Breasts Are Intelligently Designed

The Discovery Institute’s creationist blog really grabbed our attention with this headline: Evolution of Mammary Glands: Will You Take Some Teleology with That?

They begin by linking to and then quoting from this article in Science Daily: How mammary glands appeared in the course of evolution. You can’t read it without a subscription, but all the Discoveroids do is quote what appears to be an introductory paragraph. They left out a bit of it, however. We restored that material and put it in brackets. Okay, here it is, and the bold font was supplied by the Discoveroids when they copied it:

A [joint] team of geneticists [from the University of Geneva (UNIGE) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland,] demonstrated that the emergence of mammary glands in placental mammals and marsupials results from recycling certain ‘architect‘ genes. The latter, known as Hox genes, are responsible for coordinating the formation of the organs and limbs during the embryonic stage. Such genes are controlled by complex regulatory networks. In the course of evolution, parts of these networks were reused to produce different functions. Architect genes were thus requisitioned to form the mammary bud and, later, for gestation. [This team’s work has been published in the journal PNAS.]

It’s difficult to believe, but the Discoveroids claim this is evidence for intelligent design. Here are some excerpts from what they say, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Note the words highlighted in bold. Recycled? Reused? Requisitioned? Architect? Would you care for some teleology with your evolution?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! This is unashamed quote-mining. After that they present us with a challenge:

Here’s a fun exercise. Try to re-write this report and avoid using the teleological action verbs imputed to ostensibly blind, dumb evolution.

No problem. Just say things like “Genes that used to perform one function mutated to perform another.” The Discoveroids, however, can’t imagine that. They finish their post with this:

For an undirected process, evolution sure does know what it’s doing. Evolution, if you’re free tonight, do mind making dinner for our family?

Clever, huh? Anyway, if you’ve been looking for evidence of intelligent design, it’s been right in front of your face — so to speak.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

14 responses to “Breasts Are Intelligently Designed

  1. Of course with this the IDiots from Seattle admit they want to turn the clock back with more than 200 years – to the time before scientists (like Laplace) decided to throw teleology out of the scientific window.

  2. Well, it’s certainly quite clear that the HOAX gene is very hard at work on these Discoveroid’s minds.

  3. @mnbo
    try yet another 200 years:
    “For the inquisition of Final Causes is barren, and like a virgin consecrated to God produces nothing.”
    Frances Bacon, The Advancement of Learning (1605) Book III, viii

  4. If creationists have to make a big deal out of minor word choices and figures of speech among scientists, they must be getting pretty desperate.

  5. Breasts are “intelligently” designed? Wonder of wonders — why would an Intelligent Designer put nipples on a man’s chest? Decorative effect, maybe?

  6. Actually you can read the science article.

  7. It does illustrate a point: scientists have to use what I call machine level vocabulary and expression when using words to describe data. However useful it might be, however easily and naturally we slip into the habit of doing it, describing one thing (the operation of HOX genes and their mutations) in terms of another (mind; intent; design) allows malicious con-men the opportunity to make fraudulent inferences to impress ignorant idiots.

  8. I recall an incident in which a scientist used the informal word “trick” to describe a clever way of addressing a problem. Anyone who has any exposure to English-language informal technical usage recognizes that this does not refer to something underhanded. In first-year calculus, one may learn about a trick to evaluate an integral. Yet the anti-scientists pointed to the use of the word “trick” to claim that the scientist was being deliberately deceitful.
    I would be impossible to demand that technical people take care to avoid using all language which can be misunderstood by a determined opponent.

  9. Intelligent design creationism has so little to support it that its apologists have to resort to playing with the words used by real scientists. In this case, I imagine even their followers know they are misrepresenting what the scientists meant.

    Of course, no knowledge of the subject matter is required to write this sort of wordplay, so it’s perfect material for the DI staff to churn out – perhaps to meet a posting requirement.

  10. One wonders the effect on their followers, particularly the young, when they find out what is going on. Unfortunately, there is the effect of cognitive dissonance – where finding out contrary evidence only serves to strengthen belief.

  11. “It would be impossible to demand that technical people take care to avoid using all language which can be misunderstood by a determined opponent.”
    Not only technical people; math and physics teachers as well. Trick is a common word to describe a technique to make calculations easier.

  12. There was another off-the-irony-meter posting from Klinghoffer a few days back, in which he included a clip from David Attenborough’s spectacular new documentary series, Planet Earth II. The clip (and really is a must see) shows hatchling marine iguanas on the Galapagos Islands and the gauntlet they must run from emerging from the sand in which their egg was laid and a dash to the sea. Spoiler alert: some baby iguanas make it, and some do not–i.e. classic natural selection in action. But Klingy claims that

    there’s no special relevance to evolution

  13. I can’t wait for the Discovery Institute’s staff geneticist to report their findings of their laboratory research on the HOX gene.