Intelligent Design

Why does it take engineers to do “synthetic biology”?

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Here is one of Discover’s top 6 genetics stories of 2006. Not only are these people doing intelligent design research — they are engineers!

6 Biologists Crack Open Life’s Tool Kit

Intelligent design became a scientific reality this year with the report that researchers had custom-made a lifesaving microbe—one that helps make a much-needed drug against malaria. The feat is one of the first concrete applications of synthetic biology, an emerging field in which scientists reshuffle the components of cellular life in order to produce precisely tailored results.

Cobbling together the genes of three different species, chemical engineer Jay Keasling of the University of California at Berkeley transformed a metabolic pathway in yeast that allows the engineered microbe to produce a precursor to artemisinin, a compound used to treat malaria. Artemisinin is normally derived from leaves of the sweet wormwood plant, but it is difficult and expensive to extract in large quantities. A cheaper means of producing it could save many lives, as at least 1 million people die of malaria every year. “We made it over the most significant hurdle in our efforts to produce this drug,” says Keasling. The remaining steps needed to manufacture it, he says, can be achieved using standard, inexpensive synthetic chemistry.

In August the National Science Foundation affirmed the promise of synthetic biology with a $16 million grant to establish the Synthetic Biology Engineering Research Center (SynBERC), a collaboration among such institutions as Harvard University, MIT, the University of California at San Francisco, and the University of California at Berkeley. Projects of interest include creating drugs that fight HIV, bacteria that seek and invade tumor cells, and biological sources of renewable energy. In a separate project, Craig Venter of the J. Craig Venter Institute in Rockville, Maryland, is attempting to synthesize a bacterium with the minimum genome needed to live.

Some researchers in the scientific community have expressed alarm, however, at the rapid progress in a field that could lead to a simple method for producing artificial pathogens, drug-resistant microorganisms, or new types of bioweapons. Not only has SynBERC set up an open-source system for sharing DNA sequences and the basic components of synthetic biology, but stretches of synthetic DNA can now be ordered over the Internet at relatively low cost. This has already allowed scientists to assemble the poliovirus from scratch and to resurrect the deadly 1918 flu virus. “DNA synthesis lets you go from genetic information, which is widely available, to genetic material,” explains Drew Endy, an assistant professor of biological engineering at MIT. In May scientists met to discuss the potential misuse of advanced biological engineering techniques. They produced a draft of broad guidelines for the industry—including the oversight of synthetic DNA sales—but no formal regulations are currently in place.

SOURCE: http://www.discover.com/issues/jan-07/features/genetics/#6

42 Replies to “Why does it take engineers to do “synthetic biology”?

  1. 1
    Tims says:

    I think this is a little out of scope when it comes to Intelligent Design, within the application of origin. Molecular biologists have been engineering bacteria to do different functions for years now.

  2. 2
    TRoutMac says:

    I love these stories. Reminds me of that debate ‘tween Stephen Meyer and Peter Ward last year.

    Meyer was excellent, of course, but I think he missed a great opportunity when Peter Ward tried to discredit ID by pointing to biochemist Steve Benner. The fact that Benner has invented a novel scheme for encoding genetic information only demonstrates what IDers have been saying for years: Intelligence is required to produce and encode information.

    For Benner’s research to serve as a good argument AGAINST Intelligent Design, wouldn’t Benner need to be quite literally “dumb as a box of rocks?”

    Seems to me that during debates such as these, when the Darwinist trots out examples like Benner to argue against ID, the debater on the ID side oughtta call him on it by saying something like:

    “Excuse me, but do you think [insert name of genetic engineer here] would appreciate your insulting his intelligence in a public forum such as this?”

    I’d love to see the reaction.

  3. 3
    TRoutMac says:

    Tims wrote:
    “I think this is a little out of scope when it comes to Intelligent Design, within the application of origin. Molecular biologists have been engineering bacteria to do different functions for years now.”

    It seems to me that the only reason to think this story is somehow outside the scope of ID is if you’re a Darwinist who is bent on denying the fact that intelligence is required to accomplish such things, and seeing that these stories demonstrate this fact precisely, such a Darwinist would naturally want to place that story outside the scope of ID and that way, perhaps, they won’t have to deal with it.

  4. 4
    dacook says:

    Imagine the capabilities these techniques may lead to a hundred, a thousand, or maybe millions of years from now if humans keep progressing. Custom designed higher organisms are certainly within the realm of possibility, given enough time.
    Now imagine an intelligent species millions of years ago developing the same abilities. Imagine them sending their pre-programmed designed organisms out to seed the universe.
    Now look around at nature.

