Intelligent Design’s Big Breakthrough!

We’re going to give the new WordPress editor one more try, because this one is worth the effort. We found it at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog. The title is https://evolutionnews.org/2020/10/despite-darwinists-cancel-culture-intelligent-design-has-a-breakthrough-in-biology-journal/ and it was written by none other than https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_G._West John West, whom we call “Westie.”

Wikipedia describes him as: “a Senior Fellow at the Seattle-based Discovery Institute (DI), and Associate Director and Vice President for Public Policy and Legal Affairs of its Center for Science and Culture (CSC), which serves as the main hub of the Intelligent design movement.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

In its September 21 issue, the Journal of Theoretical Biology published a major peer-reviewed article on fine-tuning in biology [link] that favorably discusses intelligent design. The article explicitly cites work by Discovery Institute Fellows such as Stephen Meyer, Günter Bechly, Ann Gauger,Douglas Axe, and Robert J. Marks.

Good grief! A real journal published an article like that? Westie says:

The article is co-authored by Steinar Thorvaldsen and Ola Hössjer. Hössjer is a professor of mathematical statistics at Stockholm University who is favorable to intelligent design. This is a big deal for the mainstreaming of ID. [Well, it’s some kind of deal.] The Journal of Theoretical Biology is a top peer-reviewed science journal. According to CiteScore, it is the 25th most cited journal in the area of general agriculture and biological sciences, and it is in the top 12 percent of all journals in that field.

Actually, this is very good news for your Curmudgeon. At last we know of a journal where we can publish our Time Cube paper — the result of years of solitary cutting-edge research conducted in our superbly-equipped, secret, underground la-BOR-a-tory. But let’s get back to Westie. He tells us:

The article by Thorvaldsen and Hössjer appeared online in June. But we didn’t want to speak about it publicly until after its “official” publication date, because we knew that once Darwinists found out, they would try to have the article cancelled. [Clever — or perhaps the word is cunning!]

Westie continues:

Sure enough, after Darwinists discovered the article [The beasts!], they succeeded in obtaining a “disclaimer” from the journal’s editors, who proclaimed their bias against ID. But the disclaimer actually made publication of the article all the more significant. It meant that the article survived peer-review and was accepted for publication EMdespite./EM the open hostility of the journal’s top editors!

The rest of Westie’s post is some self-congratulatory prose, and then a big pitch for contributions. Go ahead and read it if you like. We’re outta here!

18 responses to “Intelligent Design’s Big Breakthrough!

  1. Peer reviewed by the ID folks.

  2. I looked at the paper, it’s available for free. One author is from the Dept. of Mathematics and the other is from the Dept. of Education. Neither is a biologist or biochemist. I can’t comment on the math in this paper, but I don’t think nature cares about math. Fine tuning in living organisms can be mimicked by natural selection, although the authors would probably disagree with that statement. Let’s hear from some biologists with a better background in math than I have.

  3. Michael Fugate

    A comic selection of citation in the paper – their authority on punctuated equilibrium is Meyer and Bechly – really?
    And on building phylogenetic tree they are citing Answers Research Journal – really?
    Who edited this?
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/journal-of-theoretical-biology/vol/501/suppl/C

  4. Michael Fugate

    Almost every citation is to a creationist in non-peer reviewed journals.
    They like to cite this paper which they have probably never read…
    Waiting for two mutations: with applications to regulatory sequence evolution and the limits of Darwinian evolution.
    Durrett, R; Schmidt, D
    November 2008 Genetics 180(3) :1501-1509
    Results of Nowak and collaborators concerning the onset of cancer due to the inactivation of tumor suppressor genes give the distribution of the time until some individual in a population has experienced two prespecified mutations and the time until this mutant phenotype becomes fixed in the population. In this article we apply these results to obtain insights into regulatory sequence evolution in Drosophila and humans. In particular, we examine the waiting time for a pair of mutations, the first of which inactivates an existing transcription factor binding site and the second of which creates a new one. Consistent with recent experimental observations for Drosophila, we find that a few million years is sufficient, but for humans with a much smaller effective population size, this type of change would take > 100 million years. In addition, we use these results to expose flaws in some of Michael Behe’s arguments concerning mathematical limits to Darwinian evolution.

  5. I downloaded and scanned the paper. Pure creationist bafflegab. They cite Behe and “irreducible complexity” FFS! They cite Bio-Complexity as a reference! It’s a sloppy, stupid paper full of nonsense, undefinable terms, hokey meaningless diagrams.

    Here’s a sample of their schlock, following a discussion of the work of the great mathematician and philosopher William Dembski. Yes, THAT Dembski.

    Though proteins tolerate a range of possible amino acids at some positions in the sequence, a random process producing amino-acid chains of this length would stumble onto a functional protein only about one in every 10E50 to 10E74 attempts due to genetic variation.

