The desperate quest for evidence to support their “theory” is resulting in laughable gyrations from the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
To see what we mean, consider a recent post at the Discoveroids’ blog: New Paper in Bio-Complexity Reveals a Remarkable Coincidence. Wow! What have they found? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:
Critics of intelligent design often claim that the peer-reviewed literature published by ID proponents amounts to nothing more than a negative critique of the neo-Darwinian paradigm, as opposed to positive arguments for ID as an alternative hypothesis. The falsity of this claim has long been evident, but a new paper in the journal BIO-Complexity (to which Ann Gauger has already drawn our attention), co-authored by Matti Leisola, Ossi Pastinen, and Douglas Axe, explicitly sets out a positive argument for design.
Oooooooooh, the long-awaited “positive argument for design.” And it’s published in BIO-Complexity — which is exceedingly impressive. That’s the Discoveroids’ captive journal — created, edited, and peer-reviewed by creationists. We’ve previously written about it here: Discovery Institute: Creationist “Peer-Review”. Let’s see what wonders have been revealed:
Lignin, a complex organic polymer found in wood, is the world’s second most abundant biopolymer (after cellulose). Moreover, it is extremely rich in stored energy. Surprisingly, in 400 million years, no living organism has evolved the ability to use it as an energy source. This is intriguing, given that many spectacular innovations have emerged over the course of life’s history.
That’s “intriguing”? Really? Here’s a link to the Wikipedia article on it: Lignin. Somehow, its use (or disuse) doesn’t impress us as the key to creationism. But then, we don’t have the Discoveroids’ insight. Let’s read on, as the Discoveroids’ blog quotes from the Discoveroids’ peer-reviewed paper:
It is estimated that 30% of the earth’s non-fossil organic carbon is in the form of lignin. Considering its massive abundance and its high energy content (40% higher than cellulose, gram for gram), it is striking that no organism seems to have tapped it as an energy source.
That’s “striking”? Why? No organism has tapped radioactive material as an energy source. And how many are fueled by the wind, or the tides, or by combustion of petroleum? There are lots of energy sources that aren’t tapped by living creatures. Anyway, let’s continue with the Discoveroid blog article:
Does this observation make more sense under a Darwinian view or under an intelligent-design view?
What? Are they serious? Is that a question on which anyone needs to spend ten seconds? Then they quote again from the wondrous peer-reviewed creationist paper:
The Darwinian account must somehow reconcile 400 million years of failure to evolve a relatively modest innovation — growth on lignin — with a long list of spectacular innovations thought to have evolved in a fraction of that time. How can one mechanism have been at the same time so effective and so ineffective?
Wait — now we see the problem. Somehow, those creationists must have seen a copy of Darwin’s private correspondence, which we thought had been kept secret from them — it’s the great naturalist’s long-suppressed letter to our ancestor, Ebenezer Curmudgeon, which says:
Forsooth! Were there ever to be discovered an energy source that is unexploited by a living organism, then — verily — my theory would crumble and my life’s work would come to naught. Although I prudently kept it from my published work, it is a certainty that evolution must exploit every resource! Fervently to I pray to my lord and master, old Beelzebub, that such a discovery will never be made.
It appears that the Discoveroids have stumbled onto Darwin’s darkest secret — All resources must be exploited! — and they’ve published it in their peer-reviewed journal! This is your Curmudgeon’s greatest nightmare! Here’s more from the creationist peer-reviewed journal:
That tension vanishes completely when the design perspective is adopted. Terrestrial animal life is crucially dependent on terrestrial plant life, which is crucially dependent on soil, which is crucially dependent on the gradual photo- and biodegradation of lignin.
The author quotes some more from their published paper about the decay of lignin, and then their blog article says:
It is certainly surprising, on a Darwinian view, that over the course of 400 million years of evolution, no living organism has evolved the ability to metabolize lignin (despite the supposed occurrence of far more spectacular innovations in a fraction of that time). This makes perfect sense, however, under a design paradigm. As the authors put it, intelligent design “routinely takes the broad view and the long-term view, and because of this it alone makes sense of life.”
And that’s how the article ends. So the designer, in his infinite wisdom, has stretched forth his mighty hand and prevented organisms from evolving into lignin-eaters. Instead, the designer has suppressed evolution to keep lignin from being consumed, so it could dissolve into the soil instead. Blessed be the designer!
Okay, the Discoveroids have put their finest minds to work on the problem, and that’s their long-promised “positive argument for design.” Well now, your Curmudgeon has put his mind to work on the problem, and in about 45 seconds of not very deep thought we’ve come up with a few more goodies for the creationists to ponder:
We’ve already mentioned radioactivity, petroleum, wind, and tides as untapped energy sources. And it’s also true that in 400 million years, no living organism has evolved to make use of cosmic rays or the abundance of ions coming from the sun. This too runs afoul of Darwin’s secret maxim. [Addendum for the simple-minded: That maxim is an imaginary invention of the Discoveroids.]
And we’ve got one more — a real biggie: Consider, dear reader, that there’s lots of energy potential in methane, yet there’s no dung-beetle analog that thrives on flatulence power. But we know the answer to that one. The intelligent designer — blessed be he! — is keeping that energy source all to himself.
Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.