Intelligent Design

[quote mine] if truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits

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….if truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’. Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.

Jerry Coyne

This quote appeared in this article : Jerry Coyne Attacks Evolution-Skeptic With Namecalling in Nature by Casey Luskin. Luskin was writing in response to Jerry Coyne’s article in Nature Selling Darwin.

Coyne is also quoted as saying:

After lecturing this spring to the Alaska Bar Association on the debate over intelligent design and evolution, I was approached at the podium by a young lawyer. The tight-lipped smile, close-cropped hair and maniacal gleam in his eyes told me that he was probably a creationist out for blood. I was not wrong.

Incidentally, a creationist lawyer does not necessarily look like that. As proof of my assertion, here is a picture of a creationist lawyer and molecular biologist, Dr. Kelly Hollowell, PhD, JD:
Kelly Hollowell

Coyne’s article in Nature was accompanied by the following Doonesbury comic strip. A first rate scientific journal is now starting to look and sound like Pandas Thumb!

doonesbury creationist

Finally, Jerry Coyne is also the famous evolutionary biologist who said : In science’s pecking order, evolutionary biology lurks somewhere near the bottom.

PS
And I need to throw in this quote mine of Allen Orr just for fun [from Darwin v Intelligent Design (again)]:

Evolutionists are widely perceived as uncritical ideologues, devoted to suppressing all doubt about evolution

17 Replies to “[quote mine] if truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits

  1. 1
    Larry Fafarman says:

    An article on my blog says,

    We keep hearing of all the wonderful applications of evolution theory. Well, one area where evolution theory is not applied is in the breeding of racehorses. A 2002 New York Times article, titled “Winning Races, but Not Records”, reports that the speed of racehorses has been stagnant for several decades ( indeed, it has even been theorized that racehorses are actually getting slower because the speeds have been stagnant while race courses have been getting faster). . . . . .a perverse result of exorbitant stud fees — as high as $½ million for the best stud horses — is that the fastest horses transmit their superior running abilities to few offspring . . . . The smart thing to do would be to offer the stud services of the fastest horses for just a nominal charge or even for free, in exchange for a share of the future winnings of the offspring

    — from
    http://im-from-missouri.blogsp.....orses.html

  2. 2
    Jon Jackson says:

    “Coyne’s article in Nature was accompanied by the following Doonesbury comic strip. A first rate scientific journal is now starting to look and sound like Pandas Thumb!”

    Well no wonder, with all the free publicity you’re giving them their circulation is probably up. Next thing you know I’ll be buying an issue at Kroger.

  3. 3
    Jack Krebs says:

    Does this woman know you have posted her picture? Some people, especially attractive young women, might have a problem with that.

  4. 4
    johnnyb says:

    The AAAS (the publisher of Science) tends to weigh in on the controversy without understanding it at all. For instance, here is a response article I wrote to one of their editorials in a local paper.

  5. 5
    Alan Fox says:

    Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably.

    Well, is’nt that what is supposed to happen with random mutation?

  6. 6
    scordova says:

    Jack wrote:

    Does this woman know you have posted her picture? Some people, especially attractive young women, might have a problem with that.

    Jack,

    Kelly Hollowell is one of the most respected columnists at WorldNetDaily, the photo is from an article Kelly Herself published here.

    Kelly Hollowell, J.D., Ph.D., is a scientist, patent attorney and adjunct professor of bioethics at the University of Richmond and Regent University law schools. She is the executive director of The Center for Bioethics and Culture in Virginia, on the Web at http://www.thecbc.org, and founder of SMI, an education-based nonprofit corporation addressing issues in science and biotechnology, on the Web at http://www.scienceministries.org.

    Salvador

  7. 7
    scordova says:

    By the way, she is a creationist listed by the (gasp) ICR. Apparently her rejecting of KCFS style Darwinism didn’t dull her mind. Being a patent attorney and PhD, she’s probably filthy rich too!

    Salvador

  8. 8
    scordova says:

    Jack,

    I do applaud your concern, however, that was decent of you.

