Darwinists Talk to the Hand re ID Peer Review

If you are familiar with the Ed Sullivan Show from decades past, you probably know who Señor Wences was. He was the Spanish-born ventriloquist whose popular act consisted of him conversing with “Johnny” — i.e., a puppet made from Wences’ hand, on which he put eyes, nose, lipstick, a wig, and set atop a doll’s body. As with any such act, while the ventriloquist does his/her best to make the puppet or dummy seem very “real”, it is still under the complete control of the ventriloquist and says & does whatever s/he wants it to.

In an article published today at Evolution News & Views, David Klinghoffer (in a somewhat exasperated tone) targets Darwinist apologists, accusing them of willful ignorance and likening them to Señor Wences talking to the falsettoed “Johnny”.

“In their books and blogs, the Dawkins-Myers crew [referring to zealots Richard Dawkins and P.Z. Myers and those likeminded] acidly dismiss the scientific case against Darwin, all echoing the same putdowns about ‘creationists’ and ‘IDiots’ with no record of peer-reviewed research, desperately hawking a God who ‘poofs’ things into existence.

If you were naïve, you could assume that the Darwin team must have made the effort to acquaint themselves with the arguments for intelligent design. The truth is [that] almost all the professional evolution advocates have in common [is] that they are in conversation with an imaginary opponent, as crudely constructed as Johnny but without the charm. It’s not the insults I mind but the shallowness they mask, the mulish refusal to genuinely confront the ideas [they] hate, that merits contempt.

Senor Wences and JohnnyThe really sad part is that out in the real world, lots of otherwise thoughtful people don’t get the gag. They fail to realize that Johnny, the fanciful but useful ‘IDiot,’ is being generated by that man with the Spanish accent and the magician’s tuxedo.

If you doubt me, let’s briefly review the excellent science reporting here [at ENV] just since Christmas or so by Casey Luskin and Jonathan M., noting recent peer-reviewed and other professional scientific publications. Some readers might be just returning from vacation and may have missed it. That would be a shame.”

Klinghoffer then proceeds to give the following list, which I have reformatted a bit and added bullets:

  • “From the 2010 Encyclopedia of Life Sciences, in an article by researchers at UC Davis and the University of Michigan, comes further confirmation that ‘pseudogenes,’ a pillar of the argument against design, display multiple functions after all, notably in gene regulation.
  • In the journal Synthese, a University of British Columbia philosopher demonstrates the limits, in principle, facing schemes of evolutionary self-organization.
  • In Complexity, another peer-reviewed paper takes aim at gene duplication as the supposed royal road to generating new genetic functionality, citing insecticide resistance in blowflies among other illustrations.
  • In Floriculture and Ornamental Biotechnology, a biologist at Germany’s Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research focuses on a particular feature of some flowering planets as demonstrating, in Michael Behe’s terms (cited explicitly along with other ID advocates), evidence that would make it virtually impossible to account for by Darwinian stepwise evolution.
  • Another peer-reviewed paper by [William] Dembski and [Robert] Marks in the Journal of Advanced Computational Intelligence and Intelligent Informatics joins the list of such publications coming out of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab.
  • From the same source, led by computer scientists at Baylor University, comes a peer-reviewed journal article in BIO-Complexity, debunking a computer program supposed to simulate unguided evolution and widely hailed by Darwin apologists like Kenneth Miller.
  • Finally, a paper in the International Journal of Design & Nature and Ecodynamics offers evidence that we live in an ‘engineered world.

Again, all this was reported in the space of hardly more than a week…. Now the question is whether any of the evolutionist bloggers, any at all, will take notice and explain to us seriously why it is responsible and respectable to dismiss all this paradigm-challenging research. I doubt they will. They’re too busy chatting with Johnny.”

Anyone who still claims that ID should be dismissed out of hand (at least in part) because its proponents never get published in peer-reviewed literature just aren’t paying attention. It should also be obvious from the above that challenging Darwinian assumptions does not stymie fruitful scientific investigation. Indeed, it can lead to quite stimulating discoveries, speculations, discussions, and applications.

And it really is a shame that so many people — particularly scientists, philosophers of science, and those that follow them — cannot seem to bring themselves to wrestle honestly with the increasingly-obvious shortcomings of their favorite naturalist theory. Alas, whether consciously or not, many probably recognize the philosophical implications of a world — actually, all reality — being designed with a purpose by a transcendent Mind whose power is beyond comprehension, and they cannot bring themselves to face it.


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