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Saturday, October 08, 2005

Update!:ID folk comment on science writer’s “teach the controversy” recommendation

Recently, a US science writer, stationed (I hear) in Europe, ventured that Darwinism can be saved if only Darwinists did not attempt to suppress all other views. Here are the relevant portions of the basic story, with links (I hope) intact:

Human evolution writer for Science, Michael Balter, thinks that acceptance of Darwinism in the United States has been weakened by the Darwinists' attempts to suppress any questioning:

In large part, Americans' skepticism toward evolutionary theory reflects the continuing influence of religion. Yet it also implies that scientists have not been persuasive enough, even when buttressed by strong scientific evidence that natural selection alone can account for life's complexity.

Could it be that the theory of evolution's judicially sanctioned monopoly in the classroom has backfired?

For one thing, the monopoly strengthens claims by intelligent-design proponents that scientists don't want to be challenged. More important, it shields Darwinian theory from challenges that, when properly refuted, might win over adherents to evolutionary views.
But will they? Widely denounced ID proponent Jonathan Wells writes me to say,

To the best of my knowledge as a molecular biologist, no one has ever shown that BIOLOGICALLY-derived molecules (much less nonbiologically-derived ones) combined with any process, natural or artificial, can produce a living cell.

If you put one living cell into test tube containing a sterile buffer solution with just the right salts and at just the right temperature and pH, then poke a hole in the cell and let its contents leak out into the buffer, you will have ALL the biological molecules necessary to make a living cell. But given our present rudimentary knowledge of living cells, nothing can put Humpty-Dumpty back together again.

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Are you looking for the following story? "Academic Freedom Watch : Here's the real, ugly story behind the claim that 'intelligent design isn't science'?".

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Similarly, bioengineer Robert Latour of Clemson U asks,
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I do not believe that anyone has ever proven the hypothesis that random events involving nonbiologically-derived molecules combined with natural selection can produce a living cell.

Well, no, but as mathematician David Berlinski likes to say, "See no evil, see no evil." If you want to be a good believer in promissory materialism (the belief that non-intelligent causes will always be found to be at work in these situations), maybe you had better just not think hard about these things.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.
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