Daily Archives: November 14, 2007

Discovery Institute’s Dumb-Ass Response

The Discovery Institute has a list of frivolous complaints about the PBS NOVA documentary, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial”. Number 6 on their list is:

6. PBS wrongly claims that human chromosomal fusion evidence “confirm[s] … the common ancestry of humans and apes.”
PBS uses the evidence for fusion in human chromosome #2 as evidence for human / ape common ancestry. But in fact this fusion evidence represents an event that is specific to the human line, and it does not tell us whether the human line leads back to a human / ape common ancestor. The fusion event might have happened in the very recent past in a human population that has no relationship to apes whatsoever. This evidence is equally consistent with both human descent from an ape-like ancestor, or a completely separate design of the human species, and therefore does not offer decisive information regarding whether humans share a common ancestor with apes.

They completely miss the point of the chromosome fusion evidence, we think intentionally, with the intent of deceiving their readers. The extra chromosome markers (centromeres and telomeres), which indicate that two chromosomes have fused in humans, were predicted by geneticists. Great apes have 24 pairs of chromosomes, humans have 23 pairs. A prediction was made decades ago that at some point in our genetic history two of our chromosomes fused, giving us one pair fewer than apes.

Now, creationists frequently proclaim that all mutations are deleterious or that beneficial mutations are too rare to be useful in evolution. What are the effects of a fusion? The fusion of chromosomes doesn’t alter the bases in DNA strands, but it can often have the most deleterious effects on human development. Chromosome fusions can alter the interactions of genes. And there are a host of human birth defects causes by such fusions.

But according to intelligent design “theory” a drastic change like a chromosome fusion would have to be designed. And again, it would have to be perfect as well as irreducibly complex. But, in this case it looks like the designer forget to remove the superfluous markers, the extra telomeres and centromeres on our chromosome #2. Sloppy work, Mr. Designer, your work looks so random.

The real significance of the fusion evidence is that geneticists predicted it using evolution theory. And surprise, they found exactly what the process of evolution historically would have required, if humans and modern apes share a common ancestor. Either that or the Designer is really predictable. Or maybe scientists have ESP and can read his mind. In the end, the fusion and it’s discovery by geneticists only makes sense in the light of evolution.  

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Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial

The NOVA program, which aired on PBS on Tuesday, Nov 13th, revealed several interesting and troubling facts about the 2005 Kitzmiller vs. Dover Intelligent Design case. For instance, we at the Darwin Report did not know that prior to the trial, a student’s life-size mural, depicting the evolution of man, was stolen from the Dover school by someone and burned. Bill Buckingham, one of the schools board members, was actually heard gloating that he had watched the mural ablaze. Interviewed in the NOVA program, Buckingham comes across as a contemptible son of a bitch, to say the least. To watch a student’s work being destroyed and to approve of the act of vandalism is disgusting. Buckingham is a worm of a man, and clearly he should not have held a position of authority over anyone. The fact that he was even on the Dover school board is shameful. He’s a pathetic, hateful, narrow minded, piece of dung. Creationists like him must have very weak religious faith, to feel so threatened by evolution.

An aspect of the case that we find particularly amusing is the fact that the several of the defense witnesses for Intelligent Design bowed out of the trial and did not testify, William Dembski being one. In the NOVA program, Eugenie Scott, of the National Center for Science Education described the absent witnesses as “dropping like flies”. No doubt, many of them didn’t want the negative press coverage or they didn’t want to be caught lying on the stand. Poor little Michael Behe was left hanging in the wind as the defense’s “star” witness.

The Discovery Institute on its web site has been bashing the NOVA special before it even aired, calling it unfair and bias. FYI. You people at the Discovery Propaganda Institute had your chance at the trial and you whoosed out. Now you’re whining about it. Go piss it on the mountain, you big babies.

Watch the NOVA special, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design On Trial”, if you’re interested in science education and a very important legal case. We recommend it highly.

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