Uncommon Descent Contest

Contest Question 22: YOU rank order the Top Ten ID science stories of the year

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Every year, for some years now, the folk at Access Research Network have rank ordered the Top Ten intelligent design stories of the year. Due to volume, this last year, they were broken out into science news, media news, and 2009 resources. The Top Ten science news picks are here.

But why should ARN do it all? We’re not wizards; we just put our heads together once a year.

For a free copy of Stephen Meyer’s Signature in the Cell (Harper One, 2009), the top rated 2009 ID resource, courtesy the Discovery Institute, explain:

1. How would you have rated the stories differently?


2. Are there stories that should have been on the list that are not?

In under 400 words. You can link at the comments box, so no need to reproduce swatches of copy if you don’t want to use up your word count.

Here are the contest rules.

3 Replies to “Contest Question 22: YOU rank order the Top Ten ID science stories of the year

  1. 1
    Nakashima says:

    Mrs O’Leary,

    I’d like to nominate RNA–Amino Acid Binding: A Stereochemical Era for the Genetic Code as one of the Top 10 ID science news stories of 2009.

    In the spirit often espoused here on UD by Mr Jerry, all research is ID research. So we shouldn’t rule out a peer reviewed scientific publication merely because it was in fact peer reviewed or published in a journal.

    In this paper, Michael Yarus contributes significantly to the questions raised by Dr Stephen Meyer in Signature in the Cell. That book’s central question is how did the genetic code and information storage system form during the origin of life.

    Dr Meyer shows that assumptions of uniform probability and size lead to vanishingly improbable chances for the formation of biologically active structures. Dr Yarus’ research provides part of the answer to this enigma by showing that the connection between several amino acids and their codons (or anti-codons) is strongly non-uniform. (The results also show preferences of varying strengths for L over D versions of AAs, addressing that piece of the puzzle as well.) Thus, a solid part of the genetic code can be attributed to purely physical and chemical preferences of specific AAs for specific RNA triples.

    On the other hand, the paper clearly reports the negative results as well. Based on the data gathered, there are some parts of the genetic code that do not seem to be determined by physics and chemistry, and we need to still account for these assignments by other means.

    The shows how probabilistic arguments fovored by Dr Meyer can be refined by experimental results, leading to a better understanding by everyone of what needs to be explained.

    In the last part of the paper, Yarus, et al. put forward a model of how protein synthesis may have evolved from simple direct templating to more sophisticated information storage systems. This provides another opportunity for ID friendly research into the relative likelyhood of the evolution of tRNA out of such direct RNA templating systems.

    Does the paper mention ID directly? No, but it certainly helps build the context for understanding the ID argument. That, in my view, qualifies it as an ID paper, just as much as the EIL papers produced last year. And given the way this paper brings together current research and results, I think it deserves to be in the Top 10 for 2009.

  2. 2
    composer says:

    Well, the list is interesting to me because I didn’t know a lot of these. I don’t know that much about ID, but I’d suggest that a couple of the winners should move out of the way.

    #1, while exciting, isn’t a “news” story. It’s just a publication in a journal. It may become a “news” story if it attracts serious attention, but I don’t think it has yet.

    #6 doesn’t seem like an “ID” story. If I wrote a paper saying that we lacked a “material mechanism” for understanding a disease, you would not assume that I was proposing an immaterial cause. At least I hope not. And in fact, they propose that “miRNAs” (material things, they) “might be part of the solution to the Cambrian conundrum.”

    Now, what could replace them? It should be a news story and an ID story. It should not, I think, have to be a pro-ID story, unless that’s an unstated criterion. From a Google News archive search, I might nominate:

    1. The Vatican’s snub of intelligent design in its evolution conference.

    2. The founding of BioLogos, which — though not ID — shows how ID is being taken seriously.

    3. The increased interest in ID in Britain, according to a BBC survey.

  3. 3
    O'Leary says:

    composer at 2, thanks for contrib.

    For clarification, there is a separate list of ID news stories, about which I will be posting a contest soon.

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