities. All the while we would never gain an understanding of its true purpose – why it was made in the first place, never mind how to fix it or create our own with new and improved materials. Looking at biology from an ID perspective is not guaranteed to reveal the purpose of the design, but it would give us the *chance* of finding a purpose, and at the very least save us a ton of wasted time. I’m really tired right now so I doubt any of this makes sense.

  9. 9
    apollo230 says:

    Thank you all for your kind answers! Because of the volume of points raised, I may not be able to respond to all.

    (in answer to RUSS-greetings):
    *For the record, I am no troll regarding ID. I would bet all my chips on an ancient earth/common ancestry/ID composite any day over any evolutionary theory that favored mere trial-and-error.*

    ID.COM.AU stated: ‘We are often told that the acceptance of ID will stop research. They say that if one admits the possibility of Design, then people will not be interested in how the system works. As with many of the anti ID propaganda, this is very silly.’

    I agree, I fail to see how ID itself would retard science. It could easily serve as an inspiration/springboard for further research, and trigger novel points of view which catalyze creativity.

    On the other hand, I do not want to denigrate the reverse-engineering that has been done by legions of agnostic & atheist researchers-with fruitful results. This class of researchers have clearly made numerous scientific contributions without assuming design. Therefore, I suspect that science will advance as long as the logical principles of reverse-engineering are used: whether a design inference is made or not.

    Would a brigade of ID biologists progress faster on research than a similar number of agnostics/atheists (in regards to design)? There is only one way to find out: Put the groups head-to-head in races to find solutions to a set number of biological problems, give them the same levels of funding and support, and see who wins.

    SHANER said: “Why do we need to know the designer, or see him in action?”
    A strong inference for design can be made from the specified complexity found in either man or machine.

    Nonetheless, the alleged designer of living things is in a class all by itself. Such a creature would be so extraordinarily advanced and intelligent (disembodied even???) that every effort should be made to find it, and if evolution is still going on, this Architect must still be alive and busy, thus keeping positive detection a possibility. Declining a search for this designer would denigrate SETI’s mission to no end. For those with religious sympathies who believe that God is the leading candidate: would it be OK to stop searching for God?

    Additionally, I maintain my position that finding such a designer at work in biological systems would open up a veritable mountain of knowledge that an isolated design inference cannot. I embrace ID because it leads me to (figuratively) shake the greatest “black box” of all-the designer box-and wonder out loud with delight: “what’s in this one?” Inside this black box is the greatest secret of all, and I am not going to take no for an answer.

    Best regards to all,
    Apollo230

    PS. Because I am going away for a few days, I will not be able to respond, so do not feel obligated to give full-fledged answers to this post.

  10. 10
    Patrick says:

    if evolution is still going on, this Architect must still be alive and busy, thus keeping positive detection a possibility.

    That assumes a “tinkering Designer” scenario. Obviously that is a live possibility but ID doesn’t rely on it…never mind that that is DesignER Detection and not merely Design Detection, which is the focus of ID as of now.

  11. 11
    russ says:

    Apollo230, sorry if my post seemed rude, but it sounded like you were repeating the standard objection to ID: “You have to show us the designer if you’re going to posit design.”

  12. 12
    Bob OH says:

    Would a brigade of ID biologists progress faster on research than a similar number of agnostics/atheists (in regards to design)?

    What about the deist and theist biologists that reject ID?

    Bob

  13. 13
    Jehu says:

    Speaking of biology looking designed. Have you seen this cool video on DNA packing and replication posted on telicthoughts?

    http://telicthoughts.com/dna-p.....ment-61258

  14. 14
    DaveScot says:

    Bob OH

    What about the deist and theist biologists that reject ID?

    They only reject the strawman “ID Creationism” (scientific creationism in a cheap tuxedo) that certain despicable and intellectually dishonest ID bashers have made of it.

  15. 15
    idnet.com.au says:

    Apollo230

    “I do not want to denigrate the reverse-engineering that has been done by legions of agnostic & atheist researchers – with fruitful results. This class of researchers have clearly made numerous scientific contributions without assuming design.”

    I would argue that reverse-engineering assumes engineering and engineering infers design. They assume design even if they do not even know they are assuming it.

  16. 16
    tribune7 says:

    What about the deist and theist biologists that reject ID? –Bob

    It means they don’t understand ID.

  17. 17
    HodorH says:

    DaveScot said:
    [deist and theist biologists that reject ID]They only reject the strawman “ID Creationism” (scientific creationism in a cheap tuxedo) that certain despicable and intellectually dishonest ID bashers have made of it.
    Are you saying that deistic and theistic evolution are compatable with a nuanced understanding of ID? Because though I would agree with that statement, I’m pretty sure Dr. Dembski emphatically disagrees.

  18. 18
    Bob OH says:

    What about the deist and theist biologists that reject ID? –Bob

    It means they don’t understand ID.

    OK, but presumably you would say that the atheists and agnostics are also wrong. My point was – why were you (or rather apollo230) making the dividing line between ID and evolution the same as the one between belief and un-belief? I thought ID wasn’t related to religion.

    Bob

  19. 19
    idnet.com.au says:

    HodorH
    “Are you saying that deistic and theistic evolution are compatable with a nuanced understanding of ID? Because though I would agree with that statement, I’m pretty sure Dr. Dembski emphatically disagrees.”

    When people like Francis Collins are pushed to logical conclusions, they make what we call a small i small d statement. They say that the universe demonstrates features indicating that life was the intended consequence of it’s creation, its intrinsic design.

    What most theistic evolutionists reject is that we may infer design from any specific biological entity that exists today. They see “evolution” by apparently unguided or random processes being capable of producing biological complexity without any specific input from a designer.

    Those in ID see this (Blind Watchmaker Evolution) as unsubstanciated wishful thinking and counter to almost all physical observations.

    At the end of the day, Dawkins et al brand Francis Collins and most TEs as “creationists” along with IDers and YECs.

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