THE irrepressible Casey Luskin, our favorite among the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids), has a new article at the Discoveroid blog: Finding Darwin in All the Wrong Places. Casey says, with bold font added by us:
Despite the fact that proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution claim to understand the origin of new genetic information, they obscure the fact that they lack explanations for such by making vague appeals to mechanisms such as “gene duplication,” “rearrangement,” and “natural selection.”
Evolutionary biologists are the ones who make “vague appeals to mechanisms”? Oh. And it’s the Intelligent Design boys who make solidly verifiable appeals to their magical mystery designer. Nothing vague about Intelligent Design! Let’s read on:
Such [evolutionary] mechanisms are generally inferred from circumstantial evidence, i.e. similarities and differences between gene sequences, where a neo-Darwinian evolutionary history is assumed.
Assumed? It’s seen! Is Casey aware of studies like this: Human DNA Repair Process Recorded? Or this: Evolution in a Test Tube? Probably not, but even if he is, he’s assuming that his readers are clueless. We continue:
More importantly, accounts that invoke such mechanisms almost never attempt to assess the likelihood of mutations producing the genetic changes in question. In this regard, important notes of caution must be observed when assessing evolutionary accounts of the origin of a gene.
Why are the odds important? Variations occur. Some work out, some don’t. Considering the numbers involved, the odds are irrelevant For a trivial example, given the quantity of sperm cells available, every baby conceived had far less than a one-in-a-million chance for it’s specific genome’s existence. So what? We’re here anyway, regardless of the odds.
Of course, one of the typical “mechanisms of evolution” cited is natural selection, commonly invoked to account for how a gene duplicate acquires a new function. But what kind of evidence is sufficient to demonstrate that positive selection, or natural selection acting to preserve adaptive mutations, has occurred?
Casey’s first sentence is too confused to deal with, but his question that follows it is fascinating. Think about it. Rabbits are being chased by a fox. The fastest rabbit is the one that survives, and goes on to produce a new generation, while his slowest sibling becomes fox food and is taken out of the game. What is missing here that leaves Casey scratching his head about natural selection? Moving along:
Many scientific papers purporting to show the evolution of “new genetic information” do little more than identify molecular similarities and differences between existing genes and then tell evolutionary just-so stories of duplication, rearrangement, and subsequent divergence based upon vague appeals to “positive selection” that purport to explain how the gene arose. But exactly how the gene arose is never explained. In particular, whether chance mutations and unguided natural selection are sufficient to produce the relevant genetic changes is almost never assessed.
Jeepers, he’s right! Upon reflection, Oogity Boogity is a much more logical explanation. Wow — Casey just converted your Curmudgeon to an Intelligent Design believer. Teach the controversy!
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