  5. 5
    Columbo says:

    If we go too far in tinkering with life (e.g. cloning; genetic “enhancement”; etc. then we might be forced to remove the “Intelligent” component from ID…

    This is one field of science and engineering where technology easily outstrips moral reflection.

    Columbo

  6. 6
    Columbo says:

    Insert ) where needed…

    C

  7. 7
    Inquisitive Brain says:

    Tims-

    Synthetic biology is demonstrating the causal adequacy of intelligence to diversify living organisms. In the minds of those open to the concept of ID, these feats of science are virtual demonstrations of the veracity of ID.

  8. 8
    Inquisitive Brain says:

    Biology research based on neo-Darwinian concepts will be of little help trying to fight the terrorists who may want to use bioweapons against civilization.

    Any solution/cure for an intelligently designed bioweapon will, of course, also be intelligently designed/discovered.

  9. 9

    TroutMac wrote:
    “Meyer was excellent, of course, but I think he missed a great opportunity when Peter Ward tried to discredit ID by pointing to biochemist Steve Benner. The fact that Benner has invented a novel scheme for encoding genetic information only demonstrates what IDers have been saying for years: Intelligence is required to produce and encode information.”
    Very true. I too was disappointed that Meyer didn’t jump on this as quickly or as hard as he should have, but as an armchair listener, I have to take my hat off to any debater who is able to pick up on most issues, if not all of them, on the spot. Hopefully many in the audience recognized Ward’s inconsistency even if Meyer didn’t call it out explicitly.

    http://www.evolutiondebate.info/WhatWard.htm

  10. 10
    sabre says:

    I remember reading an article last year about this scientist (can’t remember her name) who was working on one of these “minimum genome” projects. When asked by the interviewer about her motivation for trying to artificially create life, she responded with (or something like) “I want to show it doesn’t take a supernatural creator to make life.” Her statement was meant to be a nail in the coffin of creationism and ID (which apparently were the same to her). What I recalled thinking was, “If you succeed, you may prove it doesn’t take a supernatural being, but you’ll also prove it takes intelligence.”

    In the past ID proponents could (and did) confidently state the following: Outside of biology, everywhere where specified complexity and irreducible complexity are present, and causation is known, that causation involves intelligence.” I guess the “Outside of biology” qualifier can now be discarded.

  11. 11
    avocationist says:

    Now imagine an intelligent species millions of years ago developing the same abilities. Imagine them sending their pre-programmed designed organisms out to seed the universe.
    Now look around at nature.

    I am one of the few here who entertain that something like this happened on earth, but it doesn’t address how that ancient intelligent race came to be.

  12. 12
    Mats says:

    No mention whatsoever of Darwinian myths in that short article, and no need for that.

  13. 13
    Joseph says:

    Tims:
    I think this is a little out of scope when it comes to Intelligent Design, within the application of origin. Molecular biologists have been engineering bacteria to do different functions for years now.

    Which makes the fact there still remain anti-IDists all the more difficult to understand .

    Two ID buzzwords:

    Command & Control

    That is why it takes engineers to do “synthetic biology”. Our job is to understand stuff. And understanding Command & Control is essential to functioning systems with moveable parts.

    Face it a fully formed bacterial flagellum isn’t anything but more food for the predator unless something powers it and controls it.

  14. 14
    Columbo says:

    Sabre wrote:

    “When asked by the interviewer about her motivation for trying to artificially create life, she responded with (or something like) “I want to show it doesn’t take a supernatural creator to make life.” Her statement was meant to be a nail in the coffin of creationism and ID (which apparently were the same to her). What I recalled thinking was, “If you succeed, you may prove it doesn’t take a supernatural being, but you’ll also prove it takes intelligence.””

    Does this mean or imply that until biochemsits do in fact “produce” life, we are justified in concluding that it did take supernatural intelligence? If not, then why would this biochemist think her research would rule the proposition out?

  15. 15
    Joseph says:

    Now imagine an intelligent species millions of years ago developing the same abilities. Imagine them sending their pre-programmed designed organisms out to seed the universe.
    Now look around at nature.–dacook

    avocationist:
    I am one of the few here who entertain that something like this happened on earth, but it doesn’t address how that ancient intelligent race came to be.

    It isn’t supposed to address that. We can only work with what we have.

    And unfortunately through our arrogance and stupidity mankind has managed to destroy much of the ancient world’s documents.

