Intelligent Design

James Shapiro Cries Foul: “I was outraged”

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The latest attack in the never ending Texas textbook battle comes from evolutionist James Shapiro, University of Chicago professor, who states that he was falsely misquoted by certain members of the Texas state’s school board textbook review committee. Shapiro explains that he was outraged by a “completely false statement” and that he was “the victim of skillful misquoting for an anti-science purpose.” Indeed, according to Shapiro these opponents of evolution are “trying to confuse and mislead the public,” and are “against freedom of speech in scientific research, honesty in public decision-making, and suitable modern education for the students of Texas.” Shapiro concludes that all of this “sounds counter to the ideals of liberty, democracy and opportunity on which this nation was founded.” These are very serious charges from a leading evolutionist and, as such, need to be addressed.  Read more

6 Replies to “James Shapiro Cries Foul: “I was outraged”

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Well contrary to what Dr. Shapiro thinks his work may indicate scientifically (being the unbiased observer in all this that he is 🙂 ), the fact of the matter is Dr Shapiro himself has admitted that he has no ‘real-time experiments’ for what he claims to be true:

    How Natural Genetic Engineering Solves Problems in Protein Evolution – James Shapiro – May 2012
    Excerpt: When I pointed out the potential of domain shuffling by natural genetic engineering to Intelligent Design advocates who claimed protein evolution by natural mechanisms was impossible, they refused to recognize genomic data as irrefutable evidence and insisted on real-time experiments. I disagree with them strongly on the DNA sequence data.

    So since Dr. Shapiro has no ‘real-time experiments’ to support his position that ‘natural genetic engineering’ can generate novel protein domains, why is it ‘anti-science’ to point this out to him and to others. Although Dr. Shapiro may believe that natural genetic engineering is up to the task, he simply does not have the ‘real-time’ evidence, as he himself admits, to support his claim:

    Doug Axe addresses James Shapiro’s mistaken disagreement with Intelligent Design here:

    On Protein Origins, Getting to the Root of Our Disagreement with James Shapiro – Doug Axe – January 2012
    Excerpt: I know of many processes that people talk about as though they can do the job of inventing new proteins (and of many papers that have resulted from such talk), but when these ideas are pushed to the point of demonstration, they all seem to retreat into the realm of the theoretical.

    i.e. just as with neo-Darwinists, Dr. Shapiro relying on sequence similarity/dissimilarity data to try to make his case for ‘natural genetic engineering’, instead of relying on ‘real-time experiments’ to support his case, has the very same ‘anti-science’ problem that neo-Darwinism has of assuming the conclusion beforehand to try to prove the very question being asked. i.e. Can unguided processes create information? That is not a minor question, nor is it ‘anti-science’ to ask it. In fact it is ‘anti-science’ to refuse to ask that question!

    Of related note:

    Exon Shuffling, and the Origins of Protein Folds – Jonathan M. – July 15, 2013
    Excerpt: A frequently made claim in the scientific literature is that protein domains can be readily recombined to form novel folds. In Darwin’s Doubt, Stephen Meyer addresses this subject in detail (see Chapter 11).

    Exon Shuffling: Evaluating the Evidence – Jonathan M. – July 16, 2013
    The Problems with Domain Shuffling as an Explanation for Protein Folds
    Excerpt: The domain shuffling hypothesis in many cases requires the formation of new binding interfaces. Since amino acids that comprise polypeptide chains are distinguished from one another by the specificity of their side-chains, however, the binding interfaces that allow units of secondary structure (i.e. ?-helices and ?-strands) to come together to form elements of tertiary structure is dependent upon the specific sequence of amino acids. That is to say, it is non-generic in the sense that it is strictly dependent upon the particulars of the components.
    Domains that must bind and interact with one another can’t simply be pieced together like LEGO bricks.
    In his 2010 paper in the journal BIO-Complexity Douglas Axe reports on an experiment conducted using ?-lactamase enzymes which illustrates this difficulty (Axe, 2010).

    Dr. Stephen Meyer: Darwin’s Dilemma – Where did the information come from? – video

    Dr. Stephen Meyer – Why Intelligent Design Describes the Cambrian Explosion – video

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    Also of note, although Dr. Shapiro may think to question evolution is to question science itself (i.e. is to be ‘anti-science’), the fact of the matter is that science itself can proceed quite happily, and I would hold much more effectively, without any reference to evolutionary ideas whatsoever:

    Materialists like to claim evolution is indispensable to experimental biology and led the way to many breakthroughs, (in fact as with Dr. Shapiro, many times they claim that ‘evolution IS science’) Yet these experts disagree.

