Dust-up

It’s been awhile since I’ve done an ID post.  Thomas Cudworth on UD goads me thusly:

From June 17 to June 21, 2011, at the University of Oklahoma (Norman) campus, the conference “Evolution 2011” was in session.  It was co-sponsored by three scientific societies – The Society for the Study of Evolution, The Society of Systematic Biologists, and the American Society of Naturalists.  It was billed by its promoters as “the premier annual international conference of evolutionary biologists on the planet.”

It is interesting to make a mental list of the Darwin-defenders who have been most active in the culture wars, whether by publishing popular books defending Darwin, by appearing as witnesses against school boards in court cases, by working for the NCSE, by running pro-Darwinian blog sites, or by attacking Darwin critics throughout cyberspace, and to see which of them either read papers or at least contributed to the research and writing of papers for this premier conference.

Among those who have not attacked religious belief, but have violently bashed ID and/or passionately upheld neo-Darwinian theory, Paul Gross (co-author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse) and plant scientist Arthur Hunt (who has debated ID people live and on the internet) were not listed as contributors to any of the papers.

The theme of my column is qualifications. The question is: are most of the Darwinian preachers in the culture-wars competent to discuss the latest developments in evolutionary biology? If they are not competent, shouldn’t the public know this?

What I’m trying to do here is to give everyone a chance to say whether these people are or are not qualified. And I invite any of the named people — Falk, Venema, Moran, Miller, etc. — to write in here, listing their publications and conference papers in the field of evolutionary biology, and explaining why we should prefer their account of evolution to those of Darwin-critical specialists in evolutionary theory such as Lynn Margulis, Stuart Newman, Richard Sternberg, etc.

Well, Thomas, I’ll speak only for myself.  It turns out that my first paper in the area of polyadenylation had a decided evolutionary flavor, and the implications of this finding weigh on my own research even today.  Heck, I’ve done more actual wet-bench research on irreducibly complex systems than Mike Behe, who is, by all estimations, at the head of the ID biochemistry class.  I’ve even gone so far as to directly measure the CSI for a specific protein-protein interaction, something no ID proponent anywhere has ever done. All in all, I think I can make a good case that I’m qualified to tell people like Richard Sternberg and Jonathan Wells that their ideas about RNA processing, alternative splicing, and junk DNA are bogus.

So I’ve got a couple of questions.  First, you may recall that the 2010 meeting of the RNA Society was held in Seattle, Washington.  I was there, and I figured that the Discovery Institute would send a cohort to dazzle all those RNA scientists with the latest and greatest ID research that demolishes all manner of RNA science – from the studies on RNA aptamers and ribozymes that show how little CSI there actually is in living things, to all that work on splicing and introns that Wells and Sternberg have shown to be wrong, to that misleading research on ribosomes that looks to spell out a clear evolutionary history that marks the very beginning of life, to, um, well, you get the idea.

That’s what I figured.  But guess what – the DI couldn’t even scare up the intellectual curiosity to drive a few blocks and present a single, solitary poster on any ID research.  What’s up with that, Thomas?

I am hoping for more this August, when Wells and Sternberg are surely going to shock the Cold Spring Harbor Eukaryotic RNA Processing meeting with their definitive experimental proof that each and every nucleotide in each and every intron in the human genome has a clear and undeniable biochemical or evolutionary function.  I was wondering if you could give the readers at UD a sort of sneak preview of their amazing presentation.  What say ye, Thomas? Any possibility of this happening?

One more thing – I would post this on UD, but your “moderation” is such that it wouldn’t actually be posted for anywhere from 48 to 480 hours.  I apologize that you have to wander on over here to read my reply.

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One Response to Dust-up

  1. Bilbo says:

    Art: ” I apologize that you have to wander on over here to read my reply.”

    No apology needed. Sorry I don’t visit your blog more often, though. Time constraints.

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