    Perhaps on one of the destroyed Mayan documents was the answer you seek. I don’t know about you but I would like to know how a civilization that practiced human sacrifice to appease a “god” could know about the once every 26,000 year event coming December 21, 2012.

    What I am saying is there was certain data/information bestowed upon these people that did not originate with them. (IMHO)

  16. 16
    Joseph says:

    Columbo:
    Does this mean or imply that until biochemsits do in fact “produce” life, we are justified in concluding that it did take supernatural intelligence?

    “Supernatural” has nothing to do with it. Even in any anti-ID scenario natural processes can’t account for the origins of nature because they only exist in nature. The only way around that is to say the universe “just is” and believe that absolves you from having to provide an explanation.

    And until someone can demonstrate that living organisms can arise from non-living matter, to deny a design inference “just because” is intellectual cowardice at its best. Especially given what we know about the capabilities of designing agencies and can couple that with our knowledge of what nature, operating freely, is capable of. That is how we draw an inference (not a conclusion).

    Then once that is demonstrated we can see how much intervention was required. (The goal is to reduce it to no intervention except to provide the starting conditions of the early Earth.)

    Columbo:
    If not, then why would this biochemist think her research would rule the proposition out?

    You would have to ask the biochemist.

  17. 17
    dacook says:

    From
    http://www.panspermia.org/faq.htm

    “As Hermann von Helmholtz said in 1873, “if failure attends of our efforts to obtain a generation of organisms from lifeless matter, it seems to me a thoroughly correct scientific procedure to inquire whether there has ever been an origination of life, or whether it is not as old as matter.” ”

    Perhaps life had no beginning. Perhaps Intelligence had no beginning. Perhaps there is a Being or race of Beings who are actually eternal in both directions. That would take care of the “ultimate origin” question; maybe there wasn’t one.

  18. 18
    Tims says:

    It is still outside of scope, the comparison of technology today to the level technology millions of years ago is bit of a stretch.

    How can manipulation of genetic material outside of internal random mutation be accomplish without leaving some sort of evidence of the procedure actually taking place? That is why this is out of scope. Even genetic manipulation that had occurred hundreds of years ago has left evidence of the act, i.e. selective breeding of livestock and plants. The only plausible explanation is that the designer did the manipulation outside the scope of modern detection methods employed today. If that were the case the magnitude of the manipulation would have meant ongoing observation of the subjects by the designers over millions of years to account for the emergence of different species over time.

    I would find it hard to believe that our current detection methods would not be able to detect any evidence of the tools used for the manipulation due to the multiple exposures required to account for the changes in fossil record on a chronological scale. So to put it lightly, the designer was not of this world, and performed the manipulations somewhere else? With that said, to what end is the nature of the designs? Sounds like the sort of questions found in a theological or philosophical environment instead of a scientific one.
    Suppose that there is a possibility of pareidolia in regards to the sheer volume of information found in nature. That could account for the resistance of accepting the possibility of random events leading up to current life today.

  19. 19
    Joseph says:

    dacook- my premise is that just as matter and energy are fundamental entitities so are information and life- and it takes the coinciding of all 4 to get a living organism…

  20. 20
    sabre says:

    Colombo writes:
    “Does this mean or imply that until biochemsits do in fact “produce” life, we are justified in concluding that it did take supernatural intelligence? If not, then why would this biochemist think her research would rule the proposition out?”

    Joseph makes some good points, but let me respond as well. Regarding the first question, absolutely not. The only thing the biochemists would prove in the above case is that it doesn’t take a supernatural intelligence; it doesn’t prove there isn’t/wasn’t one involved. Until biochemists do in fact produce life, we are only justified in speculating about the possible nature of the designer.

    Regarding the second question, I’m not really sure. From the article, I got the impression she conflates the two, as so many Darwinists do (either intentionally, or through uncritical acceptance of the straw-man definition of ID peddled by anti-ID’ists).

    What confused me about the article was that the tone was anti-ID, particularly by the scientist in question. However, if she succeeded it would really only strengthen the argument for design (supernatural or otherwise).

  21. 21
    Tims says:

    Joseph,

    Command and control.

    So you are saying that through random arrangement an ordered mechanism can not evolve? Seems this train of thought would conflict with quantum mechanics.
    Speaking in terms of command and control does not the electron try to return to a lower energy state after being excited to a higher state? Is this due to a designer? It seems to have the same relevance that the bacterial flagellum example had. Understanding the molecular kinetics behind the chemo taxis of bacterial flagellum similar conclusions can be drawn about nuclear and cellular pores. The complexity is similar as well as the function to “control” the environment in some form. Once again a sign of the designer or a chance binding of molecules? Considering the multitude of chance bindings and lack of evidence of some interference I would place my money on chance, considering my last post.