    “Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved. It might be thought, therefore, that evolutionary arguments would play a large part in guiding biological research, but this is far from the case. It is difficult enough to study what is happening now. To figure out exactly what happened in evolution is even more difficult. Thus evolutionary achievements can be used as hints to suggest possible lines of research, but it is highly dangerous to trust them too much. It is all too easy to make mistaken inferences unless the process involved is already very well understood.”
    Francis Crick – What Mad Pursuit (1988)

    “While the great majority of biologists would probably agree with Theodosius Dobzhansky’s dictum that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, most can conduct their work quite happily without particular reference to evolutionary ideas. Evolution would appear to be the indispensable unifying idea and, at the same time, a highly superfluous one.”
    A.S. Wilkins, editor of the journal BioEssays, Introduction to “Evolutionary Processes” – (2000).

    “In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all.”
    Marc Kirschner, Boston Globe, Oct. 23, 2005

    “Certainly, my own research with antibiotics during World War II received no guidance from insights provided by Darwinian evolution. Nor did Alexander Fleming’s discovery of bacterial inhibition by penicillin. I recently asked more than 70 eminent researchers if they would have done their work differently if they had thought Darwin’s theory was wrong. The responses were all the same: No.,,, In the peer-reviewed literature, the word “evolution” often occurs as a sort of coda to academic papers in experimental biology. Is the term integral or superfluous to the substance of these papers? To find out, I substituted for “evolution” some other word – “Buddhism,” “Aztec cosmology,” or even “creationism.” I found that the substitution never touched the paper’s core. This did not surprise me. From my conversations with leading researchers it had became clear that modern experimental biology gains its strength from the availability of new instruments and methodologies, not from an immersion in historical biology.”
    Philip S. Skell – (the late) Emeritus Evan Pugh Professor at Pennsylvania State University, and a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

  3. 3
    Piltdown2 says:

    While the intent may not have been to misquote Professor Shapiro, the placement of the citation in the context provided adds little to the point being made. The short quote from Professor Shapiro’s book, (“Selection operates as a selective but not a creative force.”) is very weak and indirect support for the point being made that there is no firmly established mechanism for the introduction of novelty. Wondering if additional citations were listed in the actual report and not included in this excerpt. As to the learned professor’s invoking liberty, freedom of speech, and founding principles, methinks he doth protest too much.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Speaking of ‘crying fowl’

    Darwin ‘Wrong’: Species Living Together Does Not Encourage Evolution – December 20, 2013
    Excerpt: Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution set out in the Origin of Species has been proven wrong by scientists studying ovenbirds.
    Researchers at Oxford University found that species living together do not evolve differently to avoid competing with one another for food and habitats – a theory put forward by Darwin 150 years ago.
    The ovenbird is one of the most diverse bird families in the world and researchers were looking to establish the processes causing them to evolve.
    Published in Nature, the research compared the beaks, legs and songs of 90% of ovenbird species.
    Findings showed that while the birds living together were consistently more different than those living apart, this was the result of age differences. Once the variation of age was accounted for, birds that live together were more similar than those living separately – directly contradicting Darwin’s view.
    The species that lived together had beaks and legs no more different than those living apart,,,
    ,,,there is no shortage of evidence for competition driving divergent evolution in some very young lineages. But we found no evidence that this process explains differences across a much larger sample of species.,,,
    He said that the reasons why birds living together appear to evolve less are “difficult to explain”,,

  5. 5
    Mapou says:

    Indeed, according to Shapiro these opponents of evolution are “trying to confuse and mislead the public,” and are “against freedom of speech in scientific research, honesty in public decision-making, and suitable modern education for the students of Texas.” Shapiro concludes that all of this “sounds counter to the ideals of liberty, democracy and opportunity on which this nation was founded.”

    Like most evolutionists, Shapiro is a gutless swine. He is, in effect, accusing critics of evolution of the very sins that he and his kind are guilty of.

  6. 6
    Barb says:

    Reading this and going back to the thread about the anonymous donor in Los Angeles, whose message was removed from a museum because it mentioned a creator, leads me to one inescapable conclusion: Darwinists are hypocrites of the highest order.

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