Three Intelligent Design Stooges

I haven’t even seen the full movie and I’m already sick to my stomach. This clip from Expelled: The Movie is frightening. It’s blatant propaganda. And the stooge “population geneticist” giving the first interview is a fraud. Hardly the impartial scientist, Maciej Giertych is actually an ultra-conservative politician from Poland, who has a PhD in dendrology, the study of trees. He’s also a creationist author. The second guy, David Berlinksi, is a member of the Discovery Institute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. I’m just curious why Ben Stein had to import a creationist from abroad. Maybe, most of the American ones are recognized liars. New faces, same old lies.

Now to comment on the lies.

“Natural selection does not provide any new genetic information”

Modern biologists don’t claim that natural selection is the source of ‘new genetic information’? Various types of mutations (along with the recombination of DNA during sexual reproduction) are what create novel genes. Natural selection acts on mutations. But there’s plenty of copying errors and reshuffling of DNA for natural selection to work on.

“Mutations spoil” and “We don’t know of any mutation which is positive”

Most mutations are neutral, not harmful. And there are plenty of examples of positive mutations. The fact that insects become resistant to pesticides is just one example. What creationists fail to understand is that life and the environment interact. For an animal a harmful mutation in one environment may be beneficial in another. So stating categorically that all mutations are harmful is just stupid.

“If you analogize a computer program to the DNA inside a cell…”

Some analogies shouldn’t be made. This is one. Computer programs don’t sexually reproduce. They are written and optimized (except Vista which sucks) by programmers. If the best programs were selected from a population of programs over thousands of generations, then that could be considered a type of evolution. But DNA isn’t written by programmers (or a designer); it’s fragmented and full of superfluous junk, which speaks to its evolutionary history, not its design.

Is it just me, or do these stooges come across as completely insincere on-camera? It’s almost as if they know what they’re doing is wrong. The smug bastards!

www.TheDarwinReport.com

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7 Comments

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7 responses to “Three Intelligent Design Stooges

  1. Noni

    You sound awfully disturbed and angry for a person who believes he/she is right & the creationists are wrong.

  2. Randy Ruggles

    You are correct in two respects: They are in error when they say “natural selection does not create new genetic information.” (I believe Giertych misspoke.)

    A more accurate statement would have been “mutations do not create any new genetic information but merely scramble existing information.” That’s a fact.

    You are also correct in pointing out that it is wrong to say no beneficial mutations exist. As you say, mutations are beneficial to their particular environment.

    Where you are wrong is in saying that insects becoming resistant to pesticides in an example of a beneficial mutation. The insects that are resistant were already resistant to the pesticide. No new information “evolved.” Those without the resistance die off and the stronger, resistant bugs reproduce and take over the population.

    Same thing with peppered moths and finch beaks. Great examples of MICRO-evolution and nothing more. MICRO-evolution CANNOT be extrapolated to MACRO-evolution.

    And beneficicial mutations would have to be the rule rather than the exception for MACRO-evolution to be a viable hypothesis.

  3. thedarwinreport

    DEAR RANDY,

    “MICRO-evolution CANNOT be extrapolated to MACRO-evolution.”

    “And beneficicial mutations would have to be the rule rather than the exception for MACRO-evolution to be a viable hypothesis.”

    Early 20th century genetic experiments demonstrated that genes are hierarchical and interactive. An example is two harmful genes working together to produce a beneficial effect. Each gene by itself is harmful if switched on. But when they are both switched on, they are not. Creationists never mention this fact.

    As I said previously DNA is fragmented and full of superfluous junk. So most mutations are neutral, not harmful. And a neutral or harmful mutation can easily become beneficial, given a change in environment.

    Given natural selection, population variations, and mutation rates, macro-evolution is an imperative. Individuals do not evolve. Evolution occurs from generation to generation.

  4. thedarwinreport

    DEAR NONI,

    “You sound awfully disturbed and angry for a person who believes he/she is right & the creationists are wrong.”

    Anger does not disqualify a person’s argument. You didn’t offer any counter arguments to my original points, so I can only assume you didn’t have any. And my anger only exists as nasty words. In contrast, creationists sometimes make death threats. Ask the Judge in the Dover ID case. He was on the receiving end of several.

    The clip from “Expelled” makes me angry because it is full of lies, and I happen to care about public education. If people want to be creationists that’s fine. But lying in order to recruit followers is just sick.

  5. You neglected to mention that Giertych is an antisemite.

    Ironic, isn’t it, that for all the noise that Stein & Co make that “Darwinism” leads to Nazism, the one anti-semite they interview in this film is on the ID/Creationist side!

  6. thedarwinreport

    Hi John the Skeptic,

    I didn’t want to go into Giertych’s pathetic political career. But I appreciate you mentioning it. He’s a professional clown. And a dangerous one.

  7. A more accurate statement would have been “mutations do not create any new genetic information but merely scramble existing information.” That’s a fact.

    Except those mutations that are completely new, of course.

    Some mutations do indeed create completely new “information,” which is how we get a naturally-born micro-organism that eats nylon, a substance that did not exist prior to about 1930.

    One of the best documented cases of wholly new “information” arising spontaneously occurred in the labs of Texas A&M — look for papers dealing with TURF-13.

    Evolution is not dependent on “new” mutations, and new structures are often created from a simple change in the order of firing of HOX genes or other development controlling genes in the development of the organism — but new information also arises, spontaneously.

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