  22. 22
    a5b01zerobone says:

    Despite the intrinsically unpredictable and incredibly complex nature of the quantum realm, everything surprisingly settles down into orderly, precise and predictable structure s at the macro level. How does this transformation take place? We don’t know, but it continues to happen all the time. Neither do we know why precise and invariant constants, such as Planck’s constant, reign in the quantum realm.

    Why does an electron try to return to a lower energy state after being excited to a higher state?

    Chemical laws may explain the bases, sugars and phosphates of DNA but not its information content or the intelligence driving it.

    Some type of Creator or creative principle is the best answer.

  23. 23
    Joseph says:

    Command and control.

    Tims:
    So you are saying that through random arrangement an ordered mechanism can not evolve?

    Nope. That thought never even crossed my mind.

    What I am saying is that just the structure alone, in my example the bac flag, is meaningless unless there is something to command and control it.

    All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particles of an atom to vibration and holds this minute solar system of the atom together . . . . We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. –Max Planck, during his Nobel Prize acceptance speech

    I will tell you what. Take all of the genes that code for the proteins that make up a bac flag. Put them in some medium and see if a bac flag arises by the chance arrangement of furnished parts. Then think of what would happen if chance had to provide those parts in the first place and get them in the same location.

    What interference are you talking about? Is there any interference or intervention when Word finds a spelling mistake?

  24. 24
    Columbo says:

    Reply to Joseph and Sabre:

    I was being a bit “tongue-in-cheek” by posing the question about a supernatural designer, guys. I intended to expose the common fallacy committed on the evo side of the debate, to whit that a) ID is untestable, and b) experiment “x” will falsifiy it. That’s all. I am well aware of the sensitivity among ID theorists to keep this concept within the confines of science, and I wholeheartedly agree.

    As I wrote in another post, unless and until we humans stop compartmentalizing our knowlege (or at least pretending to do so), certain words and prepositions will have to remain “off the table” of discussion.

    And here I am not advocating changing the nature of science or its methods. What I am critical of is the ability of materialistic professors freely pontificating about God and religion in their science classrooms, but as everyone knows, no one dare rebut their pronouncements for fear of showing respect and honor to the God of the Bible.

    Thanks for your replies anyway.

  25. 25
    sabre says:

    No problem, Columbo. I rather assumed these were somewhat tongue-n-cheek, or at least offered as a generous invitation to bloviat a bit more 🙂

  26. 26
    Rude says:

    Ah, yes, this distinction between natural and supernatural—wonder whether those of us who are not demarcationists should make that distinction at all?

    ID, of course, requires no such distinction. Design is design is design, and design is detectable whatever its source. But do those of us who reject the claim that the mind “supervenes” completely on mechanism—do we suggest that the human mind is “supernatural”?

    I’m not sure what people mean by supernatural. Do they mean an agency that can revoke the laws of physics? Perhaps. But surely we do not mean an agent that can revoke the laws of logic and mathematics. I can think of the following three possible “levels” of agency. ID presumes only the lower level.

    1. Agency not bound by logic.

    2. Agency not bound by time and space and the laws of physics.

    3. Agency that operates within the necessity and contingency supplied by time and space and the laws of physics.

  27. 27
    Tims says:

    Joseph,

    Just to add to comments, place the components of micellae together and see what happens. If the environment is right then with the right components there is a chance for things to happen. Just because you do not see an instant result does not mean there is no result. Take some courses in organic and physical chem. and you will see the roll that chance plays in the formation of compounds. Just to note, chance is what we assume when we do not truly understand the mechanism behind the observations.
    NDE believes in natural law being the driving force behind evolution whereas ID believes in some intelligent force. So the question would be what signs are there that can not be explained by natural law that can be explained by interference of an intelligent force?

    Columbo
    I would have to agree, science professors should not be pontificating about god, and they should be presenting facts and theories supported by empirical evidence. Most researchers that I work with guard their research until it is ready to be published for fear of damaging their reputation if their conclusions may be wrong. We (as in the science community) can not make a valid stance on anything in the theological realm since we can not test it through current technology. All we can do is present our observations and theories with the understanding that there is more to find. Right now, ID seems to be doing the opposite, presenting a hypothesis as a theory and not providing conclusive evidence as to why it should be considered one. That is why many feel that ID should be taught as a theological topic instead of a scientific one.

