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Monday, July 30, 2007

New ID threat assessment lists Akyol, O’Leary, ... oh and the Pope too, by the way ...

A friend draws my attention to a recent squawk in TRENDS in Biochemical Sciences Vol.32 No.7 (July 2007) by Barbara Forrest and Paul Gross, who - so far as I can tell - make a career out of opposing the intelligent design theorists.

Squawks about the alleged threat posed by the ID theorists are nothing new - this one (“Biochemistry by design”) is aimed mainly against Mike Behe - but my friend called my attention to the fact that it mentions me (and my friend Mustafa Akyol) - and in a most curious context too:
Nature recently featured a ‘special report’ cataloging problems with creationism in western Europe, Turkey and Russia [10]. Turkey harbors a particularly active network of creationists, one of whom – Mustafa Akyol – is a prominent Discovery Institute ally, appearing publicly in America with ID supporter and spokesman Denyse O’Leary. (O’Leary is a Canadian journalist with no scientific background, who typifies the ID movement’s support base [77–80].) Unsettling signals are coming even from the Vatican, where Cardinal Christoph Schönborn’s July 2005 public statement of support for ID, released by the public relations firm of the Discovery Institute, was followed by ambiguous comments from Pope Benedict [81]. Statements from the pope released in April 2007 have not dispelled concerns about this ambiguity [82,83].

I am, of course, pleased to be mentioned alongside my friend and fellow journalist, Mustafa Akyol, one of a growing number of voices of reason in the Muslim world.* But to mention either of us in the same paragraph as Christoph, Cardinal Schonborn or the Pope?

That’s the trouble with alarmist theories. All sense of proportion ... poof!

Believe me, if the Pope isn’t buying into Darwinian materialism, it will hardly matter to the world’s Catholics what O’Leary or Akyol think. But no, wait, that’s too sensible. We can’t think of things that way. So, realizing that you ought to be concerned, your best protection is to buy and read these books. It’s all in here, folks, all in here:

Here’s the abstract:
Creationists are attempting to use biochemistry to win acceptance for their doctrine in the public mind and especially in state-funded schools. Biochemist Michael Behe is a major figure in this effort. His contention that certain cellular structures and biochemical processes –
bacterial flagella, the blood-clotting cascade and the vertebrate immune system – cannot be the products of evolution has generated vigorous opposition from fellow scientists, many of whom have refuted Behe’s claims. Yet, despite these refutations and a decisive defeat in a US federal court case, Behe and his associates at the Discovery Institute continue to cultivate American
supporters. They are also stepping up their efforts abroad and, worryingly, have achieved some success. Should biochemists (and other scientists) be concerned? We think they should be.

*We’d been asked by the McLaurin Institute to talk about ID and the media.

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