    Sound familiar? “Intelligent design” creationism 101. Oooooooooh, lookie at comprekations, so kompwex, mus’ b designnnn, yesssh, My Preschous!

  6. Theodore J Lawry

    Now gentlemen, let’s not be too negative about the citations. After all, they do cite (name-drop?) some real/great scientists. For example: R. A. Fisher 1930, J B Haldane 1932, Motoo Kimura 1970. Ok, so they are 90, 88 and 50 years out of date, but let’s not be picky! They even have L.J. Henderson’s classic The Fitness of the Environment, from 1913, breaking the century old barrier! See how many more you can find! Totally awesome!

    On the other hand citing In the light of genetics. Adam, Eve and the Creation/Fall from Christian Apologetics does strike me as a bit blatant, don’t you think!

  7. Michael Fugate

    You know it is a serious scientific paper when one of your citations is:
    J.C. Sanford, R. Carter
    In the light of genetics. Adam, Eve and the Creation/Fall
    Christian Apologetics J., 12 (2) (2014), pp. 51-98
    I always read Christian Apologetics Journal to keep up to date on breaking scientific discoveries…

    Christian Apologetics Journal is published by Southern Evangelical Seminary which of course believes:
    We believe in the special creation of the entire space–time universe and of every basic form of life in the six historic days of the Genesis creation record. We also believe in the historicity of the biblical record, including the special creation of Adam and Eve as the literal progenitors of all people, the literal fall and resultant divine curse on the creation, the worldwide flood, and the origin of nations and diverse languages at the tower of Babel.

    Science all the way down…

  8. Michael Fugate

    You beat me to the punch…

  9. @Michael Fugate
    literal fall
    A literal fall is a motion downward caused by gravity. Not a change in status as a result of sin, which is a figurative fall.

  10. Michael Fugate

    Maybe they mixing up apple stories -Adam and Eve with Isaac Newton. Why not throw in Johnny Appleseed too?

  11. Let me go against the tide here.

    As I wrote to a friend who had drawn my attention to the matter, “It is irrelevant to the review process that the authors are affiliated with this or that group; so to that extent, the disclaimer compounds the error [of publishing]. The DI really do have valid grounds for complaint about this, and will have right on their side when they complain about censorship, as they surely will.”

    Cut out the middleman. The argument against publishing should NOT be

    The paper is ID
    ID is crap
    Therefore the paper is crap,and if we’d known it was ID we wouldn’t have published it

    But simply “The paper is crap, for the following reasons… and is moreover devoid of novelty”

    And the editors now saying,in effect, “Sorry we published, but we didn’t recognise it as ID” makes things worse in every possible way

  12. Michael Fugate

    How could they not recognize it as ID? If they couldn’t without someone else pointing it out to them, they should resign immediately as editors and consider retiring from their scientific positions.

  13. @Michael Fugate, I’m inclined to agree, but I’m not sure how well-known ID arguments are outside the circle of those who actively campaign against creationism

  14. Michael Fugate

    Yes, but when I review papers, I do read the paper and look at the the references. Even if I weren’t familiar with ID, I would wonder what intelligent design was when they explicitly discuss it in section 6 and I would wonder about references to Christianity sprinkled throughout. They purposely picked the works of Christian scientists to highlight – no matter how obscure. Not to mention numerous references to popular books and not the primary literature. I don’t know who reviewed it, but these are not sources with which most scientists in relevant fields would be familiar.

  15. My, such discrimination in the realm of sophists with their doctorates of explanatory futures of the past and tomorrows that their arguments will fail to impress not only themselves in old age, but their students lost in the ruminations of what life is really about. Give us instead a bit of poetry, Dante, Donne, Dunbar, and St. Vincent Millay. You just might learn something. But in the meantime, a goodnight and a tomorrow of friends.

  16. Dave Luckett

    Whatever you say, kae:

    (…)
    Yet there are some like me turn gladly home
    From the lush jungle of modern thought, to find
    The Arabian desert of the human mind,
    Hoping, if still from the deserts the prophets come,

    Such savage and scarlet as no green hills dare
    Springs in that waste, some spirit which escapes
    The learned doubt, the chatter of cultured apes
    Which is called civilization over there.

    – from “Australia” by A D Hope.

  17. Michael Fugate

    “Аn old pond
    a frog leaps in,
    the sound of water”
    Basho

  18. @ Dave Luckett and Michael Fugate: such lovely replies to a memory of literate lions I thought got shot out in the cynical brevity of a today of gut-rumbled belches of yesterday’s cynics posing as intellectuals on such postings we see on this platform. I pause and bow to you both, a long time lost to me of wisdom in a place not seen in memories gotten lost in the wisps of too much theatrics, a consequence of narrow ambition.