Sunday, June 05, 2005

Old Faulty Arguments Rearing Their Head Again

Via Red State Rabble:

Students should be told that some respected scientists find Darwin's theory inadequate because it is based on 19th-century science, which does not account for the 21st-century science of molecular structure of life. Study of the molecular structure of complex systems will help students understand how life works and see the shortcomings of Darwin's theory. Students should be told that irreducibly complex systems, such as the blood-clotting system, disprove Darwin's theory.

Students should be told about intelligent design and creationism. They can learn the science behind each theory and become better students.

-- Vonderlear Fields , Clinton

This uninformed opinion was published in response to the Washington Post's request for their readers' answer to the question, "What should students be told about the origins of life?"

First off, none of the five letters address the topic of the origins of life; they're all concerned with evolution/creationism/intelligent design in some manner. Evolutionary theory says nothing about the origin of life.

Secondly, it is bad judgment and professionally negligent to publish Fields's uninformed letter. Fields's arguments are tired, old hat from the ID movement. The blood clotting pathway is Michael Behe's pet example, but there are multiple rebuttals posted all over the internet. I won't deal with this specific example as it has been beaten to death, resurrected, then killed again.

What bothers me most is Fields's treatment of evolutionary theory. It seems as if this reader's only exposure to evolutionary biology comes from Darwin's Black Box and some media coverage of the evolution-creationism debate. Modern evolutionary theory is not based on 19th century science. During the 20th century, the neo-Darwinian synthesis brought together ideas from the developing fields of genetics and systematics to create a more comprehensive theory of evolution. Over the last century (and into the 21st century) molecular biology has played a critical role in the development of evolutionary theory. Evolution does account for the 21st-century science of molecular structure of life; intelligent design fails to account for advances in molecular biology by parroting disproven argements.


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