Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2015 — #8 & #7

Because of the holiday weekend, there’s so little news out there that all we can find to write about is the Discovery Institute’s pathetic list of their Top Ten stories for the year. What makes their list entertaining is that it’s been a totally ghastly year for them. They have nothing to show for their legislative and courtroom efforts, or for their efforts to penetrate the academic world (except for bible colleges where creationism has always been entrenched), so the stuff in their list is all they have to brag about.

As is usual in such a series, they’re working their way up from the bottom, and they’ll probably reach their Number One creationist news story on New Year’s day. We already mentioned their first two items, numbers 10 and 9, in Christmas 2015. Now we’ll see two more more examples of what has thrilled the Discoveroids and their generous patrons this year.

In Merry Christmas! Here Is #8 of Our Top Stories of 2015: Fighting Cancer with Intelligent Design, Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, refers to one of his earlier blog posts, and then another one by Egnor, after which he says, with some bold font added by us:

In simple terms, Darwinian evolution tends to work fine when only one mutation is needed to give an advantage. But when you need multiple mutations to gain an advantage, the process tends to get stuck. By throwing lots of antibiotic drugs at an organism, we force it to evolve lots of mutations — more than Darwinian evolution can produce — in order to survive. In this way, we can beat antibiotic-resistant microbes.

Wow — harmful bacteria or cancer cells are defeating our antibiotics by getting help from the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — in developing mutations to defeat our antibiotics. But if the designer is working against us, then what chance do we have? Casey tells us:

For example, let’s say you throw a cocktail of five antibiotics at some pathogenic bacteria. Even if it evolves resistance to four of them (still which would be highly unlikely), if the fifth drug works to kill the organism, then you’ve beaten the bug. As you throw more antibiotic drugs at it, the likelihood of its evolving resistance decreases at an exponential rate. The odds of all the needed “resistance mutations” arising in a single organism are so low that, statistically, it’s not going to occur.

Brilliant! If we understand intelligent design, then we can beat the designer at his own game! It’s easy to see why this incredible breakthrough deserves a place in the Discoveroids’ Top Ten list.

That was their post yesterday. Today they added the next item in their series: #7 of Our Top Stories of 2015: “Totalitarian Science” in the Age of Obama. It’s about a book by John West, Vice President of Discovery Institute, whom we affectionately call “Westie.”

We wrote about it when the book was first announced — see Discoveroids Denounce “Totalitarian Science”. One excerpt from their new post should be sufficient:

Based on extensive research with primary sources and archival materials, John West’s captivating Darwin Day in America reveals how American politics and culture have been corrupted by a massive abuse of science. West’s narrative explores the far-reaching consequences for society when scientists and politicians deny the essential differences between human beings and the rest of nature.

Yes, Westie knows that he ain’t no kin to no monkey! So there you are, dear reader. It’s been a spectacular year for the Discoveroids, and so far we’ve only learned about the bottom four of their Top Ten accomplishments. What further wonders await us? Stay tuned to this blog!

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Discoveroids’ Top Ten for 2015 — #8 & #7

  1. Discovery Institute shows yet again that they are the Mother of All Lying Scumbags, unrelated to the human species.

  2. Casey Luskin understands so little of science that even a kindergarten kid will ignore him.
    Hey! Westie! Show me anything ID or religion as done that is good for humankind as science has done and we can start a talk…till then shove your head back up..well where it normally resides and smell the BS.

  3. Derek Freyberg

    So wrong in so few words!
    Has Casey never heard of MRSA, and of the very real worry of real-ID (Infectious Disease) specialists that we are approaching the point where we may see essentially antibiotic-untreatable diseases arise?
    Has Casey never heard of recurrences of cancer despite multiple rounds of (often) multiple-agent treatment?
    What is it with these people?

  4. Ah, Derek, who remembers Casey’s creacrap after a few decades, when antiobiotics have worn off? And when some successor of our dear SC then digs this up (now that’s unlikely!) and presents it as an ID failure, some IDiot will argue that this merely shows the self-correctional power of ID, confirming that it’s science.

  5. For example, let’s say you throw a cocktail of five antibiotics at some pathogenic bacteria. Even if it evolves resistance to four of them (still which would be highly unlikely), if the fifth drug works to kill the organism, then you’ve beaten the bug. As you throw more antibiotic drugs at it, the likelihood of its evolving resistance decreases at an exponential rate.

    Is Luskin not aware that, out here in the real world, the imminent medical crisis is that the gross overuse of antibiotics — the overuse that he’s actually recomending — is creating a new breed of antibiotic-resistant “superbugs”? Does he not read just the newspapers, let alone the science journals?

  6. Talk about overuse of antibiotics — 80% of all antibiotics used in the US are fed to livestock and poultry, and not used to treat humans at all. Overuse in human medicine is a drop in the bucket. (This is from an article in the Jan. 2016 issue of Consumer Reports.)

  7. For example, let’s say you throw a cocktail of five antibiotics at some pathogenic bacteria. Even if it evolves resistance to four of them (still which would be highly unlikely), if the fifth drug works to kill the organism, then you’ve beaten the bug. As you throw more antibiotic drugs at it, the likelihood of its evolving resistance decreases at an exponential rate. The odds of all the needed “resistance mutations” arising in a single organism are so low that, statistically, it’s not going to occur.

    “In a single organism”? As Danny DeVito put it in Batman Returns, “I believe the word you’re looking for is ‘AAAAAAAAAAAA!'”

    Doesn’t Luskin have any clue at all? It isn’t necessary for all five mutations in his hypothetical scenario to appear at the same time in the same individuals, only that they all occur in the same population. Some individuals will evolve resistance to one antibiotic, some will evolve resistance to another, and so on. All along the way, as you keep adding drugs, natural selection will ensure that those resistant to all the drugs being used will be the ones producing offspring. By the time you get to the point where you have to whack a bacterium with five drugs at once, its population already has resistance to four of the five. Nobody’s going to bother using five at once unless it’s unavoidable, given the likelihood of toxic side effects on the human or animal patient. (Nobody but an idiot with lots of money to waste, that is.)

    And that’s without even mentioning that Casey apparently thinks mutations are supposed to “spontaneously arise” in the individual organism in response to its exposure to antibiotics, rather than having spontaneously emerged at the time of that organism’s birth (or whatever you’d call it for a bacterium) or in one of its ancestors. Lamarck, thou shouldst be living at this hour. Or better, Lysenko.

  8. Charles Deetz ;)

    Good grief, instead of a metaphor, the squirrel tries to do a scientific thought experiment. Everyone else playing along is thinking about how antibiotics are failing us, MRSA, and why the bleep-bleep did the designer create bacteria anyway. The squirrel just tucks away his nut and smirks proudly.

  9. But when you need multiple mutations to gain an advantage, the process tends to get stuck.

    Casey should read up on Richard Lenski’s long term e.coli experiment. There is a wiki page on it… https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment. What the experiment shows is the process of evolving multiple step adaptations to their environment, i.g., totally new capabilities. For e.coli, at any rate, the process did not get “stuck.”

    As has been mentioned before, the issue is not that bacteria in Casey’s example will evolve resistance to drugs being administered – at the time that they are being administered – but whether or not they already have resistance. Cocktails may work most of the time, but eventually there will be germs resistant to all of the various drugs in the cocktail, and the pipeline of new drugs is drying up.

    So, either the Designer is modifying germs to resist our attempts to prevent illness, or they are evolving. Which is it, Casey?

    If we did not understand evolution, could we figure out why a particular drug no longer worked?

  10. Isn’t it interesting how the microevolution of bacteria beats the design of drugs?