Intelligent Design

PZ Myers Has An Epiphany

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Myers says:

Once upon a time, I was one of those nerds who hung around Radio Shack and played about with LEDs and resistors and capacitors; I know how to solder and I took my first old 8-bit computer apart and put it back together again with “improvements.” In grad school I was in a neuroscience department, so I know about electrodes and ground wires and FETs and amplifiers and stimulators. Here’s something else I know: those generic components in this picture don’t do much on their own. You can work out the electrical properties of each piece, but a radio or computer or stereo is much, much more than a catalog of components or a parts list.

Electronics geeks know the really fun stuff starts to happen when you assemble those components into circuits. That’s where the significant work lies and where the actual function of the device is generated—take apart your computer, your PDA, your cell phone, your digital camera and you’ll see similar elements everywhere, and the same familiar components you can find in your Mouser catalog. As miniaturization progresses, of course, more and more of that functionality is hidden away in tiny integrated circuits…but peel away the black plastic of those chips, and you again find resistors and transistors and capacitors all strung together in specific arrangements to generate specific functions.

We’re discovering the same thing about genomes.

Good grief, Myers. This is a prime example why biologists aren’t qualified to recognize design. What you think you’re just discovering is something I recognized decades ago. The flagellum for example isn’t the sum of its proteins. While each individual protein is complex in its own right, the assembly instructions are the real specified complexity. Design engineers recognize that immediately and it’s taken you what, 20 years to begin catching on?

Myers gets a clue. Will wonders never cease?

9 Replies to “PZ Myers Has An Epiphany

  1. 1
    jerry says:

    PZ Meyers thinks this is a nail in the coffin of ID. The whole discussion of this concept on his web site is very technical and is about the Davidson article. They claim that Paul Nelson has min-interpreted Davidson and that Davidson has disavowed the phrase about New Darwinism is dead.

    It is hard to imagine how this much information in the genome just appeared in the pre Cambrian era. What survival function caused natural selection to generate it?

    This post made me wonder about the purpose of this site. It might be worthwhile for this site to ignore anything that appears on Pandas Thumb. As some have said, it just gives them credence and commenting on their comments maybe counter productive. A detailed discussion of the implications of the Davidson and Erwin paper might be more appropriate. It seems they are assuming an extremely high level of information appearing just a short time after the appearance of multi-celled organisms.

  2. 2
    Scott says:

    I think you have a good point, jerry, about giving atheistic fundamentalists like Meyers, credence. He and his ilk are not of the caliber that merits a response, if you ask me. Having said that, I can understand why Dave enjoys pushing their intellectually dishonest buttons. 🙂 Hard to resist.

    It is telling how people like Meyers will go to rediculous lengths to try and force-fit a purely materialistic explanation into the Cambrian problem. Much like the eye kept Darwin up at night with the cold-sweats, I suspect the Cambrian Explosion does the same to people like Meyers.

    And evidently, he didn’t get the memo:;id=639 (patience – it’s a big file)

  3. 3
    Father Wolf says:

    I check here from time to time, but I never see any scientific content. I’d be interested in seeing, for example the results of calculation of the Specified Complexity number for particular organisms or parts of organisms that are intelligently designed.

    For that you need to get the book No Free Lunch.

    I’d like to see some science in random mutation plus natural selection. For instance the results of a calculation showing when the next genus will evolve and what it will be like. Or how about how many generations of bacteria it takes to evolve a nucleus. The number of predictions that neoDarwinian theory can’t make about the phenomenon it pretends to explain is near infinite while the number of predictions it can make are essentially zero. ID on the other hand predicts that you can culture bacteria forever and not get a nucleus because modern bacteria have no capacity for generating complex specified information. -ds

  4. 4
    DaveScot says:


    The interactions are typically wonderfully intricate examples of the same kind of Boolean logic you will find in computer programs and chip designs

    No kidding, Sherlock? Maybe if you’d spent 30 years immersed in the Boolean logic of computer hardware and sofware design with a good helping of factory automation thrown in this dawning realization would have been as obvious as the nose on your face a long time ago. Duh. DNA is digital program code. It controls a programmable assembler (ribosome) that kicks out complex 3 dimensional protein components to specification that are themselves assembled into nanoscale machinery that even in the simplest bacteria exhibits a complexity beyond anything humanity has engineered to date.

    Some people have to learn the hard way. Better late than never for you to come to this realization I guess.

  5. 5
    SCheesman says:

    MattDean: “If biologists aren’t qualified to recognize design, who is? Mathematicians? Christians?”

    How about those who actually design things for a living, e.g. engineers, computer programmers etc., who have a real understanding of how difficult it is to make things work, even with the most careful planning. This is why the Darwinist idea that things can be improved by chance alterations of existing DNA code is so unbelievable (and frankly something of an insult) to many of us who actually write code for a living.

    Also, count me as an “unconvinced” Steve.

  6. 6
    Red Reader says:

    Meyers wrote:
    “First, though, a little caveat. Davidson and Erwin use the language of electronic circuitry to explain what they are seeing. Metaphors are very dangerous things, and I have a feeling that they are pushing the metaphor a little too hard….”

    Perhaps the reason metaphors are dangerous is “the design inference”?
    We can’t have that.

  7. 7
    Joseph says:

    Actually I thought PZ did a good job showing why we infer design when looking at biological systems. If I didn’t know any better I would have thought he was making a case for ID.

    Tell us PZ- just how did blind, purposeless processes bring about the complex interactions of genes?

    Heck I would be satisfied if you could demonstrate those processes can account for DNA replication and translation.

  8. 8
    scordova says:

    Engineers recognize that the concept of a “circuit” has an independence from the underlying material substrate. For example, an abstract control circuit such as Myers described can be instantiated by :

    1. silicon transistors
    2. germainium transistors
    3. vacuum tubes
    4. DNA and other biotic material

    The circuit specification has an independence from the underlying substrate. The particular substrate (DNA) is chosen based on physical compatibility with the biological entity (vacuum tubes would be a poor physical choice, even though in principle they could implement the abstract circuit0, but the underlying independent, detachable specification of “circuit” is readily recognizable to engineers. Myers offered a diagram:

    Compare that to:

    The engineers out there will see the analogies.

    And note the word SOFTWARE is used to describe biology in PZ post.

    The new view of biology places a higher premium on recognizing the architecture, the design of a system over it’s evolutionary history. Thus Darwinian evolution becomes more and more irrelevant to understanding biology.


  9. 9
    scordova says:

    Sorry the links failed. Let me try again.

    Myers offered a diagram:

    Compare that to:

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