  28. 28
    mike1962 says:

    Yeah, but who designed the designers?

  29. 29
    mike1962 says:

    sabre,

    What I recalled thinking was, “If you succeed, you may prove it doesn’t take a supernatural being, but you’ll also prove it takes intelligence.”

    Of course, the jury’s out on whether supernatural intelligence created *us*. If it did, then supernatural intelligence would still be upstream in the causal chain. If it didn’t, then we might have a problem here.

  30. 30
    mike1962 says:

    Joseph (19),

    dacook- my premise is that just as matter and energy are fundamental entitities so are information and life- and it takes the coinciding of all 4 to get a living organism…

    I don’t think there is reason to postulate more than a single fundamental entity. Anything produced by it directly would necessarily appear to be fundamental to us.

  31. 31
    a5b01zerobone says:

    Hi Mike1962. Like alot of other people have already stated, ID does not claim to know the identity of the designer or designers. ID focuses on specific systems, and tries to discern if intelligence is necessary to explain them.

    However, if you give any credence to the revealed religions around the world and throughout the history of the world.

    They traditionally posit that the deity is an eternally-existent, all-powerful and infinitely perfect Intelligence. This being is outside of time, and does not have a designer.

    Let me reiterate however, that ID does not claim that this as the end all explanation. Many people have a difficult time wrapping their minds around this.

  32. 32
    mike1962 says:

    Or I should say, the fundamental entity would be able to produce things that would necessarily appear fundamental to us, like the “forces of nature”, etc.

  33. 33
    a5b01zerobone says:

    Hi Mike. I’m actually open to the idea the deity let loose the “forces of nature” in a theistic evolution kind of way.

    The thing is, some of the information theory stuff out there is just spooky. The sheer complexity of our biological systems too scream design.

  34. 34
    apollo230 says:

    If the natural world “screams of design”, a5b01zerobone, then the Darwinists are outright deaf.

  35. 35
    a5b01zerobone says:

    I wouldn’t go that far apollo230.

    I do think that there are some Darwinists who are so wrapped up in their own world that it is difficult for them to take an objective look at ID.

    The more we know about biology, the more intricate and functional we find life to be.

  36. 36
    a5b01zerobone says:

    Some people out there have some really odd misconceptions about Intelligent Design, for example that ID is analogous to Young Earth Creationism. I think our biased media has a lot to do with it.

    ID focuses on specific systems in the natural world and tries to discern if intelligence is necessary to explain them. They will succeed in doing this.

    To quote Richard Buggs in his article that appeared in the Manchester Guardian today:

    “ID is a logical inference, based on data gathered from the natural world, and hence it is firmly in the realm of science. It does not rely upon the Bible, the Qur’an, or any religious authority or tradition – only on scientific evidence. When a religious person advocates teaching ID in science without identification of the designer, there is no dishonesty or “Trojan horse”, just realism about the limitations of the scientific method. If certain Darwinists also had the intellectual honesty to distinguish between science and their religious beliefs, the public understanding of science would be much enhanced”.

  37. 37
    Joseph says:

    my premise is that just as matter and energy are fundamental entitities so are information and life- and it takes the coinciding of all 4 to get a living organism…

    Mike1962:
    I don’t think there is reason to postulate more than a single fundamental entity. Anything produced by it directly would necessarily appear to be fundamental to us.

    Or I should say, the fundamental entity would be able to produce things that would necessarily appear fundamental to us, like the “forces of nature”, etc.

    I would say that you are using a different, albeit ‘correct’, definition of entity than I.

    And yes, the implication would be that there is/ was an intelligence, ie an entity or entities (def. 1), that brought the four entities (def. 2) I mentioned into being. That intelligence put it all together via some design, ie plan.

    Main Entry: en·ti·ty
    Pronunciation: ‘en-t&-tE, ‘e-n&-
    Function: noun
    Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
    Etymology: Medieval Latin entitas, from Latin ent-, ens existing thing, from coined present participle of esse to be — more at IS
    1 a : BEING, EXISTENCE; especially : independent, separate, or self-contained existence b : the existence of a thing as contrasted with its attributes

    2 : something that has separate and distinct existence and objective or conceptual reality

    3 : an organization (as a business or governmental unit) that has an identity separate from those of its members

  38. 38
    Apoptosis says:

    Out of curiousity, does reverse engineering for these biological systems imply or entail ID? For instance, I don’t know if you’ve seen this documentary, in the Blind Watchmaker Richard Dawkins talks about the moth’s eye how it was ‘reverse engineered’, not that he said this, to thus come up with CD’s.

