Discovery Institute: No Evidence for Evolution

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.

Casey continues:

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!

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Discovery Institute: No Evidence for Evolution

  1. It’s so sad that Casey hasn’t had a genetics course. There are numerous mechanisms that can produce gene duplication. Cancer cells are a good example of gene duplication before your eyes. Some cancers become drug resistant after the chemo drugs have been administered. In some cases this is due to the duplication of drug resistant genes. It is possible to show that the gene duplications DID NOT exist prior to the administration of the drugs. Drug resistant cancer cells can now proliferate and a new drug regime has to be developed. This is a classic example of natural selection at work. Unfortunately, not in our favor.

  2. It is funny to see Casey flout his ignorance. “Vague explanations” indeed. More like “I didn’t understand it so I am dismissing it.” And Curdge, please don’t even joke about becoming an IDiot. I need to know there are sane conservatives out there.

  3. Poor Casey is mind numbingly stupid, and gets his jollies by lying to the drooling fundies who are, after all, his target audience.

    He’s dumb enough not to understand the science, and dishonest enough to use sciencey sounding words to bamboozle the malignantly ignorant.

    Ugh.

  4. Bikod: “It’s so sad that Casey hasn’t had a genetics course.”

    $ to donuts that if he had 100 genetics courses and got 100 on every test he wouldn’t say one word differently. He’d still be telling falsehoods, but deliberately. There’s a word for that, but it escapes me. I think it begins with an “L.” 😉

  5. Begins with an ‘L’… huh…

    Uhhhh….

    Laughing?

    no…

    Lapping? Lallygagging?

    that’s not right…

    Lilting?

    no wait i think i figured it out

    Luskining!

  6. If you ignore facts and logic, you can reach any conclusion you want.

  7. wait what,

    You created a monster. I’ll be using “luskining” from now on, along with “dembskis” as a unit of measure of chutzpah.

  8. Molecular evolution is actually back in the news today.

  9. Thanks, Oroboros. Work like that keeps popping up. It’s proof of creationism, of course.

  10. Curmudgeon: “It’s proof of creationism, of course.”

    Like all new findings (if properly “mined”) it vindicates all kooks – YECs, OECs, astrologers, Bigfoot sighters, etc.