    Salvador

  9. 9
    bFast says:

    Alan Fox:

    Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably.

    Well, is’nt that what is supposed to happen with random mutation?

    Its the cases where evolution has followed a very predictable pattern that cause me notice.

    – We had a cool article here about the paralells between the marsupial and placental animals.

    – Denton points out the difficulties presented in the fact that Cyclochrome “C” presents a perfect phylogenic tree.

    – Polydactylism is unexpectedly avoided in nature — according to Gould.

    Convergence is a much more predominant phenomenon than RM+NS predicts. Convergence seems to provide evidence that certain patterns in nature are inevitable.

    Contingency, it would seem, is not supported by the evidence — even though microbes mutate unexpectedly.

  10. 10
    StephenA says:

    Arrrg! I wrote a post about the non-evolution of racehorses, but it was eaten by internet gremlins.

    In short, racehorse speeds have not increase in recent decades. Evolution predicts that species can undergo unlimited change. ID would predict that only limited change can happen (because there is no new information being added to the genome). This is a simplistic version of the argument, but I don’t feel like typing the whole thing out again.

  11. 11
    Mats says:

    On the issue of unlimited change, let’s not forget that Darwin believed that if you toss a bear into the water, and wait a few million years, it will eventually turn into a whale. I have been told (or I saw it in here) that such a quotation only apears in the first edition of Origins.
    Seeing that science has shown that animals can’t go on changing without limits, that is yet another Darwinian prediction refuted by science.

  12. 12
    Bob OH says:

    Evolution predicts that species can undergo unlimited change.

    Only with unlimited time. As any animal breeder should know, evolution needs variation. I believe that racehorses come from a limited genetic base, which means that there was not a lot of variation available for evolution, and that may well have been exhausted.

    Bob

  13. 13
    Charlie says:

    Bob,
    Are you making a case for front-loaded evolution via pre-existing information which is then culled by selection?

    Or are you merely saying that regardless of selection pressures there has not been time enough for random variation to arise?

  14. 14
    Monimonika says:

    I’m not into horse racing, so my understanding of breeding practices for racehorses could be fundamentally wrong. Please correct my mistakes.

    From what I imagine, the selection process for racehorses is controlled by humans (artificial selection), thus limiting the potential of novel ways of gaining speed.

    Natural selection allows for more leeway of what gets passed on to the next generation as long as the trait is “good enough” or doesn’t really affect survival. So, horses that are not necessarily the “fastest of the fast” could still reproduce in natural selection, while the same horses may be culled in artificial selection. This would allow for more variance in traits that could potentially lead to faster speeds via (humanly) un-imagined ways.

    I guess my point is that human intelligence is not necessarily the best “designer” for organisms.

  15. 15
    ofro says:

    “Evolution predicts that species can undergo unlimited change.”

    You are giving evolution too much credit. Even with near-unlimited time on hand, evolution will never end up with a racehorse that can run at 500 mph. There are independent limitations (physics, chemistry).

  16. 16
    ofro says:

    I don’t agree with the statement that “evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture”. Evolutionary analysis has led to the recognition that there are certain positions in the amino acid sequence of a protein/enzyme that cannot be mutated without impairing or destroying its function. Therefore a high-priority target in designing many vaccines is the conserved region in a pathogen’s crucial protein since this region will always be the same even if the pathogen has mutated in other, less critical positions. Evolution helps us by telling us not to try to predict but to go with what we already know.

  17. 17
    Bob OH says:

    Bob,
    Are you making a case for front-loaded evolution via pre-existing information which is then culled by selection?

    Or are you merely saying that regardless of selection pressures there has not been time enough for random variation to arise?

    The latter.
    Ah, after a quick google:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article.ns?id=dn7941
    So the genetic base of racehorses is tiny (it’s larger than for bananas though), so there is not be a lot of genetic variation in the population, and a couple of hundred years would not be time enough to create it through mutation.

    Bob

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