  39. 39
    mike1962 says:

    a5b01zerobone

    Hi Mike1962. Like alot of other people have already stated, ID does not claim to know the identity of the designer or designers. ID focuses on specific systems, and tries to discern if intelligence is necessary to explain them.

    Right. I was being facetious. 😉

  40. 40
    avocationist says:

    Joseph,

    Perhaps on one of the destroyed Mayan documents was the answer you seek. I don’t know about you but I would like to know how a civilization that practiced human sacrifice to appease a “god” could know about the once every 26,000 year event coming December 21, 2012.

    My supposition is that the human race was deeply traumatized by the events several thousand years ago that coincided with the end of the last ice age. The Americas were apparently particularly hard hit, and we had the most mammal extinctions here. In addition to the rainfall recorded in the Bible, many peoples record scorching heat and fires, oddities of the sun (huge flares?) and that the sun disappeared. The Epic of Gilgamesh, from which the Biblical accounts were almost certainly shared, (Abraham was a Sumerian from Ur) also records things in the sky and what sounds like volcanoes and clouds of gasses. I think that the Aztec living-heart sacrifices, which were supposed to guarantee that the sun continue to rise, were a result of that psychic trauma. It’s hard to imagine people going to the incredible trouble to have daily human sacrifices so as to make the the sun rises unless something set them off. If the world were as steady as we now to think of it, why would anyone have such a terrible obsession over making sure the sun rose? When you read about all the coinciding tales from around the world, it begins to make sense.
    Check out Paul Laviolette, Earth Under Fire.

  41. 41
    Columbo says:

    Tims wrote:

    All we can do is present our observations and theories with the understanding that there is more to find. Right now, ID seems to be doing the opposite, presenting a hypothesis as a theory and not providing conclusive evidence as to why it should be considered one. That is why many feel that ID should be taught as a theological topic instead of a scientific one.

    Columbo replies:

    Tims, have you read Bill Dembski’s Design Inference and No Free Lunch books? How about Behe’s Darwin’s Black Box? If you are familiar with these books, then I cannot really understand why you think ID is conflating hypothesis with theory.

    Do you accept the premise that NDE is a failed paradigm for the history of life on earth, or do you think it is adequate? If you accept that it (NDE) has glaring explanatory weaknesses (such as lacking a demonstrable developmental path from, say, a type II (or III) secretory system to the bacterial flagellum, or any other “irreducibly complex cellular system), then it seems to me that it is in keeping with principles of scientific integrity and intellectual liberty that ID be entertained – if for no other reason than it is the only viable alternative.

    Hasn’t this issue been with us throughout the history of the development of science in Western civilization , in one form or another.? It seems that it is only because today somehow most biologists believe that Darwin conclusively laid it to rest, that there is now this embarrassment at any hint of theism.

    Well, ID proponents have looked at the fundamental weaknesses of NDE, and have also accepted the constraint that science cannot pose theistic solutions. They also reject the dogmatic assertion that chance and necessity are sufficient, either for abiogenesis, or for the emergence of irreducibly complex biological systems, major divisions of taxonomy, and sentience. The obvious compromise to preserve intellectual and scientific integrity is to open the discussion, resources, research and publications for a honest and thorough vetting of the role of telos in nature. (Have you yet seen the videos The Privileged Planet or Unlocking the Mystery of Life?

    I hope it is the case that you are just unfamiliar with these materials. Otherwise, it must be the case that you do in fact understand all this already, and you simply reject it all anyway. If that is the situation, then I am at a loss.

    I believe I am well enough read in the literature of evolutionists to fully comprehend their case. The charge that ID proponents are simply too ignorant of evolution, or too religiously devoted to creationism to be rational, is in my opinion hogwash. If you think biology is on equal footing with such other scientific disciplines as physics & chemistry, then we will probably never come to terms.

    I do however very much appreciate the courtesy and dignity evident in your recent post.

    Respectfully…

    Columbo

  42. 42

    This article caught my eye in my latest issue of Discovery. But articles like these have always bothered me a little bit though, because … Well, don’t they imply that ID theory is not necessary to approach scientific work with an engineering perspective? And thus, doesn’t this hurt the case that ID theory can offer a unique science program?

    But then, I’m guessing the point is that people approach scientific work from a design perspective without realizing it (or acknowledging it) … ?

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