Godspell Follies

Refuting the illogic of "intelligent design" and creationism. An illustrated guide to fallacies of logic.

Scientists comments on "ID"

Happily scientists continue to conduct research related to biological evolution and are little distracted by the anti-science and pseudoscientific flights of fallacy of creationist (including idist) arguments. A search for biological evolution on Entrez PubMed yielded 110473 hits as of 8/15/06.

Creationism and intelligent design. modified:
Creationism, the rejection of evolution in favor of supernatural design, comes in many varieties besides the common young-earth Genesis version. Creationist attacks on science education have been evolving in the last few years through the alliance of different varieties. Instead of calls to teach "creation science," one now finds lobbying for "intelligent design" (ID). Guided by the Discovery Institute's "Wedge strategy," the ID movement aims to overturn evolution and what it sees as a pernicious materialist worldview and to renew a theistic foundation to Western culture, in which human beings are recognized as being created in the image of God. Common ID arguments involving scientific naturalism, "irreducible complexity," "complex specified information," and "icons of evolution," have been thoroughly examined and refuted. Nevertheless, from Kansas to Ohio to the U.S. Congress, ID continues lobbying to teach the controversy, and scientists need to be ready to defend good evolution education.
Pennock RT. Creationism and intelligent design. Annu Rev Genomics Hum Genet. 2003;4:143-63.

FASEB opposes using science classes to teach intelligent design, creationism, and other non-scientific beliefs. [FASEB J. 2006] PMID: 16507756
Was Darwin a creationist? [Perspect Biol Med. 2005] PMID: 16085993
Perspective: evolution's struggle for existence in America's public schools. [Evolution Int J Org Evolution. 2001] PMID: 11831654
Why we think it is important to discuss intelligent design. [J Clin Invest. 2006] PMID: 16670752
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Don't be stupid about intelligent design.
President George W. Bush and Senate majority leader Bill Frist have recently publicly advocated teaching intelligent design in science classes. Their endorsement of a discredited, nonscientific view could signal a huge step backward for scientific education. It is time for educated, motivated scientists to get involved and to educate others.
Neill US. Don't be stupid about intelligent design. (Free Full Text) J Clin Invest. 2005 Oct;115(10):2586.

Scientists attack Bush over intelligent design. [Nature. 2005] PMID: 16094330
Keeping religion out of science class. [Nature. 2005] PMID: 16094323
Science agencies get fresh paymasters in Republican revamp. [Nature. 2005] PMID: 15758963
Science and public policy. [Acad Med. 1989] PMID: 2712998
Creationism and evolution: it's the American way. [Cell. 2006] PMID: 16469687
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Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action.
We review here the current political landscape and our own efforts to address the attempts to undermine science education in Wisconsin. To mount an effective response, expertise in evolutionary biology and in the history of the public controversy is useful but not essential. However, entering the fray requires a minimal tool kit of information. Here, we summarize some of the scientific and legal history of this issue and list a series of actions that scientists can take to help facilitate good science education and an improved atmosphere for the scientific enterprise nationally. Finally, we provide some model legislation that has been introduced in Wisconsin to strengthen the teaching of science.
Attie AD, Sober E, Numbers RL, Amasino RM, Cox B, Berceau T, Powell T, Cox MM.
Defending science education against intelligent design: a call to action. (Free Full Text Article) J Clin Invest. 2006 May;116(5):1134-8.

Expert witness: the scientists who testified against intelligent design. Interview by Geoff Brumfiel. [Nature. 2005] PMID: 16267520
School board in court over bid to teach intelligent design. [Nature. 2005] PMID: 16193010
Why we think it is important to discuss intelligent design. [J Clin Invest. 2006] PMID: 16670752
Misuses of biology in the context of the paranormal. [Experientia. 1988] PMID: 3282905
Day of judgement for intelligent design. [Nature. 2005] PMID: 16292271
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The intelligent design of evolution.
Yoshikuni et al (2006) investigated whether catalytic functionality could be rationally engineered into a protein, without recourse to the high-throughput screening techniques necessary for directed evolution. . . they assumed that the mutations were additive—that the effect on selectivity of combining two mutations could be predicted by adding the effect of each mutation done singly. With this assumption, it was straightforward to predict combinations of single mutations identified as controlling selectivity without decreasing the total productivity.

The striking result of this design is that the simple additivity assumption was validated—the authors obtained several triple to quintuple mutants with nearly perfect selectivities for the product they targeted. Apparently, intelligent design does not need irreducible complexity after all. The success of this exercise is particularly relevant to the field of molecular evolution, where the degree to which mutations are nonadditive has been debated at length. Some believe that recent work in developing protein mutant libraries supports the hypothesis that nonadditivity is the rule rather than the exception, and occurs much more often than believed previously (Zaccolo and Gherardi, 1999). Others have put forth both theoretical and experimental evidence suggesting that, though frequent nonadditivity of mutations is still a possibility in these contexts, its existence is not yet supported well (Drummond et al, 2005).
Styczynski MP, Fischer CR, Stephanopoulos GN.
The intelligent design of evolution. (Free Full Text News and Views) Mol Syst Biol. 2006;2:2006.0020. Epub 2006 May 2.
Molecular Systems Biology 2 doi:10.1038/msb4100065Published online: 2 May 2006 Article number: 2006.0020

Directed evolution of enzymes and pathways for industrial biocatalysis. [Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2002] PMID: 11950559
Directed evolution of (betaalpha)(8)-barrel enzymes. [Biomol Eng. 2005] PMID: 15857781
Discovery of superior enzymes by directed molecular evolution. [Chembiochem. 2001] PMID: 11948874
Optimising enzyme function by directed evolution. [Curr Opin Struct Biol. 2003] PMID: 12948780
Novel methods for directed evolution of enzymes: quality, not quantity. [Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2004] PMID: 15296927
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Index Refuting ID

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