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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

It's a while since I've heard from the Sky Is Falling!! department, ...

Good to know they're still alive. The last few instances were nonsense about Canada (go here, here, and here. Oh, and here and here for the terrible, awful grim news ), but this lot is from Holland:
Recent events indicate that creationists are becoming increasingly active in the Netherlands. This article offers an overview of these events. First, I discuss the introduction of intelligent-design (ID) creationism into the Dutch public sphere by a renowned physicist, Cees Dekker. Later, Dekker himself shifted toward a more evolution-friendly position, theistic evolution. Second, we see how Dekker was followed in this shift by Andries Knevel, an important figure within the Dutch evangelical broadcasting group, the Evangelische Omroep (EO). His conversion to ID, and subsequently to theistic evolution, brought him into conflict with young-Earth creationists who still strongly identify themselves with the EO. Third, provoked by the dissidence of prominent orthodox believers and the celebrations surrounding the Darwin year, young-Earth creationists became very visible. After three decades of relative silence, they started a project to make sure that the Dutch people would hear of the “alternatives” to evolutionary theory. This article (1) adds to the growing number of reports on creationists' increased activity in Europe and (2) suggests that ID, in a context different from the United States, did not unite but rather divided the Dutch orthodox Protestant community.
The author seems to think that the Darwin mob has got local skeptics to recant.

That wouldn't be surprising, given other news one hears from Holland:
You'll notice, never does the court claim that Wilders' facts are wrong; never do they claim that his opinions are unfair. They only claim that he is radical and opinionated.
Out of step, that's his trouble. They'll soon fix that. In Canada, we say, see you on the ice.

Note: The photo is someone's image of Holland.

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Tsk tsk design language: Watch out for those lawyers

As some Darwinists would like to drive design language out of biology, from a recent law journal article:
Who invents life: intelligent designers, blind watchmakers, or genetic engineers?

Graham Dutfield
Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, Advance Access published online on April 22, 2010 | doi:10.1093/jiplp/jpq034

Legal context.: Judgments since the 1980s have confirmed that living things may be claimed in patent applications, albeit with some divergence between jurisdictions. To a large extent, such extension of the scope of patents has followed analogically from the patenting of hormones and antibiotics. The question arises of whether the analogies deployed and resultant subject matter expansionism can be justified given the current state of our knowledge of life and of highly complex living processes.

Key points.: Fundamental difficulties exist in the patenting of whole life forms. These difficulties are made evident in scientific, philosophical, and theological discussion concerning the appearance of design in life and the special qualities all life forms share that differentiate them from non-living chemical compositions. Such discussion indicates that life is inherently more complex that than any human artefact, and continues not to be well understood. Discussion also points to the autonomy and extraordinary self-creativity of life forms which again suggests that inventorship claims to whole organisms may not be scientifically justifiable at present.

Practical significance.: It may be time to rethink the metaphors and analogies used to justify the patenting of whole organisms. Living things are not just chemicals or machines, and are certainly not human artefacts.

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